Few places in the province of British Columbia retain the old-time feel of its colonial past quite like Victoria, a city named after Canada’s 19th-century monarch.
Compact and blessed with pockets of green space, Victoria’s quaint city centre is dotted with historic sights that are easily reached on foot. Most visitors start with a ramble alongside the shimmering waters of Inner Victoria Harbour, where the shore is overlooked by the Neo-Baroque dome of Parliament Buildings and the storied Edwardian-style Empress Hotel.
To sample the genteel days of yore, you can pop into the hotel for afternoon tea, or visit nearby Craigdarroch Castle, where the original 1880s interiors and stained glass windows are beautifully preserved. Even grander is Hatley Park, another Scottish Baronial mansion that boasts immaculate grounds so typical of ‘The Garden City’, while just north of the centre lies the rainbow-coloured floral displays of Butchart Gardens.
No trip to Victoria is complete without acknowledging the First Nations people, British Columbia’s original inhabitants. The leafy city park on Beacon Hill is a former burial site for the tribe, commemorated today with towering totem poles decorated in vibrant tones. At the neighbouring Royal BC Museum, you can delve deeper into the natives’ story.
When to go?
Most travellers recommend visiting Victoria either in late spring or early autumn, when the the plethora of public parks and historic garden estates undergo a colourful, eye-catching transformation. If you’re after lower prices and don’t mind cooler weather, you should plan your stay for between November and February.
Victoria Regent Waterfront Hotel
Where to stay?
Victoria Regent Waterfront Hotel – Victoria, Canada
With a balcony or patio in each room, this hotel’s spectacular Inner Harbour setting makes for a truly special stay. Add to that a concierge service, in-room massages and nearby whale-watching boats, and you’ll feel positively spoilt. Booking.com guests also give the Regent’s rooms top marks for cleanliness and comfort.
Delta Hotels by Marriott Ocean Pointe
Delta Hotels by Marriott Ocean Pointe – Victoria, Canada
Taking full advantage of its harbour location, this spa hotel boasts an indoor saltwater pool and charming marina views. The clean, minimalist rooms are kitted out with iPod docks and flat-screen TVs. Booking.com guests really appreciate the attentive staff, whether in the top-notch seafood restaurant, the terrace bar, or the modern gym.
The Craigmyle – Victoria, Canada
Right next door to historic Craigdarroch Castle, this hotel is housed in a beautiful heritage-listed building of its own. The plush rooms feature an updated take on Victorian-style décor, sleek bathrooms, and free WiFi. The organic breakfast buffet is highly rated by Booking.com guests, while the communal lounge and kitchen offer added convenience.