Craving a getaway that’s more exotic by traveling abroad but don’t have room in your budget? How about an affordable international vacation that’s just three hours away? Visit Victoria B.C. Not only can you get there by hopping on a short and scenic ferry ride instead of an expensive long-haul flight, but you can save in many other ways.

Your dollar goes further in Canada thanks to the excellent exchange rate, making it easier to expand your horizons by going abroad close to home. Having explored Victoria inside and out, our guide can help you get the biggest bang for the buck while enjoying some of the best the city has to offer.

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Ready to go? Here’s what you should know to make the most of your trip.


If you like to shop, there are plenty of optioms for enjoying an affordable international vacation in Victoria B.C. that won’t break the bank. And, with the favorable exchange rate it’s like getting a discount (around 25 percent currently) right off the top! You might even start with the gift shop on the Victoria Clipper V. It offers all sorts of Pacific Northwest apparel, postcards, stickers, and more. Plus, on the international route you can take advantage of duty-free sales of alcohol – up to 50% off the regularly taxed prices.

Once in the B.C. capital, Government street is your go-to shopping avenue, lined with historic buildings housing all sorts of shops. You’ll find souvenirs, gifts, jewelry, clothing, and more. Items here are available in all prices ranges from cheap to big splurge. And, nearby there are some fabulous thrift and vintage stores.

Johnson Street is renowned for its wealth of vintage treasures like Second Degree Vintage, Victoria Vintage, and Upstairs. The Bay Centre is another great option right downtown spanning a full city block with over 80 unique boutiques and other enticing shopping venues. Of course, this is just a short list, with so many different places to shop in Victoria, there’s no doubt that you’ll score some bargains.


Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens is one of the most beloved attractions in the region. For a world-renowned wonder, this flower oasis, a National Historic Site of Canada, is a bargain. Just 15 miles north of downtown, it’s been welcoming international visitors for over a century – since 1904! Stroll through the lush and colorful gardens with gorgeous seasonal blooms and perhaps enjoy tradtional afternoon tea. Admission varies depending on the season, ranging from $16 to $40 (USD) per person for adults while kids are just $2 to $3.

Even better, the FRS Clipper offers motor coach tours that will bring you there which include entrance to The Gardens plus a city tour and complimentary luggage drop off. Prices range from $60 to $64 (USD) per person for adults and $21 (USD) per person for children. There are just so many ways to save on your visit to Victoria while still having a great time!

Victoria’s Other Gardens

We understand that some visitors to Victoria, B.C. might prefer some even lower-cost garden options for an even more affordable international vacation. Butchart may be the most famous but there are also nine acress of gardens included at The Gardens at HCP. Located just outside the city in Saanich, it includes tranquil spaces to unwind, and nature trails to stroll. The W̱SÁNEĆ Ethnobotany Trail is a favorite, exploring the relationship between native plants and Indigenous peoples. Adult admission is just $12, seniors pay $9, and kids under 16 are free.

You won’t pay anything at all to visit Finnerty Gardens. This hidden gem on the University of Victoria campus is nestled in a quiet corner featuring paths that wind through over 4,000 different plants and trees, including one of Canda’s most impressive collections of showy rhododendrons.

Spectacular Views and Big Thrills

The Malahat Skywalk definitely delivers when it comes to high value. An easy spiral walk will put you above the canopy of trees. And, from the top, you’ll enjoy jaw-dropping 360-degree views of the Salish Sea, Finlayson Arm fjord, and the craggy peaks of the Olympic Mountains.

By booking a special FRS Clipper package you can get a great value deal. Otherwise, tickets are $38 for adults, $34 for seniors and $24 for ages six through 17.

Immerse yourself into the beauty of the PNW this spring from new heights. Credit: Malahat Skywalk
Immerse yourself into the beauty of the PNW from all new heights. Credit: Malahat Skywalk

For some even less expensive fun, especially ideal for families with children, Saanich Commonwealth Place offers pools, including a kids’ pool with a pirate ship and various West Coast-based critters. There are wet and dry saunas, and a whirlpool too. One-day admission is cheap – the family rate of $14 includes up to two parents or guardians plus as many as four kids.


Sample the foodie scene in Victoria for less than you could in Seattle. In fact, you can enjoy some of the best tempura-battered fish ‘n’ chips (and plenty of other fish and seafood items) at Red Fish Blue Fish. That long line will tell you how good it’s going to be – trust us when we say it’s always worth the wait. It’s particularly ideal on a beautiful day with outdoor seating right on the dock. Soak up the gorgeous view and the delicious eats that are very reasonably priced for what you get whether you prefer the Pacific Cod, BC Halibut, or Wild Salmon.

Nosh on delicious eats while enjoying harbor views at Red Fish Blue Fish. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria

There are plenty of other mouthwatering cheap eats in Victoria too. Like sushi? Head to Fujiyaa Japanese supermarket, where you can pickup affordable takeout. It’s the perfect place for a quick bite for lunch, perhaps for a waterfront picnic with epic views at Saxe Point Park. We also love Sült Pierogi Bar. It’s billed as a Candian restaurant but it serves Eastern European classics with a Canadian twist. Handmade pierogies are made daily with traditional flavors and innovative new types like the Twenty Four Seven. It’s a steal at $5.10 CAD ($3.73 USD!), with fried chicken, maple-chipotle sausage, butter, green onions, and maple syrup. Yum!


You have lots of options for entertainment on a visit to Victoria, B.C., including the Royal Theatre, McPherson Playhouse, the Langham Court Theatre, the Belfry Theatre, and the BV Theatre. The BV is home to one of the province’s top professional ballet companies, Ballet Victoria. An intimate venue with seats for just 100 ticket prices are reasonable, typically starting at just over $30 CAD (about $22 USD).

Victoria Harbour Ferry Water Ballet

Or, how about catch the free Victoria Harbour Ferry Water Ballet? Who doesn’t love to watch these colorful vessels in the Inner Harbour? And, it definitely fits in with an affordable international vacation. Referred to as pickle boats by the locals, they even put on a performance. You can catch it for free on Water Ballet Saturdays and Sundays at 10:45 a.m. You’ll have the best view from the seats at the Steamship Terminal.


There are a wide range of hotels in Victoria, from value based offerings to more lavish hotels with lots of amenities that go above and beyond the usual. The Best Western Plus Carlton Plaza Hotel is especially ideal for an affordable international vacation. It offers a perfect location in the heart of downtown within walking distance to just about everything. Plus, accommodations include large studio suites with a full kitchen, so you can save by dining in for some of your meals.

waterfront hotel in Victoria, B.C.

The Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA is just steps from the colorful floating home community next to Fisherman’s wharf where you can meet the local seals. Downtown is just a short walk or a free shuttle ride away. Plus, as it sits right on the waterfront you can look forward to sweeping panoramic views from your balcony or window. This hotel also happens to be home to the only indoor-outdoor pool overlooking the harbor in Victoria.

And you thought you didn’t have the time or budget for an international getaway!