Hi there! I have one more exciting cruise port to share with you this month. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada is a major port for Alaskan cruise ships. This quaint little city is the perfect stop before heading on to Alaska, and was the perfect place to us to visit for a quick trip from Seattle. We caught a ferry for our trip there, and it was the perfect way to travel from Seattle to Victoria. This ferry also travels to and from Vancouver, BC & Seattle. We took the Clipper Ferry for our travels, and it was a nice ride. We selected an early Saturday morning departure to Victoria, then a later departure back to Seattle the following evening so we could enjoy just enough time there.
Once we arrived in Victoria, we were greeted with the most beautiful greenery, buildings, and boats. I was smitten right away! As soon as you arrive in the harbor you can just feel the warmth, coziness, and friendliness of this small city. First thing on our to do list was to grab our car & check into the hotel. There are many package deals with Clipper that offer buses and shuttles to popular attractions, but we decided to rent a car to give us more freedom in scheduling. We did, however, choose a hotel with a package from Clipper. We were paired with Chateau Victoria, and it was perfect! We had sort of a mini suite that had a room and bathroom like a regular hotel room but with a second room added to it. Since it was Lovely, myself, and my mother-in-law, it was perfect! Anyhow, once we got checked in we made a quick drive around, then headed to out to the first item on our itinerary, orca whale watching.
Can you even!? I STILL can't believe I saw this with my own eyes.
Our whale watching tour was with Five Star Whale Watching, and they did not disappoint!
We saw puffin birds, a pod of orca whales, including a baby, harbor seals, and a bald eagle.
I'm still pinching myself that we saw these WILD animals IN THE WILD!
After whale watching, we walked around the harbor a bit taking in the beautiful scenery.
We asked for recommendations for dinner from our whale watching tour guide, so we sought out that place. It turned out to be a food stand and we were more looking for a restaurant so we landed ourselves at Nautical Nellie's right near the harbor. The food was delicious, and staff was friendly.
Stuffed from dinner, we walked around a bit more. This time taking the long way around the famous Empress Hotel. When Queen Elizabeth visits Victoria, this is her place of choice.
We didn't go inside, but the outside was stunning! I loved the ivies growing all over the walls.
By this time, we were beat, so we called it a day.
Our Sunday morning, started with breakfast in the hotel's top floor restaurant with views overlooking the city. After we finished up, we checked out of the hotel, and headed to our first attraction of the day, Butchart Gardens. My boss told me about this place, and said it was amazing. She was right!
We got there as soon as it opened, which was perfect because by the time we left it was super busy.
It is so beautiful, and has so much to see! I highly recommend it.
It's a little was out of Victoria, but the drive is pretty too.
After Butchart, we drove back into Victoria to Craigdarroch Castle. This was on my mother-in-law's wish list, and boy am I glad she mentioned it! It was truly spectacular! The wood work, the stained glass, I can't even put into words just how stunning this castle is. You definitely won't be disappointed by putting this castle on your itinerary.
We spent a couple of hours at the castle, then headed to Fisherman's Wharf. My sole reason for wanting to go here was to feed the seals. There are wild seals that come here everyday, and allow you to hand feed them from fish bought at a restaurant in the wharf. Much to my dismay, it wasn't feeding time, but there was still so much more to see! We did see a sweet little otter floating around, so that helped alleviate my pain of missing the seals. My favorite part here were the colorful floating houses.We also enjoyed the floating shops, restaurants, and ice cream shops. We had lunch at The Fish Store, and ate at picnic tables there on the docs. The food was delicious! Be sure to try the grilled prawn⌐worth every penny! We topped off our lunch with an ice cream cone from Jackson's.
After our walk around the wharf, we turned in our car then began our walk back towards the harbor. We stopped off at Thunderbird Park to see the intricate totem poles. This was mostly something I wanted to do, and am glad we did. The poles were MASSIVE and so beautiful!
It's amazing that they were hand carved!
From there, we walked to the British Columbia Parliament Building, and enjoyed a horse drawn carriage ride from the Talley Ho Carriage Company. This was a lot of fun! It was the icing on the cake to this quaint little town. Our driver took us to many places we hadn't already seen, so it was a treat! We learned a lot of history, which is always a plus for me.
The carriage ride began and ended at the Parliament building, so after we walked up to the building to get a better look. It is stunning! The stone work, crests, and intricacy is incredible! It was a great way to conclude our trip. By this time, it was time to check in for our ferry ride back to Seattle. We enjoyed watching the sunset set during the ride.
Victoria is a beautiful place! I know you will love it if you visit on a cruise or otherwise. If you are visiting there on a cruise stop, hopefully this will help you narrow down what to see and where to visit. What are you Victoria, BC picks? I'd love to hear your thoughts and favorite stops here.