Victoria's heritage buildings, tea rooms, horse-drawn carriages and flower gardens give the city its old-world charm. Its university students give it a youthful energy. Meanwhile, the first Chinatown in Canada and First Nations totem poles standing amid the stately public buildings of this former British outpost add to its cosmopolitan air.
Victoria's charming Inner Harbour is in the centre of the city, home to the Fairmont Empress Hotel and the Legislative Buildings. A busy place, seaplanes land here, ferries and yachts put-put in and out while kayaks glide about. Street performers entertain visitors during the spring and summer months and at night the water sparkles from the thousands of lights of the Legislative Buildings.
Unlike Vancouver, Victoria is not a towering city of glass; there are few buildings more than seven storeys high. Like Vancouver however, the views of the mountains and ocean frame the city beautifully.
Most cheap flights to Victoria land at the international airport a half-hour away. Once in Victoria, almost all the key sights are within walking distance of the Inner Harbour - the Old Town, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Beacon Hill Park and James Bay, the oldest neighbourhood in Victoria.