Quebec Holiday Planning Guide
Canada's only predominantly French-speaking province, Quebec boasts a French heritage that not only sets it apart from other parts of this sprawling country, but also from the rest of the continent. A trip to Quebec allows tourists to discover a land with a European look and feel, which you can best appreciate by immersing yourself in the region's bistro culture. Like the rest of Canada, this province features impressive natural attractions, which many choose to discover via a network of nearly 3,500 km (2,100 mi) of bicycle paths. For an urban experience, add Montreal to your Quebec sightseeing itinerary and discover a busy metropolis with a perfect blend of history-steeped neighborhoods and trendy districts offering modern distractions for every traveler's taste.
Places to Visit in Quebec
Cities in QuebecQuebec City
: Quebec City's blend of culture, history, and entertainment makes the World Heritage-listed old town--and the rest of the city--a popular stop on nearly every Quebec itinerary. Montreal
: Lovers of winter sports, shopping, and history make Montreal--Quebec's economic and cultural capital--a priority destination.Gatineau
: Known for its numerous public parks and museums, Gatineau offers plenty for Quebec sightseeing surrounded by green hills.Mont Tremblant
: As the home of a picturesque ski resort, Mont Tremblant draws visitors with its winter and summer outdoor activities as well as its charming village atmosphere.Laval
: Laval's nature parks, shopping theaters, and thrilling activities draw visitors from far and near.Tadoussac
: Venture to Tadoussac, France's first trading post on the mainland of New France, for a dose of fascinating history and stunning scenery.Montebello
: Famous for its huge resort, the largest log cabin in the world, Montebello attracts visitors for its wildlife parks and the Amnesia Rockfest, Canada's largest rock festival.
Popular Quebec Tourist AttractionsNotre Dame Basilica
: Make time in your Quebec itinerary to visit this jewel of Gothic Revival architecture, embellished with elaborate wooden statues, stained-glass windows depicting Montreal's history, and a blue ceiling strewn with gold-painted stars.Mont (Mount) Royal
: Climb atop the mountain's highest peak for sweeping views over the city, accompanied by nature paths and monuments scattered throughout the park.Montreal Botanical Gardens
: Thousands of species of flora and fauna fill these gardens, which are only broken up by pathways and specialty exhibits like insect and orchid displays.Montmorency Falls Park (Parc de la Chute-Montmorency)
: Quebec's tallest falls tumble from 83 m (272 ft) and create a cone of ice known as the Sugar Loaf in the winter, which visitors view from a suspension bridge.Biodome de Montreal
: Explore the natural world of North and South America on a self-guided tour in this huge showcase featuring a biodome that nurtures five different ecosystems.La Citadelle de Quebec
: Dating back about 300 years, the oldest military building in Canada displays uniforms, weapons, and more artifacts in this unique star-shaped structure.The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
: This large exhibition fills four pavilions with international and local artwork--with pieces from antiquity to modern times--and deserves a spot in any art lover's things to do in Quebec. Rue Ste.-Catherine
: Department stores, international shops, restaurants, and bars line this busy street that’s popular with locals and tourists both at night and during the day.Quartier Petit Champlain
: Souvenir shopping abounds in this area, which is blessed with artisan craft shops and galleries surrounded by notable architecture and fine-dining restaurants.Terrasse Dufferin
: Along with the remains of an excavated fort and colonial cannons, this Quebec attraction also features modern delights like souvenir shops and entertainment from performers.
Planning a Quebec Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in Quebec with Kids
With its lively cities and widespread nature parks, a family vacation in Quebec offers something for everyone. Whether you prefer games, hikes, or educational exhibits, the province offers plenty to see and do.
Delve into Canada's pristine mountains and forests in Montebello
. Keep your eyes peeled for roaming wildlife in the parks, or get a closer look at local and international species at Granby
If education is the goal, make it a point to visit the museums in Montreal
. Mix it up with fun and games, too, in cities like Quebec City
, which offer choices of amusement parks, escape rooms, obstacle courses, and more.
Things to Do in Quebec with Kids
When it comes to Quebec things to do with children, you’ll find a list of exciting options.
Head to Omega Park
for outdoor adventures in this expansive park that supports moose, wolves, elk, and bears. Get a closer look at the wildlife at Granby Zoo (Zoo de Granby)
, with the chance to see more than 1,000 animals. If creatures capture your kids’ interest, check out Aquarium du Quebec
, too, to add in a marine experience.
Little scientists will love a trip to museums like Montreal Insectarium
or the interactive treasure hunts at La Vallée Secrète
. If your young travelers are teenagers, they may appreciate the challenge of the thrilling escape games at EZKAPAZ : Escape game à Montréal
When you are ready to let loose, head for the Quebec's exciting amusement parks. Do not let the cold stop you when you visit Terrasse Dufferin Slides
for adrenaline-pumping toboggan rides. Or opt for a low-key day at Au Pays Des Merveilles
, with its fairytale themes and activities for the whole family.
Tips for a Family Vacation in Quebec
Quebec is very welcoming to families, offering plenty of specialized services like babysitting and baby equipment rental so your Quebec vacation can go as smoothly as possible.
When you book tours or rooms, be sure to contact the host in advance to make proper reservations for your children. Some tours allow children under a certain age to join at a discount or for free. Check that your accommodations provide the correct number of beds; you may need to ask for an extra bed or connected rooms, which you may arrange before arriving.
If you plan on traveling far, consider renting a car for easy transportation, but ask the rental company about child car seats ahead of time to make sure you can secure one during your trip.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in Quebec
Cuisine of Quebec
Influenced heavily by French cuisine, Quebec's early years and harsh winters affected the city's food culture. The result gifted foodies with hearty, warm dishes meant to feed many mouths, including yours, on a Quebec vacation.
Baked beans made with maple syrup, pea soup, meat pies, and poutine are staples in the area. Don’t miss the chance to eat your toast with cretons--a Quebec delight that’s a cold meat seasoned with spices. Try these delicacies and more with food tours like Local Montreal Food Tours
.Montreal Craft Beer Tours
offers travelers a look into Canadian beer culture, which generally follows French, Belgian, and German brewing traditions.
Shopping in Quebec
Commemorate your Quebec holiday with a souvenir or two from the area's dozens of markets and shopping centers.
Take the taste of Quebec home with you and pick up maple syrup products from Jean-Talon Market
along with cheeses, pastries, and other treats. If you prefer a more enduring souvenir, check out the art pieces and artisan crafts available at Quartier Petit Champlain
, a popular and charming walking street packed with shops.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Quebec
Interesting Facts About Quebec
● The word “Kebec” is an Algonquin word meaning “where the river narrows.”
● Over 95 percent of the population is French-speaking; more than 40 percent can speak both English and French.
● The motto of Quebec is “Je me souviens” (French for “I remember”).
● Quebec is Canada’s greatest producer of maple syrup.
● The first indoor ice hockey game ever took place in 1875 at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal.
Holidays & Festivals in Quebec
Although winters hit Quebec hard, the weather does not hinder the province from hosting the world's largest winter carnival. Each year in Quebec City
, about a million people celebrate with horse-drawn sleigh rides, dog sled races, ice sculptures, dance parties, and snow baths.
If you prefer a warmer festival, consider visiting Montreal
during June for a huge celebration of St. Jean Baptiste Day. In honor of French Canada's official patron saint, the city lights up with parades, performers, bonfires, and jaw-dropping firework displays.
Numerous other festivals and holidays take place each year, and depending on your interests and time of your visit, a celebration would make an exciting addition to your Quebec itinerary.
Useful Quebec Travel Tips
Climate of Quebec
Due to Quebec's warmer summers and frigid winters, June through September mark the more popular travel window when the weather is more bearable. If you do not mind the cold, however, plan your Quebec trip between December and February to take advantage of the province’s winter festivals.
Keep in mind summer temperatures range between 5-25 C (41-77 F), and winter temperatures drop to between −25 to −10 C (−13 to 14 F). The farther north you roam into the arctic upper regions, the colder temperatures become. Southern and western Quebec fosters a humid continental climate, meaning summers tend to be warmer and the area sees much more precipitation. Remember to pack and dress accordingly for snow when planning your Quebec holiday.
Transportation in Quebec
The province's extensive public transportation system makes Quebec sightseeing a breeze. Whether you prefer to travel by bus, car, plane, or boat, getting from city to city comes easily.
Travelers do not often travel by plane within the province, but if you plan to visit the remote areas of northern Quebec, flying is necessary. However, highways provide access almost everywhere else in Quebec, and locals and tourists alike commonly use the efficient bus system. Get more independent by renting your own car. Many companies will allow you to pick up the car in one city and drop it off in another.
For adventurous travelers, consider a cruise on the St. Lawrence River, or rent a bicycle. Quebec boasts a huge network of bike paths from city to city, so you can explore all the best Quebec places to see.