Before I visited Victoria for the first time, I never understood the draw that people felt. I didn’t get why someone would want to return time and time again to a place that, from a distance, didn’t seem all that special.
And then I made my first trip there.
Now I get it.
I heart Victoria.
What do you do in Victoria you might ask? Well there are lots of options, really. You can do as much or as little as you want. You can rent a car and drive all over the island seeing all kinds of incredible things, or you can just hunker down in downtown Victoria and eat and walk and relax.
We chose the latter with a little of the former for our 4 day trip to the island.
Our four days started with a flight into Victoria and a very simple bus ride into downtown. Don’t hop in a cab, or take the airport shuttle…those will run you $25.00 a person minimum. Jump onto a double decker bus for $2.50 and enjoy a little tour of Vancouver island as you snake your way into Victoria.
Pro-tip- if you get a little car sick, sit on the main floor of the bus. Those windy roads can do you in after an hour!
We stayed at the Inn at Laurel Point which is right in the heart of downtown Victoria overlooking the bay. Our room was in the newer Erickson wing and was absolutely incredible.
We thoroughly enjoyed our view and even had the opportunity to sit out on our deck listening to music and soaking in some much longed-for sun.
Second to the view was the bathtub. The hotel has a small pool but no hot tub, so the deep soaker tub in our room was a welcome site after a full day of walking through the streets of Victoria. The hotel staff were very friendly and extremely helpful. I would definitely stay there again.
Our days were literally spent walking and eating. (We averaged 22,000 steps per day and ate waaaayyyyyy too much food. Good thing we walked so much…)
We realized very quickly (after a disappointing dinner at a larger chain restaurant) that when you are in Victoria, eat at the plethora of local restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries in the area. You will not be disappointed. Here are a few of our favorites from this trip.
Murchies- This cafe/tea shop is right in the heart of downtown on Government street. I rarely go into the tea shop side of the store because all I need from Murchies are their raspberry almond tarts…and their tiramisu…ooh and the fruit crisp…and their sandwiches are amazing too. There is nothing better than a treat from Murchies, sunshine and green grass.
Crust Bakery– This little gem is a few doors down from Russell’s books and the Dutch bakery on Fort street. After walking by a few times and drooling over what we saw in the window, we bit the bullet and bought a few things to try.
Andrew chose a cronut (doughnut- croissant hybrid) and I grabbed a chocolate coconut bread pudding square (it weighed a TON!)
All I can say is amazing….so incredibly amazing. The bread pudding square was great, but that cronut was unlike anything I have ever eaten. I wonder how hard it is to make a cronut…
Sidney Bakery– Sidney is right up by the airport. It’s a little town with a main street filled with shops, restaurants and this wonderful bakery. I get so excited when I go in there because the treats are so delicious and SO CHEAP! We bought a lemon drop doughnut and an apple fritter the size of my head for a dollar and change…
Bubby’s Kitchen– Tucked away in Cook Street Village, this quaint restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s a little walk from downtown Victoria, but it was worth it. Andrew had smoked salmon eggs Benedict (when in Rome right?) and I had a delicious breakfast sandwich. Of course, we had to share one of their wonderful cinnamon rolls because we’d heard so much about them…
Flying Otter Grill– Each time I have been to Victoria I’ve walked by this little place on the water. We never really investigated and I assumed it was a fancy-smansy type of place that would not interest us. Boy were we wrong! Thanks Vince and Ann for the recommendation… this place was so good we ate there twice!
What is so great is that you can eat right on the water and watch the sea planes take off and land. The food was absolutely incredible and their daily specials are out of this world! On our first trip we shared a delicious pizza (brie, pesto, pear and prosciutto…I will be trying to make that at home soon!) and on our second trip we had a full steak dinner for $11.95! If you are in Victoria, GO! You will not be disappointed.
Red Fish Blue Fish– You can’t visit Victoria and not eat at Red Fish Blue Fish. Its a little shipping container restaurant not far from the flying otter grill right on the water.
We checked into our hotel, dropped our bags and made a bee-line right for this place. You order your food, find a spot along the pier at bar-stool-type seating and enjoy some of the best fish and chips there is…but my favorite thing on the menu is the jerk fish poutine. Yummy…
Barb’s Fish and Chips– Strictly from a blogging research stand point we felt the need to try and compare as many different fish and chips restaurants as we could in our short 4 days. This little place is in fishermen’s wharf down by the houseboats where you can sit and watch the harbor taxis come in and out and see the fat seals that pop their heads up waiting for you to feed them little fish that you can buy at the local fish market a few feet away.
Again, great fish and chips and a really nice atmosphere…especially when you get a sunny day and a seat right next to the water.
Blue Fox Cafe– We found this wonderful place on this trip to Victoria, and it makes me wish we had known about it sooner.
This was, hands down, our favorite place to eat.
With a lineup that sneaks out the door and down the street, you know this place is a hit with the locals. It’s not big, but they are so friendly and accommodating it is totally worth the wait to get in. The food was unbelievable…seriously unbelievable, like I-wanted-to-yell-unbelievable.
We found ourselves ordering half orders of many things so we could try more. In the end our favorites were the Eggs Benedict Delmonico (smoked salmon and avocado), the Eggs Benedict El Jimador (pulled pork, peppers and roasted jalapeno aioli) and the peasant bread (country seed bread french toast with bananas, cinnamon, maple syrup, vanilla bean cream, almonds and honey). We also tried the Apples Charlotte which was like apple pie french toast. It’s a good thing this restaurant was a bit of a hike from our hotel, we needed to walk off all the calories we took in!
All in all it was a great 4 days. We came back relaxed, a little sore from all the walking and very, very full.