With Spring Break taking place at the end of March this year, the idea of gearing up for an escape from the city is all too appealing. Whether you’re flying solo, are part of a pair, or have a family to think about, planning ahead for some much-deserved R&R should be on your agenda. And what better a place to head than Victoria on Vancouver Island?
Less than a two-hour ferry-ride away (or a quick trip via Helijet or Seaplane service) Victoria is a great destination for a mini getaway. This walkable city boasts some of Canada’s best museums, historic landmarks, top-notch dining, and stunning gardens – there’s really something to pique the interest of all.
That being said, don’t leave planning this important week to the last minute. We’ve rounded up a few reasons to pack up and head over to beautiful Victoria below…
The historic Fairmont Empress Hotel always comes to mind when we’re visiting Victoria. Situated on Victoria’s breathtaking Inner Harbour, it’s in an ideal location for visitors wishing to explore the city. Have fun exploring this enormous hotel; you may even get lost trying to find your room! Tuck into luxury at the Willow Stream Spa or check out the indoor swimming pool and fitness centre.
The Inn at Laurel Point is an elegant, Pacific Rim-inspired waterfront hotel that is also located on the Inner Harbour in Laurel Point Park. The Hotel’s Laurel Wing offers 135 rooms and suites that are the perfect haven for a family getaway.
Award-winning pizzeria Prima Strada has been serving the best pies in Victoria for over five years. Visit either their Cook or Bridge Street neighborhood locations (both are equally fabulous!) and sample mouth-watering treats from their menu. We highly recommend the house marinated mixed olives, the Ceci e Tonno salad, and the Rucola E Crudo pizza with tomato, parmigiano, mozzarella, fresh arugula, and proscuitto di parma.
If the weather is favorable, make your way to the pier below Wharf Street to stop at Red Fish Blue Fish, where some of the city’s tastiest fish is served. This funky outdoor hotspot offers a unique, fresh, and sustainable approach to the old fish ‘n’ chip shop. We love that this fish stand is made from an up-cycled cargo container – how cool is that?!
Fun fact: If the name Red Fish Blue Fish sounds familiar, it’s probably because co-founder Kunal Ghose competed on Food Network Canada’s popular show Top Chef Canada.
Crumsby’s Cupcake Cafe in Oak Bay is also definitely worth popping by for a baked good fix. Each of the two quaint locations is accessorized with play areas for visiting families (complete with toys, books and pint-sized seating). Make sure to try one of their delicious homemade cupcakes!
The Royal BC Museum is a must-visit and has been wowing visitors for over 125 years with its incredible collection of artifacts and exhibits. The Museum’s mandate is tell the story of British Columbia’s natural and human history. From the First Peoples Gallery featuring monumental carvings from different communities, to the Coastal Forest Display that portrays the forests from the warm dry hills of Vancouver Island to the misty cool northlands of Haida Gwaii, you’ll be fascinated no matter what your age.
Whether you’re traveling with or without little ones, a visit to Craigdarroch Castle is a must – and the perfect way to unleash your inner child. A short walk from the harbour, this National Historic Site is a virtual cornucopia of stunning Victorian architecture and artifacts. As you ascend the 87 stairs (we promise it’s an easy climb), make sure to stop at each of the floors to enjoy the various rooms, then up to the tower for a panoramic view of Victoria.
After visiting the cultural attractions, try out something completely different (and a bit creepy/crawly). Located just a block away from the Fairmont Empress, Victoria’s Bug Zoo will fascinate (and possibly freak out) even the hardiest of people. Get up close and personal with alien-eyed praying mantises, hairy tarantulas and glow-in-the-dark scorpions.
What’s your go-to spot in Victoria? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.