Victoria, British Columbia’s capital city, is a year-round vacation destination. Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria visitors can tour colourful gardens like those at Butchart, eat and drink at top Canadian spots, and get out into the spectacular natural environment. After exploring the city, you don’t need to fly, ferry, or cruise out of Victoria. Vancouver Island is big. At over 460 km long and 100 km wide (miles), there is a lot to see and do. One of the best day trips from Victoria is a scenic drive to the Cowichan Valley. And if you aren’t in a rush, plan to spend a few days exploring this gorgeous part of Vancouver Island. I know the perfect play to stay – keep reading to learn more.
Getting to the Cowichan Valley from Victoria
To begin your day trip from Victoria, the most straightforward route to the Cowichan Valley is a scenic one-hour drive along the Trans-Canada Highway. The Cowichan Region begins at the top of the Malahat Summit (about 25-minutes from Victoria).
Where to Eat in the Cowichan Valley
The Cowichan Valley is known for its mild climate, fertile soil and abundant, local food and wine. So much so, that renowned foodie James Barber referred to the Cowichan Valley as “Canada’s Provence.” As a result, you will find plenty of delicious food and wine on this day trip from Victoria. I’ve highlighted a few of my favourites to help you start exploring the Cowichan Valley’s culinary scene.
Located along the Trans-Canada Highway, the Malahat Chalet serves up food that is as incredible as the elevated view over Vancouver Island and the surrounding islands. Insider tip — the European-style baked goods are outstanding (and you can order goodies to go).
Pizzeria Prima Strada
Recognized as the best pizza restaurant in the Cowichan Valley in 2019, Pizzeria Prima Strada is located in the community of Cobble Hill. Here you can enjoy antipasti, wood-fired pizza, and a glass of something delicious. Save room for the house-made gelato. If not, you can always order a pint to go!
Alpina Restaurant – Villa Eyrie Resort
Located 1880 feet (m) above sea level, the Alpina Restaurant offers an eagle-eye view of Vancouver Island and Finlayson Arm. Stop for breakfast from 7:00 am or brunch on the weekend. Dinner service begins at 5:00 pm.
Udder Guys Ice Cream
This family favourite serves artisan ice cream and sells the coolest retro candy. Udder Guys make the peanut and gluten-free ice cream daily in Cowichan Bay.
Where to Shop in The Cowichan Valley
Visit the colourful seaside village of Cowichan Bay, and shop for local products like all-natural fragrances at Wild Coast Perfumes, beach-inspired clothing, decor, and gifts at Beachology , and Radway Studio and Boutique.
Best Day Trips from Victoria – Where to Stay in the Cowichan Valley
Immerse yourself in the Cowichan Valley lifestyle and stay amongst the vines at the Blue Grouse Winery. Known as the Grouse House, this “bed and bottle” accommodation is perfect for a family or two couples.
Travel Tips – Visiting the Cowichan Valley On a Day Trip From Victoria
- While you are in Victoria, be sure to check out a few of my favourite places to eat, drink, and shop in the city. And you won’t want to miss the beautiful beaches on this list. For more information and the latest events, visit the Destination Greater Victoria website.
- Lastly, visit the Tourism Cowichan website for more information on the region.
Have you been to Victoria or elsewhere on Vancouver Island? It’s my home, so please get in touch if have any questions about travel to British Columbia’s capital city or elsewhere on the island.