Known as North America’s most English city, Victoria is so much more than high tea and crumpets. This energetic and stylish seaside city on Vancouver Island is home to the globally renowned Butchart Gardens
and has more cycle routes than any other Canadian city. The good news is you get to combine the two! Cycle Treks
, conveniently located right on Victoria’s harbor, has a fantastic self-guided tour that lets you visit Butchart Gardens and pedal Victoria’s famed scenic bike trail system afterwards. You’ll be shuttled to Butchart Gardens and dropped off to explore. Take your time here! With nearly one million visitors a year, Butchart Gardens has been in bloom for over 100 years, and remains family-owned. Strolling the immaculate landscape, it’s hard to believe that over a century ago it was a quarry, before Jennie Butchart began planting what is now considered one of the world’s premier floral show gardens: the Sunken Garden, Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, and Italian Garden are must-sees. Time your visit to enjoy Butchart’s afternoon tea in their dining room. Then get ready for the ride back into town (Cycle Treks goes over the route and provides you with a map). The leisurely ride along the mostly-paved Lochside and Galloping Goose trails is well marked, with only a few minor inclines. Pedaling through farmland and forest, you’ll find plenty of places to stop and rest, including charming flower and organic food stands set up by locals. The ride ends along the waterfront (tip: make a short detour to Spinnakers
, Canada’s first in-house brewpub). Way to refuel in Victoria!
Located just two blocks from Victoria’s lively Inner Harbor, the boutique Magnolia Hotel
is a smart bet, and lovely. With only 64 rooms and a very friendly staff (what else do you expect in Canada?!), you’ll be in the heart of Victoria’s vibrancy yet feel worlds away when you call it a night. Some of the upper-level rooms have views of the Parliament Buildings, which are beautifully lit at night.