Victoria’s colonial architecture, stunning scenery, and bohemian ambiance make it one of Canada’s hottest tourist destinations.
Its close vicinity makes it a perfect side-trip for those already visiting Vancouver, but what’s the best way to get from Vancouver to Victoria?
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).
Getting From Vancouver to Victoria: The 5 Best Ways
- Vancouver to Victoria ferry
- Vancouver to Victoria bus
- Vancouver to Victoria floatplanes
- Vancouver to Victoria flights
- Vancouver to Victoria via public transport
- Victoria transport hubs
BC’s capital city of Victoria is just 107 km southwest of Vancouver on beautiful Vancouver Island.
With the entire expanse of the Salish Sea standing in the way though, island residents will tell you that this distance can often feel much greater.
There are 5 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 be enjoying 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
Vancouver to Victoria Ferry
BC Ferries is a publicly owned corporation that operates the main ferry service between Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
They’ve got two different terminals in the Metro Vancouver area: Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen.
If you’re heading to Victoria (Swartz Bay Terminal), you’ll be required to 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 located 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’re 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 don’t have a car, this is your best choice.
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+): $18.00
- Children (5-11): $8.00.
- Children (0-5): Free.
- Standard (up to 20 feet): $62.00.
- Extra length (per foot): $7.05.
- Motorcycles: $31.05.
Booking Vancouver to Victoria Ferries Online
Especially if you’re in Vancouver in summer, it’s recommended to book your Vancouver to Victoria ferry in advance.
You can book these Vancouver to Victoria tickets online using the BC ferries booking platform – since all passenger travel between Vancouver and Victoria is on a first come, first serve basis it’s possible you could miss your time if not.
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 $87.50): This is a regular fare plus a reservation fee to book your spot.
- Reservation only (from $97.00): 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 3 days of departure)
Reservation only tickets are non-refundable.
Related: Find the Best Hotels in Victoria BC for your holiday
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 both 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 bus calender 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 9:45 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 ($69.92) and show it on your smartphone 15 minutes before departure.
You can guarantee your seat on the BC Ferries Connector using the calendar below:
Vancouver to Victoria by Float Plane
For those wondering how to get to Victoria from downtown Vancouver via seaplane this is your answer.
Here you can replace annoying airport check-in procedures with a pre-flight walk along Vancouver’s Seawall. This quick 30 minute trip gives you the ability to pretty much step off the dock onto a plane, and it’s no doubt the best way to get from Vancouver to Victoria.
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 terminal)
- 50 lbs baggage allowance
Using Harbour Air to get to Victoria means you’ll have to arrive only 25-30 minutes prior to 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 $267.70 CAD and can be bought using the button below:
Vancouver to Victoria Flights
Many visitors are surprised to learn that there is such a wide breadth of flight options available between Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
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.
Flights to Victoria from YVR
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 from Vancouver to Victoria 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)
Vancouver to Victoria with Public Transit
I touched on this earlier in the Vancouver to Victoria ferry section – but let’s break this down step by step.
This is the cheapest way to get from Vancouver to Victoria and can be done for under $30.00 using public transit and boarding the ferry as a foot passenger.
This 4 step process requires payment of 3 separate fares.
Vancouver to Victoria Public Transport Directions:
- Board the Canada Line in Downtown Vancouver and purchase a two zone fare ($4.25 or $3.45 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 and locate bay 12, which services the #620 Tsawassen bus. Board and continue on till 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 ($17.20 for adults, $8.60 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 and follow the signs outside the terminal to the bus stop and board the #70 Downtown express bus. Pay your fare ($2.50) and continue on to Downtown Victoria. It’ll take about an hour.
For more information you may want to consult my Vancouver public transportation guide.
Victoria Transportation Links
Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal
Located in the Northern suburb of Sidney, Swartz Bay offers daily BC Ferries sailings to Vancouver and the Gulf Islands. For most travellers, this will be your port of entry to the Garden City.
If you’re a foot passenger you’ll be able to reach downtown Victoria via the #70 Downtown Express bus.
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
Victoria BC Info
Nicknamed the “Garden City” for it’s numerous gardens and abundant green space, Victoria has been dubbed “the most British city in North America” and is renown for it’s colonial architecture and old-world charm.
Blessed with the world’s most northernmost Mediterranean climate, this city of 360,000 is a perfect base from which to enjoy the wealth of eco-tourism opportunities offered in what has been dubbed “Canada’s Pacific Playground”.
Here’s a quick summary of things you can expect to see in Victoria:
The Inner Harbour
One of the most beautiful harbours in the world, Victoria’s Inner Harbour is filled with local artists and musicians and is known to host many festivals in the summertime.
The area also serves as a hub for the best Victoria whale watching, float planes and eco tourism businesses, making it very popular with visitors.
Butchart Gardens is a must see garden oasis filled with over 55 acres of green space and lush blooms year round. This world renown site is visited by over one million visitors a year. Click the button below to check out a Butchart Garden’s tour that departs from Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
Beacon Hill Park
The crown jewel of Victoria’s park system, this 62 acre park located along the beautiful Juan de Fuca Strait is beautifully landscaped with lakes, ponds and gardens.
It contains a variety of family friendly attractions, including a picnic area, water park, petting zoo, playground and sports fields, to name but a few.
The Royal BC Museum
One of only two museums in Canada to hold the “Royal” designation. The Royal BC Museum tells the tale of our province through three main galleries; Modern History: the story of European settlement, First Peoples: pre and post contact and Natural History: oceans, wildlife and climate.
Quite possibly the best museum in British Columbia, arguably better than the best museums in Vancouver is the Royal BC Museum – a must for any history buff.
*Many of the museum’s exhibitions are currently closed as the museum undergoes an extensive renovation. Be sure to check the Royal BC Museum website before visiting.
Vancouver to Victoria FAQ
How far is Victoria from Vancouver?
Vancouver is located just 60 kilometres from the Vancouver Island port of Nanaimo and 107 kilometres from the provincial capital of Victoria.
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 main ferry from Vancouver 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 ferry ride from Tsawassen to Swartz Bay takes about an hour and forty minutes.
How much is the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria?
The fare for a trip from Vancouver to Vancouver Island costs $18.00 for adults (12+) and $8.00 for children (5-11). Toddlers 5 and under are free.
Vehicles under 20 ft cost $62.50 with each extra foot of oversize vehicles costing $7.05. Motorcycles cost $31.05.
Can you drive from Vancouver to Victoria?
It is possible to drive from Vancouver to Victoria but you’ll need a ferry to cross the waters over to Vancouver Island. To do this, you’ll need to drive to the Tsawassen Ferry Terminal which is about 35 minutes from downtown Vancouver.
Visiting Victoria from Vancouver?
Aside from swimming and the world famous bathtub race, I’ve covered all of the transportation options between Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
If you still have any questions ask them in the comments below and I’ll answer them directly.