Unique Tours in Victoria BC

Victoria is a dynamic city with endless surprises around every corner. Thanks to its eclectic mix of things to do, there are plenty of unique tours to take while in the city. Not sure what to do during your visit? Check out the list of some of Victoria’s most special tours below to help you decide!

 

Photo by: Kevin Jacobson

Photo by: Kevin Jacobson

Ghost Tours

It might sound like a Halloween special, but ghost tours take place in Victoria all throughout the year. The city has plenty of history and more than a few haunted places, as well as a rumoured underground. If you’re curious about the city’s darkest secrets and want to see the spots they took place, a ghost tour might just be for you. You’ll explore the other side of some of Victoria’s most famous buildings like the Fairmont Empress and Parliament Buildings. Walking into certain downtown shops will never feel the same, and the alleyways of Chinatown might even feel a little closer, and darker, than before.

Check out our blog post about some of the most haunted places in Victoria.

 

Photo by: Jeffrey Neihart

Photo by: Jeffrey Neihart

Horse Drawn Carriage Tours

Speaking of history, nothing brings you back in time like a horse drawn carriage ride! Tours in classic carriages take you through the most charming and historic neighbourhoods of Victoria and around the downtown area. Tour guides in charge of the horses are dressed in classic attire and give great explanations of Victoria and the various areas you pass through. Sitting back to the sound of horses’ hooves as you explore Victoria is a unique and fantastic way to see the city. These tours are so popular, that they’re considered one of the top things to do in Victoria, B.C.

 

Photo by: © Natulive Canada

Photo by: © Natulive Canada

Food Tours

A food tour is a unique way to experience any city, but especially one like Victoria. As the Brunch Capital of Canada, and with the second highest number of restaurants per capita in North America, food is an important aspect of the city. Not to mention, the areas surrounding Victoria are rich in terms of produce. Plenty of places are geared towards a farm-to-table experience, serving local products when they’re available. You’ll likely even get to explore a Farmer’s or Public Market to truly see the food end of Victoria like a local.

Learn more about artisan goods and local foods in our blog post!

 

Photo by: Rob Hyslop

Photo by: Rob Hyslop

Wine Tours

The nearby Cowichan Valley is a paradise of vineyards. While a wine tour might be old hat, doing one on Vancouver Island is a sweet and unexpected surprise. Wine tours will take guests from their hotels in Victoria out to the Cowichan Valley, where over 15 tasting rooms exist. You’ll be able to explore the vineyards, dig into tasty, locally sourced food and sample wines made from grapes grown right there. Some even stop at a local cidery for an added treat. There’s definitely nothing to whine about when visiting local wineries.

Check out Discover Vancouver Island’s list of vineyards to plan your line of attack in other towns, too!

 

Photo by: © Natulive Canada

Photo by: © Natulive Canada

Distillery Tours

Even more unique than a wine tour is a distillery tour! With small batch gin, vodka and whiskey becoming a growing trend, Victoria rose to the head of the pack. Now, you can take tours of its distillery and sample their tasty products. They even have a deep indigo gin that changes to a lovely light pink when mixed with tonic.

 

Foraging Tours

The land of plenty strikes again with a unique tour that takes you out into the woods to find your food for yourself! Afterwards, you’ll get a cooking class to transform your finds into a delicious lunch. Mushrooms, and plenty of other naturally delicious plants and berries wait in the wilderness just outside of Victoria.

 

Photo by: Laurissa Cebryk

Photo by: Laurissa Cebryk

Hiking Tours

Victoria was blessed with a number of fantastic hiking trails and parks. Worried you’ll get lost along the way? Book a hiking tour! They allow you to explore some of the best trails Victoria has to offer with an experienced guide to make sure you know the way. Not only is it a great way to tackle trails you might not have attempted alone, but you’ll be getting in some exercise, your guide will be able to give you tidbits about the city along the way, and will be able to point you in the direction of other local hikes to take on. For some, a pitstop at a cidery post-hike is a must – you’ll have earned it.

Find out more of Victoria’s hikes and parks on our hiking pages.

 

While there are numerous other tours to enjoy in Victoria, such as whale watching and kayaking tours, these are some of the most unique to the area. Not only will you have a truly Victorian experience, but tacking on any of these adventures to your itinerary is a great way to enjoy the city even more.

Dogs in Victoria

Your dog is a huge part of your family, so why should they miss out on your family vacation? Anywhere in British Columbia is an ideal place to bring your dog on vacation, but Vancouver Island is definitely one of the top doggy destinations. There’s just so much to do! When visiting the Island, Victoria, B.C. is a natural first stop. So, how dog-friendly is the capital of British Columbia? Read on to find out where to stay, the top things to do with your dog and plenty of other tips to bringing your dog along on your vacation to Vancouver Island’s, Victoria B.C.

 

Accommodation

First things first – you’ll need a place to stay. There are plenty of dog-friendly accommodations in Victoria, so you should be able to find something that suits your style. From luxury hotels and resorts, to cozy cottages and simple vacation rentals, Victoria has it all for your dog.

Here are a few options to get you started:

Coast Victoria Harbourside Hotel

Harbour Towers

Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa

Fairmont Empress

Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa

 

When booking your accommodation, be sure their pet policy fits your requirements! Many have an extra fee and some only allow smaller dogs!

 

Top Things to do in Victoria with your Dog

 

Visit a Restaurant with a Patio

During the summer, plenty of Victoria’s restaurants feature outdoor patios and a number of them are happy to have well-behaved dogs join you as your dinner date.

 

Enjoy a Water Taxi Ride

While up to the discretion of the driver that day, dogs are typically welcome on Victoria’s Water Taxis as long as they are pleasant and on a leash! Enjoy a beautiful water adventure with your pooch and take in the sights of Victoria. Why miss out on sight-seeing just because you’ve got your dog along for the ride?

 

Photo by: Tyler Ingram

Photo by: Tyler Ingram

Off-Leash Areas, Parks and Beaches

Dallas Road has a special spot just for dogs to run free next to the ocean, Elk/Beaver Lake is entirely leash-optional except in picnic areas during the summer, and French Beach is a dog heaven with plenty of driftwood sticks and beach to run. Victoria has tons of outdoor options and about 12 off-leash areas to let your pooch romp. What better way to take in the beauty of Victoria’s parks, beaches and trails? While some require leashes in particular areas, there’s typically a place to let them run free, too. After all, aren’t vacations in cities meant to be social?

 

Go Shopping

Downtown Victoria is a haven of sweet boutiques and other fantastic stores. While many aren’t pet-friendly, there are definitely shops that allow both you and your furry friend in to peruse. Chapters, Marks Work Warehouse, Canadian Tire and Capital Iron all encourage some accompaniment as you check out their goods. Better yet is when there’s a pet section, as you and your dog can leave happy with some goodies to show for your efforts.

There are also plenty of pet stores and “pet boutiques” that Victoria has to offer. If you’re in need of specialty foods, forgot your pup’s favourite treats, or just want to get them into the vacation “treat yourself” spirit, you’ll definitely find a place to do so.

 

Explore Victoria by Horse Drawn Carriage

One of Victoria’s most unique tours allows well-behaved and leashed dogs to enjoy. Explore the city by horse-drawn carriage – a magical way to see and learn about historic Victoria. What better way to spend time with your best friend than listening to the patter of horses’ hooves and exploring a brand-new place?

 

Visit the Famous Butchart Gardens

With the exception of the evening firework displays in the summer, your furry friend is allowed to join in on your exploration of the world famous Butchart Gardens. They’re not only one of Victoria’s top things to do, but the Butchart Gardens are like a giant park of beautiful, flower-lined pathways to walk your dog along.  While expected to be well-behaved and on leash (flower arrangements are delicate), they can take time to smell the roses by your side

 

Photo by: J Holland

Photo by: J Holland

Go Hiking

There are plenty of great hikes within Victoria, or just nearby. To tucker your dog out for the day, take to the trails and enjoy some fresh air! From Goldstream Provincial Park, to any of the city lookouts like Mount Douglas, or Mount Tolmie, there are some great areas to get your heart going and give your dog some exploration time.

 

Tips

  • Bring Poop Bags

Plenty of parks provide these, but it’s always handy to have a few with you at all times. The sidewalk outside a store you’ve popped into is not an ideal place for your pup to leave its business.

  • Vets in the Area

Be aware of what vet clinics in the area and perhaps have one in mind should anything happen to your dog – with Victoria being such a pet-friendly city, there are tons of dog owners around and sometimes the dogs don’t get along. There are also plenty of accidents that could happen (like anywhere), so knowing where to take them if something does makes you that much more prepared.

  • Follow Pet Policies

Whether it’s your accommodation provider, or for a tour you’re interested in, it’s important to comply to their pet policies! That way, people can continue to enjoy their vacations accompanied by their best friends, and everyone will be safe and happy.

  • Traveling with B.C. Ferries

B.C. Ferries allows pets on most of their sailing routes, but be aware you may need to stay on deck in the pet area on the car deck, which can get chilly, or in your vehicle. Dogs will be expected to be on leash, too.

  • Research Other Options

Do you really want to go whale watching, but your dog isn’t allowed on the boat, or to be left alone at your accommodation? Victoria is a large city, with plenty of pet owners, meaning there are also plenty of pet services. Book your dog in for a haircut, find a dog walker, or get a pet sitter for the afternoon. That way, your dog isn’t spending your vacation alone, and you can enjoy some of the things you two can’t do together. Just do your research beforehand and pick a service you feel comfortable with.

 

Contributed by: Laurissa Cebryk