tourists walking by a kayak rental shop at fishermens wharf in victoria bc canada

Plan the Perfect Vancouver to Victoria Day Trip in 2022

The short 93 kilometer trip between BC’s tourism crown jewels makes a Vancouver to Victoria day trip very possible.

That said, there’s a pretty darn big sea in between the two cities so it’s going to take a bit of finesse, or a least a good guide to get going.

That’s why I’m here to show you how to organize a day trip to Victoria BC from Vancouver.

  1. Planning a Vancouver to Victoria day trip
  2. Transportation options
  3. Day trip packages
  4. Self-guided day trip itinerary
  5. Day trip FAQ

Planning a Vancouver to Victoria Day Trip: The Logistics

Victoria is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, about 93 kilometres southwest of Vancouver – which is on the mainland.

There’s no bridge, so you won’t be able to drive between the two cities.

Barring any development in jetpack tech you’re going to need a ferry or a plane for the Vancouver to Victoria day trip:

Naturally, this means your one day trip to Victoria from Vancouver requires a little bit more planning than the average 92 kilometer trip.

Let’s take a look at the travel options:

Vancouver to Victoria Day Trip Transportation

Until they build a bridge, there are currently five ways to get from Vancouver to Victoria, and I’ll be listing them in order of convenience for a day trip:

  1. Vancouver to Victoria sea plane (downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria): 35 minutes, $255.00
  2. Vancouver to Victoria bus (bus and ferry combo): 4 hours, $69.92
  3. Vancouver to Victoria ferry (your car or rental car): 4 hours, from $87.50 (car + one driver)
  4. Flying commercial from YVR to YYJ: 3 hours including check-in times and YYJ transfer, $300 average price
  5. Public transport (Skytrain, ferry, and two buses): 5 hours 30 minutes, $35.00

As you can see, unless you’re taking a sea plane it’s going to take about six to eight hours of round-trip travel.

For this reason, we recommend making it an overnighter by booking yourself one of Victoria’s best hotels to maximize sightseeing time.

That said, for those asking if you can you do a day trip from Vancouver to Victoria without spending the night: you’re in luck.

Let’s first take a look at the easy all-in-one Vancouver to Victoria day trip packages that’ll take care of getting there and make it a breeze.

Looking to get over there using your own transport? Feel free to skip ahead do the self-guided day trip section.

Vancouver to Victoria Day Trip Packages

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Vancouver to Victoria Day Trip by Seaplane and Ferry

Duration: 8-10 Hours | From: $336.24 CAD

This all in one transport package allows you to take a fantastic Victoria day trip from Vancouver, getting you there in a hurry in the morning with a more relaxing return trip. 

You’ll leave downtown Vancouver via seaplane bright and early (there are 4 flexible departure times) and return via coach. This is the quickest way to do it.

Once you land in the heart of Victoria you’ll have 4-6 hours to explore Victoria’s top attractions.

This is enough to wander the scenic Inner Harbour, grab lunch, hit some attractions, and even squeeze in Butchart Gardens if you’re up for it.

The obvious choice to maximize your time is to combine this ticket with a Victoria Hop on Hop Off bus tour, which will allow you to see all the major sites in just a few hours.

Book My Victoria Day Trip Package Now

Victoria and Butchart Gardens Day Trip

Duration: 13 hours | From: $244.78 CAD

This popular tour begins with an early-morning pickup at Vancouver’s best hotels (as well as Richmond) including some of the best budget hotels.

Your coach (with professional guide) will take you directly to the ferry for the scenic cruise across the Salish Sea.

Once you arrive in Victoria you’ll initially have some time to yourself to explore. You can grab some lunch then visit landmarks like the Parliament Buildings, the Fairmont Empress Hotel, or Chinatown.

Then you’ll be taken to the world-famous Butchart Gardens (entrance included), voted the most beautiful gardens in the world by National Geographic. 

After, you’ll be shuttled back to the ferry for a relaxing ride back to Vancouver – and dropped right back at your hotel, barely having lifted a finger.

Book My Butchart Gardens Day Trip Now

Related: Victoria Butterfly Gardens

A group of travelers on a Victoria Hop on Hop off tour
Courtesy: Grayline Tours

Victoria Hop on Hop off Tours

Duration: 90 minutes (without stops) | From: $50.00 CAD

To plan the best day trip from Vancouver to Victoria the time constraints make this convenient bus tour almost automatic.

The HoHo bus allows you to create your own custom itinerary from 14 pre-selected stops – including the Inner Harbour, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Craigdarroch Castle and more.

You won’t have to worry about transportation for your entire time in Victoria – the HoHo bus has you covered. You can spend as much or as little time at each stop as you’d like – or don’t get off at all. 

Better yet, stop #1 (the Fairmont Empress Hotel) is right across from Capital City Bus Station and the Victoria Seaplane Terminal – meaning you can be riding in as little as an hour after your departure from Vancouver.

Grab My Victoria HoHo Pass Now

Related: Victoria’s top sightseeing tours

Day Trip from Vancouver to Victoria Self Guided Tour

Maybe you’re a proud car owner or just an independent spirit who doesn’t want to be bogged down with guided/organized tours.

I don’t blame you, even if it’s going to require more effort to do properly.

That said, Victoria is a relatively small city and this will actually work in your favour – most of the top things to see are within walking distance.

In fact, unless you’re going to Butchart Gardens you won’t even need a car once you’re there.

Let’s jump into my self guided tour advice starting with a well deserved lunch after your morning ‘commute’ to Victoria:

fish and chips at red fish blue fish in victoria harbour
Courtesy: Red Fish Blue Fish

Stop #1: Have a Traditional Victoria Lunch (1 hour)

For a quick bite (essential) Red Fish Blue Fish offers some of the best fish and chips in town, smack dab in the heart of the Inner Harbour.

It’s walking distance from all downtown parking as well as the bus and sea plane terminal.

This outdoor pier-side eatery features fantastic views of the Inner Harbour that rival their lightly battered halibut that would make England proud, even jealous.

If you’re looking for a more formal sit-down meal, the 10 Acres Bistro is a short stroll away on Courtenay St. They offer sustainable farm-to-table dining using only the finest local ingredients – always a crowd pleaser.

Stop #2: Breathe the Sea Air of Victoria’s Inner Harbour (2 hours)

During the summer months, the Inner Harbour is clearly Victoria’s beating heart.

Here you’ll find festivals, music and the best people watching in town.

Not to mention, the area is home to the city’s most iconic buildings: the Empress Hotel and the British Columbia Parliament Buildings are automatic stops – as well as the Royal BC Museum and Miniature World.

If you’ve got the time, high tea at the Empress (three sittings a day, must be booked in advance) is one of the most prototypical Victorian experiences.

Nearby Fishermans Wharf offers food kiosks, boutiques, and a jumping off point for Victoria whale watching tours.

Stop #3: Walk the Old Town (1 hour)

Just north of the Inner Harbour you’ll find the neighbourhood of Old Town.

The area is known for its colonial architecture, cobblestone streets and historic character. Today the area remains home to much of the city’s commercial core, Chinatown, and the Waterfront.

On a day trip, I’d recommend checking out Antique Row, a three-block section of Fort Street which houses dozens of antique and collectible shops.

If you’re seeking an authentic Cowichan Sweater or indigenous art, a visit to Cowichan Trading Co. is a must.

Vibrant Bastion Square contains some of the finest restaurants, pubs, and cafes in Victoria – as well as a seasonal artisan market.

Stop #4: Chinatown (1 hour)

Victoria is home to the second oldest Chinatown in North America.

Technically part of Old Town, the focal point can be found in the 5-600 block of Fisgaard Street. While not overly large in area, Chinatown’s many old-world shops and restaurants are always worth a quick visit. 

However, the most popular unique attraction is Fan Tan Alley, which is the narrowest street in Canada and home to cool boutique shopping and art galleries.

Nearby Market Square also offers dozens of one-of-a-kind local boutiques.

A pod of orcas swims in front of a whale watching boat, Victoria BCStop #5: Go Big or Go Home (2-3 hours)

If you’re taking an independent one day trip to Victoria from Vancouver using your own vehicle (or the seaplane trip package) you’ll have time for one of Victoria’s ‘big two’.

Victoria whale watching tours are offered right from the Inner Harbour. Most tours only take around 3 hours.

Meanwhile, Butchart Gardens is clearly Victoria’s most popular attraction. Including the 30 minute drive to Brentwood Bay it should take about 3 hours for a proper visit.

Again, if Butchart Gardens is your primary reason for visit we recommend the all-in-one Vancouver to Butchart Gardens tour.

 

Vancouver to Victoria Day Trip FAQs

Can you do a day trip from Vancouver to Victoria?

Yes, though the average round trip time from Vancouver is about 7 hours. You’ll need to get an early start in your car, to take a sea plane from downtown Vancouver, or reserve one of the many all in one day trip packages to make sure you’re allocating enough time to the trip.

What is there to do on a Victoria day trip?

Many visitors simply choose to wander the city’s picturesque Inner Harbour or the historic side streets of Oldtown or Chinatown. Attractions such as the Fisherman’s Wharf, the Royal BC Museum, Craigdarroch Castle, the Parliament Buildings and the Empress Hotel are all located a short walk from this area.

You’ll also have time to hit a local boutique, grab lunch or enjoy a local craft beer. While nature lovers can embark on a 3 hr Victoria Whale Watching Tour or visit Beacon Hill Park or the Dallas Road Waterfront Trail.

A Victoria Hop on Hop off tour is a great way for day trippers to make the most of their limited time in town – particularly for families and elderly visitors. You’ll have all-inclusive transport between 14 of the city’s top attractions – so you can create your own customized itinerary.

If you’re visiting from Vancouver without a vehicle, Butchart Garden’s is best visited as part of a packaged tour. This way you can maximize your time at the attraction – which is located about 30-40 minutes north of town. Otherwise, you won’t have much time to explore Victoria itself.

Are tours offered to Victoria from Vancouver?

Yes, the most popular package tour is undoubtedly the Vancouver to Butchart Gardens package offer. There is also a rapid transportation package that combines a seaplane departure with a return journey via coach – allowing for a self-guided visit.

Is there a bus from Vancouver to Victoria?

Yes, the BC Ferries Connector runs daily from Pacific Central Station in Downtown Vancouver to Victoria’s Capital City Station. Your BC Ferry ticket is included in the fare and the entire journey typically takes 3.5-4 hours.

Can you fly from Vancouver to Victoria?

Yes, Air Canada offers daily departures from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to Victoria International Airport (YYJ). Alternatively, Harbour Air offers seaplane service between Coal Harbour and Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

How long is the floatplane trip between Vancouver and Victoria?

The journey between Coal Harbour and Victoria takes just 35 minutes.

Are you ready for your Victoria day trip from Vancouver?

We’ve now covered all of the transportation options for a quick visit from Vancouver to Victoria. And you’ve got plenty of options to add to your Victoria day trip itinerary.

But maybe you’ve still got a question or two.

You can always hit us up in the comments below for custom Vancouver and Victoria travel advice – let’s hear from you!

Julian

I've used online guides on five continents to find the world's greatest travel spots and this is my chance to give back - with insider info on my home, the mighty Vancouver BC!

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