Plan a Trip to Victoria, British Columbia!
While Vancouver is the largest and best known city in Western Canada, Victoria comes a close second, providing a quieter, albeit just as welcoming, atmosphere on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Known as the City of Gardens, Victoria is an extremely beautiful city that offers not only gardens, but a wealth of other things to see and do, and it’s a good base from which to explore some of Vancouver Island’s other attractions from the comfort of a holiday home or vacation rental.
Named for Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, Victoria has always had a somewhat royal feel to it. It’s the capital of the province of British Columbia, so it’s home to the BC Parliament Buildings which are grand enough to rival many palaces around the world!
The heart of Victoria is compact enough to be able to enjoy it on foot. Centered around the Inner Harbor are many of the city’s best known sites, including the aforementioned Parliament Buildings that have pride of place. The expansive green open space in front of parliament sets the scene for Victoria’s nickname, City of Gardens, and there’s a statue of Queen Victoria at the front if you want to see the city’s namesake.
The second major landmark on the Inner Harbor is the Empress Hotel. A remnant from the grand old days of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Empress is a wonderful Edwardian era, chateau-style hotel that was built to be the height of luxury at the terminus of the Canadian Pacific steamship line. Like other CPR hotels, The Empress is still hugely popular today even despite the hefty price tag for a night’s stay!
A great way to experience the grandeur of this place is to have Afternoon Tea here. Again it’s by no means cheap, but if you’re saving money by staying in a vacation home then maybe you can splash out!
Outside of the Inner Harbor area, several major attractions can be reached via a short car journey or by public transit. Craigdarroch Castle is a popular landmark, built in Victorian times in the style of Scottish Baronial, while a little further away are the world famous Butchart Gardens.
Around one million visitors per year visit Butchart Gardens, many of whom come to Victoria just for the gardens; and if you’re staying a week in a holiday home this will definitely be on your list of places to visit. These wonderful gardens were actually the inspiration for the Canadian pavilion at Epcot in Florida.
It’s easy to think of Vancouver Island as being relatively small, though this isn’t the case! At 460 kilometers (290 miles) in length it is over 10,000 square kilometers larger than Wales, so there’s a lot to discover here! If you’re renting a vacation home or condo in Victoria you will have more time to explore some of the closer parts of Vancouver Island. There’s ample beautiful scenery that’s preserved in numerous provincial parks; places like Lake Cowichan are close enough for a day trip, along with the attractive town of Duncan, nicknamed City of Totems for obvious reasons!
The famous outdoor murals of the town of Chemainus are worth the trip too, and if you head out from your vacation rental early enough in the day you could reach the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, on the west coast, and experience the windswept landscape of this coastal park.