2 Days in Victoria, BC for a Relaxing City Escape

2 Days in Victoria, BC for a Relaxing City Escape

Victoria has become our go-to destination for a fun city escape since we live just a short ferry ride away from Vancouver Island. We used to get away to Vancouver for a city break, but Victoria is impressing us more and more every time we go. It's a great place to go for a romantic weekend trip or a getaway with friends.

Our 2 day Victoria itinerary includes what neighbourhoods to explore, local hot spots to eat and drink at, and unique activities that make the city special.

Your 2 days in Victoria, BC will be filled with fun experiences that both relax and rejuvenate you.

Overview: 2 Days in Victoria, BC

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Unique places to stay in Victoria BC

Fairmont Empress

With just 2 days in Victoria, we recommend staying downtown where you will be within walking distance of most sights and activities.

Our Top 3 hotel picks near downtown Victoria

Signature corner room at Magnolia Hotel & Spa

Best for history: Fairmont Empress

Located on Victoria's waterfront, the Fairmont Empress is a charming time capsule named one of the most iconic hotels in the world by National Geographic Traveler.

Built in 1908, it has hosted royalty like Queen Elizabeth II over the years. There are also local rumours of a haunted past, adding a touch of mystery to its elegant atmosphere. We dare you to watch The Shining and walk through the hallways after.

Best boutique hotel: Magnolia Hotel & Spa

Magnolia Hotel & Spa is a luxury boutique hotel located in the heart of the city. Upgrade to their signature corner room for a view of the Parliament Building.

On the ground floor, you'll find The Courtney Room, one of the city's top dining spots. The best part is that room service comes straight from this fantastic restaurant. We love ordering their eggs benny for breakfast.

Best heritage-style B&B: Abigail's Hotel

Located just outside of the downtown core, the adults-only hotel is the ideal spot for a romantic getaway. The former 1930s Tudor mansion has been beautifully restored with an old-world charm.

๐Ÿ›๏ธ Browse more stays in Victoria

2 Days in Victoria BC

Day 1

Explore Canada's oldest Chinatown

Victoria's Chinatown

After checking into your hotel, take a walk through Victoria's historic Chinatown, originating from the 19th-century. It's the oldest Chinatown in Canada and the second oldest in North America.

Pass under the ornate paifang (traditional Chinese archway) and walk down Fisgard Street to see historic buildings and red hanging lanterns. Also, explore the alleyways to find hole-in-the-wall shops and quirky boutiques.

Don't miss Turntable Records, a treasure trove with an excellent selection of vinyl. We've picked up a few psychedelic rock records there.

โ›ฉ๏ธ If you arrive early in Victoria on your first day, consider booking a walking tour in Chinatown to sample foods and learn more about its history and notorious past.

Get a pre-dinner tiki drink at Citrus & Cane

Discover Victoria's vibrant mixologist scene with a pre-dinner cocktail at Citrus & Cane. The tropical-themed bar serves delicious tiki-style drinks in a mid-century modern space.

Citrus & Cane is one of our favourite cocktail bars in the world and it's also ranked on Canada's 50 Best Bar list (2023).

๐Ÿน Try their off-menu Canana Bolada (Banana Colada) made with 99 Bananas rum!

Treat yourself to Pacific Northwest cuisine at one of Victoria's top dining spots

Marilena Cafe & Raw Bar

After your tiki drink, head over to one of Victoria's best restaurants for Pacific Northwest cuisine. This type of cuisine highlights fresh ingredients sourced from the region, like seafood from the coast, wild mushrooms and berries from the forest, seasonal produce and locally raised meats.

Choose from one of these two fantastic restaurants serving Pacific-Northwest cuisine:

Best for a lively fine-dining atmosphere: Marilena Cafe & Raw Bar

Marilena is the new "it-spot" in Victoria for seafood-forward dishes in a sophisticated setting. It was opened by the same group who brought the popular fine dining restaurants, Blue Water and Elisa to Vancouver, and Araxi to Whistler.

In 2023, they were named the 3rd best new restaurant in Canada by enRoute Magazine. The atmosphere is lively and people dress up for the occasion.

Reserve your table.

Best for an intimate setting: The Courtney Room

The Courtney Room is an elegant and intimate space that's perfect for a romantic dinner date. It was recognized as one of the best new restaurants in Canada by enRoute Magazine in 2018 for its Vancouver Island-focused dishes.

They offer both a-la-carte options and a chef's tasting menu. Book your table.

Day 2

Enjoy a lazy breakfast-in-bed

Buttermilk fried chicken & waffle from The Courtney Room

Start your morning with a lazy breakfast-in-bed before heading out to explore the city. Our go-to order is an eggs benny, a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice and coffee. ๐Ÿ˜‹

Get out on the water with a floating hot tub or sauna experience

Choose from one of these two exciting and relaxing activities to do on the water. We've done them both and they are tons of fun - rain or shine!

Rent a hot tub boat and cruise along Victoria Harbour

Cruise along Victoria Harbour in your private hot tub boat. Each boat fits up to 6 people and your rental also includes a waterproof bluetooth speaker. The water was satisfyingly hot and we loved playing our own music.

Reserve in advance with Hot Tub Boat Victoria. They are Canada's first hot tub boat rental company.

Detox in a sauna aboard a WWII-era barge

HAVN is one of Victoria's hottest new attractions. Located on Victoria Harbour, the floating spa has serene views of the harbour and float plane terminal.

With three hand-built saunas, two cold plunge pools, two hot tubs and an exfoliation shower, it's the ideal spot to unwind. There is also an indoor relaxation lounge. This experience books up far in advance, so reserve early.

Go for afternoon tea at the iconic Fairmont Empress

Afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress

After your fun excursion on the water, change into a cute outfit for afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress.

The iconic chateau-style hotel is renowned for its afternoon tea experience - it has hosted the royals after all.

In the Lobby Lounge, live piano fills the air as you nibble on fresh scones with clotted cream, decadent desserts and gourmet finger sandwiches on a tiered tray.

They have a large selection of premium teas to choose from and you can even celebrate with a glass of champagne.

Make your reservation in advance.

Explore the hip Fernwood neighbourhood

CREAM Life + Style

After tea, head over to Fernwood, a hip neighbourhood frequented by locals. Walk around the Gladstone/Fernwood intersection and don't miss CREAM Life + Style, a boutique shop with an excellent selection of vintage and artisan products.

Eat innovative plates at a hidden gem in the courtyard of a mini-mall

One of Victoria's best restaurants is an unassuming eatery tucked away in the courtyard of a mini-mall. Named Nowhere A* Restaurant, this cool spot serves innovative plates with a focus on local ingredients.

In 2020, Nowhere A* Restaurant was named the #5 best new restaurant in Canada by enRoute Magazine.

They offer both an a-la-carte menu and a tasting menu. We highly recommend going for the tasting menu - it's an excellent value for the calibre of dishes you get.

Book your table.

Have a nightcap at Clives Classic Lounge

Clives Classic Lounge

Have a nightcap at Clives Classic Lounge, a hotel lobby bar that serves up some of the best handcrafted cocktails in BC.

They've been listed on both 50 Best Discovery and Canada's 50 Best Bars. We like the vintage feel of the place.

What is the best time to go to Victoria BC

View of the Fairmont Empress from the harbour

The best time to visit Victoria is from April - September. These months see the least amount of rainfall.

June-September has the warmest weather, but you'll also see higher prices and more tourists.

Is 2 Days enough for Victoria?

Absolutely! The capital city is bursting with unique activities that pack a punch, so even with just two days in Victoria, you'll have a satisfying city break. You won't get to everything Victoria has to offer, but it will still feel like a fulfilling trip.

Getting to Victoria, BC

Victoria Harbor

From Vancouver

From Vancouver, there are two main options to get to Victoria:

By ferry: From the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal it's a 95 minute ferry ride to Swartz Bay. From Swartz Bay, it's a 30-45 minute drive to downtown Victoria. If you aren't driving, there is a bus that goes to downtown Victoria, or you could take an Uber or a taxi. Reservations are recommended through BC Ferries.

By float plane: The floatplane journey to Victoria Harbour is just 35 minutes from Vancouver Harbour and 30 minutes from YVR South. The flight feels like a sightseeing tour, flying over the ocean and the Gulf Islands. Book with Harbour Air or Seaair.

🚗 If you need to rent a car: compare car rental rates with Rentalcars.com

From Seattle

From Seattle, these are the two main choices:

By ferry: Drive 2.5 hours from Seattle to Port Angeles, then board the Black Ball Ferry line for a 90-minute journey to Victoria.

If ferry times don't work out, you could also take the ferry from the Tsawwassen terminal in Canada, which isn't too much longer.

By seaplane: The quickest way is a 45-minute floatplane ride from Seattle to Victoria Harbour with Kenmore Air.

From Elsewhere

Victoria has an international airport, making it easy to get there from anywhere in the world. Note that from Victoria International Airport, it's a 30-45 minute drive to get downtown.

โœˆ๏ธ Compare flights with Skyscanner

Do you need a car in Victoria, BC?

The Fernwood neighbourhood

If you plan to just spend time in the city and not explore more of Vancouver Island, then no, you don't need a car. Getting around the city is easy with Uber and most spots are within walking distance downtown.

If you're taking the ferry, however, ensure you carve out budget to get from the ferry terminal to downtown. It can be done cheaply though if you take the bus.

Enjoy your 2 days in Victoria!


Start planning your trip to Victoria

  • 🌃 Accommodation: Booking.com is our go-to for finding places to stay. Sort by top reviewed.
  • 🚗 Car rental: see Rentalcars.com to compare car rental prices across different companies.
  • โ›ฉ๏ธ Browse tours with local guides: through GetYourGuide and Viator.
  • โœˆ๏ธ Compare flights: with Skyscanner

Don't forget about travel insurance

๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โš•๏ธ For affordable travel insurance: go with SafetyWing - it's budget-friendly and you can even buy it while abroad, but note the max medical coverage is $250,000 USD.

๐Ÿฅ For comprehensive travel insurance: go with World Nomads - it's more expensive, but the max emergency medical coverage is $5-10 million, depending on the plan.

For a longer version of this itinerary, check out our 3 day Victoria BC itinerary.

Combine Victoria with a trip to Tofino

Or, extend your trip by exploring the Southern Gulf Islands between Vancouver and Vancouver Island:


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