15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Québec
A vast province that makes up about one-sixth of Canada, Québec covers diverse landscapes - from historic cities to isolated Arctic tundra. The region reaches almost to the Arctic Circle in the north, borders the American states of Vermont and New York in the south, and Hudson Bay in the west. The St. Lawrence River, almost 1200 kilometers long, runs through the most populated regions of the province.
While most visitors head for the two main cities, Montreal and Quebec, there is much to explore throughout the province in both summer and winter. Historical sites, cultural institutions, festivals, small towns, and beautiful parks and natural areas are just some of the highlights.
1 Place Royale
Place Royale is the birthplace of Québec City, where Samuel de Champlain established the first habitation in 1608 and where there remains an outstanding collection of 17th and 18th-century buildings that are a small sampling of Old Québec. The pretty stone church Notre-Dame des Victoires, dating to 1688, faces the square along with modern tourist attractions like an outpost of the Musée de la Civilisation. There is plenty of Old Québec City sightseeing within blocks, especially in the delightful Quartier Petit-Champlain.
2 Old Montréal
Best explored on foot, Old Montréal is a concentration of 17th, 18th, and 19th-century buildings near the city's Old Port. Many first-rate Montréal attractions are within this historic section of the city, including the neo-Gothic Notre-Dame Basilica and the pedestrian-friendly square at Place Jacques-Cartier.
3 Forillon National Park
This wild and rugged national park sits at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, jutting into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Dramatic scenery abounds, with limestone cliffs and the isolated Cap des Rosiers Lighthouse - the tallest in Canada. This area of Gaspésie is popular with bird watchers and whale watchers.
Address: 122 Gaspé Boulevard, Gaspé
4 Canadian Museum of Civilization
Located in Gatineau, this modern building looks across the river to the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. The flagship Canadian museum explores human history in Canada, ranging from First Nations cultures in the Pacific Northwest to Norse seafarers. There is an IMAX screen at the museum, and the discovery-rich Children's Museum is located in the same complex.
Address: 100 Laurier St., Gatineau
5 Château Frontenac
Overlooking Québec City, the grandiose Château Frontenac is the most iconic building among the many historic and unique buildings in the provincial capital. Canadian Pacific Railway constructed the hotel in 1894, and it still welcomes guests from around the world. The hillside vantage was once the location of Fort St.-Louis, but today, the wide boardwalk of Terrasse Dufferin provides scenic views south to Levis and the St. Lawrence River.
6 Iles de la Madeleine
In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the sand dunes and beaches of the Îles de la Madeleine archipelago are an idyllic and lively spot in summertime. Twelve islands make up the group, with six joined by snaking dunes, beaches, and roads. Locals farm and fish, while visitors come for the birding, water sports, and whale watching.
7 Mont Tremblant
Ski resorts in the Canadian Laurentians are favorite winter destinations, and chief among them is Mont Tremblant - the highest peak in the Laurentians (960 meters) that's located about 150 kilometers north of Montréal. Good dining, entertainment, and ample accommodations define the resort community. The region is also a fall destination when leaves turn autumn shades of orange, red, and gold.
8 Mount Royal Park
Mont Royal is not only Montréal's namesake, but also the mountain at its heart. The 233-meter peak allows for a fine vantage over the largest city in Québec, especially from the Kondiaronk Belvedere. There are many events in the park, from winter ice-skating on Lac-aux-Castors to the beat of many drums at Les Tam-Tams, which happens on summer Sundays near the Sir George-Étienne Cartier monument.
9 Bonaventure Island
This island off the Gaspé Peninsula is a renowned bird sanctuary, where about 50,000 gannets flock during the summer. The island features the Gaspésie's rugged, picturesque scenery and sheer rocky cliffs. A nature trail provides a bird watching route. The park also encompasses the much-photographed Rocher Percé (Pierced Rock) on the Percé Coast.
10 Montreal Botanical Gardens
The lush and lovely Botanical Gardens cover 75 hectares adjacent to the Olympic stadium in Montréal's Parc Maisonneuve. Carefully planned gardens include a Japanese Garden, rich orchid displays, and a greenhouse growing tropical fruits. Also within the park, the Insectarium is a family-friendly attraction that introduces rare and common insects.
Address: 4101 Rue Sherbrooke Est, Montréal
11 Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
Half a million pilgrims come to the quiet, riverside town of Ste-Anne de Beaupré each year, the home of the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. Saint Anne is the patron saint of Québec, and she is credited with many miraculous events. Discarded crutches pay testament to the sick, disabled, and injured people who have reported miracle cures. Also in the area, located just northeast of Québec City, there are river canyons and waterfalls at Chutes Ste-Anne and Sept-Chutes.
Address: 10018 Ave Royale, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
12 Gatineau Park
A hilly, largely undeveloped forest and serene lakes make up Gatineau Park, located near the city of the same name. Within park boundaries, Mackenzie King Estate is the former home to the eccentric Canadian prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. Belvédère Champlain provides photo-worthy views over the river valley and tree-covered hills - an especially impressive sight in autumn. A mix of walkers, cyclists, and dog owners enjoy the park trails.
Address: 33 Scott Road, Old Chelsea
13 Chutes Montmorency
Just northeast of Québec City, the wide sweeping waterfall of Chutes Montmorency cascades down an 84-meter escarpment. The falls are higher than Niagara Falls, and a narrow pedestrian bridge crosses the Montmorency River near the lip.
Address: 5300 boulevard Sainte-Anne, Québec
14 Notre-Dame Basilica
The regal-looking Notre-Dame Basilica is one of the finest attractions in Old Montréal. Its twin towers and neo-Gothic façade stand above Place d'Armes. The church was founded in 1656, and the impressive present-day structure was built in 1829. Inside, the stained-glass windows and ornate wood carvings are a majestic sight. Often, an evening light and sound show introduces Montréal history through illuminating projections.
Address: 110 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal
15 Hudson Bay
The far-reaching landscape and waters of Hudson Bay are one of the most remote areas of Canada. Yet the harsh terrain is home to rarities of the natural world, from Arctic vegetation to migratory birds, polar bears, and Beluga whales. The Inuit peoples are the traditional residents of the region, and the small outpost communities have stood the test of time.
- Read More:
- Exploring Hudson Bay: A Visitor's Guide