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5 BEST Tours from Vancouver to Butchart Gardens (+Our Review!)

5 BEST Tours from Vancouver to Butchart Gardens (+Our Review!)

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Want to know the best tours to the Butchart Gardens from Vancouver? Well, I’ve got you covered!

As a Vancouver local, I’ve visited the gardens many times, both on tours and on my own. So, I know how difficult it can be to sift through online tours without knowing which one to book.

To help those planning to visit, I have sorted through the top tours so you don’t have to and come up with the 5 best options, including my top choice, which we did last summer!

So, if you’re looking for the best tours, keep reading so you can get back to enjoying your trip to Vancouver!

Our Top Choice

Bailey at the Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC

Don’t have time to read the full article? Our personal FAVORITE tour is this full day Butchart Garden tour from Vancouver that includes your admission fee to the gardens and pick up at most hotels in Vancouver! You can book this top reviewed tour HERE as well as see over 1,400 reviews.

Tip: Book online well in advance. This is a POPULAR tour with 24-hour free cancelation, and it will book up, so secure your spot now!

5 Best Vancouver to Butchart Gardens Tours

1. Full-Day Tour with Ferry and Free Time in Victoria City (our personal favorite option!)

Stairs leading up to a viewpoint at The Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC
Honestly, it’s memorizing!
The-parliamentary-building-in-Victoria-BC-1
The history and architecture are rich in Victoria!
  • Highlights: Skip-the-line tickets to the Butchart Gardens, free time to explore Victoria city at your own pace
  • Inclusions: Hotel pick-up in Vancouver, ferry and coach transport, skip-the-line tickets to Butchart Gardens, tour guide.
  • Tour length: Approx. 12 hours
  • Price: $264 CAD
  • Best for: Those who want to see both Victoria city and the Butchart Gardens. Those who enjoy free time to explore at their own pace.

This full-day Victoria and Butchart Gardens tour is our personal favorite tour! We love it because it organizes the entire day for you, but you also get lots of free time in both the Butchart Gardens and Victora city. I also love that this tour lets you skip the line at Butchart Gardens because it can get busy – especially in the summer!

The tour begins with a morning pick-up from hotels in downtown Vancouver. After, we headed straight to the ferry where we explored and stretched our legs. I loved grabbing a coffee and standing on the ferry deck to take in the views. It’s a bit like a scenic cruise – if you’re lucky you might even spot a whale or eagle! If you’re hungry, there is food available for purchase here.

Once the ferry pulls into the Swartz Bay terminal in Victoria, it’s time for the main event! We headed directly to Butchart Gardens with our guide and driver who shared some interesting stories and historical facts along the way. Because we already had a skip-the-line entrance ticket, we breezed past any lines and started enjoying the gardens as soon as we arrived.

If you have kids, make a beeline for the Rose Carousel with its hand-carved wooden animals from horses to orca whales and even a polar bear! Whether you’re with kids or not, make sure to head to the Italian Garden which feels like a little piece of Italy, complete with a spot to grab amazing gelato! For one of the best views (and photo spots!), head to the lookout point over the Sunken Garden.

After 90 minutes soaking up the garden in all its glory, we met back up with our guide and driver who then dropped us off in downtown Victoria. We had 2 hours of downtime in Victoria, which I loved because I prefer exploring at my own pace. I recommend getting fish and chips from Red Fish Blue Fish, exploring Chinatown’s quirky alleys, and photographing the impressive Parliament Buildings and Fairmont Empress Hotel (that I think looks like a castle!). The waterfront area in Victoria is a photographer’s dream! 

After our time in Victoria wraped up, we made our way back to Vancouver via the ferry in the evening – so hopefully you’ll have that gorgeous golden light or a sunset to watch, depending on the time of year!

It’s a long day since the tour is about 12 hours long, but I like that there are lots of opportunities to take a break and soak up the scenery – whether you’re sitting in the gardens or relaxing on the ferry ride. It costs $265 CAD per person which includes all your transportation, admission to the gardens, and your guide. You just have to pay for food and any souvenirs you buy while exploring Victoria! 

This 5-star tour is highly rated as one of the most popular Vancouver to Butchart Gardens tours, so I recommend booking this tour (it’s our top-rated) ASAP here!

2. TWO-Day Victoria and Butchart Gardens Tour with Overnight at the Inn at Laurel Point 

Bailey at the Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC
So peaceful!
Bailey walks down Fantan Alley in China Town in Victoria BC
Exploring Fantan Alley in our free time!
  • Highlights: Scenic ferry to Victoria, spend the night in Victoria, seaplane ride back to Vancouver, time at the Butchart Gardens, free time in Victoria
  • Inclusions: Overnight stay at a 4-star hotel, ferry to Victoria, seaplane back to Vancouver, transport to the Butchart Gardens, brief city tour, Butchart Gardens admission ticket
  • Tour length: 2 full-days
  • Price: $699 CAD
  • Best for: Those who don’t want to be rushed and enjoy a comprehensive tour with transport both by boat and floatplane!

When I say this 2-day Victoria and Butchart Gardens tour is the ultimate package, I mean it. It includes ferry and seaplane rides, time at Butchart Gardens, an overnight stay, and a day in Victoria. It’s basically the best of all the tours I’ve talked about, so it’s perfect for travelers who want to see Victoria’s highlights without feeling rushed!

This 2-day extravaganza starts with hotel pickup from downtown Vancouver and the ferry ride to Victoria. The first attraction you tick off the list is Butchart Gardens. You have about 90 minutes to see the best of the gardens while possibly popping into The Blue Poppy (the Butchart family’s former greenhouse) for lunch made from the freshest seasonal ingredients.

The awaiting coach takes you on a brief tour around Victoria before dropping you at the 4-star Inn at Laurel Point. The inn’s convenient waterfront location means the best of Victoria is waiting on your doorstep. You have all afternoon and the entire next day here in Victoria. I suggest enjoying dinner at the onsite Aura Waterfront Restaurant that night before seeing the Parliament Buildings magically alight.

The next day, visit the Royal BC Museum with its 7 million artifacts (you probably won’t be able to see them all!), indulge in afternoon tea fit for royalty at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, or squeeze in a whale-watching tour since this 2-Day Victoria tour you’re on is offered from April and October which is also the best time to spot whales!

At 5 pm, the coach will take you from your hotel to the float plane terminal for your scenic seaplane ride back to Vancouver. I think this is the best way to finish up a visit to Victoria and the timing couldn’t be better. The golden hour views over the Georgia Strait are straight (pun intended) out of a postcard.

Seriously, they take care of every detail making this the ultimate Butchart Gardens and Victoria tour from Vancouver! This 2-day experience starts at $699 CAD for two people for a standard room, although room upgrades are available. The cost increases in the peak summer months, so the best deals will be in May or October. The tour includes roundtrip hotel transfers, admission fees, ferry and seaplane rides, and one night’s accommodation.

When you’re ready to spoil yourself, you can check availability and book this overnight tour here

3. Roundtrip Seaplane from Vancouver to Victoria with Shuttle to Butchart Gardens (best tour for scenic views!)

Vancouver city from the window of a sea plane
Flying into Vancouver!
Bailey sits on a bench surounded by greenery at The Butchart Gardens
You won’t stop smiling!
  • Highlights: Ride in a seaplane with the most epic views, lots of free time in Victoria, shuttle to the Gardens
  • Inclusions: Roundtrip seaplane transport from Vancouver to Victoria, ground transport to Butchart Gardens, Butchart Gardens admission ticket
  • Tour length: Full-day, total time depends on your chosen departure time
  • Price: $725 CAD
  • Best for: Those who want to ride in a seaplane and skip the lengthy ferry.

I recommend this seaplane tour to Victoria with Butchart Gardens for a few reasons! First off, hello, you get to fly in a seaplane! That’s an experience in itself. Second, you get so much independent time at the gardens and Victoria. We’re talking roughly two hours at Butchart Gardens and four hours in Victoria – which is the most of any of the tours we’ve talked about so far. 

This tour is the quickest way to get to Victoria and I’d argue the most scenic too. Taking off from the harbor in Vancouver, the views from the air are just incredible. In 35 minutes, you’ll fly over the Georgia Strait, seeing the rugged Gulf Islands, Mount Baker in the distance (casually located in a different country), Salt Spring Island, and Butchart Gardens from above. Seaplane journeys don’t get better than this!

Arriving in Victoria, you have a bit of free time to see Victoria’s Inner Harbour before getting the shuttle to Butchart Gardens. In just over two hours, you can see precisely why this is one of Victoria’s best attractions. Marvel at the Sunken Garden’s green-covered walls, let the Italian Garden transport you to the Mediterranean and stop to smell the roses in the Rose Garden.

The shuttle takes you back to Victoria, giving you ample time to see the sights since you’ll have roughly four hours before checking in for your flight back to the mainland.

I highly recommend Tea at the Empress, a world-famous high tea experience. I mean, your finger sandwiches, scones, and pastries are served on china plates Queen Elizabeth II gifted the hotel in the 1930s! The food is paired with premium loose-leaf teas and live classical music. It’s one of Victoria’s best experiences, perfectly fitting into this schedule. It’s meant to be!

You can return from Victoria’s Inner Harbor in the afternoon or evening (you’ll organize this beforehand). But the last flight typically departs at 6 pm, getting back in time for dinner at one of Vancouver’s great restaurants.

This full-day tour costs $572 CAD and is a seasonal experience typically available from May to October. When you book online, you’ll select an available morning departure time and then arrange your return flight later on. The tour includes two seaplane flights, the shuttle to the gardens, and your entrance fee. Hotel transportation from Vancouver isn’t included, but you’ll take off and land back at Coal Harbour in Vancouver’s downtown, so it’s easy to take public transport or catch a taxi.

To maximize your time in Victoria book this once-in-a-lifetime seaplane tour online here!

Related Read: Speaking of transportation, read our guide to helicopter tours in Vancouver if you want to see more of the area from a bird’s eye view.

4. 13-Hour Tour via Ferry and Coach with 3 Hours to Explore Victoria (best tour for enjoying Victoria city)

Japanese gardens at The Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC
Japanese Gardens inside Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC
Bailey on the outside deck of the BC ferry on her way to victoria from Vancouver on a tour
Coffees on the outer deck – that’s the only way!
  • Highlights: Lots of free time in Victoria, visit the Butchart Gardens in the afternoon when it is less busy
  • Inclusions: Hotel pick-up in Vancouver, ferry and coach transport, tickets to Butchart Gardens, tour guide.
  • Tour length: Approx. 13 hours
  • Price: $277 CAD
  • Best for: Those who don’t mind a longer tour and want more time to explore Victoria city

This tour to Victoria and Butchart Gardens was actually voted “Best Day Trip in the World” by TripAdvisor a few years ago and I think it’s pretty special. You get more free time in Victoria than the previous tour and the tour operators try to time your visits to popular spots to avoid the crowds which I appreciate.

Your day begins around 9 am with hotel pickup in a mini-coach before heading to the ferry. What’s really nice about this tour, is that your ride drives right onboard! But there’s no need to stay in the vehicle, head to the passenger decks to get some fresh ocean air and take in the views on the 90-minute journey. 

First up, is the gorgeous Butchart Gardens of course. You’ll have 1.5 hours to explore independently, so you can spend time in whichever garden you choose – there are five main gardens here to see! The Japanese Garden is the most serene spot. But for an iconic Instagram photo, the Rose Garden’s rose arches are calling your name!

Heading into Victoria after, a big plus of this tour is having three hours to wander around, rather than two hours or less like other tours. I definitely think it’s worth spending a little more time in one of our favorite places to visit in British Columbia. Your tour guide will help direct you to the best spots for lunch or a sweet treat, depending on what you’re craving.

You can stroll along Victoria’s cobblestone streets, take in the impressive architecture, and walk along the waterfront – which is especially beautiful in the summer. If you’re craving seafood, head to Fisherman’s Wharf where there are a lot of cute little restaurants and shops. Once your time is up, it’s back on the mini-bus to drive onto the ferry for the trip back to Vancouver.

This 13-hour tour costs $275 CAD which covers all of your transportation for the day and admission to Butchart Gardens. If you’re ready to see why this day trip has hundreds of 5-star reviews, head here to book your spot on this tour from Vancouver!

If you’re ready to see why this day trip has hundreds of 5-star reviews, head here to book your spot on this tour from Vancouver!

5. Victoria and Butchart Gardens Tour from Vancouver 

Five steam ships from the Steamship Water Ballet in Victoria BC
Beautiful garden arches at The Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC
So beautiful!
  • Highlights: Scenic ferry to Victoria, lots of time to enjoy the Butchart Gardens
  • Inclusions: Roundtrip ferry transport from Vancouver to Victoria, ground transport to Butchart Gardens, Butchart Gardens admission ticket, hotel pick-up/drop-off
  • Tour length: 13 hours
  • Price: $249 CAD
  • Best for: Those who want the most time exploring the Butchart Gardens

This Victoria and Butchart Gardens tour is perfect if you want extra time at the gardens and less time in Victoria (about 2 and 1.5 hours, respectively).

The knowledgeable local driver/guide on this tour is so good at giving you information and stories about the gardens and Vancouver Island before you get to explore on your own. Shoutout to our fantastic guide, Ocean, he was awesome!

After the scenic ferry ride over to Victoria, you’ll have two hours to explore the sprawling Butchart Gardens. With 55 acres (roughly 23 hectares) to see, I recommend spending your 2 hours sticking to the four central gardens: the Sunken, Rose, Japanese, and Italian Gardens. From the Sunken Garden’s overflowing green walls to the Rose Garden’s countless rose varieties, you’ll feel like you’ve been swept into a fairytale. Just remember to keep an eye on the time!

Back on the bus, you get a mini Victoria tour as your guide takes you past Chinatown and the Inner Harbour, spilling some cool facts along the way. With about 1.5 hours downtown, I recommend sticking to the Inner Harbour area and checking out the Fairmont Empress Hotel and BC Parliament Buildings. 

All too soon, it’s time to get the bus back to the ferry and return to Vancouver. Just so you know, BC Ferries has got you covered if you need a snack onboard. The ferries feel like mini cruise ships with how spacious they are!

This 13-hour tour costs $249 CAD. That covers transport from a few different downtown Vancouver locations, ferry tickets, garden admission, and a professional driver/guide. The tour is offered starting in late April for the spring blossoms all the way until October when the spectacular fall colors emerge!

If this tour sounds perfect for you, click here to secure your spot.

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

How far is Vancouver to Butchart Gardens?

View from the ferry to Vancouver Island from Vancouver on a sunny day in summer
On the ferry to Victoria!

Don’t let the distance on the map deceive you, as the two destinations aren’t really that far apart. Thanks to ferries and seaplanes, it’s also super easy to travel between Vancouver and Victoria! Once you’re in Victoria, it’s about a 35-minute drive to Butchart Gardens as they are just outside the city.

The fastest way to travel to Victoria is via seaplane, which only takes 35 minutes. You’ll also leave from Coal Harbour, which is only 5 minutes from downtown if you’re staying in Vancouver.

If you book this seaplane tour you’ll have more time to explore Victoria (and Butchart Gardens!) since there isn’t as much time spent in transit. Plus, the “travel time” feels like a highlight because the scenery on the way there and back is spectacular. And if you’ve never landed on the water before, a seaplane flight around Vancouver is a must (I promise it’s not scary!).

Alternatively, you can take the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria. This is what we usually did because we wanted to visit Vancouver Island regularly and seaplane flights are a bit too pricey for weekly use – save that for if you’re planning a honeymoon in Vancouver!

Taking a BC ferry gets you the same stunning Gulf Island views as you would from the seaplane, just from a different angle. If you travel during whale watching season (May to November), you might even get a surprise visitor! But, you’ll have to account for extra travel time. The Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal is 45 minutes from downtown Vancouver and then it’s a 90-minute ferry ride to Victoria’s harbour.

With this Butchart Gardens tour from Vancouver, you’ll take the ferry, but all the logistics are planned out. It includes transport from your Vancouver hotel to the ferry terminal (and your vehicle drives right onto the ferry!), ferry tickets, and transport to Butchart Gardens once you’re on Vancouver Island. It’s a longer day, but every detail is taken care of, so you can enjoy the journey instead of stressing about missing the ferry! It’s also roughly half the price of a seaplane tour.

Why should I take a tour of Butchart Gardens from Vancouver?

The amazing Butchart Gardens
A view of the sunken garden at Butchart Gardens

The number one reason I recommend taking a tour of Butchart Gardens from Vancouver is the fact you don’t have to worry about any logistics. There are quite a few moving parts to get from Vancouver to Butchart Gardens, so a tour takes all the stress out of the day by letting someone else arrange transport – often directly from your hotel.

The other reason I love tours is they offer you a personalized experience. Your knowledgeable guide shares fascinating facts and insider tips and can answer any questions you have.

But why visit Butchart Gardens itself? I’m so glad you asked! Nearly one million people visit the Canadian National Historic Site annually, and it’s one of the top attractions in British Columbia. Established in 1904, the attraction’s crowning glory is the Sunken Garden, which used to be a limestone quarry. There are literally millions of plants, including 2,500 roses in the Rose Garden alone! It’s a true feast for the senses. 

Another reason I think Butchart Gardens is a must-visit is because it’s a year-round destination. While spring and summer are the best for blooms, the autumn leaves are incredibly eye-catching, as is the magical Christmas transformation.

Of course, if you head to Victoria on your own, you can always take a tour of Butchart Gardens from Victoria.

Related Read: If you’re a nature lover, make sure you plan to see Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island. The natural forested area is absolutely beautiful!

Other Things to do while you’re in Vancouver

Bailey walks on the Lynn Canyon suspension Bridge, Vancouver
The Lynn Canyon suspension bridge is a must!
Bailey sits at the Boatshed Restaurant in Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC
Enjoying the sunset from The Boatshed restaurant in Kitsilano.

Vancouver is a city filled with tons of things to do and see. So after your trip to Victoria, be sure not to miss some of the top attractions and activities:

  • Go whale watching – It’s not just people who flock to Vancouver every year! From the beautiful black and white orcas to the lively humpbacks, going whale watching in Vancouver makes for a truly unforgettable memory. This half-day whale watching tour offers an amazing experience with a guarantee you’ll see whales!
  • Eat ALL the food! – Vancouver is a foodie destination. Showcasing cuisine from all around the world in top-rated restaurants, you really need to eat out a few times while in Vancouver. For breakfast, Jam Cafe or Medina are our go-tos. For Asian cuisine, you can’t pass up Minami for sushi or Danbo for ramen. You can also join this highly-rated food tour that takes you to some of the city’s best restaurants in Gastown.
  • See Granville Island – Granville Island has such a fun energy and you can easily spend an afternoon wandering through the streets seeing the street performers or checking out the famous Granville Public Market. If you’re short on time or want a stress-free stop, there are some Granville Island tours we love like this VIP market access tour where you’ll get to sample all the best food!
  • Explore Kitsilano – One of our favorite areas in all of Vancouver is Kitsilano. This suburb is super trendy and has many cute stores, cafes, and restaurants that are well worth checking out. On top of that, Kitsilano Beach is one of the best beaches in Vancouver and the perfect place to relax. It’s also our favorite place to watch the sunset.

Where to Stay in Vancouver, Canada

Hyatt Regency Vancouver
Photo credit: Hyatt Regency Vancouver

Vancouver is one of the most popular cities in Canada. The fact is that in the summer and winter, the city books up very fast. Booking your hotel or hostel well in advance is the only way to secure the best place to stay for you!

For more info on the best areas and hotels, check out my complete guide on where to stay in Vancouver that breaks down everything you need to know before choosing the right hotel! Or have a look at my recommendations below for my favorite hotels and hostels in Vancouver.

Hyatt Regency Vancouver – $$$

The Hyatt Regency Vancouver has the perfect location halfway between Stanley Park and Gastown. As you can imagine, it’s a luxury stay in a large hotel chain that is very highly reviewed! It has an outdoor hot tub, a gym, a Starbucks on-site, and is within walking distance to top sights.

Rooms start at $233 CAD and are clean, spacious, and very well-kept. So if you can afford to spend a little more, we recommend treating yourself to this hotel! You can check availability, prices, and book your stay here.

Times Square Suites – $$

For a beautiful hotel close to Stanley Park, you should opt for the Times Square Suites. It’s very hard to fault this hotel, and we think the location is amazing. Plus, the suites are spacious yet have a cozy feel with kitchenettes and gas fireplaces. This hotel feels luxurious yet still affordable, with prices starting at $196 CAD when you book ahead online.

The Cambie Hostel Gastown – $

The Cambie Hostel Gastown is an overall good budget choice. The location is in the heart of Gastown and close to lots of bars and restaurants. Attached to the hostel is a very lively bar too. The rooms are clean, but we felt the bathrooms were a little cramped.

It’s perfect for backpackers on a budget and is relatively cheap for being so central (starting at $90 CAD). Yet, it still offers quality accommodations. To snag this deal, you’ll want to reserve a room on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com!

Click here to browse all hotels in Vancouver!

Renting a Car in British Columbia

A rural road with Mt Currie in the background
Road trips are the best way to explore Canada!

If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province, and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie at The Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, BC
Thanks for reading!

Once you visit Butchart Gardens for yourself, you’ll see exactly why it’s so famous. Getting there from Vancouver does take a little extra planning, but you can let someone else handle all the details by taking one of these tours we’ve talked about with transportation included. Your trip to these incredible gardens will be stress-free and you can enjoy the experience even more!

If you found this article useful, check out our other blogs about Canada here. We’ve visited spots all over Canada (and all over the world) and love sharing information and helping others have an incredible stay. Below, I’ve included some blogs about destinations in British Columbia to get you started.

15 BEST Things to do in Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island

35 EPIC Things to do in Tofino, BC

13 Things to KNOW Before Visiting Yoho National Park