With everything from breathtaking landscapes to beautiful historic cities with cobblestone streets, there are plenty of reasons to visit Quebec. One of the most naturally stunning destinations in Canada, it occupies over 15 percent of the country’s total area and is unique with its French heritage which sets it apart from the English-speaking provinces. It’s also one of the few historical places on the continent to have fully preserved its Francophone culture. While it’s a no-brainer to visit, these destinations, in particular, you won’t want to miss.
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Quebec City is a must-visit, offering family-friendly adventures and an experience unlike any other in North America. Its Old Town is a true work of art where one can stroll cobblestone streets while gazing up at well-preserved 17th-century architecture, enjoy a vibrant cafe culture and be within the only North American fortress walls that still exist north of Mexico. At the Citadel you can watch Canadian troops stage a military ceremony and then perhaps sip afternoon tea at the Chateau Frontenac. Other highlights include the magnificent Notre-Dame Basilica, Place Royale, the Plains of Abraham and the Parliament Building.
Saint-Sauveur is just an hour outside of Montreal and offers a wealth of things to do. It’s famous for its festivals, from the Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur to Les Sommets Gourmands, North America’s biggest festival for active epicureans, with several music festivals in between. It’s also home to Canada’s largest mountain water park and in the winter, great skiing and boarding can be enjoyed along with snow tubing, ice skating, snowshoeing and dog sledding. There are also healing spas and a long list of outstanding restaurants, including the ultra-romantic Le Bistro St-Sauveur.
This picturesque village and resort is an especially popular winter destination that’s often named among eastern North America’s top resorts. It’s filled with breathtaking views and vibrantly colored buildings, located about 80 miles north of Montreal. While skiers and boarders come for its wide runs, visitors can also enjoy dog sledding, snowmobiling and ice climbing. The village itself is filled with all sorts of restaurants serving international fare and boasts one of the liveliest après-ski scenes in the region. In the summer, attend July’s popular International Blues Festival, and hike the scenic trails, including a trek that will take you to the highest peak in the Laurentians at nearly 2,900 feet.
Canada’s second largest city after Toronto is considered its cultural capital. While French and English are the main influences, this unique city is truly international. A city of festivals, there are some 100 multi-day events that take place annually with the Quartier des Spectacles near downtown Montreal dedicated to hosting them, along with a variety of other entertainment. Visitors have plenty of cultural activities to choose from, including horse-drawn carriage rides down the cobbled streets of Vieux-Montreal, known for its European flavor, browsing unique boutiques and visiting renowned museums like the Musée d’Art Contemporain and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
This small Quebec village that lies along the St. Lawrence River where it meets the Saguenay River, draws visitors who want to enjoy whale watching. The gateway to the Côte-Nord region, from May through October as many as 13 species can be found in the saltwater of the St. Lawrence, including blue whales. And, curious, friendly beluga whales inhabit the area all year-round, although peak viewing time is during the summer months. At some places, you may even be able to see them from shore as they enjoy socializing with one another.
Quebec’s second oldest city, Trois-Rivières, lies at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Saint-Maurice rivers. The region’s cultural hub, its rich history is what put it on the map, bringing many to experience its old town. On one side of the Saint-Maurice River is the modern city center, while the old part of the city is on the other. Take a trip back in time by strolling the oldest road, Rue des Ursuline and checking out over 50 buildings that date as far back as the mid-17th-century. Other highlights include the Québec Museum of Folk Culture and the historic Boucher-De Niverville Manor.
Located along the border with Vermont, Stanstead was founded by pioneers from New England in the late 18th century. It developed through the 19th century with the arrival of United Empire Loyalists and the booming granite industry. Today visitors can enjoy many impressive historic buildings, with the main route, Dufferin Street, often referred to as an outdoor museum with its many landmarks, including churches, the 1873 Stanstead College, a former post office and the 1881 Collège des Ursulines. Don’t miss the two-centuries-old Mansur School, a one-room pioneer schoolhouse built entirely of red brick at the corner of Curtis Road and Route 143.
Located in a sweeping valley in the bay of the St. Jean River and the fjord of the Saguenay, this village offers lots of magnificent vistas and a host of outdoor adventure. Just a few of the popular activities here include kayaking, sailing, fishing, horseback riding and hiking, with a variety of treks available among the capes of Saguenay Park. During the chillier months of the year, visitors can enjoy ice fishing on the fjord, cross-country skiing on the trails and alpine skiing on Mount Edouard.
This charming village is especially picturesque with its standout feature Percé Rock and Bonaventure Island, located just offshore. Visitors can enjoy bird watching, kayaking, hiking and all sorts of things in town too, like browsing the art studios and boutiques, and dining at some great restaurants with colorful facades. At the Percé UNESCO Global Geopark, you’ll be able to take in the view of Percé from a glass platform that hangs 660 feet above the ground. Don’t miss the opportunity to take an excursion to Bonaventure Island which serves as the world’s most accessible northern gannet colony. Along the way, you might just spot one of several different species of whales too.