Even though winters are mild in Victoria, the excitement is tangible when the warm dry days of summer arrive. Victoria’s weather is more like a wet and dry season (rather than four seasons), and the dry season is in full force during the peak tourist period from June to September. Patios come out of hibernation, the cruise ships are in port and the markets and festivals are in full swing. Because of its maritime climate, Victoria doesn’t tend to get too hot; instead, temperatures hover in the mid- to low-20s (Celsius) with a few days here and there pushing 30 degrees. If you go out in the evening it’s a good idea to take a sweater, as it tends to cool off after dark. July and August are the busiest months and you’ll want to book hotels at least a month in advance. It’s also a good idea to make reservations ahead of time for the more popular restaurants. Streets and sidewalks are crowded and the tourist industry is in high gear (the Tourism Centre can be a zoo), with artisans, buskers and artists putting on shows along the waterfront. For many people, this is the best time to visit Victoria.
Even though the months of December to February see the most precipitation in Victoria, the city still boasts the lowest rainfall on Canada's west coast, getting way less rain than Vancouver. It’s a great time to visit if you don’t mind carting around an umbrella and like visiting places where the lines are minimal, if non-existent, and where there are decent deals on hotels and flights (except right around Christmas). Most attractions are still open—check schedules, though, as their visiting hours may be less—and it’s a great time to check out all the indoor attractions Victoria has to offer, such as museums, the Parliament buildings and the Bug Zoo. There are even some attractions, like the salmon run, that only happen in the off-season. In the mildest climate in Canada, you’ll get away with wearing a wool sweater or fleece under a light waterproof jacket for most of the winter. While the rest of Canada shivers in a deep freeze, you can enjoy flowers in full bloom as early as February.
October-November and March-May
Victoria is one big bloom of flowering trees from March to May and it really is a spectacle to behold. Streets lined with pink and white blooms leave a sweet scent in the air that heralds the arrival of spring. Days are mild with more sun starting to shine through, but layered clothes are still a good idea in March and April. Although September and October can be very mild, it is a good idea to pack a sweater just in case. The shoulder season is far less busy than the height of summer, yet the days are mild and prices for hotels have fallen from their peak rates. Generally you’ll find a laid-back, uncongested, environment.