The first time I took the ferry to Victoria from Vancouver, I felt like I was in a movie about some other planet. While returning, we got lucky to have a bright sunny orange sunset which gave such a nice silhouette look to the backdrop of mountains against the water and the sun looked like it was melting in the water right there. We spent a full day in Victoria and there wasn’t a dull moment in the entire day.
To get to Victoria, you do have to take a ferry from either Vancouver or Seattle. I am yet to take the Seattle ferry, but heard that the seattle ferry only takes foot traffic and Vancouver route has better views. It was a two hour trip from Vancouver and you do need a Canadian visa from either of the routes.
Reservations are preferred for the ferries, although you can go last minute and wait in line for drop in. If you are going in summer months, definitely make a reservation, on BC Ferries for Vancouver, or Victoria Clipper for Seattle.
Butchart gardens rate the highest on things to do in Victoria and for right reasons. The entire garden is so beautiful and there are so many varieties of flowers and plants, it starts to feel endless. During winter, they have started having some lights festivals but I have not been able to go in winter yet.
The capitol building in downtown can not be missed. It’s so beautiful and large. On a warm sunny day, you’ll find people lying on the grass or people watching from the front yard of the building. The building directly faces water and when we went, we got lucky to find a boat festival where hundreds of boats were parked on the shore for people to see. There is also a miniature museum which I found quite interesting to spend an hour at.