How to Get to Victoria BC

Are you wondering how to get to Victoria BC?

For starters we live on an island called Vancouver Island. People frequently get confused because the City of Vancouver is not on Vancouver Island, but rather on “the mainland” of Canada.

Vancouver Island is the largest island on the Pacific Coast of the Americas.

We are not connected to the mainland by a bridge. So how do you get to Victoria?

How to Get to Victoria by Sea

From Canada:

BC Ferries sails between the mainland and Vancouver Island and to ports on several of the smaller Gulf Islands. You can walk on as a foot passenger, travel via personal vehicle including bicycle, motorbike, car or travel trailer or board a passenger bus.

There are several crossings daily from Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to Victoria (Swartz Bay). If you were so inclined you can also reach Vancouver Island via Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay (Vancouver to Nanaimo) or Prince Rupert to Port Hardy but then you would have a 2 to 8-hour drive to Victoria.  

From the United States:

There are three US ferry options to get to Victoria.

From Port Angeles to Victoria’s Inner Harbour via the vehicle ferry M.V. Coho.

From Anacortes to Sidney, BC via Washington State Ferry. Vehicles and foot passengers are welcome and this option will dock in Sidney, very close to where BC Ferries terminals are located. Foot passengers can reach downtown Victoria via public transit (purchase a day trip pass from the driver for $5 per person). It is approximately 30-minute drive for vehicle traffic to reach downtown.

The final option is The Clipper, a foot passenger-only ferry that sails between Seattle and Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

How to Get to Victoria by Air

Victoria is home to an international airport with several flights landing daily. The main carriers within Canada are West Jet and Air Canada. Both Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines have international flights arriving from Seattle a couple times daily. 

Other air options for getting to Victoria are seaplanes (sometimes called float planes) and helicopters.

I have had the pleasure of flying on both aircraft and they are exhilarating in their own way.

Harbour Air Seaplanes fly by sight – which means they have to be able to see where they are going, which is actually quite reassuring but it means they don’t fly when it is dark or inclement weather. They take off and land on the water which is pretty cool. 

Helijet – a popular helicopter option is more reliable in inclement weather because they do fly using instrumentation.

Taking off from Victoria en route to Vancouver on board HelijetTaking off from Victoria en route to Vancouver on board Helijet

I once took Helijet from Vancouver to Victoria on a foggy day and I was pretty freaked out the entire 35-minute ride because once we were up in the air, we flew through a thick blanket of fog with zero visibility for about 20 minutes.

Normally I enjoy the incredibly scenic flight but not this day! Thankfully about 10 minutes before landing the fog lessened and we landed easily, without incident. 

Now you know how to get to Victoria, what are you waiting for? Book your vacation today and let your West Coast adventure begin!

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