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If you’re a fan of gardens, visit one of British Columbia’s finest: Butchart Gardens, just north of the city of Victoria. On this 23-hectare (55-acre) property, there’s always something blooming, although the gardens are especially lovely in the spring and summer.
The city of Victoria has lots of attractions, from the grand Royal BC Museum to the Inner Harbour, where you can stroll along the waterfront, enjoying the sun or watching the ever-present buskers. Have afternoon tea at the stately Fairmont Empress Hotel, or save your appetite for one of the city’s new chef-owned bistros.
The Cowichan Valley is Vancouver Island’s wine country, with about 15 wineries offering tastes and tours. It’s about an hour’s drive north of Victoria. You’ll find several more wineries on the Saanich Peninsula, not far from the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, where the boats arrive from Vancouver.
Some of the island’s most spectacular scenery is on the west-facing Pacific coast, around the town of Tofino. Beautiful beaches and a rainforest national park are the highlights. You can go whale-watching, learn to surf, or kayak among offshore islands.