10 Ways to Enjoy a Tranquility Break in Victoria


Another adventure in their roster is their Taste of the Gulf Islands boat tour. Here, you can take a wildlife boat tour from Port Sidney Marina to Salt Spring or Pender Island – two quiet island retreats where Victorians go to “get away” from it all. Mill Bay Marina’s tours incorporate the tasting of local delicacies that are produced on each of these islands; from wild ciders, to cheeses, to wines. You will leave with a full belly, a calm mind, and a newfound appreciation for our incredible backyard.

For their full menu of adventures, such as an Adventure Jeep rental, golf packages, and kayaking, visit Mill Bay Marina’s website.



Go for a Paddle with Blue Dog Kayaking

Yet another reason to make it out to Mill Bay! Blue Dog Kayaking is a friendly, happy team of kayaking afficionados who care deeply about our planet. With two paddling centres located at Mill Bay Marina and Port Sidney Marina, they offer a full catalogue of guided kayaking and stand-up-paddleboarding tours for all levels. Their tours offer an excellent chance to see wildlife up close, where often times, a playful harbour seal will curiously follow your kayak. For an extra dose of relaxation, opt for one of their evening Sunset Tours. With soft pastels painting the Cowichan Valley in hues of rose and burnt orange and your kayak rocking gently in calm waters, it’s the perfect way to unwind. 


Enjoy the Views at Gonzales Hill Observatory

This local favourite offers unparalleled views of Victoria and the Juan de Fuca Strait – and you don’t have to leave the heart of the city to find them. As the highest point of land (66 m) on our southern coast, Gonzales Hill is home to the Gonzales Hill Observatory, which has been the city’s weather station for over 75 years. The quaint, heritage building’s natural surroundings are decorated with rare wildflowers, gnarled Garry Oak trees, and rocky knolls to climb on. It’s a spectacular spot to curl up with a book and take in the inspiring views of Olympic Mountain backdrop and our elegant south-Oak Bay neighbourhood.


Curl Up with your Next Favourite Novel 

Now… about that book!  Don’t head out to a spectacular lookout without first making a trip to Munro’s Books. As a mini destination within our destination, Munro’s Books has topped international lists as one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores – just a few steps inside, and you will see why. Situated in a striking heritage building with a magnificent 24-foot coffered ceiling and elegant artwork, you haven’t been to a bookstore quite like this. You’ll find a large selection of journals, puzzles, history books, great fiction, poetry… really, whatever genre you fancy for your tranquil escape. Munro’s also carries a large selection of local, Canadian, and Indigenous authors’ works – a must for any book lover looking to take home a memorable and meaningful souvenir.


Find Comfort in a Cup at Murchie’s Tea

Right beside Munro’s Books is Murchie’s Tea & Coffee, established in 1894. Founder John Murchie was a Scottish man, who perfected the craft of tea making and brewing by delivering to Queen Victoria herself. At Murchie’s, there are over 130 varieties of loose-leaf tea and a charming selection of tea accessories, lovingly called “Murch-andise”. If you can’t wait to dig into the book you just purchased at Munro’s, stop at Murchie’s for lunch. The elegant silverware presentation, paired with the delectable cakes, pastries, and sandwiches for purchase will give you that true sense of “treating yourself”. 


Seek Out Puzzle Therapy at Puzzle Lab

Perhaps reading is not your thing… but exercising your brainpower through a good puzzle is! Look no further than the intricate, one-of-a-kind creations of Puzzle Lab. Their carefully designed wood-cut puzzles are as beautiful as they are challenging, with unique pattern cuttings that mimic coral reef growth patterns. They even have a design composed of orca-shaped pieces! The feeling of pride and quality emanates from each of Puzzle Lab’s creations, and we can’t think of a more perfect project to get lost in for a few hours. 


Experience Shinrin-Yoku with Rainforest Tours

If your version of escaping is by forest-bathing, seek out an excursion with Rainforest Tours. Our island is teeming with lush, temperate rainforest canopies, hidden waterfalls, vibrant tide pools, and more.  Rainforest Tours’ expert guides know how to navigate all of them! Your adventure is made easy, with Rainforest Tours providing a pickup and drop off from downtown Victoria or Sooke, as well as refreshments, backpacks, and a delicious roast chicken or vegetarian sandwich that hits the spot after hiking. Their guided tours are deliberately kept small and intimate, to guarantee you get that remote West Coast experience you’re seeking.


Enjoy Summer Sunrise Yoga at Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Nothing says mindfulness quite like an hour of yoga. Combined with a summer sunrise in an otherworldly setting, and your mind, body, and soul are in for a true treat!  Running until the end of August, Oak Bay Beach Hotel is holding 60 minute yoga sessions every Saturday morning on their spectacular Seaside Gardens Terrace. You do not have to be a guest at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel to participate! A portion of all proceeds will be donated to Surfrider Foundation Vancouver Island. Even pods of orcas have been known to welcome guests to their workout!  

Please note that this activity tends to sell out each week, thus we recommend booking early to guarantee your spot on the Terrace.


Kick Back with a Picnic at Church & State Wines

Eat, drink, and experience a relaxing outing to a vineyard property. Just 15 minutes from Victoria, Church & State Wines in Brentwood Bay is Vancouver Island’s largest winery. Their passion to make wines translates into their meticulous wine-making processes, which accurately capture a unique sense of character, depth and the elegance of this island region. Bring your own picnic blanket or chair and indulge in a wonderful picnic overlooking the vineyard; with delectable food and beverages from their Tasting Bar.  



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Destination Greater Victoria is honoured to be based on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples of the Songhees Nation and the Esquimalt Nation, whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.