Only a short and scenic ride away from Vancouver, BC or Seattle, WA through the Salish Sea, Victoria, B.C. is a city full of hidden gems. I thought it would be perfect for a stress-free girl’s getaway weekend with my twin sister and my seven-week-old, Olivia. After a weekend relaxing and exploring, we felt well-rested, rejuvenated and ready to plan another adventure (isn’t that always what happens after a fun trip?)
The quaint waterfront city of Victoria, B.C. is fit for a queen, and in our case, a little princess too since we brought Olivia along for her first little city trip and girls weekend. There is really no need for a car in town, so lace up your walking shoes (or many hop on a bike) to explore this charming city and Victoria’s picturesque Inner Harbour is the perfect starting point.
We were in Victoria a couple of years ago and had done a lot of the touristy sights, so we were looking for sights to see that we had not experienced. On our list was staying at the Empress Hotel and going for high tea, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chocolat Favoris, and the famous Fan Tan Alley.
We walked on the Ferry and took the bus from the Ferry terminal into downtown Victoria. It was around an hour ride and drops you just a few minutes from the Fairmont Empress Hotel. For just $17 for the ferry and $2.50 a person for the bus ride (each way), it was much cheaper than driving onto the Ferry. We knew we would be doing plenty of walking within the downtown core, so there really was no reason to bring a car this time.
We also used some of our Avion reward points for our stay in the hotel. If you do not have a rewards card, what are you waiting for? It can take a while to pile up those points, but when you do, it sure is wonderful when you can redeem them for great adventures!
High Tea At The Empress
We absolutely LOVED high tea at The Empress; it really is fit for a Queen! It was nice to put some effort into looking decent, to relax with such delicious treats and tea, and to get Oliva all dolled up. Olivia sure was the center of attention and that brought me so much joy during the tea. Olivia even slept wonderfully, propped on a chair as she listened to a pianist play beautiful songs. Our favourite was, of course, Disney’s Wish Upon A Star; it was magical.
Sleeping In A Castle
We not only enjoyed high tea, but slept in Canada’s castle on the coast as well. The iconic Fairmont Empress opened its doors in 1908. The Empress was recently restored and the style pays tribute to its iconic history while keeping up with modern luxury. The hotel was lovely and had so much charm.
We have way too many photos to share, so you can find out more about our tea time and stay at The Empress HERE.
After trying this chocolate, I feel like it is definitely among the best I have ever tasted. This salted caramel chocolate-dipped cone was delicious. The chocolate was thick and creamy and the vanilla ice cream was quality, too. We also tried am ice cream “poutine” that made our taste buds go wild also.
Fan Tan Alley
Fan Tan Alley is the narrowest street in Canada. Opium dens and gambling halls once lined the narrow walls of this tiny street. It was once a spot for dastardly doings, and is now a historic piece of Chinatown. It is said that a ghost still haunts Fan Tan Alley and Chinatown to this day.
Just around the corner from Victoria’s Inner Harbour, Fisherman’s Wharf is a cute hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. I’m unsure how we have missed it over the years, but I had started to see some photos over Instagram of it and knew we had to make a stop. It would definitely be a great place to hang out during the warm summer months with all it has to offer: food kiosks, unique shops, eco-tour adventures, fishing vessels, pleasure boats with live-aboard residents, float homes, and commercial businesses.
Take a look at some more photos wandering the streets of Downtown Victoria:
Victoria, BC really has grown into the perfect spot for a cool Northwest weekend getaway and adventure. It is a great historic and one-of-a-kind destination. While still a busy place, it felt a lot more relaxed than Vancouver. Victoria used to be known as a retirement destination, but has successfully reinvented itself as one hip capital.