This is the vibe of your next summer vacation: the historically charming aesthetic of England, the gorgeous nature of the Pacific North West, and the amazing food of Europe. You’re going to love one of my new favorite places to travel in Canada that checks all those boxes and more: Victoria, British Columbia. Victoria is one of the best relaxing vacations for couples, self-care-obsessed solo travelers, plus families and groups who love getting Healthier Together. Zack and I’s trip to Victoria was filled with SO many “best ever” moments. I hope this Healthy Victoria British Columbia Travel Guide is a helpful healthy mini itinerary for the best summer getaway in British Columbia.
The fun starts with the ferry ride from Vancouver to Vancouver Island, and then a very scenic drive to the southern tip. If you have time for a mini road trip, check out Tofino on the island’s west coast (you can find my Tofino healthy travel guide here)! You might be surprised, but Victoria is a total foodie destination. It has more restaurants per capita than any other city in Canada, AND their assortment of restaurants is so unique because their menus are mostly based on British Columbian naturescape.
But what would I wear?
If you’re planning a trip to Victoria in the spring or summer, get my best travel packing tricks and genius style advice from a master stylist in this Healthier Together Podcast episode. Beyond the best vacation packing tips, you’ll learn:
- how to look good in hats, including the best hats for beginners
- how to dress chic when it’s disgustingly hot out
- the pieces that have the most comfort to style ratio
- how to make athleisure look chic
- how to navigate which trends you should partake in
If you have more recommendations on the best restaurants, bars, and things to do in Victoria British Columbia, I’d love if you’d share them in the comments below!
Where to Stay in Victoria BC
Zack and I stayed at The Fairmont Empress, also referred to as the “Canada’s castle on the coast”. This hotel was the most magical blend of historic, modern, and sophisticated. I can totally see why it was voted one of the 21 Most Iconic Hotels in the World. Plus their restaurant, Q at the Empress, has THE BEST chocolate croissant I’ve ever had. And their famous Tea at the Empress (picture of Zack living his best Bridgerton life below) has been a destination for high tea and tiny pastries since 1908. I loved that their tea selections are created exclusively for the Fairmont Express. Oh, and be sure to bring home a bottle of their 1908 Gin, which turns bright pink when mixed with citrus or tonic!
Here are more of our favorite features about this luxury, historic hotel:
- It’s located on the gorgeous harbor of Downtown Victoria
- Fancy indoor heated pool, whirlpool, and two saunas
- A fully-equipped, private fitness center
- Famous, flower-filled grounds and rose gardens that are v Instagram-worthy
Another awesome thing about this hotel: it has THE most royally-fit spa on Vancouver Island. A palace of pampering, if you will. Beyond the elegant, royal architecture, I love that they use all natural, locally sourced ingredients, like seaweed harvested from the Salish Sea, in their body scrubs and body wraps. I got a massage, which was phenomenal.
Where to Eat in Victoria BC
Sherwood Victoria: this airy cafe and bar looks laid back, but it was some of the best food we had in Victoria. We really loved their breakfast. Our menu favorites were the vegan chia pudding with apple compote, the breakfast sandwich with tarragon aioli, and the hash browns which are the HEIGHT of brunch luxury. They’re definitely the best I’ve ever had, says this self-anointed potato connoisseur.
Little Jumbo: Come here for a fancy night out on the town. The ambiance is romantic, plus they do fresh local food with the art of mixology just right. And if you’re not into alcohol, their bartenders made me a custom mocktail that was ALSO one of the best I’ve ever had. You just tell them what you like and they whip up mocktail magic!
Spinnakers Brew Pub: this waterfront pub was perfect for when we were craving comforting pub food but still wanted to be healthy-ish with lots of veggies and hyper local ingredients. And excuse me? A fermented-crust pizza (which was so delicious).
Q at the Empress: our hotel’s restaurant is located in what’s supposedly the most storied room in all of Victoria, and definitely worth a visit. It has gorgeous views of the harbor, and like I noted above, we loved the breakfast and cocktails. For breakfast, order the: twice-baked chocolate croissant with gianduja ganache, cacao nibs, and chocolate curls. For drinks, order the French 75 which is made with Butterfly Pea Gin with grapefruit boba pearls.
Be Love: globally inspired, organic vegetarian food with super sophisticated flavors. Everything on the menu is wheat free, gluten free, dairy free and processed sugar free. Plus, all of their produce comes from local farms!
10 Acres: this farm-to-table bistro had amazingly fresh food and an ambiance to obsess over. We loved that the menu was super veggie forward and showcased their own seasonal crops! It’s also on the water and has a heated garden patio to enjoy your drinks in.
Things to Do in Victoria BC
Hike Goldstream Falls: A lush, forested trail that leads to a beautiful waterfall. It’s the perfect couple-hour hike that’s fairly easy and is only a 25 minute drive from Downtown Victoria. It has stairs that lead down the canyon to the waterfall. There’s also a campsite here if you choose to embrace the wilderness overnight!
Hike Mount Douglas: this is the largest park in the area that gives you amazing, 360-degree views of all of Victoria including the water. It’s an intermediate level trail that takes a couple hours to complete, and it’s also only 25 minutes from Downtown Victoria.
Relax at Ritual Nordic Spa: unpopular opinion, getting spa treatments together is such a relaxing group activity. You re-emerge as your best, refreshed self. I especially loved Ritual Nordic Spa for their sauna circuit, which is where you float between the Finnish sauna, steam room, cold plunge pool, salt lounge, outdoor patios, rinse station, Nordic bucket shower, and lounge – all at your own pace. The cold plunge was a life savor for our sore muscles after so much walking and hiking. They also have very cool, very stylish towel ponchos (me styling it below).
Go Whale Watching: It’s extremely majestic to see whales in their beautiful, natural habitat. We loved that the tour company, Princes of Whales, which guarantees whale spotting. So make sure you go early in your trip, so if you don’t see anything, they’ll just book you on another boat!
Play the Healthier Together Conversation Deck: Bring this when you go out to eat to spark up amazing conversations with whomever your travel partner(s). That way, conversations aren’t focused on “real life” topics (like bills or family drama) and you can deepen your connection in a fun way.
Stroll around town: Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf were our favorite spots to explore by foot. In Chinatown, visit Silk Road Tea which has super healing and delicious blends. This tea would be a perfect gift to bring home to family or friends!
Take a water taxi: the most charming way to get around everywhere in Victoria right from our hotel on the harbor.