Quebec City is only about an hour flight from New York City but seemingly a world away. Its motto is “so Europe, so close” and it’s so true. It’s actually so close (only 384 miles from Boston and 504 from New York) that you can easily drive it! It was recently crowned as one of “the World’s Best Food Cities” by Condé Nast Traveler (2015), ranked among the top ten in the “World’s Best Awards” by Travel + Leisure (2015) and as a “Best Value Destination” by Lonely Planet (2016).
In the interest of full disclosure, because honesty is the best policy, I was hosted on this trip by Quebec City Tourism so I could share the sites and experiences QC has to offer with my amazing blog followers. I was not paid any additional compensation but many things on this trip were free–but all opinions (as always) are my own.
Quebec City is so charming, wandering its cobblestone streets lined with centuries-old buildings, visiting antique shops, churches and the majestic St. Lawrence river make it an amazing destination for a romantic getaway. While there are tons of museum and so much culture, I recommend seeing the city at a slow pace as you meander its hilly terrain and taste all the amazing restaurants it has to offer. These are the must-see attractions in Quebec City.
I recommend taking a walking tour. This will educate you about the city’s history as well as give you an idea of the lay of the land. Québec City is a UNESCO World Heritage Treasure where all the charm blending Native, British and French heritage surrounds you. The fortifications surrounding the old town have a path along the old walls that allows visitors to stroll along and enjoy unique views of the city. There is also a funicular that gives panoramic views. It’s the only kind of this funicular in America.
Place-Royale – Quarier Petit-Champlain
Take a trip back in time at Place Royale and do some window shopping at the nearby Petit-Champlain District. Wander the area’s cobblestone streets, enjoy the boutiques and restaurants here too. It’s supposed to be particularly magical around the Christmas season. Musée de la Civilization is located in this area as well.
St. Lawrence River – Quebec City’s Oldest Port
A visit to Québec City isn’t complete until you enjoy the skyline from the ferryboat that shuttles back between QC and Lévis. The boats leave every half hour during the day and every hour in the evenings. The short one-hour ride will give you the perfect photo opportunity. I recommend taking a boat around sunset for optimal views. You’ll have gorgeous lighting as the sun goes down and also have the chance to see the skyline lit up at night, which is magnificent.
Montmorency Falls Park
These falls are actually nearly 30% higher than Niagra Falls and not to be missed. The best views are from Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, where you can see the full force of the falls. You can also take a gondola ride or walk the trails to the top of the falls. I’m told that in the winter the foot of the falls freezes and becomes an intriguing site as well.
Basilique-cathédrale Notre-Dame de Québec
See one of Seven Holy Doors in the World at this magnificent church. Pope Francis declared this the Holy Year, which meant the reopening of the world’s seven Holy Doors, including the only Holy Door outside of Europe—in Québec City.
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
Whether you want to take a guided tour with a costumed guide or just wander around and observe the grand surroundings, the choice is yours. This castle-like fortress boasts luxury and incredible views. Check out our review of Fairmont Le Château Frontenac.
Visit a Nordic Spa
Sibéria Station Spa Spa offers an invigorating array of Scandinavian ritual therapies consisting of alternating hot and cold. Nordic spas are a big thing in the area and they do it very well. The spa is open year-round. Services include indoor and outdoor hot tubs, Finnish-style sauna, infrared sauna, steam bath, outdoor cold baths with thermal foils and multiple relaxation areas (fireplaces, a café, a quiet room). It’s $42 for a whole day to use facilities. It’s about a 20-minute drive from downtown Québec.
Québec’s National Assembly convenes here in the Parliament Building and the gorgeous Fontaine de Tourny is breathtaking with its 43 jets, water-themed sculptures and beautiful nighttime lighting. The Observatory isn’t far from here either. Definitely worth walking over.
Quebec City dazzles visitors year-round and host quite a vast array of festivals. Some of the top festivals worth checking out are the Quebec City Film Festival (Sept 15-25 2016), New Year’s Eve in Quebec (with a Ferris wheel, zipline and heated patios) and of course Quebec Winter Carnival (Jan 27-Feb 12 2017).
Eat Your Heart Out
Québec City has no shortage of amazing restaurants. Your only problem will be deciding where to eat! We did a fair share of exploring the delicious dining Quebec has to offer. Check it out in our guide of where to eat in Québec City here.
Explore the Surroundings
Quebec City’s countryside is breathtaking and it is shame to miss a trip outside of the city during your stay. I found its historic farms, churches and artisan shops irresistible. I highly recommend taking a trip for a couple days to Charlevoix (pronounced Shar-Le-Vois).
If you’re looking for the best luxury hotel in Québec City, check out our reviews of Hôtel Le Germain Quebec as well as the legendary Fairmont Le Château Frontenac.
And don’t forget to book a Flytographer shoot to make your memories last! We love our photos!
Image Credit (in photos where I appear): Francis for Flytographer