10 Weekend Getaways in Quebec

Photo Credit: Thomas PLESSIS/Flickr

Need ideas for a getaway to Quebec?  From the rich cultural mix, historical architecture and avant garde food scene of Montreal to grass-covered hills, to romantic vibes of Quebec city and to red cliffs and white sandy beaches of Magdalen Islands, there is plenty to do for perfect soul-restoring getaway.

1. Montreal

Photo Credit: Canadian Tourism Commission

An obvious choice for its rich cultural mix, historical architecture and avant garde food scene.  Take a walk around the beautiful Old Port, enjoy its cobblestone streets, art galleries and gourmet dining. Or explore the hip Plateau neighbourhood, with quirky cafe’s and boutiques, as well as a handful of excellent microbreweries and those oh-so-delicious Montreal bagels.

Downtown offers everything from shopping, cozy Irish pubs, and jazz to hip nightclubs and trendy bars. For a small respite from the city buzz, enjoy the views and winding walks on Mount Royal, situated behind the centre.

A few of the popular sights include the Notre-Dame Basilica, St Joseph’s Oratory, Botanical Gardens, Museum of Fine Arts, Jean Talon Market, Biodome, and the famous Olympic Stadium. Check out its many festivals year-round, including the International Jazz Festival and International Fireworks Competition in the summer, as well as Montréal en Lumière (Festival of Lights) in the winter.  Itinerary for a Montreal Getaway!

2. Quebec City

Photo Credit: Canadian Tourism Commission

With a sweeping view of the St Lawrence River and a story that began over 400 years ago, Quebec City is an intriguing destination. The stunning Chateau Frontenac dominates the scenery, but equally as fascinating are the old stone buildings and narrow streets that transport you to another time and place. Transport your tastebuds as well with exquisite classic and modern cuisine.

There is much to be explored, especially in Petit-Champlain, where you can browse artisanal shops and galleries, stop for deliciously brewed coffee, and take the ‘Funiculaire’ to Upper Town. You can tour the many historical sights including the Plains of Abraham, and the Citadelle of Quebec, or take a short trip outside the city to visit the impressive Montmorency Falls.

For a romantic nighttime view of the city, enjoy the ferry ride from Lower Town to Levis.
In addition, Quebec City offers the Summer Festival – bringing in world-famous pop musicians to perform outdoors, the Winter Carnival, the famous Ice Hotel, Musée de la Civilisation, Parliament Hill, Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica, and the National Museum of Fine Arts.  Itinerary for a Quebec City Getaway!

3. Mont Tremblant

Photo Credit: Shelby Bell

A popular ski resort nestled in the Laurentian Mountain range, Mont Tremblant has a variety of experiences to offer all year long. Soak in the autumn colors on the hiking trails, satisfy your thrill-seeking side with zip-lining, rock-climbing and mountain biking, or attend the one of the many festivals including the International Blues Festival.

For a quiet retreat, rent a chalet or stay in the Village, and relax in the Scandinavian Spa. You can wander the cozy, historic-style streets in the centre and explore the many shops and world-class restaurants as well as some local microbreweries.

In the winter there is top-rated skiiing and snowboarding for all skill levels, snow mountain biking, and a great Canadian classic, dog-sledding.
Tremblant also boasts an exciting racing circuit, casino, superb golf courses and a helicopter excursion. Whether you’re in the mood for reading by the fireplace or pure adventure, Tremblant has you covered. Getaway!

4. Tadoussac

Getaways in Quebec

Photo Credit: Luc Baron/Flickr

With its scenic views of the bay and internationally renowned whale watching, Tadoussac is on the tourism map. From May to October you can see anything from a small minke whale to the massive blue whale. They are visible even from the shore, but if you want to head out on open waters, you can rent a kayak or join a boat tour suited to your budget. There is nothing quite like connecting with these majestic creatures.

The village has retained its original charm, and has a lovely collection of hotels and B&B’s to house its international visitors. As for dining, Tadoussac offers an excellent number of bistro’s, restaurants, cafes and terraces. You can go on walks and hikes along the river, take in a sunset on the rocks, visit the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre, and check out le Petit Chapelle (North America’s oldest wooden church).

Tadoussac is also on the edge of one of the most beautiful parks in the Northeast, Fjord-du-Saguenay National Park. Getaway!

5. La Mauricie National Park

Photo Credit: R Boerner/Flickr

Park Mauricie has been a favorite escape from the city for many. If you are looking for a more immersive experience in nature, this is the place for you. Located in the Laurentian Mountains, this park includes forests, waterfalls, and over 150 lakes. There are extensive hiking trails, and many private camping spots you can reach by water. Canoes and kayaks can be rented on site. There are also cabins to stay in and a historic chalet. If you want less nature/more comfort, there are more hotel and chalet options in nearby towns. This is the perfect setting to recharge your batteries, reconnect with friends and family around the campfire, enjoy fireflies, perfect sunsets and moonlit nights, and indulge in a little exploration.

Biking, kayaking, fishing and swimming are all options, as well as winter activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and ice climbing. Getaway!

6. Percé

Photo Credit: Sekundo/Flickr

Perched on the edge of the Gaspé Peninsula with a panoramic view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Percé lends itself to a sense of wonder. The famous Percé Rock (le Rocher Percé) stands out of the water, defining the landscape and inspiring inhabitants and visitors alike. The village comes alive in the summer with various festivals and markets. Many painters, sculptors and craftspeople have contributed to the cultural richness of the area, and have opened their studios to the public. You can also take a historical walking tour, spend a day on Bonaventure Island, taste some of the delicious fish and freshly caught seafood, or explore the system of hiking and biking trails with scenery that will leave an impression for a life-time. There are whale watching tours, diving courses and excursions, excellent dining opportunities, and a golf course overlooking the sea.

Some other activities include bird-watching at the gannet colony, sea-kayaking, and the Geopark.
Many of the surrounding villages are also worth a day-trip. Getaway!

7. Magdalen Islands

Photo Credit: Brian Burke/Flickr

In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, north of PEI and Cape Breton, lies this rugged stretch of islands. Sea air, grass-covered hills, red cliffs and white sandy beaches are what make this area so appealing. Once you arrive at Cap-aux-Meules (Grindstone Island) most of the islands are connected by road, so you can easily access the wide range of activities and local flavors.

Fresh lobster is a big draw for many as this is one of the most active locations for lobster fishing. You can see brightly colored fishing boats docked in many of the harbours, and speak to local fisherman to get a sense of this sea-faring culture. The arts are also an integral part of the island tradition, which can be appreciated in local galleries and boutiques. With so many beaches to choose from, trails to walk, and towns to discover, your time will be easily filled. There are also sea-excursions, wind sports, kayaking, bird-watching, and even seal-pup watching in March.
With so many hidden gems to uncover, the Magdalen Islands are perfect for that extra-long weekend. Getaway!

8. Saguenay

Photo Credit: Normand Gaudreault/Flickr

An energetic city and jumping-off-point of both Lac St. Jean and the stunning Saguenay Fjord, Saquenay is a place you don’t want to miss.

With stellar international and local cuisine to tempt your senses, museums and a thrilling selection of summer music festivals, there’s plenty to keep you busy in town. If you care to venture further afield, you can visit a historic village in Val-Jalbert, get close to some Canadian wildlife at the Zoo Sauvage de St-Félicien, soak up the sun on the beaches of Lac St. Jean, go on a fishing expedition or boat tour, cycle the Blueberry route around the lake, and much more.

In the other direction lies the Saguenay Fjord, where you can take an extended kayak trip, marvel at the Baie Eternité while climbing the Via Ferrata, go sailing, hiking, or any number of outdoor activities. In the winter you can ski at one of the several ski-hills nearby, go ice-fishing, snowmobiling, and dog-sledding. You will be welcomed by the locals, and leave with warm memories. Getaway!

9. Sherbrooke

Sky on fire - Sherbrooke

Elegantly adorning the banks of the Magog and St. Francis Rivers, and set in the rolling hills of the Eastern Townships, Sherbrooke is the destination of choice for a diverse array of activities.
Stroll down its historic streets, stop at the Marche de la Gare for gourmet treats and free live events, and experience the cultural richness of its art scene with countless murals and galleries.
The beautiful Mont Bellevue Park rises above the city landscape, with a ski hill and hiking trails, for all-year activity. Down by the river are opportunities to try out the full range of water-sports, including kite-surfing and paddleboarding.
Sample the wines at a nearby vineyard, take a tour of the Bleu Lavande Estate, hop on the Oxford Express tourist train through the surrounding countryside, or savor locally-made maple-syrup at a sugar shack. Back in the centre, soothe away your aches and pains at one of the high-class spas.
Sherbrooke also includes a noteworthy Science Museum, many kilometers of walks along the river, a partially urban bike path, a farmers market in the autumn, golf, and English tea. There really is something for everyone. Getaway!

10. Sutton

Grande chute

For a cozy weekend away, Sutton is a lovely retreat tucked into the Eastern Townships. The village itself is wonderful to explore, full of unique fashion boutiques and crafts, and hosting an annual week-long Tour des Arts in July, when 44 artisans open their studio to visitors, along with free music, dance and performance art. There are two music festivals in August, one dedicated to a Caribbean vibe, the other to traditional fiddling.

Mont Sutton is active in all four seasons, with a well-groomed ski hill and hiking trails in the summer. You can even camp at the top for a stargazing session. Sutton is the best place in Quebec to view the reds and golds of fall, and the many outdoor restaurants and terraces are well placed to do so.
There are a few heritage tours of the town and area, vineyards, a farmers market in the summer, day spa’s, and even an alpaca farm. From chalets to B&B’s you are covered for a comfortable stay. Getaway!

11. Kuujjuaq

Glacier de Black Point

If you are looking for an adventure a little closer to the Arctic Circle, Kuujjuaq is your place. Located in Nunavik, home to the Inuit people, this small modern town on the Koksoak River is the main access point to this most northern expanse of Quebec. This is the perfect opportunity to gain an appreciation for the wealth of knowledge, culture and heritage of the Inuit, as well as their language. Experience the wonder of the northern lights, especially in the dark season of August to March. Track the migration of caribou herds from August to September. Go fishing for salmon and trout. Hire a guide to navigate the endlessly impressive wilderness and spot some wildlife on the way – polar bears, musk-ox, moose, wolves, and birds-of-prey. Charter an arctic boat tour from Kuujjuaq to see seals, walrus, and beluga whales. In town, the Aqpik Jam Music Festival promoting Native artists happens every August, drawing international attention. This will truly be an unforgettable experience. Getaway!

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