Despite its somewhat remote location, Victoria is well worth a visit. It is a gorgious city, with lots to do, great restaurants and pubs and has a fantastic harbor, which is perfectly suited for a romantic stroll with your loved one or just to sit and watch the ever-present hussle and bustle going on in the bay.
Victoria is the capitol of British Columbia and located on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island and you can only get there by plane or by ferry. We found Victoria to be a perfect getaway for a few days. Linda had done some research and had booked us into a romantic B&B on the West Bay. We had originally thought we’d drive into town from there, but we found out the B&B was a stone’s throw away from the water taxis terminal. What a fun way to get into town!
With such a beautiful harbor (or, using the British spelling, “Harbour”), it is no surprise that a lot goes on in and around the water. There is constant activity with sea planes landing and taking off, all shapes and sizes of boats going back and forth and we even saw some kayakers and paddle boarders out there. A truly happening place.
We started the day by taking the water taxi to Fisherman’s Wharf. The Victoria water taxies are quaint little vessels that hold about 12 people and are a fun and inexpensive way to travel around the harbour. Some of the stations are manned by super-friendly attendants who are happy to give you advice and tips on what to do and what to go see. Their network is quite extensive and well organized and we never had to wait more than about 10 minutes befor a taxi showed up. The trip from our B&B to Fisherman’s Wharf took about 20 minutes and cost $6 Canadian a person. Quite a deal considering you’ll easily pay $10-$15 for a parking spot in town. Besides, in the water taxi you get to see the harbour from the water, a perspective not possible otherwise.
We only used the water taxi between the West Bay, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Causeway Marina, but you can take an entire tour of the harbour which will take you past about a dozen or so stops. You can pay on-board and get on and off when and where you want, but if you plan on doing that, purchase a ticket for the whole trip. That is cheaper than puchasing each leg of the trip separately.
Fisherman’s Wharf is a delight! It’s a fun and colorful place to visit. The wharf is full of “house boats”, all floating and moored at the piers. Each house is painted a bright and cheery color and many of them are decorated by their occupants with nick-nacks and fishing paraphernalia.Fisherman’s Whatf is also a great place to have some Fish and Chips or a Seafood Chowder. It is a real experience to stand on a boardwalk while picking up your food from a floating restaurant.
From Fisherman’s Wharf we followed the David Foster Harbour Pathway to the city.
It is only about a mile and a half walk, but it took us almost two hours simply because we stopped, to admire the views, do some photography and just to sit and soak up the atmosphere. The Pathway follows the water’s edge and offers beautiful views of the harbour and really gets you up close and personal to all the activity on the water. Check out this little video which will give you an impression of that activity.
Causeway Marina and downtown Victoria
The Causeway Marina is somewhat of a gateway to the city center. From there is is a short walk to some fabulous restaurants and shops. We had some fantastic meals there, most notably Bangers and Mash at an Irish Pub and an amazing “Tapas for Two” platter at a tapas restaurant. We also visited the famous Murchies Tea and Coffee, located downtown. We had devonshire tea there. Sitting in their tea room sipping Orange Pekoe tea and finishing off a scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam seemed the perfect way to spend a romantic afternoon with the one you love. We did it twice!
Walking around this area is a lot of fun. It is home to the famous Empress hotel and the British Columbia Parliament Buildings. The whole place oozes history and character. We have fallen in love with this beautiful city and can see why it is so popular. We know we will be back one day . . .