Victoria, capital of British Columbia, sits on the craggy southern end of Vancouver Island. With abundant parkland, it’s known for outdoor activities. The city’s British colonial past shows in its Victorian architecture, including stately Craigdarroch Castle mansion. Butchart Gardens, with 55 acres of vivid floral displays, plus statuary, water features and a carousel, is one of many formal gardens in the city.
Victoria’s boat-lined Inner Harbour is flanked by the imposing, domed Parliament Buildings, Royal British Columbia Museum and the grande dame Fairmont Empress Hotel, famed for its traditional afternoon tea. Parks scattered throughout the city include historic Thunderbird, site of First Nations totem poles, and the sprawling, amusement-filled Beacon Hill. The city’s mild climate makes it a popular destination for biking, hiking, diving, surfing and kayaking. It’s also home to contemporary restaurants emphasizing local ingredients.