One of the BC ferries traveling close to Victoria BC

Ways to Get to Victoria BC

Thinking about making a trip to Victoria BC and wondering how to get there?

Well, I have some answers for you!

This is not an exhaustive list of the ways to travel here, but it will cover the most common, to make your way to our beautiful island.

The main ways are;

  • Ferry, either with your car or as a foot passenger
  • Plane, to either YYJ or a seaplane directly to Victoria harbour.
  • Helicopter, need I say more! Very convenient for a little extra cash


So a few more details about the ferries;

Now again this can be broken down to 3 main services, BC ferries being the main one.

  • BC ferries are the main choice for those making their way to the island, this can be either as a foot passenger or for those wishing to bring their vehicle with them. There is one small drawback with BC ferries in general, that is the fact that the terminals are a little far from the main cities. Victoria’s ferry terminal for BC ferries is located in Swartz bay, which is a 30km drive to the north, just at the northern end of the Saanich peninsular near Sidney. This drive is usually around 35 to 45 minutes depending on the time of day but is a direct drive, so no problem there if you have your own car.  Now if you don’t have a car check out the link below to see some options.     The departure terminal on the mainland is Tsawwassen, which is around 35km south of downtown Vancouver, which translates to a 40 – 60 minute drive from downtown Vancouver.   Tsawwassen is also close to the US border if you are coming from that direction.   If you find yourself on the North side of Vancouver you can take a ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, the drive from Nanaimo to Victoria is around 1.5 hours but it would work out similarly if you had to drive down through greater Vancouver to the Tsawwassen terminal.  Also if you were heading to the Northern parts of Vancouver Island that would work out better.  I will leave some info below on how to get to Tsawwassen terminal from Downtown Vancouver and Vancouver Airport.

One last thing, if you are planning to take the car it is advisable to book the ticket in advance, you can just show up at the terminal but you may be waiting for a future sailing so that could be hours sitting in your car, as a foot passenger there is no need to pre book.


  • The next ferry service is the “Clipper” now this option is great if you happen to be in Seattle, as it is a direct service from downtown Seattle to Victoria Harbour so perfect if you don’t have a car! It is only for foot passengers, so not great if you have a car in Seattle. It is somewhat more expensive at around C$100 each way, compared to the C$20 BC ferry foot passenger ticket. 


  • Next, we have the Blackball ferry line. The MV Coho is also a car/passenger ferry that will drop you right into Victoria harbour, and like the Clipper it comes from the US side, but this time from Port Townsend. Port Townsend is on the North end of the Olympic peninsula, so directly south of Victoria on the map.  The sad thing is that there used to be a service from Victoria to Anacortes Island, which was great if you were heading to Seattle with your car but unfortunately, that is not running anymore, maybe again in the future?


Now to flying to Victoria;

If you are from out of state or from another country, the chances are that you will be flying into the island!

The main choices are the international airport “YYJ” or taking a seaplane from Vancouver harbour directly to Victoria harbour.  

  • The main airport for Victoria is the “Victoria International Airport” I say international but there are not that many direct international flights arriving or departing from here, Alaska air has a daily direct flight to and from Seattle, and West Jet has 2 flights on Saturday to Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. Most of the international flights will be arriving via Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, and a few others.  The airport is out of town, close to the ferry terminal in the northern part of the Saanich peninsular, it’s around a 30 minute drive typically.  It has the usual array of rental car outlets and a choice of shuttle and bus services downtown.
  • There are some other commercial non-international airports on the island, CFB Comox, Campbell River, Nanaimo, Port Hardy, Qualicum Beach, and Tofino, these may be more suitable if that is closer to where you are heading.
  • Now the other option is taking a seaplane, the advantage here is that it lands right in Victoria harbour, so you are right downtown when you get off. One of the main carriers is Harbor Air, they have services to Vancouver Harbor, Pitt Meadows, Richmond, and a few other places, generally close by.   Kenmore Air has a flight from Lake Union in Seattle if you happen to be in that area.  There is also Seaair and a couple of others. In general, the seaplane services are all fairly short trips to nearby places but do offer great scenic experiences.  You can also just go on a scenic flight and check out the area!

One last way, the quickest and most fun!

  • Helijet has scheduled flights from Vancouver harbour and Vancouver Airport direct to downtown Victoria, or Nanaimo. The flight to Victoria is only 35 minutes but does cost around the C$250 mark.  This is by far the quickest and most convenient way to get downtown from Vancouver if you can spare the extra bucks.

Anyway here are a few links to help you out;

Book a ticket for you and your car on BC Ferries.

Bus from downtown Victoria to Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal

Clipper Ferry bookings

BC Connector, bus from Vancouver to Victoria including Ferry

Harbour Air, Sea Plane in and out of Victoria Harbour

Consider contacting Ainsley Gower a local Victoria Realtor for all your real estate needs.