Here Are All The Ways to Get From Vancouver to Victoria, BC!
If you’re wondering how to get to Victoria from Vancouver, you are certainly not alone! Exploring BC’s capital city – yes, Victoria is the capital – is worth the journey given its rich history, beautiful seascapes, and attractions such as The Famous Butchart Gardens.
There are a few different ways to get from one city to the other. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, it can feel a bit overwhelming. This is where we – and this article – come in!
During our time on the West Coast, we ended up taking the bus and ferry combination between Vancouver and Victoria. It was a great experience overall!
That said, some other options – like flying – are shorter and more expensive but may work better for you.
That is why our detailed guide covers all the different transport options. From the ferry and coach bus to seaplane, helicopter, or day tour, there is a way to get from Vancouver to Victoria to suit your itinerary, preferences, and budget.
Vancouver to Victoria Transport Options
Table of Contents
Vancouver to Victoria by Car
One of the most popular and practical ways to get from Vancouver to Victoria is by car. For this to work, you’d have to take a ferry to Vancouver Island – so you’d have to take your car on the Vancouver to Victoria ferry.
BC Ferries is an integral part of the travel infrastructure for locals and visitors alike. They are a lifeline between the mainland and Vancouver Island, so taking the ferry is a very simple, well-orchestrated process.
Assuming you lined up the ferry with minimal waiting time, the trip can take as little as 3 hours and 5 minutes. Of course, it’s always wise to be at the ferry terminal in advance (especially if you have a car to take on).
The driving distance from Vancouver to Victoria by car would be around 115 kilometres (this includes the ferry crossing distance).
The driving route would look something like this:
- Drive to Vancouver Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal (about 45 minutes from downtown)
- Ferry to Victoria Swartz Bay Terminal (1 hour 35 minutes)
- Drive south from Swartz Bay to downtown Victoria (35 minutes)
Overall, the Vancouver to Victoria drive would be a very scenic one – full of cities, beautiful sea and shoreline, and much more!
We rented our car in Victoria, but you can also rent a car in Vancouver to make the trip.
There are two ferry terminals close to Vancouver that connect the mainland with Vancouver Island (Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal in West Vancouver and Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to the south of the city).
However, only one of these mainland terminals has the ferry heading to Victoria – and that’s the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.
Here’s a breakdown of this ferry route from Vancouver to Vancouver Island, in detail:
Vancouver to Victoria Ferry Table
|Ferry Route Official Name
|Vancouver Ferry Terminal
|Distance of Terminal from Vancouver
|How long is the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria?
|Tsawwassen- Swartz Bay
|1 Ferry Causeway,
Delta, V4M 4G6
|45 minutes (no traffic) or 36 km
|Victoria (Swartz Bay)
|1 hour 35 minutes
Once you’re on Vancouver Island, the drive from Swartz Bay to downtown Victoria is only about 35 minutes (30 kilometres), mostly on one road – BC Highway 17 South.
If you plan to take a car on the ferry, be sure to book your “Ferry ticket with car” in advance, read up on the guidelines and arrive early to get in the vehicle line up to get on the ferry.
The ferry ride itself is beautiful. We didn’t drive a car for this ferry crossing, but we did take the BC Connector Bus (see below) so we got the full ferry crossing experience.
Overall, it was a great, scenic journey. We were outside on the upper deck for quite a bit of it and took lots of beautiful photos.
We also sat inside for some of it because it can be pretty cold out there even with the sun shining!
The ferry itself was nice as well. In terms of amenities, there is plenty of seating inside and outside, clean washrooms, a cafe, some small shops, etc.
There are TVs and even a play area for kids. Stairs between decks are plentiful and the elevators make it an accessible option.
There are also a few information boards on the upper/outer decks with regional maps and wildlife explanations.
Read More: How to Get from Vancouver to Tofino (All Ways).
One thing to note about the ferries is that really bad weather (rough seas and wind) can delay or cancel them. It doesn’t happen too often, but it is a possibility – especially in the colder months.
So, it’s important to watch your method of communication if you booked in advance or check the BC Ferries Page for Current Conditions.
Vancouver to Victoria by Bus
If you do not want to drive between Vancouver and Victoria, there are plenty of bus options – some coach, some shuttle, and some public transit buses – to help you make the journey.
Taking a bus is a great idea because you don’t have to worry about too many logistics and you can just sit back and enjoy the scenery.
Keep in mind that no matter what type of bus you take, you will still have to take the ferry to get from Vancouver to Vancouver Island.
Also, the type of bus you take will change the total length of the trip, the total price, and whether your ferry ticket is arranged in advance or not. We took the BC Ferry Connector Coach Bus and enjoyed the journey (described in detail below).
In general, the Vancouver to Victoria bus options for you to consider are the BC Ferry Connector Bus, SkyLynx, or public transport buses. Each has its own pros and cons so here are these bus options in more detail:
BC Ferry Connector Bus
The first option – and the most practical if you want to get from Vancouver to Victoria without the use of a car – would be to take the BC Ferry Connector Bus.
We took the BC Ferries Connector Bus (operated by Wilson’s Transport) and would recommend it. In short, you get on a coach bus in Vancouver, it drives right onto the ferry, makes the crossing, and then takes you the rest of the way to Victoria.
All you have to do is buy one ticket (online, in advance was easiest) and enjoy the journey which takes just under 4 hours in total.
Here’s our experience doing this exact journey from Victoria to Vancouver:
We arrived at Pacific Central Station in Vancouver via the SkyTrain from downtown Vancouver.
Address for Pacific Central Station: 1150 Station St, Vancouver, BC V6A 4C7
The station is easy to get to and once inside, you turn right and head for the bus departure bay.
It was very easy to find the bus and the driver was there to greet us and check us in. We didn’t check bags to go under the bus (we only had a backpack each), but the driver had a tag system for those who did.
The bus we took was super clean and as we departed the driver took the time to explain every portion of the trip (including how the ferry crossing would work).
We then travelled for about 45 minutes from Vancouver to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.
We waited in line for a few minutes before the bus drove onto the ferry into the commercial vehicle hold.
Once parked, we got off the bus and enjoyed the ferry ride from the upper decks. They tell you when to return (more on that later).
Once the ferry left the terminal, it was smooth sailing across the Strait of Georgia. Having never sailed through the islands towards Vancouver Island before, it was a memorable experience for sure.
The ferry crossing only takes 1 hour and 35 minutes so it’s pretty quick. You pass through the Gulf Islands so it’s very scenic.
The ferry captain then gave a 15-minute warning for everyone to get back to their cars, trucks buses, etc. and that’s what we did. Just remember what level your bus is on!
Our bus was actually the first vehicle to drive onto the ferry and when the large doors opened in Victoria (Swartz Bay Terminal) we were the first to leave.
Once back on the road, we drove for about 40 minutes (with light traffic) from the Schwartz Bay Ferry terminal right to downtown Victoria. It actually made a stop or two for those who wanted to get off along the way.
Once in downtown Victoria, we were dropped off right downtown at the “Capital City Station”. It’s located behind the Fairmont Empress Hotel.
Address of Victoria Downtown Bus Terminal: 721 Douglas St, Victoria, BC V8W 2B4.
From here, it was a quick walk to our accommodation (Oswego Hotel), but you could also grab a cab if you needed to go further. It’s a very convenient drop-off location – especially if you don’t have a car.
Overall, considering the ease of the bus ride, the booking process, and the ferry, the price was pretty good. The added convenience of not having to worry about a separate ferry ticket was definitely worth it.
Also, the BC Ferry Connector bus runs multiple times per day. You can check the BC Ferry Connector Bus Schedule for more information. In the off-season (winter months) there are two daily departures.
In the busy summer season, there are as many as four daily departures from downtown to downtown!
Tip: There is also an option to be picked up from a Vancouver Downtown Hotel. You’d have a smaller shuttle get you and bring you to the bus at Pacific Central Station. Check this Bus Schedule for Vancouver Hotel Pick-up if that interests you.
There used to be a few smaller companies that specialized in taking you from Vancouver to Victoria. Many have either closed operations or have consolidated.
The only prominent, separate option we could find is YVR Skylinx. This is a shuttle service that is known for running the route from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to Whistler via Squamish.
However, they also run a route from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to Victoria. You can find their YVR-Victoria route information here.
They actually run in partnership with the BC Ferry Connector. When you click “Purchase” on the page linked above it seems to bring you to the BC Ferry Connector site to book. So it’s not actually different than the BC Ferry Connector.
There are a number of other private companies that offer scenic day tours – we have mentioned these in the “Vancouver to Victoria Tours” section below.
Public Transit Buses
The last of the bus options would have you take public transit buses from Vancouver to Victoria, downtown to downtown.
The overall bus journey is actually very doable logistically, doesn’t take much longer than the BC Ferry Connector (between 4 and 4.5 hours, if you lined up the train, buses, and ferry), and would also be much cheaper.
A downside is that you’d have to navigate the steps yourself. You’d also run into potential issues if any one of your transport methods was late. That said, people do this option – so here is how it goes:
- You take the (SkyTrain) Canada Line from any stop in downtown Vancouver heading south towards YVR Airport or Richmond Brighouse but get off at Bridgeport Station (about 20 minutes).
- At Bridgeport Station, you find the bus terminal down at street level, head for Bay #12, and get on the #620 to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal (about 35-40 minutes).
- At the ferry terminal, get off the bus and enter the terminal to buy a ferry ticket from the counter or from a machine (if you didn’t buy online in advance). You’d be a “foot passenger”.
- Enjoy the ferry ride from Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal (1 hour 35 minutes).
- Once at Swartz Bay, walk off the ferry, follow signage to the bus stop right outside the terminal, and take the #70 bus (Express Bus from Swartz Bay to Downtown Victoria), which takes about 50 minutes. You can also take the #72, it’s just 10-15 minutes slower than the #70. Fares on this bus are cheap – an adult ticket is only $2.50 CAD. The last bus stop is located here on Government Street beside the famous building (BC Legislative Assembly) right downtown.
One more note about fares: In Vancouver, you’ll need a two-zone fare if you’re buying a ticket in advance since Downtown and the Ferry Terminal are in different fare zones.
That said, you can also “tap” your credit card, Apple Pay, etc. for contactless payment to use transit in Vancouver.
In this case, you will have 90 minutes to make your transfer between SkyTrain and the bus and the final charges are figured out when you tap “out” at the end of the Tsawwassen bus ride. A two-zone tap fare for adults is about $4.45 CAD!
Vancouver to Victoria Tours
One of the more convenient – and less taxing – travel options to get from Vancouver to Victoria is to hop on a guided tour. Given the popularity – and proximity – of the two cities, it’s no surprise that there are several day tour options to get you back and forth.
Similar to our guided tour from Vancouver to Whistler, it’s great to be able to just sit back and relax while someone else takes care of the logistics, the driving/flying, and provides interesting information along the way.
A unique feature of the Vancouver to Victoria day trip is that no matter which way you go, there’s always stunning scenery to enjoy.
Going by coach and ferry gets you out on the open sea to experience the islands from the water. Taking to the air allows you a bird’s eye view of the stunning coastal geography.
Tours are also good because they often – but not always – pick you up from your hotel in Vancouver, making the experience even easier.
If you do choose a tour, some considerations for you would be the total cost, mode of transport, and the duration of the tour. Many day tours are several hours long so the days can be long – but well worth it.
Having a knowledgeable guide who can tell you things and answer questions while taking you around can also be valuable.
Here are some popular day tour options from Vancouver to Victoria:
Vancouver to Victoria by Air
Last, but certainly not least, flying from Vancouver to Victoria is definitely possible. Both cities have major airports as well as smaller, harbour airports for floatplanes.
This makes Vancouver to Victoria flights an efficient option to travel between the two locations.
There are three main ways to get from Vancouver to Victoria by air: seaplanes with Harbour Air, wheeled aircraft between the larger airports (YVR and YYJ), and helicopters with Helijet.
One of the most iconic ways to take to the skies to get from Vancouver to Victoria is by seaplane. For this, you turn to Harbour Air Seaplanes.
Boasting North America’s largest seaplane-only airline fleet, the seaplane is not only fast and convenient but also incredibly scenic. The views of the coast, islands, and mountains in the distance are something to be experienced.
⇒ Book your Seaplane from Vancouver Harbour to Victoria Harbour (subject to seasonality)
There are two main airports that Harbour Air uses to serve travellers from Vancouver (Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre and near YVR South Terminal on the Fraser River) and one in Victoria (Victoria Harbour Airport).
Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre
Also known simply as “Vancouver Harbour Airport”, the floating airport is located on the water at the north end of downtown Vancouver. It’s right next to the famous Olympic Cauldron and the Vancouver Convention Centre!
Address of Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre: 1055 Canada Pl, Vancouver, BC V6C 3T4
The floatplanes link up to docks for boarding or disembarking and then head out from the water below.
Due to its location close to downtown Vancouver, this is a popular and reliable route to Victoria.
During the summer months (June, for example), we’ve counted as many as 23 daily flights between Vancouver and Victoria (from Vancouver Harbour Terminal only).
In the off-season, there are still about four departures a day. The scenic flights from here to Victoria take 35 minutes, so you’re not up there for too long.
Richmond (near YVR South Terminal)
The Harbour Air Seaplane Terminal located at Vancouver International Airport operates on the Fraser River (which is right beside the main part of the airport).
There is a free daily shuttle to take you from the plane to the main international terminal. You can also take the SkyTrain downtown from the main part of the airport.
There’s also a restaurant right on the river (Flying Beaver Bar & Grill) – that’s good to know if you need a bite to eat before your flight.
The flights to Victoria from Vancouver are slightly shorter here at 30 minutes of flying time.
Address of Vancouver Richmond Seaplane Terminal (near YVR South Terminal): 4760 Inglis Drive, Richmond BC, V7B 1W4
Flying between Vancouver and Victoria by seaplane is a little more expensive than taking the ferry, but you do save quite a bit of time.
There are different fare classes so if you book in-advance fares can be more affordable.
Victoria Harbour Airport
Once you get to Victoria, the seaplanes land and taxi directly into Victoria Harbour. As a visitor, you can watch the planes come and go throughout the day.
Address of Victoria Harbour Airport: 950 Wharf St, Victoria, BC V8W 1T3
You can walk right off the plane to be in the heart of downtown Victoria. It’s all very walkable to accommodations like the Embassy Inn – but you could also hail a cab or jump on a water taxi if you need to.
If you walk off the seaplane in the warmer months, head to Red Fish Blue Fish for amazing food.
We even saw a pilot get off his seaplane, grab his bag, walk up the docks, and head to Red Fish Blue Fish to grab his dinner. Given the reception he received from the staff… he’s done that a few times in his career!
Our Tip: You can also make the most of your seaplane trip by taking a seaplane tour from Vancouver to Victoria and visiting Butchart Gardens via coach when you get there.
One thing to keep in mind with taking the seaplane from Vancouver to Victoria is that bad weather/high winds can affect the flights.
We actually had our seaplane flight (Nanaimo to Vancouver) cancelled due to high winds. We took the ferry and got all our money back no questions asked but it can happen so bear this in mind when planning your trip.
You can check Harbour Air’s Flight Status Page if you have any questions. Harbour Air did a great job of communicating the flight status with us.
By Regular Aircraft
The other plane option for flying to Victoria is to take a larger airplane with wheels (not a float plane) from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to Victoria International Airport (YYJ).
Address of Vancouver International Airport: 3111 Grant McConachie Way, Richmond, BC V7B 0A6
These are the two main airports serving the two cities. Therefore, they have a few airlines with larger aircraft that run this route:
Depending on the size of the aircraft, flights take between 25 and 35 minutes. So it’s pretty quick once you’re in the air. There are also several daily flights between the two cities.
It’s also more expensive than driving and taking the ferry, but again, you pay for the time saved.
However, you have to take into account the journey to and from each airport and also the time needed for check-in, clearing security, boarding, disembarking, etc. All these steps take up time.
You might choose this plane method if you flew into Vancouver from elsewhere in Canada or abroad. Otherwise, you’d have about a 30-minute SkyTrain ride on the Canada Line or a taxi ride to get from downtown Vancouver to the airport.
And unlike the seaplanes, which go from harbour to harbour, these wheeled planes take you to the bigger airport (Victoria International Airport – YYJ) near Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island.
Address of Victoria International Airport: 1640 Electra Blvd, Sidney, BC V8L 5V4
This is not close to downtown Victoria, so you’d have to take a cab, rental car, or bus to downtown Victoria from here.
If you don’t want to take a plane, you can actually take a helicopter between Vancouver and Victoria. Similar to a plane, an advantage of a helicopter is that you’d get stunning views of the surrounding city, coast, and mountains.
Helijet operates the route from two different helipad locations in Vancouver: one right downtown on the Harbour close to Waterfront Station.
Address of Vancouver Harbour Heliport: 455 W Waterfront Rd, Vancouver, BC V6B 5E8
The other heliport is down by Vancouver International Airport near the south terminal (close to Harbourair’s secondary airport).
Address of Helijet Heliport at YVR: Vancouver International Airport, 5911 Airport Rd S, Richmond, BC V7B 1B7
The flight from the heliport close to Downtown Vancouver only takes about 35 minutes and is much more frequent throughout the week with multiple daily departures.
The flight time from the heliport near YVR takes 1 hour and 20 minutes. Flights are definitely more limited, but this is also based a little bit on seasonality.
In both cases, you’d land in Victoria at the same location.
Address of Victoria Harbour Heliport: 79 Dallas Rd, Victoria, BC V8V 1A2
The Heliport in Victoria is in James Bay – a neighbourhood near downtown by the Cruise Ship Terminal. It would be a short 7-minute drive or cab (or a doable 25-minute walk) to downtown Victoria from here.
Cost-wise, taking a helicopter would be a little more pricey than the floatplane but you’d also pay for the smaller passenger numbers and the overall experience.
If you book in advance, the fares for Helijet are usually much cheaper than if you were booking last minute. Generally, though, Harbour Air is typically cheaper with more daily flight options, as long as you book in advance.
Take a Helicopter and Seaplane Combo Tour for the best of both worlds on this day trip to Victoria!
If you’re exploring Vancouver, Victoria, or more of Vancouver Island here are some more travel guides to help you plan your trip:
- Things to Do in Victoria
- Victoria Accommodations Guide
- Where to Stay in Vancouver
- Vancouver to Whistler: All Transport Methods Explained
- One Day in Vancouver: Things to Do, See, and Eat!
- Our Detailed Tofino, BC Guide
And there you have it – our guide on travelling from Vancouver to Victoria. No matter the mode of transport you take, the journey between these two cities is definitely an experience in itself.
Just keep your timelines and budget in mind and you should be able to find a mode that works well for you!
As always, Happy Waddlin’,