Updated August 9, 2019

Both urban and quaint, full of historic buildings as well as fantastic dining options and a burgeoning boutique shopping scene, Victoria is a city that deserves to be seen from a variety of perspectives. This coastal capital offers plenty of unique ways to get around during your stay. While grabbing a standard cab is always a viable option, try experiencing the city by hopping on one of these 10 distinctive ways of getting around Victoria, BC.

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Day Trip from Seattle to Victoria, BC

1. Double-Decker Motor Coach

In a throwback to its British roots, Victoria pays homage to the classic British double-decker motor coaches with a variety of tours on these iconic, towering buses.

Looking for a hop-on, hop-off tour that will allow you to check out sights such as Craigdarroch Castle, Beacon Hill Park and Oak Bay Village? Climb aboard Grayline’s Hop-On, Hop-Off Victoria City Tour. Done! Want a chance to soak in panoramic sunset views paired with twinkling city lights? There’s a motor coach ride for that too – the Evening City Sights Tour.

If you want to make a trip to the world-renowned Butchart Gardens, hop on Clipper’s modern-double decker motor coach after passing through customs in Victoria and enjoy the 45-minute ride. As the coach rolls past Victoria’s downtown highlights, an expert local guide narrates the stories of the city. The best part? If you book Clipper’s Butchart Gardens tour overnight package from March 30 to October 13, Clipper delivers your luggage directly to your hotel. Or you can store your bags at our terminal. You don’t have to worry about a thing! Book this tour with Clipper, learn more.

2. Bicycle

Often called the bicycle capital of Canada, one of the best ways to truly discover Victoria is to explore it from behind the handlebars of a bike. Pop across the street from the Victoria Clipper terminal on Belleville to the cozy, but well-stocked Pedaler bicycle shop. Whether you want to pick up a tandem or electric-assist bike or want to hop on a guided tour, this shop has everything you need to see the city on two wheels.

Opt for the guided, 8.7 mile Castles, Hoods and Legends tour to get the lay of the land and inspiration for other spots around town to check out. If you prefer to venture out on your own, follow the famously scenic 40-mile long Galloping Goose Trail starting at the Johnson Street Bridge. Hop on the trail near downtown Victoria in Burnside, following it southwest across the picturesque Selkirk trestle. Or wind your way north through Saanich toward Sidney for excellent farm and beachfront views.

Want a shorter ride? Head out on the bike-friendly Belleville Street to Dallas Road for jaw-dropping ocean views. Swing by Beacon Hill Park, an essential scenic detour, to experience this lush, urban oasis filled with free-roaming peacocks and other wildlife. Book this tour with Clipper, learn more.

The vistas along Victoria's coasts are sure to stop you in your tracks. Credit: Pedaler
The vistas along Victoria’s coasts are sure to stop you in your tracks. Credit: Pedaler

3. Horse-Drawn Carriage

If there’s one mode of transportation that drums up images of Victorian days past, it’s a horse carriage ride around town. Trot along on a Tally-Ho Carriage tour and soak in the city’s 19th-century architecture and beautiful views at a slower pace. Spend an afternoon exploring the charming heritage district of James Bay or the immaculately manicured gardens of the 155-acre Beacon Hill Park, set to the steady rhythm of horse hooves clicking underfoot. It’s the perfect introduction to a leisurely weekend of island living. Book this tour with Clipper, learn more.

Insider tip: Take a carriage ride at night to catch the Parliament Buildings when they are all lit up. Credit: Tally-Ho Tours
Insider tip: Take a carriage ride at night to catch the Parliament Buildings when they are all lit up. Credit: Tally-Ho Carriage Tours

4. Kayak 

Pick up a paddle and hop inside your ticket to Victoria’s waterways! See the city from a unique perspective, checking out landmarks such as the Trial Islands and the Ogden Point Breakwater as you gracefully glide through the waters surrounding Vancouver Island.

Or experience Vancouver Island’s wild and rugged West Coast on an intimate and unique voyage as you paddle through the Salish Sea around Discovery Island. You may even make friends with a playful seal or harbor porpoise along the way! Book this tour with Clipper, learn more.

Get up close and personal with amazing wildlife, from sea lions and dolphins to orca, gray and minke whales as you paddle through the Salish Sea. Credit: Ocean River Adventures
Get up close and personal with amazing wildlife, from sea lions and dolphins to orca, gray and minke whales as you paddle through the Salish Sea. Credit: Ocean River Adventures

5. Victoria Harbour Ferry 

Want some more time on the water? Climb aboard a cheerful Water Taxi at one of the 14 seaside locations around the city and zip to Victoria’s nearby attractions, restaurants and landmarks by boat!

Along the way you’ll be able to see the comings and goings in the harbor, catch vistas of the Parliament Buildings and Fairmont Empress and pick up a few insider tips about the city from your knowledgeable captain! Don’t miss the Harbour Ferry Ballet (it runs every Sunday from May to September and also on Saturdays in July and August), when these cheerful little boats put on a fascinating display of beautifully choreographed sequences.

(Insider tip: Sample Victoria’s brewery scene without having to draw straws for who will be the designated driver. Jump on the Pickle Pub Crawl to hop between four different pubs or bars. The best part? Each group of four people will receive a complimentary appetizer with the purchase of beverages at participating venues. There is no better way to get a taste of the region!) 

Hop on one of Victoria’s cute Harbour Ferries and zip across the Inner Harbour. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria
Hop on one of Victoria’s cute Harbour Ferries and zip across the Inner Harbour. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria

6. Budget Rental Car

While we’d highly recommend first-time visitors explore Victoria’s walkable downtown core, sometimes a road trip is beckoning, and having a set of wheels makes things a lot easier.

A 20-minute walk from the Victoria Clipper terminal lands you at Budget downtown (they even pick up from the Victoria Clipper terminal), where you can rent everything from a compact car to a mid-size SUV with unlimited millage. Then, dial in the GPS, crank the tunes and push beyond your original boundaries and discover new locations to explore. Whether you go for a scenic drive or explore nearby seaside towns, there is no shortage of options to explore!

Command your own adventure from the road on a scenic drive through Vancouver Island's countryside.
Command your own adventure from the road on a scenic drive through Vancouver Island’s countryside.

7. Pedicab

Want to relax and take in all the nooks and crannies of the city while someone else does all the work for you? Hail a human-powered pedicab (you can also book a guided tour) and let your knowledgeable local guide pedal you (and 2-3 of your friends) down secret alleys, secluded neighborhood streets and hidden parks and gardens that larger vehicles can’t access. Along the way, your friendly driver will be happy to fill you in on the city’s history and arm you with a slew of insider recommendations on the best brewpubs, eateries and unique shopping spots around town.

Kabuki drivers will often take you to some of the lesser-known gems in Victoria. Credit: MosayMay / Shutterstock.com
Kabuki drivers will often take you to some of the lesser-known gems in Victoria. Credit: MosayMay / Shutterstock.com

8. B.C. Transit Bus

Boasting more than 50 bus routes, the Victoria Regional Transit system can easily transport you everywhere from downtown Victoria, Ogden Point, Brentwood Bay to places like Sooke and Sidney— seven days a week. Paired with an affordable flat rate of $2.50 CA for adults, the family travel program allows four children, 12 years old and under, to ride for free with their parents. It’s a pretty great way to see the region surrounding Victoria. Planning on making the bus your primary set of wheels? Pick up a DayPass (you must have $5 CA in cash or two bus tickets) and enjoy unlimited travel on any route.

These vibrant buses are an inexpensive way to travel around the city. Credit: Richard Eriksson
These vibrant buses are an inexpensive way to travel around the city. Credit: Richard Eriksson

9. Seaplane

Elevate your experience and view Victoria from the air as you soar over the city in a floatplane on a Harbour Air flightseeing tour. See where the city, water and the mountains meet as you buzz above the island’s winding coastline, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Gulf Islands and the Olympic Mountains. Then, get a bird’s-eye view of the Fairmont Empress and the Parliament Buildings as you land and cruise into the heart of the Inner Harbour.

Take your vacation plans to new heights with a harbor tour. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria
Take your vacation plans to new heights with a harbor tour. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria

10. On Foot

Between Victoria’s walkable city core and a relatively small footprint, using your own two feet is far and away one of the best ways to explore the city. With more than a handful of historic landmarks, beautiful gardens, award-winning restaurants and unique boutiques within steps from each other, navigating the city requires little more than a map or a GPS.

If you’re feeling adventurous, leave the gadgets behind and allow yourself time for some random exploration. Follow a hunch and check out a unique neighborhood. Press pause for a moment and duck inside a cozy café or grab a few snapshots of a historic building. You may even discover a side of the city you’ve never previously experienced.

Discover a number of burgeoning boutiques on Johnson Street. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria
Discover a number of burgeoning boutiques on Johnson Street. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria

Be it by motor coach, bike, ferry, kayak, carriage or your own two feet; these unique options let you discover Victoria in a whole new way. Factor in the season and what you want to see, and let Victoria’s diverse transportation options introduce you to sights and experiences of Victoria in a fun, new way.

 

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Feature Photo: Scott Meis