If you are looking for a magical snowy winter experience, Quebec is the place to go! Winter in Quebec is great because the province holds so many outdoor activities and experiences to keep busy! From skating in the Old Port of Montreal to snowshoeing through the mountainous landscape in the north, the possibilities are abundant! As well, there are numerous festivals including the Quebec City Winter Carnival and the Montreal Igloofest for a real taste of the French-Canadian culture!
I was lucky enough to have spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the old village of Quebec City and it was absolutely magical. The snowstorm came in and transformed the Old City into a winter wonderland. Although I have been to the Quebec a few times before, this time was my favorite. I grabbed a hot cup of cocoa and wandered through the old streets, taking in the magical atmosphere. The Old City is one of the best spots to find adorable local cafes and restaurants, serving up some of the best French cuisines! There are also a few places to find outdoor skating rinks, such as the Place D’Youville.
The Chateau Frontenac is one of the most popular sites in Quebec City and is classified as a National Historic Site in Canada, taking over the skyline in the Old City. The hotel was originally built in 1893 and with renovations and up-keep, still holds over 600 guests. Although, you do not have to be a guest to go inside for a tour of the hotel. The hotel offers daily group tours, providing the history of the castle along the way. As well, the hotel has an amazing restaurant, Le Champlain, which serves a gourmet French cuisine.
Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Quebec
The Notre-Dame is another very notable site within the Old City, built in 1647 and now represented as a National Historic Site in Canada. I had the opportunity to attend the Christmas Eve Mass and it was incredible. The inside of the cathedral is architecturally stunning with countless hand-crafted details. The mass was beautiful as the angelic songs echoed throughout and everyone came together for a special occasion.
Quebec offers many outdoor attractions, one of the best being the Montmorency Falls. The waterfall is located about a half hour drive from Quebec City and there are also tour buses that go out if you don’t have a vehicle. The waterfall is within the protected Montmorency Falls Park which offers loads of outdoor activities for solo adventurers, families, and friends alike! The waterfall is awe-inspiring, standing 276 feet tall, cascading into the St. Lawrence River. Other than the falls, the park offers great picnic spots as well as hiking and snowshoeing trails.
Visitors will have the opportunity to have a bird’s eye view of the falls while walking along the suspension bridge when first entering the park. The waterfall flows right below the bridge and can be quite an exhilarating experience.
Jacques-Cartier Provincial Park
The park is located almost an hour drive north of Quebec City. Although the park makes a great place for camping, it is also accessible for outdoor day-trip. The park costs $8.50 per person entrance for the day but is definitely worth a visit, especially in the winter. In the winter, the park is absolutely magical, with layers of snow sitting heavy on the pine and spruce trees. The sites all throughout the park are beautiful, from the frozen lakes to the snowy mountainous backdrop.
Activities in the region range from snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, fat biking, skating, and ice-fishing! There are numerous trails that are well maintained throughout the entire year for the perfect outdoor excursion. There are guided packages that visitors can buy or rentals if you prefer to do your exploring solo.
The Old Port offers amazing views of the harbor and the city skyline. There are plenty of activities within the area including ice skating and the Ferris Wheel!
I was lucky enough to be here on New Year’s Eve and even with the -30 temperatures, there were still massive crowds grabbing their hot-chocolate and heading to face the cold weather and listen to some amazing local French artists at the massive outdoor concert. To top it all off, the countdown to the New Year came along with one of the biggest fireworks displays in the country!
The old city is one of the most aesthetically appealing regions within Montreal, with many of the main attractions located within. The historic district is home to beautiful French inspired buildings and cobblestone streets. Visitors can take a walking tour through and learn the rich history of the old city. As well, some of the best cafes and restaurants are popping up all over the region, offering chic interior design and mouth-watering dishes.
Mount Royal offers a lot to see and do. The area is very chic with new shops popping up all the time. This is also a great place to go for a walk or hike through one of the paths, surrounded by lush trees. The higher you go, the better your view is of the city below – which also makes a great place to watch the sunset!
The Saint Joseph Oratory is a grand stone church located on Mount Royal. It is known to be the largest church in Canada and boasts incredible details such as hand-carved wood statues. Along with the sites inside, there are also amazing city views from the balcony outside.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
The museum is located within the Golden Square Mile in Montreal and is one of the best places to see fine art in the city. It is free to explore the permanent exhibitions which stretch across three floors. There are visiting exhibitions that come through and do require an entrance fee but are worth the while.
The Underground City
Hidden under the streets of Old Montreal is the elaborate 32km stretch of shops and restaurants as well as some great views, such as the stone statues and fountains.