Quebec is a favorite city for cruise passengers. Many cruise lines stop in Quebec City from April through early November. Some cruise itineraries even include an overnight stay to give guests more time to explore.
If you’re sailing on a Canada/New England cruise that visits Quebec, plan to spend several days pre- or post-cruise exploring the city and the surrounding region. There’s so much to see and do in this charming city. One night simply isn’t enough to take everything in and fully enjoy all that Quebec has to offer.
Here are five of the many fun things to see and experience when visiting Quebec:
1. Old Quebec. Founded well over 400 years ago, the walled city of Vieux Quebec (Old Quebec) is impeccably preserved. In fact, the city’s historic area has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the only fortified city in North America north of Mexico with over two miles of walls and fortifications, Old Quebec is fun to explore. Here you’ll find the much-photographed Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac hotel, the Place Royal area with its many boutiques, talented artists on Rue du Tresor, outdoor cafes bedecked with flowers, and a wide array of restaurants and shops. Grab a map and take some time to explore – it’s easy to fall in love with this magical city.
2. Plains of Abraham. The Plains of Abraham are part of Quebec’s Battlefields Park. Now one of the world’s largest city parks, the Plains of Abraham is the site of the historic 1759 battle between troops commanded by the French General Montcalm and the English General Wolfe. While many vacationers plan to stop here because of its historic significance, the Plains of Abraham provide a wonderful spot for hiking, biking and roller blading. Make sure to visit the Joan of Arc garden, where hundreds of varieties of flowering plants and shrubs bloom during the summertime. There’s also a children’s playground with a small pool here as well.
3. Montmorency Falls. Located just a few miles from Quebec City, massive Montmorency Falls tower almost one hundred feet higher than Niagara Falls. The best place to see the falls is the Parc de la Chute-Montmorency. The park has many trails for walking, hiking and observing the spectacular falls. Adventure-lovers can walk across the suspension bridge to look down over the thundering falls or take the aerial tram for a superb view. Cruise lines and tour operators offer shore excursions to Montmorency Falls for those without access to a car.
4. Street Performers & Festivals. Vacationers strolling through Old Quebec may be lucky enough to see some of the city’s skilled street performers. They put on an incredible show, so stop and watch for a while. You may see acrobats, musicians, portrait painters and artists, jugglers, and other performers. The quality and strength of Quebec’s street performers comes as no surprise - Cirque du Soleil got its start touring in Quebec. Cirque du Soleil puts on free shows in Quebec City during the summer months. Check the events section of the Cirque du Soleil website for more details. Quebec also offers a myriad of festivals, such as the Quebec City Summer Festival during July.
5. Vieux-Port de Quebec. The Port of Quebec is the oldest port in Canada. This lovely area of Quebec City is very convenient for cruise passengers to explore. Visit the Aquarium du Quebec, home to over 10,000 marine animals, and sample artisanal foods at the Marche du Vieux Port public farmers’ market. Here you’ll find a wide variety of local products including maple syrups and candies, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, spruce beer, jams and jellies, ice ciders, sweets and more. Cruise passengers also enjoy strolling along the Promenade Samuel-De Champlain for a magnificent view of the St. Lawrence River.
If you’re a food lover or are planning to spend several days in the region, make sure to visit the nearby Ile d’Orleans. The island is home to many wineries, including the Isle de Bacchus vineyards. Head to Cidrerie Verger Bilodeau for delicious ice cider and other products including homemade jellies, apple butter, and syrups. Some of the island’s sweetest treats are found at Chocolaterie de l’Ile d’Orleans – certainly an outstanding place to stop for dessert. For more information on all that the Ile d’Orleans has to offer, visit http://tourisme.iledorleans.com.
If You Go:
To plan your stay in Quebec City and the surrounding area, visit www.quebecregion.