8 hours in Victoria: what to see, eat & do
8 hours in Victoria: what to see, eat & do
Check-in was quick and easy and you are only required to be there 25 minutes in advance of your flight. Complimentary WIFI and tea, coffee, and pastries are available.
I was able to grab the same seat on the way there and the way back, offering different view points each way (front right side window). If you are brave, ask the pilot if you can sit in the cockpit.
A short 35 minutes later, we landed smoothly in Victoria Inner Harbour. It only takes minutes to get off the plane, grab you bag, and exit the terminal.
A 10-15 minute walk from the terminal, through downtown and into Chinatown, start your day with a cold brew coffee or Americano at Habit Coffee. The beans, Bows & Arrow, are delicious and roasted locally. There is plenty of seating, but no WIFI.
A 5-10 minute walk from Habit Coffee, spend some time exploring the Victoria Public Market in the historic Hudson building. A smaller (and in my opinion less touristy) version of Granville Island Public Market, there are local artisans, fresh seafood, locally-produced cheese, local meats, farm-fresh groceries, handmade pies, a French bakery, oils and vinegars, fresh flowers, specialty retail, gourmet food service offerings, and much more. I made sure to stop by the Salt Spring Island cheese stand, Silk Road Tea, and the chocolate stand – they were featuring Canadian-made chocolates in celebration of Canada Day and offering tastings!
The 25-30 minute walk from Victoria Public Market to Nourish Kitchen & Cafe is lovely: walk through Chinatown and Downtown, past the famous Empress Hotel, walk by the Parliament Buildings and water, and eventually make your way over to Quebec Street.
My lunch at Nourish was fantastic: their cashew cream cheese was worth the trip to Victoria alone! This restaurant and cafe serves simple farm-fresh mains and snacks in an airy, bright Victorian house. I enjoyed the cultured cashew cheese (served with 2 pieces of gluten-free buckwheat and seedy bread and homemade kimchi) and the raw turnip noodles (bok choy, red onion, carrots, radish, soft herbs, sesame with a chilli almond sauce). I wanted to try everything on their menu!
Fisherman’s Wharf can be a little tacky, but if you have never been it is worth a quick stop and it is on the way to the Ogden Point Breakwater. Feed the seals (buy some fish scraps from one of the stands down by the wharf) and look at the house boats (pretend you’re in Sleepless in Seattle).
Follow David Foster Way (yes that David Foster) to the Ogden Point Breakwater. The breakwater is a 1 mile walk starting adjacent to the Ogden Point Cafe and out into the water. The views of Dallas Road, the city, ocean, and mountains are stunning.
Return back to David Foster Way and continue on Dallas Road to Clover Point. This is one of my favourite spots, ever. Breath in that fresh ocean air and relax. Walk down the various sets of stairs along the way to explore the beach and climb on the rocks, or stay on the main path above the water. When you reach Clover Point, keep a look out for colourful kite surfers especially on a windy day!
Head back in the direction you came and stop by Beacon Hill Park before dinner. Over 60 acres of land, the park is beautifully landscaped and manicured with bridges, lakes and ponds, and an alpine and rock garden. Wander the paths and don’t miss: Goodacre and Fountain Lakes; Rose, Willow, Deer, and Queen’s Lake; the rose garden, and the petting farm! Download a Map of Beacon Hill Park here.
Cook Street Village in Victoria’s Fairfield neighbourhood is described as “eclectic” and having “Old World Charm”. The street is scattered with antique stores, local markets, boutiques, coffee houses, British-inspired pubs, and more. For more information about Cook Street visit the Hello BC Blog or BC Living Magazine.
I loved my dinner at Be Love Restaurant. Described as “pure nourishment”, Be Love specializes in farm-to-table vegan food. Everything is 100% vegan, wheat-free, and sugar-free… but certainly not lacking in flavour. It has a modern, clean vibe, high ceilings, and a bright and airy interior. I had the Green Bowl (dark greens, broccolini, baby bok choy, mushrooms & veggies in thai coconut green curry on steamed brown rice topped with avocado, toasted cashews, cilantro & scallions ) and had I not been stuffed, I would have definitely gotten their lavender fig cacao cup and cardamom almond mylk latte for dessert.
After hours of exploring and eating my way through Victoria (and 30,000 steps later!) it was time to head home. I managed to snag an earlier flight, and was back in Vancouver shortly after 7:00 pm.