Two years ago for Christmas, my boyfriend decided to surprise me with a romantic getaway to Victoria B.C. for New Year’s. I was thrilled, since I had never been before and neither had he. We were both so excited to get away for a few days and celebrate the New Year together in a laid-back way, rather than in some predictable party atmosphere.

Since our home base was in Seattle, he decided to book us on the Victoria Clipper for our ride over, which I would highly suggest to anyone who lives in the area. It was such an easy and comfortable ride.

We ended up having such a good time that we came back exactly five months later for another rendezvous. And we love it there, so I wanted to provide a day trip guide for anyone else interested in making it out this way. From food to shopping, I’ve got you covered.

Brunch at:

  • Blue Fox Café. Oh my word. Best breakfast ever. We’ve become big fans of the veggie migas (served with banana…shockingly a delicious flavor combo with the savory dish) and any and all of their porridge options. We first tried banana maple and more recently orange and cardamom, both have been delicious. Don’t forget the chai latte. Amahhhze.
  • Mo:Le. They have pesto hash browns. Hello? Pesto hash browns? Why have I never heard of this before?? They also have the most fantastic SPELT flour banana pancakes.

High tea at:

  • Venus Sophia for afternoon/high tea. This is a thing here in Victoria. I freaking love tea. The fact that they have a meal/drink sit-down activity specifically catered around tea blows my mind in a great way. I truly love good, high-quality tea, and this place offers just that. Along with sandwiches, quiche, scones, jam, sweets. Come hungry. We failed to do so, but instead got the cream earl grey along with cranberry vanilla scones that came with butter and jam. Yum.

Dinner at:

  • Rebar. As a vegetarian, it is one of my biggest pet peeves when you go to a restaurant and their vegetarian dish is some eggplant parmesan deal. This isn’t 2001. Expand, expand! Please! I don’t even LIKE eggplant. This place, on the other hand, has an almond burger. Please and thank you. They also had the most delicious yam pepita quesadilla. Couple that with their Yukon gold and sweet potato fries served with a myriad of dipping sauces and your taste buds will explode.
  • Il Terrazzo. Italian food is my favorite thing ever. But some places just do it better than others. Of course. This one is one of those. Pappa di pomodoro soup kills me in a good way. I love this soup. It’s basically marinara sauce with bread (in my opinion) and I mean that in the best way, because that is my dream in a bowl. Order up. Their bread is also fantabulous, freshly baked, warm and easy to tear apart. No cold bread here.
  • Catalano Restaurant & Ciccheti Bar. Butternut squash and ricotta gnocchi, ancient grains salad. Yum, yum, yum. The gnocchi was pillowy soft, cooked in brown butter and shockingly light, while the squash was carmelized and tender. I can’t give enough praise for our dinner there.
  • 10 Acres. Farm-to-table magnificence. Organic greens, roasted cauliflower dip with GRUYERE. Come. On.

Shop at:

  • Folk. This is the cutest store with dainty jewelry that you won’t find anywhere else. The sunglasses are perfectly trendy, high-quality and shockingly inexpensive. Also, the mannequin outfits in the window had me ready to strip and steal. So be prepared to shop.
  • Violette. Ahhh, I am so happy I came in here. This place is absolutely beautiful. If I had my own store, this would be it. It is filled with paper goods, leather bags from small and large designers and beautiful dainty jewelry. Need I say more?
  • Jovee Handcrafted. This little shop was my dream come true. I saw a sign for handcrafted leather goods and accessories and…welp, I was sold. We ventured down a Euro-inspired alleyway-like path into this store, where the storeowner was up top making goods while overseeing the store. Amazing. I found a beautiful slate grey and semi-brown-hued leather backpack along with a leather cardholder. The cardholders were available in light and dark color schemes and I so badly wanted a lighter one, but was hesitant because I knew it would get dirty quickly. So, I decided on a dark one and the owner threw in the light one for free since I was getting the backpack too! I was shocked. I love small businesses. I was so grateful for that. She definitely has a loyal customer in me.
  • Suasion. This is another adorable store. What’s new. I snagged a pair of chrome Christian Dior knockoffs for $28 and I was beyond pleased.

Visit:

  • Butchart Gardens. My best friend had been recommending I come here for years and years. However, when Danny and I came here for New Year’s, it was clearly not the time to go look at flowers because…well it was winter. So this time, we got our chance! And it was worth the wait.
  • Royal BC Museum. This place was amazing. Very informative, visually stimulating and allowed us both to reflect a lot. Danny and I love seeing new places, learning new things and exploring, so this museum was perfect for that and gave us a wonderful couple-hour afternoon activity.
  • Kanokwan Thai Spa. What a saving grace. This was the BEST massage I have ever received in my entire life. I think I must have had the owner herself massaging me because she was gooooood. Definitely worth the cost.

Victoria is rather small, but there are still so, so, so many cute restaurants, shops and sights here that we didn’t even have a chance to visit, so this place can definitely fulfill you for more than one trip. Book your trip now for a beautiful yet easygoing trip made for the easygoing traveler.

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