Victoria – long known as the City of Gardens – may well be gaining a second moniker: the City of Romance.
Topping a long list of recent accolades is Travel + Leisure magazine’s recent ranking of Victoria in the top 20 World’s Best Cities for Romance.
Photo courtesy Chateau Victoria
Described as having picture-perfect mountain and ocean vistas, and a buzzing farm-to-table food scene, readers say lovers will feel a world away visiting Victoria.
Described as a European-looking Pacific Northwest destination with everything from whale watching to lush parks and unique dining, the region also grabbed third spot in USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice survey for Best Romantic North American Getaway.
And Victoria’s list of romantic accolades continues to grow as Amazon.ca recently announced the city as winner of its Top 20 Most Romantic Cities in Canada ranking for the second year in a row.
Balancing traditional romantic activities like horse-drawn carriage tours, afternoon tea and beautiful gardens, with unique experiences like outdoor adventure, stunning hikes and an amazing variety of local culinary opportunities, it’s no surpise to locals that the region is striking a chord with romantics.
So where do Victorians look to share a little romance? Here are a few of our favourites.
1. The jewel of Victoria’s extensive parks system, Beacon Hill Park is a mixture of formal and informal spaces filled with romantic spots, particularly in the late spring and summer when the gardens are in full bloom. Stroll the gently arched stone bridge across Goodacre Lake, climb Beacon Hill to soak in the views across Finlayson Point, take in a performance at the Cameron Bandshell or just relax with a picnic amid the blossoms – with beauty around every corner, a little romance isn’t hard to find!
2. From High Tea on the veranda overlooking the Inner Harbour to a martini in the Bengal Lounge, who can resist the charm of this grand dame of Victoria hotels, The Fairmont Empress? A tasting tour of some of Victoria’s celebrated Saanich Peninsula wineries offers a romantic escape through picturesque rural landscape, or head to the west coast community of Sooke to the culinary delights of Sooke Harbour House hotel, restaurant, gallery and spa, long considered one of the Capital Region’s most romantic spots. Perhaps consider a little Coastal Romance package from the spa…
3. A favourite among cyclists or those looking for a leisurely drive around the city, the views along the picturesque Scenic Marine Drive are unparalleled. Take a hand-in-hand stroll along the Causeway or West Song Walkway, or sit back and relax beneath a cozy blanket while Victoria Carriage Tours takes you on a horse-drawn tour of the city’s most romantic sites.
4. Consistently voted as one of the city’s favourite restaurants, Il Terrazzo’s infinitely romantic setting is ideal for a candlelit tête-à-tête beside a warm brick fireplace. For those with loftier goals, the twinkling lights and expansive views of the city are equally romantic at Vista 18, high atop the Chateau Victoria hotel.
5. A rose by any other name….still smells sweeter when enjoyed with someone special. Victoria’s renowned gardens provide the ideal backdrop for romance, from the traditional Rose Garden in Oak Bay to the historic treasures at Abkhazi Garden, just minutes from downtown in the Fairfield neighbourhood. The Butchart Gardens is famous for its romantic setting, complemented by varied dining options, including afternoon tea and fine cuisine in the Dining Room Restaurant, offering views to the stunning gardens. Visit in the evening after June 15 and see the gardens in a whole new light with Night Illuminations, continuing through the summer.
Photo courtesy The Fairmont Empress