Garden City is just as beautiful as it sounds, and though small in size, the capital of British Columbia packs in scenic views, loads of entertainment, outdoor activities, and more festivals that you thought would be possible to host on Vancouver Island. What makes Victoria special is that it has enough big-city atmosphere to never leave you bored, but with less than 400,000 inhabitants, there's still plenty of quiet spots and open spaces for you to enjoy a quiet moment or two of perfect tranquility.
Flights to Victoria will take you to the city which has the most cycle routes of anywhere in Canada, and is a haven for those looking to enjoy an outdoor vacation. Water sports enthusiasts can go kayaking, diving, or sailing, while those looking for something a little more sedate can take leisurely tours through the area's wineries, cruise along the coast while enjoying a candle-lit dinner, or enjoy an aerial view of the city from a seaplane.
Victoria's English architecture and seemingly old-world charm give way to a bustling atmosphere when the city's festival season begins. Visitors can get tickets to a range of events from the Victoria Symphony Splash, to the Fringe Theatre Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Electronic Music Festival, and many more.
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Victoria International Airport (YYJ) is actually located in Sidney, about 26 km from the city of Victoria. Only a small number of full-service airlines offer flights to Victoria, including Air Canada, WestJet, Alaska Airlines, and United. Some regional carriers like Orca Airways and Pacific Coastal also have limited services to Victoria.
Passengers flying within Canada can get non-stop flights from cities such as Toronto, Nanaimo, Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, and Kelowna. Visitors from the US can also fly direct from Seattle, San Francisco, and Las Vegas.
Victoria is blessed with a surprisingly mild climate which means that you have quite a few months of great weather to choose from when booking your flights. Summer is the peak tourist season but spring and fall also have plenty of sunny days and low humidity levels.
January to March are the wettest months in the city and although flights and hotels are cheaper, this is not the best weather to experience Victoria, and its gardens, in all their glory.
Victoria International Airport (YYJ) is a fairly small airport and has a single terminal building. Most transportation from the airport can be found right outside the exit gates. Check the airport's website for additional details on the transport options listed below.
Public Transit: British Columbia Transit buses on Routes 70, 72, and 88, connect the airport with downtown Victoria. Tickets are cheap at a mere $2.50 CAD (one-way), and children under 18 years, seniors, and students can get further discounts. But keep in mind that travelling to the city via public transport will take up to an hour or more, while a cab or shuttle ride will take about 30 minutes. If you need to change buses along the way, remember to obtain a transfer slip when you buy your ticket.
Airport Shuttle: AKAL Airporter provides shuttle services from the airport to destinations in and around Victoria as well as tours to Butchart Gardens (a must-see destination while you're in the city). One-way tickets for adults to downtown Victoria are about $21 CAD and you can get discounts for booking as a group of two or more. Children under three years of age travel for free.
Hotel Shuttle: It's always a good idea to check with your hotel if they provide a complimentary shuttle service to their guests arriving on Victoria flights. If they do, make sure to let them know the flight number and arrival time of your flight so that you can avoid a wait at the airport.
Taxi: Yellow Cab of Victoria runs taxi services from the airport to Victoria and a few regional destinations. A ride to the city centre will cost between $50-$60 CAD and each vehicle can carry up to five passengers. If you're travelling in a group, this may be a cheaper option than using the shuttle service.
Car Rental: On-site rental companies have booking kiosks located in the arrivals area. Cars can be rented from Avis, Budget, Hertz, and National, or you can book with Enterprise, which has an off-site rental facility.
Remember that bookings with Enterprise must be made in advance as the shuttle pick-ups from the airport have to be pre-arranged.
Other: A few private companies offer limousine and chauffeured car services from the airport and these must be pre-arranged before you travel.