Undoubtedly British Columbia’s brightest gem, Victoria is home to an unparalleled food scene, a boom in cool breweries, can’t-miss cultural spots and the absolute freshest air a city dweller could dream of. Is there anything this coastal city can’t do? Turns out, no. Read on for our tried-and-tested itinerary packed with the best places to stay, eat and see in Victoria.


Magnolia Hotel & Spa

When you’re after the boutique feel, book in for a few blissful nights at the Magnolia Hotel & Spa, an award-winning, locally owned institution that’s steps from Victoria’s stunning Inner Harbour. Here, the little details matter: cloud-like beds, recently renovated, marble-clad bathrooms stocked with L’Occitane toiletries, a welcome glass of Vancouver Island-sourced sparkling for guests checking in on the weekends, locally made chocolates placed on your nightside table during turndown service. The Magnolia even offers highly curated trail maps to inspire adventuring all over the city. Take out one of the hotel’s complimentary cruiser bikes to explore the suggested (and sworn by) hidden gems along Government Street, Chinatown and other nearby hotspots.

623 Courtney St., magnoliahotel.com


Eva Schnitzelhaus 

Take traditional Bavarian cuisine and mix it with a modern feel — that’s Eva, a new eatery nestled in Victoria’s Chinatown. Some menu highlights: snappy currywurst, gooey raclette laid over fingerling potatoes, plus a crisp-on-the-outside-chewy-in-the-centre pretzel served with mustard-y butter. Even the eggplant schnitzel, a dead-on dupe for the vegetarians amongst the group, is a must for the table. Pints of German beer are a given at Eva, but don’t sleep on the cocktail list options, including the Shwartzwald Manhattan, a Black Forest-flavour spin on the classic.


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509 Fisgard St., evaschnitzelhaus.com

Blue Grouse Estate Winery

Just 45 minutes from Victoria in the Cowichan Valley is Blue Grouse, a lovely low-intervention winery that’s well on its way to becoming certified organic. Take in the truly epic views — seriously, it looks like the Austrian countryside — with a glass of Rosé Frizzante, a sparkly, strawberry-tinged wine that’s utterly gluggable. It’s the kind of bottle that’ll warrant paying for checked luggage on your way home. (If you’re looking for a DD, book a half day with Explore Vancouver Island, a one-man touring company that’ll cart you around to other must-hit spots like Merridale Cidery & Distillery. The converted mini school bus you ride in is equipped with a four-wheel upgrade for even more up-island excursions, too.)

2182 Lakeside Rd., bluegrouse.ca



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You know that locally loved eatery where you can hit up any time, day or night, and it feels like home? In Victoria, that’s Sherwood. The restaurant is housed in a sprawling, light-filled space with New-York-meets-Paris charm and offers sumptuous options from 8am to 11pm. Personally, we love Sherwood for an easy lunch: the house-cured sockeye salmon niçoise — with a side of hand-cut fries and tarragon aioli to share — is just what you need to take on the rest of the day.

710 Pandora Ave., sherwoodvictoria.com

The Courtney Room

For truly elevated, totally modern Pacific Northwest cuisine, snag a reservation at the Courtney Room. Adjacent to the Magnolia Hotel, this upscale brasserie is revered for its elegant, Parisian-inspired room with an equally thoughtful, ever-changing menu to match. Chef Brian Tesolin — an alum of big-name restaurants like Hawksworth Restaurant in Vancouver and Langdon Hall in Cambridge, ON — makes use of the best seasonal ingredients through the restaurant’s partnerships with local farms and foragers. Expect fresh pairings from breakfast all the way through dinner: a black kale and avocado benny with housemade ricotta, charcoal-grilled steelhead trout over saffron pearl couscous and, for something sweet, strawberry rhubarb choux with a zingy Meyer lemon meringue.

619 Courtney St., thecourtneyroom.com

Whistle Buoy Brewing Company

That laid-back west coast energy is replete at Whistle Buoy, a small-batch brewery vending everything from hazy IPAs and black currant saisons to tart raspberry sours. Grab a flight in the cool, coastal-inspired taproom or snag a seat on its glorious patio in Market Square, a sun-filled spot that’s host to an oyster pop-up among other eats and entertainment. Make an afternoon of it and crawl along the brewery-packed Old Town to top spots like Herald St. Brew Works, a community-loved pick that’s headed up by female brewer Alex Miller.

560 Johnson St. Lower Courtyard, whistlebuoybrewingcompany.com


Ritual Nordic Spa


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Racking up 25k steps a day in a new city will eventually catch up with you. When your tourist legs are about to quit, head to Ritual, a modern-day bathhouse dreamed up by owner Marci Hotsenpiller who took her Finnish grandmother’s love of sauna and turned it into an urban Nordic spa. The aim is to recover and recharge; the therapeutic Rx that’ll get you to that zen state is its hot-cold-relax circuit. Start in one of two authentic steam rooms, take a dip in the cold plunge (or stand under a bucket shower if you want to get it over with quick!), then zen out in the salt lounge or on Ritual’s secluded patio. It’s designed to be wellness that’s semi-social with none of the pretentious spa vibes.

989 Johnson St., ritualnordicspa.com

Malahat Skywalk


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Looking for a roadside attraction that actually lives up to the hype? Plan a day trip up to Malahat Skywalk. The experience starts with a 600-metre nature walk high up in an arbutus tree grove, a completely accessible forest path dotted with inconspicuous wildlife works by local driftwood artist Tanya Bub. Then, you’ll climb the actual Skywalk,  an open-air, wooden helix (generously equipped with a gentle ramp) that takes you 250 metres above sea level. At the top of the towering structure, you’re treated to bird’s eye views of the South Island and, if you’re feeling gutsy, a speedy ride on the spiral slide that’ll bring you back down to ground level. There’s nothing like a 10-second whirl from way up to make you feel like a kid again.

901 Trans Canada Hwy., malahatskywalk.com

Explore Songhees Walking Tour


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Those who crave a bit of culture should check out a walking tour with Explore Songhees. Starting at Ship Point in the Inner Harbour — a location, it should be known, that resides on traditional Lekwungen Territory — Indigenous guide Cecelia Dick shares the traditions, history and significant sites of her ancestors, the Songhees Nation. Learn about their cultural practices like canoe racing, dancing and sustainable land use, then enjoy a homemade bannock tasting paired with fresh jam.