The Garden City’s close vicinity makes it a perfect side trip for those already visiting Vancouver, but what’s the best way to get to Victoria from Vancouver?
As someone who’s lived, worked and gone to school in both cities, I’m here to share with you a few transportation secrets
Let’s take a deeper look at how to get to Victoria from Vancouver (and vice versa).
How to Get to Victoria From Vancouver
BC’s capital city of Victoria is just 107 km southwest of Vancouver on beautiful Vancouver Island.
But with the entire expanse of the Salish Sea standing in the way, island residents will tell you that this distance can often feel much greater.
There are five different transportation options available to get you across the Gulf. But with ferries leaving from multiple destinations, buses, flights and even float planes, all of the options can get downright confusing.
Luckily I’m here to tell you that you can enjoy the best things to do in Victoria in as little as 4 hours from Vancouver.
Let’s break down how to go to Victoria from Vancouver so you can find what’s best for you.
Related: Best Victoria Sightseeing Tours
The Vancouver to Victoria Ferry
BC Ferries is a publicly owned corporation that operates the main ferry service between Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
They have two terminals in the Metro Vancouver area: Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen.
If you’re heading to Victoria (Swartz Bay Terminal), you must travel via Tsawwassen Terminal, as Horseshoe Bay does not offer service between Vancouver and Victoria.
Located 37 km south of Downtown Vancouver, Tsawwassen Terminal is just 500 meters from the US Border and is the largest ferry terminal in North America.
How long is the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria? From Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, it takes an hour and thirty-five minutes. Then it takes an additional 40 minutes to get to Downtown Victoria.
There are three transportation options to choose from to get from Downtown Vancouver to Tsawwassen Terminal:
- Driving: Most convenient, efficient, and cost-effective for families. Follow the route on Google Maps, and you’ll be there in 35 minutes.
- Public Transit: The most cost-effective way involves the Canada Line of Skytrain to Brighouse, then bus #620 to Tsawassen.
- Bus: The BC Ferries Connector offers service from downtown Vancouver or Vancouver International Airport directly to Victoria via Tsawwassen Terminal. If you don’t have a car, this is your best choice.
Related: Vancouver to Butchart Gardens Tours
Vancouver to Victoria Ferries Cost
Vancouver to Victoria ferries allow both ‘foot passengers’ and people with vehicles.
Vehicle passengers must pay a fare for each individual in addition to the cost of the vehicle.
- Adult (12+): $18.50
- Children (5-11): $9.25
- Children (0-5): Free
- Standard (up to 20 feet): $63.85
- Extra length (per foot): $7.25
- Motorcycles: $31.95
🚀 Don’t wanna worry about getting there? Check out the 5 best Victoria tours from Vancouver.
Booking Vancouver to Victoria Ferries Online
Especially if you’re in Vancouver in summer, booking your ferry in advance is highly recommended.
You can book these your tickets online using the BC Ferries booking platform – since all passenger travel between Vancouver and Victoria is on a first-come, first-served basis, it’s quite possible that you could miss your sailing.
Here are your options for one car and driver:
- Saver fares (from $49.00): When booked well in advance, these off-peak tickets are cheaper than at the terminal.
- Standard pre-paid (from $89.60): This is a regular fare plus a reservation fee to book your spot.
- Reservation only (from $100.35): Here, you pay a small fee to book your spot, then pay the balance at the terminal.
Online ferry bookings are subject to $5.00 change and cancellation fees (increasing to $20.00 if within three days of departure)
Reservation-only tickets are non-refundable.
Related: Find the Best Hotels in Victoria BC, for your holiday
The Vancouver to Victoria Bus
Buses from Vancouver to Victoria run multiple times a day via BC Ferries and Tsawwassen Terminal.
These convenient, all-inclusive Vancouver to Victoria bus tickets include coach transport and ferry tickets all in one.
This provides a hassle-free option that’s cheaper than ferries and optimal for travellers who don’t want to rent a car or involve multiple transfers.
You can lock in your seat using the link below:
BC Ferries Connector
The Vancouver to Victoria bus service is operated by BC Ferries Connector.
It leaves from Pacific Central Station (right outside downtown Vancouver) at 9:30 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:30 pm.
The BC Ferries Connector arrives in Victoria at Capital City Station.
All you have to do is purchase your ticket ($98.08 CAD) and show it on your smartphone 15 minutes before departure.
You can guarantee your seat on the Vancouver to Victoria bus by clicking the link below:
The Vancouver to Victoria Seaplane
This is your answer for those wondering how to get to Victoria from downtown Vancouver via seaplane.
You can replace annoying airport check-in procedures with a pre-flight walk along Vancouver’s Seawall. This quick 30-minute trip allows you to pretty much step off the dock onto a plane, and it’s undoubtedly the best way to get between BC’s two most important cities.
That’s not even counting the stunning panoramic views of the Vancouver skyline, the North Shore Mountains, Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge.
These floatplanes from Vancouver Harbour to Victoria Harbour give you a true ‘door-to-door’ experience.
Harbour Air offers flights from Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre adjacent to the Convention Centre in downtown Vancouver.
They’ve also got service from the Seaplane Terminal at YVR’s South Terminal – make sure you book the right terminal!
In Victoria, the planes dock at the Victoria Harbour Airport Terminal in the Inner Harbour.
Each flight includes:
- Free WiFi and charging terminals
- Complimentary hotel shuttle (Monday-Friday)
- Free coffee/tea/baked goods (in the terminal)
- 50 lbs baggage allowance
Using Harbour Air to get to Victoria means arriving only 25-30 minutes before your flight for check-in.
The prices are also very competitive with normal flights, and including airport transfers, can be up to three times faster.
In all, this is the fastest and most efficient form of transport between Vancouver and Victoria.
Floatplane tickets start at $279.25 CAD and can be bought using the button below:
Grab My Victoria Floatplane Tickets Now
Vancouver to Victoria Flights
Many visitors are surprised to learn that such a wide range of flight options between Vancouver and Vancouver Island are available.
Despite Vancouver’s relatively close proximity, flying is still a popular way of reaching the Island. This is particularly the case for business travellers and Island residents connecting through YVR on their way home from further afield.
But in wondering how to get to Victoria from Vancouver, is flying a viable option for tourists? Let’s take a closer look.
How to Get to Victoria from Vancouver by Plane
The following carriers offer service from Vancouver (YVR) to Victoria (YYJ)
- Air Canada
- West Jet
- Pacific Coastal Airlines
How long is the flight from Vancouver to Victoria? The flights typically last 30-40 minutes and cost $150.00 to $250.00.
For a complete list of flights, I suggest using Skyscanner.
Pros and Cons
The first thing that should immediately jump out to you is the cost.
At more than double the price of the other transport options, a flight from YVR to Victoria can’t be considered anything other than a luxury option.
Even if cost isn’t a major deterrent and getting to Victoria quickly is your primary concern, the time savings will be negligible after you consider how long it takes to:
- Get to YVR (30-40 minutes from downtown Vancouver)
- Clear security and await boarding (90 minutes)
- Get to your hotel in Victoria (30-40 minutes)
Related: Plan the Perfect Vancouver to Victoria Day Trip
Vancouver to Victoria with Public Transit
I touched on this earlier in the ferry section – but let’s break this down step by step.
Public transit is the cheapest way to get to our provincial capital. In fact, it can be done for under $30.00 using the local bus network and then boarding the ferry as a foot passenger.
This 4-step process requires payment of 3 separate fares.
Public Transport Directions:
- Board the Canada Line in Downtown Vancouver and purchase a two-zone fare ($4.45 or $3.65 with Compass Card)
- Head South towards Richmond-Brighouse or YVR and get off at Bridgeport Station. (This should take around 20 min).
- Walk down the stairs towards the bus loop, take a right and walk until the end of the platform to locate bay 12, which services the #620 Tsawassen bus. Board and continue until Tsawwassen; your fare is still good!
- Disembark at the terminus stop and walk into the terminal building. The journey should take around 40 minutes.
- Purchase your ticket for Victoria from a cashier or machine ($18.50 for adults, $9.25 for seniors and children).
- Board the ferry when called. A sailing takes about an hour and forty minutes.
- Upon arrival at Swartz Bay, collect your bags, follow the signs outside the terminal to the bus stop, and board the #70 Downtown Express bus. Pay your fare ($2.50) and continue to Downtown Victoria. It’ll take about an hour.
For more information, you may want to consult my Vancouver public transportation guide.
Click on the links to view bus schedules for the #620 Tsawassen and #70 Downtown.
Victoria Transportation Links
Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal
Swartz Bay offers daily BC Ferries sailings to Vancouver and the Gulf Islands in the Northern suburb of Sidney. For most travellers, this will be your port of entry to the Garden City.
You can reach downtown Victoria via the #70 Downtown Express bus if you’re a foot passenger.
Main Victoria Transport Hubs
Victoria is also connected to Vancouver via the following hubs:
- Capital City Station – Victoria’s main bus station with service to Vancouver and other destinations throughout the Island.
- Victoria International Airport (YYJ) – Located 30 minutes North of the City Centre, YYJ offers service to Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco and more.
- The Inner Harbour – Houses terminals for Seaplane service to Vancouver and the Washington State Ferries.
Related: Victoria Hop on Hop off Bus
Vancouver to Victoria FAQ
How far is Victoria from Vancouver?
The Garden City is located 107 kilometres southwest of the Lower Mainland. The trip takes about 90 minutes by ferry.
How do you get from Vancouver to Victoria?
You can travel to Vancouver Island from Vancouver via ferry, coach, float plane or flight.
Where is the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria?
The ferry to Victoria departs from the Tsawassen Ferry Terminal, located 37 kilometres South of downtown in the suburb of Tsawassen.
How long is the ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria?
The Victoria Ferry takes about an hour and forty minutes to reach Swartz Bay Terminal. From there, you’re looking at another 30-40 minute drive into downtown Victoria.
What is the Vancouver to Victoria ferry price?
The fare for a trip from Vancouver to Vancouver Island costs $18.50 for adults (12+) and $9.25 for children (5-11). Toddlers 5 and under are free.
Vehicles under 20 ft cost $63.85, with each extra foot of oversize vehicles costing $7.25. Motorcycles cost $31.95.
Can you drive from Vancouver to Victoria?
Driving is possible, but you’ll need a ferry to cross the Salish Sea to Vancouver Island. You’ll need to drive to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, about 35 minutes from downtown Vancouver.
All sorted on how to get to Victoria from Vancouver?
Aside from swimming and the world-famous bathtub race, I’ve covered all the transportation options to Vancouver Island.
If you still have questions, ask them in the comments below, and I’ll answer them directly.
But otherwise, you can now consider yourself an expert on how to get from Vancouver to Victoria.
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