Skip to Content

The Ferry From Vancouver to Victoria: A Complete Guide

How to get to Victoria from Vancouver, British Columbia?

(And you must visit the beautiful city where we live! We know of dozens of awesome things to do in Victoria.)

Many visitors take the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria.

It’s generally cheaper, easier and quicker than flying to Victoria, especially if you count the time checking in for the plane, extra bag fees, etc.

(The exception is if you’re already on a plane, flying to or within Canada, and are just connecting through Vancouver.)

Ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, BC

Ferry from Vancouver to Victoria

Below is a complete guide on the ferry to Victoria from Vancouver (and the reverse ferry from Vancouver to Victoria).

How to get to Victoria from Vancouver by ferry:

1) BC Ferries from Vancouver to Victoria

  • From Tsawwassen terminal
  • From Horseshoe Bay terminal

2) BC Ferries schedule

3) Services on BC Ferries 

4) Making reservations (Do you need a reservation on BC Ferries?)

5) Cost

6) Connector Bus from Vancouver to Victoria (With ferry service)

7) Public transit from Vancouver to Victoria

8) Taxi or shuttle from Vancouver Airport to ferry terminal

1) BC Ferries from Vancouver to Victoria

Victoria is on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. (It’s a bit confusing because Vancouver isn’t on Vancouver Island; Vancouver is located on the mainland of BC.)

The trip by vehicle and ferry on BC Ferries from downtown Vancouver to Victoria takes from 4 to 5 hours, depending on your departure terminal.

There are 2 Vancouver ferry terminals that you can depart from:

  • Tsawwassen
  • Horseshoe Bay

BC Ferries from Tsawwassen:

The Tsawwassen ferry terminal is the main terminal (south of Vancouver), and the one you want to depart from if you’re leaving from downtown Vancouver (or if you’re driving into Greater Vancouver on the TransCanada #1 Highway).

The scenic sail on BC Ferries is 1 hour and 35 minutes to Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal.

The Victoria ferry from Vancouver goes at least every 2 hours (more in the peak summer season), generally starting at 7:00 am.

The total trip time from Vancouver is about 4 hours.

Ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, BC

BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay:

If you’re coming from North or West Vancouver or Whistler, we suggest you take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to the Departure Bay terminal in Nanaimo.

From Nanaimo, you then drive down the TransCanada Highway (#1 Highway) to Victoria.

The ferry crossing time is 1 hour and 40 minutes.

The total trip time on this route is about 5 hours.

How to get to Victoria, BC, from Vancouver? BC Ferries offers regular service.

We used to live in West Vancouver, and whenever we visited Victoria, this is the route we took.

Now, you could alternatively drive through downtown Vancouver and on to Tsawwassen and take the ferry from there. Your total trip time from North or West Vancouver would be about the same (5 hours).

But you’d be fighting traffic congestion in downtown Vancouver – something to avoid, especially at rush hour – and occasionally a clogged tunnel delay (at the George Massey Tunnel) .

If you’re coming from Vancouver’s North Shore or Whistler

We think it’s simply more pleasant – and can be quicker – to sail to Nanaimo instead and drive down the scenic highway on Vancouver Island to get to Victoria.

2) BC Ferries schedule

Ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island:

Here’s the ferry schedule from Vancouver to Victoria and Nanaimo:

Victoria ferry schedule from Tsawwassen: See here

Ferry schedule from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo: See here

Ferry from Vancouver Island to Vancouver:

Here’s the schedule from Victoria and Nanaimo back to Vancouver:

Ferry schedule from Victoria to Tsawwassen: See here

Nanaimo ferry schedule to Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay): See here

3) Services: What to do on BC Ferries

It's very comfortable taking the ferry from Victoria to Vancouver (and the return).

On BC Ferries between Vancouver and Victoria, you’ll find many amenities.

It’s really like a mini-cruise.

The ferry between Vancouver and Victoria is very scenic!

You’ll find an excellent gift shop (stocked with many books by BC authors), a kids’ playroom and many comfortable seating areas.

Of course, you can walk around on the outside decks.

When the weather is good, we like plopping ourselves down for a while on a bench in the sunshine and soaking in the views, especially when the ferry squeezes through the very scenic Active Pass.

Cafeteria:

There’s also a cafeteria which features a White Spot menu (burgers, Caesar salad, etc., for lunch and dinner) and a café for cappuccino and baked goodies.

Pacific Buffet:

In addition to the regular cafeteria, a separate dining room – the Pacific Buffet – offers a complete buffet meal.

On one ferry crossing for lunch, for example, we helped ourselves to barbecued Korean riblets, Chinese chicken dumplings (Dim Sum style), fish in a cream sauce and other hot items, along with lettuce and spinach salad.

That was followed by a selection of desserts ranging from cheese cake to chocolate brownies.

The cost for an adult is $21 CAD (about $16 USD) for breakfast, $22.25 ($17 USD) for a hot lunch and $26 for dinner (about $20 USD).

You can buy beer and wine in the Pacific Buffet for an additional cost.

Complete Pacific Buffet menus: See here

Coastal naturalist:

In summer, a coastal naturalist travels onboard and gives a 20-minute talk outside on deck.

What’s the difference between a Stellar sea lion and a California sea lion? That’s one tidbit of information you might learn.

Answer?

The Stellar sea lions you commonly see here in our British Columbia coastal waters are twice as big as Californian sea lions. The males can weigh up to 2,200 lbs (females up to 800 lbs).

The Stellar sea lions you commonly see in British Columbia coastal waters are twice as big as Californian sea lions.

Another distinction – California sea lions bark like dogs, while Stellar sea lions make a low throaty sound, like a long deep burp.

4) BC Ferries reservations

We recommend you make ferry reservations in advance (otherwise, it’s first come, first served).

The BC Ferries reservation fee is only $10 ($8+ USD) if made 7 or more days in advance. It’s $17 ($13+ USD) if made within 7 days.

And a reservation guarantees you’ll get on the ferry at the reserved time.

If you don’t make a reservation in peak season, you could wait for hours in a ferry line-up. And you don’t want to waste precious vacation time waiting for the ferry to get to Victoria!

We personally always make reservations now, even middle of the day, mid-week, in winter. This gives us certainty – and peace of mind…

BC Ferries reservation cut-off times

You must be at the ferry booth to redeem your reservation between 1 hour and 30 minutes before the ferry sailing.

If you’re booked on a 5:00 pm ferry, this means you have to be at the ferry booth sometime between 4:00 and 4:30 pm.

If you arrive later, say 4:35 pm, you’ll lose your reservation and go to the end of the line (where you may or may not get on the 5:00 pm sailing, depending on how busy the ferries are).

To reserve with BC Ferries: See here

5) How much is a BC Ferry ticket from Vancouver to Victoria?

Standard ferry cost Vancouver to Victoria:

The cost to take the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, BC, ranges:

  • Pay at the terminal: $77.10 (about $63 USD) for a car and driver
  • Reservation: $94.10 (about $76 USD) for a car and driver (where you pay a $17 CAD reservation fee in advance, but pay the rest at the terminal)
  • Pre-pay reservation and ferry cost: $87.10 (about $71 USD) for a car and driver (when you book more than 7 days in advance)

These ticket costs apply to a standard vehicle, up to 20 feet long.

Change fees – to change the travel date – are $5.

Each additional passenger, aged 12 or older, costs $17.60 (about $14.50 USD). Children aged 5 to 11 cost $8.80 each (about $7+ USD). Children under 5 are free.

BC Ferries Saver fares:

As well, there are new “Saver” tickets. These are the cheapest BC Ferries tickets for a one-way ride (car and driver) between Vancouver and Victoria.

They cost from $49 to $76.10 (from about $40 to $62 USD).

You have to pay in full when you book.

You can only get these Saver fares if you book less busy times, for example, a mid-day sailing on a Tuesday or Wednesday, or the first early morning sailing or the very latest sailing of the day.

These Saver fares will pop up on the BC Ferries’ website when you enter these less busy days and times in the booking screen.

All costs:

For full details of the ferry cost to Victoria (including reservation fees and “Saver” tickets), see BC Ferries’ Fare and Fee Information page.

Bottom line? Vancouver to Victoria ferry cost

You’re looking at a rough cost of about $104.70 ($85+ USD) for a car and 2 adults to travel one way from Vancouver to Victoria on the ferry.

For 2 people, unless you snag a great Saver fare, it’s less expensive to take your car on the ferry than ditching the car and using the BC Ferries Connector bus and ferry (see below).

For current BC Ferries prices for all routes: See here

6) Vancouver to Victoria bus and ferry (Connector bus)

The BC Ferries Connector bus operates year-round and takes you from the downtown Vancouver bus terminal (Pacific Central Station) to the downtown Victoria terminal (Capital City Station).

Is there a bus from Vancouver to Victoria?

Yes.

The BC Ferries Connector bus operates year-round and takes you from the downtown Vancouver bus terminal (Pacific Central Station) to the downtown Victoria terminal (Capital City Station).

Hotel pick-up and drop-off is available.

It also offers bus/ferry connections from the Vancouver cruise ship terminal and Vancouver’s international airport to and from Victoria.

Bus from Vancouver to Victoria

BC Ferries Connector Schedule: See here

Cost of the bus from Vancouver to Victoria

The cost of the BC Ferries Connector for an adult from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria is $50.50 (about $41 USD) for the bus.

Then you have to add on the ferry passenger fare, which is $17.60 (about $14.50 USD).

The total is thus just under $70 CAD (about $57 USD) for a one-way fare between Vancouver and Victoria, for one person, on the Connector bus.

Rates are less for children aged 5 to 11 and for British Columbia seniors (65+) and students.

See complete pricing here.

BC Ferries Connector bus and ferry tickets: Book tickets here

7) Public transit from Vancouver to Victoria

To save money, you can use public transit to and from the ferry terminals in Vancouver and Victoria.

From Vancouver, start by catching the Sky Train’s Canada Line to the Bridgeport Station. Then take TransLink Bus 620 from the Bridgeport Station to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.

At the ferry terminal, buy your passenger ticket to Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal.

Once at Swartz Bay, take the BC Transit Bus 70 (express bus) or BC Transit Bus 72 (not express) to downtown Victoria.

For more details on taking the public bus between Vancouver and Victoria, see this TransLink blog post.

8) Travel from Vancouver airport to Tsawwassen ferry terminal

The same BC Ferries Connector bus that operates between the Vancouver and Victoria ferry terminals (see #6 above) also runs from the Vancouver Airport to the Vancouver ferry terminal in Tsawwassen – and from there to Victoria.

Until March 31, 2022, it operates daily as follows:

Leave YVR Airport (to Victoria):

It leaves twice a day from the Vancouver Airport at:

  • 9:40 am – Arrive in Victoria at 12:35 pm (Swartz Bay ferry terminal) and 1:20 pm (Victoria bus terminal)
  • 3:40 pm – Arrive in Victoria at 6:35 pm (Swartz Bay ferry terminal) and 7:20 pm (Victoria bus terminal)

Leave Victoria (for YVR Airport):

It leaves twice a day from the Victoria bus terminal at:

  • 9:45 am – Arrive at the  Vancouver Airport at 1:25 pm
  • 3:45 pm – Arrive at the  Vancouver Airport at 7:25 pm

Vancouver Airport (YVR) schedule on the BC Ferries Connector bus (to March 31, 2022): See here

Cost of BC Ferries Connector bus from YVR:

The cost to or from the Vancouver Airport is $60.50 per adult (about $48 USD) for the bus plus the BC Ferries passenger fare of $17.60 per adult (about $14.50 USD) – for a total cost of $78.10 one-way (about $62 USD).

See complete pricing for seniors, children, etc. here.

Taxi from Vancouver Airport to ferry terminal:

Alternatively, you can take a taxi from YVR to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal.

Time-wise, allow about 30 minutes (perhaps 40 minutes at peak times). The taxi cost will run about $60 to $75 ($48 to $60 USD), depending on traffic.

For two people, you might find it more convenient (and just a little more expensive) to take a taxi from YVR to the ferry terminal, travel as a foot passenger on BC Ferries, then take a taxi from the Victoria ferry terminal to downtown Victoria.

The taxi cost from the ferry terminal in Swartz Bay to downtown Victoria is about $70 to $80 ($56 to $64 USD).

Experience more of Vancouver Island and BC’s Gulf Islands!

Parksville area | From swimming at warm shallow beaches to caving to spying the goats on the roof, you’ll love these crazy fun things to do in Parksville and Qualicum Beach.

Victoria | Wondering where to stay? We love these delightful luxury B&Bs and hotels in Victoria. Be sure to lace up your sneakers and check out these easy scenic walks in Victoria too!

Salt Spring Island | Discover 18 magical things to do on Salt Spring Island (only a 35-minute ferry ride from Victoria or 90-minute ferry ride from Vancouver).

Tofino | When the weather is wild and bad, head to Tofino for storm watching!

Planning your next trip?

See the following helpful services:

Our Travel Resources Guide | Get airline booking tips. Discover great travel, tour and car rental companies. And find crazy useful trip planning info!

Booking.com | Score a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one.

GetYourGuide | Check out the best local guided tours and book skip-the-line tickets to attractions.

World Nomads | Never travel without insurance! World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, with coverage for more than 150 activities, as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.

Our Travel Shop | Find the best travel gear. We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.

CDC | We follow CDC travel guidelines to see what medications and vaccines are needed for trips. You can get vaccines at your pharmacy, travel medical clinic or doctor’s office.

Pssst! If you make a booking or purchase through our site, we may earn a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks!


Hey! Pin this to Pinterest!

Taking the Ferry From Vancouver to Victoria, BC

Photo credits: 2, 9 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | 1, 3 to 7 BC Ferries | 12 to 17 V2V Ferry | 10, 11 BC Ferries Connector


About the authors:

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!

Wade Harrison

Monday 8th of August 2022

Hi! My wife and I (from Atlanta GA) are planning a trip in October around a week-long conference she has Victoria.

We're heading out a week early in hopes of some island-hopping (whether Gulf/CA or San Juan/US). But we've also elected to fly up via Vancouver as neither of us has been there, and we hear it's a great city to spend a day or two in before heading out for an island adventure.

We'll rent a car in Vancouver.

BUT I am scratching my head over BC Ferries in my attempt to contrive a ferry trip from Vancouver to Swartz Bay in which we stop off for some Gulf Island hopping.

I seem to be able to get us from Tsawwassen to Mayne or Galiano one-way, and can find various island-to-island routes available once there.

But then getting from there to Swartz Bay/Sidney (one-way) keeps turning up nothing. Is that intentionally forbidden? Would we have to ferry to Swartz Bay first, then go back to the Island? I can't find that stated anywhere but it seems impossible?

I haven't dug into San Juans yet, other than to determine "you can't get there from Vancouver" (at least not efficiently) except via Anacourtes WA!

Janice and George

Monday 15th of August 2022

Hi Wade,

First, great idea to fly to Vancouver first, explore some of the Gulf Islands, then end up in Victoria for the conference!

From Vancouver (Tsawwassen terminal), you can take a ferry to Salt Spring Island or any of the other smaller main islands (Mayne, Galiano, Pender). From there, you can work your way to Sidney on Vancouver Island (Swartz Bay terminal). From Sidney, you'd drive to Victoria.

In the summer, there are usually non-stop ferries from Vancouver to Salt Spring and Galiano Islands, for example. But off-season, to go to one island from Vancouver, you might have to stop at another island first. And then to hop to another island from a smaller island, you might have to go back to Swartz Bay or Vancouver first!

With a week before the conference, we'd suggest at least 2 or 3 nights in Vancouver (it's a beautiful city, and there's tons to keep you busy there!), and then visiting only a maximum of two Gulf Islands before going to Vancouver Island (and Victoria).

Also, in October, the islands get quite quiet, so make Salt Spring Island one of your Gulf Islands. It'll still give you the island "feel" but will have a bit more going on (e.g., art galleries and restaurants that are open). Salt Spring connects easily to both Vancouver and Victoria by ferry.

Frankly, you could do 4 nights in Vancouver (really only 3 days aside from travel days) and 3 nights on Salt Spring and have an amazing pre-conference vacay. (Less toing and froing and ferry fussing too.) And most visitors who end up passing through Vancouver wish they had more time to enjoy the city.

Hope this helps :-).

Aleisha

Friday 8th of April 2022

I appreciate this post as we are planning a trip in the near future. I am a little confused on one point, both your article and the ferry's website indicate that the ferry ride should take about ninety minutes; however, you also suggest that the travel time may take up to four hours. Is this due to accessing the port from downtown Vancouver and the need to arrive earlier than the stated departure time? Any clarity you can provide on this subject would be most welcome. Thank you!

Janice and George

Friday 8th of April 2022

Hi Aleisha, Yes, you have to budget driving time from downtown Vancouver to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. Depending on traffic? 45 minutes? If you're driving and have a reservation, you have to get there at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure. We plan on being there 45 minutes in advance. (And we always have a reservation.) The ferry could be late (often it is in peak times), so that's a bit more time. (You might want to think of an extra 15 minutes in case it's late.) Then you've got the 90 minute-ferry ride. At the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, it takes a little time for cars and everyone to unload and get off the ferry. And finally, there's the drive from Swartz Bay ferry terminal to downtown Victoria - maybe 45 minutes? So that's how it all adds up to 4 hours! The time on the ferry is enjoyable though - think of it like a mini-cruise :-). Hope this helps... And have a great trip!

Annie

Tuesday 22nd of June 2021

Very helpful. It looks like V2V Empress is no longer operating. If you ever know of a new similar alternative I would love to know. This is for a trip in October 2021. Thank you

Janice and George

Wednesday 23rd of June 2021

Hi Annie, Thanks for commenting! Yes, you're right. Sadly the V2V Empress passenger-only ferry has shut down. (And we've updated our post so it no longer displays this service.) We expect there'll be a replacement in future. Before the V2V, there was another similar outfit, offering direct passenger ferry service from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria. Will that happen by October, 2021? Hmmm... Of course, we'll update our post again if such a service pops up in future! There's sure to be a demand for it, once people start traveling again like they used to :-).

Vanessa

Wednesday 8th of July 2020

Super helpful guide! Thanks for posting.

Janice and George

Friday 10th of July 2020

So glad you found it helpful :-).