Where to stay in Victoria BC without a car: 6 Best areas

In this article, we will look at Where to stay in Victoria BC without a car?, best areas to stay in Victoria BC without a car along with a helpful map, where I stayed in Victoria BC, and best hotels in Victoria BC for all budget visitors.

Victoria, British Columbia, is a charming city with plenty to offer visitors, and you can enjoy it without a car, thanks to its relatively pedestrian and cyclist-friendly with a variety of transportation options including walking, biking, public transit, taxi, and ferries.

Downtown Victoria and Inner Harbour are quite walkable, and you can easily explore many attractions, shops, restaurants, and parks on foot. The city is designed to accommodate pedestrians, and there are sidewalks and crosswalks throughout.

Victoria is known for its bike-friendly infrastructure with many bike lanes and dedicated bike paths. You can rent bicycles from various bike rental shops and remember helmets are mandatory.

Victoria has a public transit system operated by BC Transit, which includes buses that cover most areas of the city. The bus system is reasonably comprehensive and can take you to various attractions. You can check routes, schedules, and fares on the BC Transit website or mobile apps.

Taxis and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are available in Victoria, making it convenient to get around if you prefer not to use public transportation.

If you need to travel to nearby islands or the mainland, BC Ferries offers ferry services from Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal and other terminals in the area. The water taxi service can take you across the Inner Harbour and to other waterfront destinations.

During the peak tourist season, you may find hop-on-hop-off tourist shuttle services that can take you to popular attractions in the city.

While you asked about getting around without a car, if you find that you need one for a specific trip or excursion, there are car rental agencies available in Victoria, as well as at the Victoria International Airport, situated about 16 miles from the downtown area. 

Where to stay in Victoria BC without a car?

The best areas to stay in Victoria BC without a car are Downtown Victoria, Inner Harbour, James Bay, Oak Bay, Cook Street Village, Rockland, and Fairfield.

In general, Downtown Victoria is the best area for first-time travelers. It is very walkable and home to many hotels, restaurants, shops, and attractions. Staying here allows you to explore the Inner Harbour, Royal BC Museum, Parliament Buildings, and many other popular spots on foot.

During my trip, I stayed in Downtown Victoria, which is a very central location, allowing me to explore most of everything on foot and by public transportation. Whenever my foot was tired or I didn’t want to wait for public transportation, I just used a taxi.

Map of the best areas and neighborhoods in Victoria BC without a car:

Map of the best areas to stay in Victoria BC without a car
Map of the best areas to stay in Victoria BC without a car

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Victoria BC. I’ll explain to you how to reach each area and how to get around. I’ll also provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Victoria BC have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

6 Best areas to stay in Victoria BC without a car:

1. Downtown Victoria

Downtown Victoria is the overall best area to stay in Victoria BC without a car, especially for first-time visitors. It is the central business and cultural district, located in the heart of Victoria.

Downtown is easily reachable from Victoria Airport by taxi or bus. Taking a taxi is the fastest way and around 30 minutes, while the bus is a longer journey. You need to take bus 88 to McTavish Transit Exchange, from where you can take bus 72 to downtown.

Downtown is highly walkable, with most attractions, shops, restaurants, and amenities located within a relatively compact area. You can easily explore the city on foot, making it convenient for pedestrians.

The heart of downtown is the Inner Harbour, where you can find the Royal BC Museum, the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel, and the BC Legislature. You can enjoy scenic views of the harbor, take a stroll along the waterfront, or even take a harbor ferry tour.

You can explore the Government Street which is packed with boutique shops, galleries, and restaurants. The nearby Trounce Alley and Market Square also provide unique shopping experiences.

Victoria’s Chinatown is one of the oldest in North America and is a fascinating area to explore. It features historic buildings, shops, restaurants, and the famous Gate of Harmonious Interest.

Located just south of downtown, Beacon Hill Park is a beautiful urban park with walking trails, gardens, a petting zoo, and scenic viewpoints.

Downtown Victoria offers a variety of nightlife options, including pubs, bars, and clubs. It’s a popular destination for those looking to enjoy an evening out.

The downtown area hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year, such as Victoria’s Inner Harbour Dragon Boat Festival, Symphony Splash, and various holiday celebrations.

Best places to stay in Downtown Victoria BC without a car:


2. Inner Harbour

The Inner Harbour is a great base for car-free travelers due to its walkability and central location. It is a picturesque and iconic waterfront area located in the heart of the city. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations on Vancouver Island and offers a wide range of activities and attractions.  

The Inner Harbour is known for its stunning views of the surrounding area, including the historic Empress Hotel, the British Columbia Legislature Buildings, and the Olympic Mountains in Washington State across the Juan de Fuca Strait.

You can take a scenic ride on one of the charming, colorful Harbour Ferries that ply the waters of the Inner Harbour. These water taxis are a fun way to explore the area.

Fisherman’s Wharf is a colorful floating village known for its houseboats, seafood restaurants, boutique shops, and the chance to feed the resident harbor seals. It’s a lively and photogenic spot in the Inner Harbour.

The Fairmont Empress is an iconic luxury hotel that has graced the Inner Harbour since 1908. Even if you’re not staying there, you can visit the hotel’s elegant lobby and enjoy high tea or cocktails in the Q Bar with views of the harbor.

There are pedestrian pathways and walkways along the waterfront, making it a great place for a leisurely stroll. You can take in the scenery, watch the boats go by, and enjoy street performances during the summer months.

The Inner Harbour is a hub for boating activities. You can rent kayaks or take boat tours to explore the surrounding waters and nearby islands.

Best places to stay in Victoria Inner Harbour without a car:


3. James Bay

James Bay is a great location to stay in Victoria BC, especially for travelers without a car. It is located just south of the Inner Harbour and is still within walking distance of downtown attractions. It’s a quieter area, and you can find various accommodations, including hotels and vacation rentals.

Adjacent to James Bay is the Beacon Hill Park, featuring walking trails, gardens, and picturesque views of the coastline.

Ogden Point is a deep-water port and cruise ship terminal in James Bay. It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors to watch cruise ships arrive and depart, and it offers stunning ocean views.

You can find shops, cafes at the James Bay Village. Additionally, James Bay has several historic sites, including the Emily Carr House, which was the childhood home of the famous Canadian artist Emily Carr.

Dallas Road is the scenic road along the waterfront offers beautiful views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and is a popular spot for walking and cycling.

Best places to stay in Victoria BC James Bay without a car:


4. Oak Bay

Oak Bay is situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, just east of the city of Victoria. While a little farther from downtown, Oak Bay is accessible by public transportation, and it has a more relaxed atmosphere. It’s known for its beautiful coastline and the Royal Victoria Golf Club.

Oak Bay is known for its charming and upscale character. It’s often described as an affluent and elegant community with tree-lined streets, beautiful homes, and well-maintained gardens.

The municipality boasts a picturesque coastline with scenic views of the ocean and various beaches, including Willows Beach, which is a great spot for picnics, swimming, and enjoying the views.

The Oak Bay area is home to cultural attractions like the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, which offers luxurious accommodations and dining. There are also various art galleries, boutique shops, and historic sites to explore.

The Oak Bay Tea Party, held annually in Oak Bay, is a popular event featuring carnival rides, food vendors, and entertainment.

Best places to stay in Victoria BC Oak Bay without a car:


5. Cook Street 

Cook Street is a prominent street located in Victoria, running through several neighborhoods in the city and is known for its vibrant and diverse character. It is easily accessible by car, bicycle, or on foot. Public transportation options are also available, making it convenient to get around.

Cook Street extends from the southern end of downtown Victoria and continues into the Fairfield neighborhood, ultimately reaching Beacon Hill Park. It’s a relatively long and important thoroughfare in the city.

The area around Cook Street and Fairfield Road is often referred to as “Cook Street Village.” This neighborhood hub is known for its charming and walkable streets, offering a range of amenities.

Cook Street, particularly as it approaches Beacon Hill Park, offers scenic views of the surrounding area, including glimpses of the ocean, the Olympic Mountains in Washington State, and the natural beauty of Vancouver Island.

Best places to stay in Victoria BC in Cook Street without a car:


6. Rockland/ Fairfield

Rockland is a historic and upscale neighborhood located just east of downtown Victoria. It is known for its beautiful heritage homes, tree-lined streets, and gardens. 

Rockland is often referred to as the “Garden District” due to its well-preserved gardens and historic architecture. Notable attractions in Rockland include Government House, Craigdarroch Castle, and various parks and gardens.

Fairfield is another charming neighborhood located to the south of Rockland and bordering the coastline of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Fairfield offers scenic waterfront views, easy access to Dallas Road’s oceanfront walkway, and proximity to Beacon Hill Park.

Best places to stay in Victoria BC in Rockland without a car:


You can continue reading more articles about other cities in Canada such as:

In conclusion, Downtown Victoria, Inner Harbour, James Bay, Oak Bay, Cook Street Village, Rockland, and Fairfield are the best places to stay in Victoria BC without a car. You can easily explore on foot, by bus, ferry, taxi/ rideshare service, or even taking a tour.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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