Quebec City

Quebec City, the capital of the Quebec province of Canada is a city which transports you to France. Without realising, you will be walking past stone houses on cobbled stones enjoying sun filled European-like squares with cathedrals, restaurants and cafes.

We think it’s a truly unique city on the North American continent and especially if you’ve never been to Europe it could be a good way to see a very well preserved European-like city. Read below why.


Quebec City, the heart of French-speaking Canada, is a place where history, culture, and modernity blend seamlessly. As one of North America’s oldest cities, Quebec City offers visitors a charming mix of cobblestone streets, historical landmarks, and vibrant neighbourhoods.

From the stunning architecture of Old Quebec to the breath-taking views from Observatoire de la Capitale, there’s something for everyone. Join us as we explore the best that Quebec City has to offer, whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply in search of a picturesque getaway.

Travel to and Around Quebec

Getting to Quebec City

By Air: Quebec City is served by Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB), which is located about 20 minutes from the city centre. The airport connects to major Canadian cities like Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, as well as international destinations in the United States and Europe.

Direct flights are available from cities such as New York, Paris, and London, making it quite accessible for international travellers.

If you are looking for suitable flight options, make sure to check out this article with top tips on how to find cheap flights.

By Train: For a scenic and leisurely journey, consider taking the train. VIA Rail operates regular services from major Canadian cities, including Montreal and Toronto. The train ride from Montreal to Quebec City takes around three hours and offers beautiful views of the Canadian countryside.

By Bus: Intercity buses are another convenient option, with companies like Orléans Express offering frequent services from Montreal, Ottawa, and other nearby cities. The bus terminal in Quebec City is centrally located, making it easy to reach your accommodation upon arrival. This is the way we came as we only planned to do a day trip.

By Car: If you prefer the flexibility of driving, Quebec City is well connected by highways. The drive from Montreal takes roughly three hours via Autoroute 20 or 40. Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore the surrounding regions at your own pace.

Getting Around Quebec City

Public Transport: Quebec City’s public transportation system, operated by Réseau de transport de la Capitale (RTC), is efficient and affordable. The bus network covers the entire city, and frequent services make it easy to reach all the major attractions. Consider purchasing a day pass or multi-day pass for unlimited travel on RTC buses.

Similar to Montreal, public transport doesn’t accept contactless bank/credit cards and so you are left off with buying tickets. On the positive side, you can buy them using their Nomad App, you can learn more about it here. Once you download the app you can purchase any pass or ticket you wish online.

When boarding the bus simply show the pass(es) or ticket(s) to the driver and they will let you in. We bought our travel cards using our 0% fee cards throughout this trip to make sure we always got the better rates. Read more here about managing your finances when travelling.

Walking: One of the best ways to explore Quebec City is on foot. The compact nature of the city, particularly the historic Old Quebec area, makes it perfect for walking. Strolling through the cobblestone streets allows you to fully appreciate the city’s charm and discover hidden gems along the way. You can even join a walking tour of Old Quebec City.

Bus Tour: See Quebec City’s highlights from the top of a double-decker bus. You will also learn from your guide onboard about the city’s history. Perfect if you have limited time in the city or don’t fancy climbing up and down the streets. Book Quebec City Bus Tour for an express 1 hour tour or book a Quebec City Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour.

Taxis and Ride-Sharing: Taxis are readily available throughout the city, and ride-sharing services like Uber operate in Quebec City as well. These can be convenient options for short trips or if you’re carrying heavy luggage, however, be aware that you most likely won’t be needing these services as the Bus/Train station is within walking distance from the historical centre.

Ferry/Cruise: For a unique perspective of Quebec City, take the ferry across the St. Lawrence River to Lévis. The ferry runs year-round and offers stunning views of the city skyline, especially at sunset. It’s also a practical way to reach Lévis and explore its attractions. Alternatively, you can book Quebec City Sightseeing Cruise here.

Where to Stay in Quebec?

Quebec City offers a wide range of accommodations to suit every traveller’s needs, from luxurious hotels to cosy bed and breakfasts. Whether you prefer staying in the heart of the historic district or in a more tranquil neighbourhood, you’ll find plenty of options to make your stay comfortable and memorable.

Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in Quebec City

Old Quebec (Vieux-Québec): If you’re a history buff or simply want to be in the midst of all the action, staying in Old Quebec is ideal. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to many of the city’s top attractions, charming cobblestone streets, and vibrant cafes. You’ll find a range of accommodations here, from luxury hotels to quaint inns, all within walking distance of landmarks like Château Frontenac, Dufferin Terrace, and Place Royale.

Saint-Jean-Baptiste: Located just outside the old city walls, this bohemian neighbourhood is perfect for those who enjoy a lively atmosphere. Saint-Jean-Baptiste is known for its eclectic mix of shops, cafes, and restaurants, and offers a more local experience. Accommodations here range from boutique hotels to budget-friendly options, providing a great base to explore both the historic and modern parts of the city.

Montcalm: For a more upscale and relaxed stay, consider the Montcalm district. This area is known for its beautiful tree-lined streets, cultural institutions like the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, and a quieter ambiance. Luxury hotels and charming B&Bs dominate this area, making it an excellent choice for couples or those seeking a more refined experience.

Saint-Roch: Once an industrial area, Saint-Roch has transformed into one of Quebec City’s trendiest neighbourhoods. It’s a hub for hip bars, innovative restaurants, and unique shops. Staying here provides a glimpse into the city’s contemporary culture. Accommodation options include modern hotels and stylish boutique properties.

If you prefer to stay in a hotel, we would recommend booking your accommodation through an aggregator such as or Agoda to get the best rates. Use the widget below to find the best accommodation in Quebec City for your specific dates.

On this occasion as we had a day trip we stood in Montreal at Quality Inn Hotel. It suited us well as we planned to have a day trip to Quebec and the hotel was close to the Montreal Bus Terminal. Here are some reccommendations:

Luxury Hotels:

  1. Fairmont Le Château Frontenac: Iconic and luxurious, this hotel offers stunning views of the St. Lawrence River and impeccable service. Staying here is a quintessential Quebec City experience.
  2. Auberge Saint-Antoine: Located in the heart of Old Quebec, this boutique hotel combines historic charm with modern amenities. Each room is uniquely decorated, and the hotel features an excellent restaurant.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  1. Hotel Clarendon: As one of the oldest continuously operating hotels in Canada, Hotel Clarendon boasts elegant rooms and a prime location in Old Quebec.
  2. Le Germain Hotel Quebec: This stylish hotel in the Old Port area offers contemporary rooms and a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Budget-Friendly Options:

  1. Auberge de la Paix: A friendly hostel located in Old Quebec, perfect for budget-conscious travellers. It offers both dormitory and private rooms, and a communal kitchen.
  2. Hotel Manoir Victoria: Offering a blend of historic charm and modern comforts, this hotel provides great value with amenities like an indoor pool and a fitness centre.

Best Time to Visit Quebec

Quebec City is a year-round destination, each season offering its unique charm and attractions. Summer, from June to September, is arguably the most popular time to visit. We visited in early June and thoroughly enjoyed it!

The weather is warm and pleasant, perfect for exploring the city’s outdoor attractions and festivals. Highlights include the Festival d’été de Québec, one of Canada’s largest music festivals, and the picturesque scenes along the Dufferin Terrace and Old Quebec’s cobblestone streets.

Winter, from December to February, transforms Quebec City into a winter wonderland. The city is famous for its enchanting Christmas markets and the Quebec Winter Carnival, the largest and oldest of its kind in the world.

The snowy landscape adds a magical touch to the historic architecture, and activities like ice skating, sledging, and visiting the Ice Hotel make it a memorable time to visit.

For those who enjoy fewer crowds and cooler weather, the shoulder seasons of spring (April to May) and autumn (October to November) offer a more tranquil experience with beautiful blooming flowers or vibrant fall foliage, respectively.

Things to do in Quebec

Quebec City is a wonderful place to spend a weekend or even a day trip. There are plenty of things to do, history to uncover and places to eat or grab a drink.

In hindsight, I would have liked us to stay one more day however, at the time of booking the flights we thought it’s best if we go just for a day trip.

If you are planning to do our itinerary below, I’d suggest you allow 2 days minimum. Although we did all of these in one day we feel it might be too ambitious (even for us).

One other thing to note, particularly for North-Americans, all touristic points of interest will be in French, as they don’t want their language to be lost and not all signage is bilingual. It goes to such a point where the local garrison in Quebec Citadele has to be referred to in French, by law!

Below is a list of things we suggest you should consider when going to Quebec City:

1. Get a Bird’s Eye view of Quebec from Observatoire de la Capitale

Head to the Observatoire de la Capitale for panoramic views of Quebec City from the 31st floor. Situated in the Marie-Guyart Building, this observatory offers a 360-degree perspective of the city and the St. Lawrence River. We didn’t find it to be particularly busy so, from that perspective feel free to allocate in your day anytime you wish.

The views are great and provide a good overview of the city itself however, don’t expect CN Tower like thrills. Visit during sunset for particularly stunning views, and don’t forget your camera!

2. Check out the Parliament Building

The Parliament Building, an architectural gem, is home to Quebec’s National Assembly. The building, with its ornate façade and beautifully landscaped gardens, is a must-see.

You can take a guided tour to learn about Quebec’s political history and the workings of its government. The tours are free and available in both English and French.

As we were pressed for time, we decided that we don’t want a tour of the parliament since we had a tour of the Parliament in Ottawa.

3. Learn some History at the Plains of Abraham & The Plains of Abraham Museum

The Plains of Abraham, a significant site in Canadian history, is where the pivotal battle between the French and British armies took place in 1759.

The expansive park offers walking trails, historical markers, and the Plains of Abraham Museum, which provides detailed exhibits on the battle and the broader history of New France.

We also got a chance to dress up in the museum and do a bit of role play using some of the uniforms and typical gear a soldier during that period would’ve had.

The Museum isn’t very big and can be easily covered in 30 minutes or so.

4. Take a Tour of the The Citadelle of Québec

The Citadelle of Québec is an active military installation and the official residence of the Governor General of Canada. This star-shaped fortress offers guided tours that explore its history and significance.

One other thing which we learned of is that the Royal 22e Régiment has to be referred to in French and this is enshrined into Canadian Law!

The reason for this was that the local French (Quebecoise) population wasn’t very active in enrolling in the Armed Forces and so a French speaking only regiment was raised in an attempt to get more recruits.

One other thing to note is that you can’t visit the citadelle on your own and a guided tour is a must for either the citadelle or the Governor General’s House.

On the other hand, perhaps the most interesting part of the tour is the section where the cannons are on display overlooking the harbour and the Old City itself. It really is amazing and a great photo shoot opportunity.

5. Take a Moment at Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral

The Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral, one of the oldest churches in North America, is a place of peace and reflection. Marvel at its stunning architecture, beautiful stained glass windows, and intricate woodwork.

The Holy Door, opened only during special occasions, adds to the cathedral’s spiritual significance. Although, we thought the Montreal Notre-Dame cathedral was more impressive, this one doesn’t disappoint and is fairly impressive also.

6. See the Montmorency Falls

Montmorency Falls, located just a short drive from Quebec City, is higher than Niagara Falls at 83 metres. You can view the falls from various vantage points, including a suspension bridge and a cable car. For the adventurous, a zipline across the falls offers an exhilarating perspective.

To get there, you can take bus 800 from the city which takes you to the falls. The falls are the last stop, so you can definitely grab a seat and enjoy the ride.

Once you arrive there, you can go by the Manor and get yourself some tickets to go down the cable car to get a much better close up photo. Although the Manor might be a great place to have a sit, note that it’s not open to the public, only private events.

Alternatively, you can also head down the trail, which takes you even close to the falls, but going back up might need some higher fitness levels.

The cable car comes every 15 minutes and is a great way to see the park including the falls in all their splendour. The cable car reaches the Tourist Centre, where you can enjoy some refreshments and some food.

We sat down on one of the benches and simply marvelled at the falls which leave you in awe. To go back to the bus we simply went up the cable car and then headed back to the stop to get our ride back into Quebec City.

7. Explore Old Quebec (Vieux-Quebec)

Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the historic heart of the city. Wander through its narrow, winding streets and discover landmarks such as the Château Frontenac, the Old Port, and Place Royale.

The area is brimming with shops, cafes, and restaurants, each exuding old-world charm.

8. Walk down the Iconic Dufferin Terrace

Dufferin Terrace, a long wooden boardwalk overlooking the St. Lawrence River, offers some of the best views in Quebec City. The terrace is a lively spot where street performers entertain, and visitors relax on benches to take in the scenery. It’s also the perfect place for a leisurely stroll at any time of day.

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9. Take a Photo of the Quebec City Mural

The Fresque des Québécois, a large mural on Côte de la Montagne, depicts significant figures and events from Quebec’s history. The mural is rich in detail and offers a unique visual narrative of the city’s past. It’s a popular spot for photos and a great way to learn about local history.

10. Have a Coffee at Place Royale

Place Royale, often considered the birthplace of French America, is a picturesque square with beautifully restored buildings. Enjoy a coffee at one of the charming cafes while soaking in the historic ambiance.

The cobblestone streets and 17th-century architecture make it a delightful spot to relax. The square is situated in the lower town of the Old City area and it truly transports you back to a little idilic town somewhere in France, definitely not to be missed when in Quebec.

11. Get lost in Quartier Petit Champlain

Quartier Petit Champlain, with its narrow streets and charming boutiques, is one of the most picturesque areas in Quebec City. This pedestrian-friendly district is perfect for shopping, dining, and exploring.

When planning your itinerary we suggest you head down the the lower town on foot, and if you wish to go up, you can make use of the funicular to access the Dufferin terrace.

12. Go up to the Dufferin Terrace with the Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec

The Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec offers a unique way to travel between Lower Town and Upper Town. This inclined railway provides stunning views of the St. Lawrence River as you ascend to Dufferin Terrace.

It’s a quick and scenic alternative to climbing the steep streets, especially after a long day of exploring.

During our visit the funicular was closed for a (dinner?) break and so we decided to go up the stairs back to the upper part of the Old Town. It will surely test your stamina and fitness levels.

Top Restaurants in Quebec

Québécois cuisine reflects a rich tapestry of French culinary traditions blended with local ingredients and influences from Indigenous cultures. At its heart are hearty comfort foods like tourtière (meat pie), poutine (fries topped with cheese curds and gravy), and maple syrup-infused dishes, showcasing Quebec’s agricultural abundance.

Seafood plays a significant role, with dishes featuring freshwater fish like trout and Atlantic seafood such as lobster and scallops. The cuisine also embraces seasonal produce, from wild blueberries to locally grown vegetables, emphasizing freshness and regional flavours.

Don Vegan Restaurant

For a plant-based dining experience, Don Vegan Restaurant is a must-visit. This trendy spot offers a diverse menu of vegan dishes that are as delicious as they are creative.

From hearty bowls and fresh salads to decadent desserts, there’s something to satisfy every palate. The modern, chic decor adds to the overall dining experience.

During our dining experience we tried their vegan burger which was tasty and Hristina had their pancakes with locally sourced maple syrup which was good.

All of this coupled with the wonderful view of the nearby square made our lunch a memorable experience.

Restaurant La Buche

Restaurant La Buche is the place to go for traditional Quebecois cuisine. With a rustic and cosy ambiance, it offers dishes like tourtière (meat pie), poutine, and maple desserts.

The hearty, comforting food provides an authentic taste of Quebec’s culinary heritage. As this was our last night in Canada we decided to go all out and sample the local cuisine.

We started of with some pork cracklings and pickles which were good and crisp followed by a poutine which was simply loaded with gravy, cheese curds and mince meat. The poutine was simply amazing but there I say it, no match for the Patati Patata’s one in Montreal.

We then continued with some local game meat. I had the deer chops (ribs) served on a bed of asparagus and creamy potatoes with mushrooms. Hristina has the bison steak served with creamy mashed potatoes. Although it was too gamy for her, I found it tasty and ate the rest of it.

To finish off (although by this point we were struggling) we topped it off with some desserts. Hristina had the local maple syrup toffee on a stick (which is what Maple syrup turns when exposed to ice/snow) and I had the Poor Man’s Pudding.

The toffee was ok, as it was just maple syrup on a stick in essence, and the presentation i.e. the waitress simply handing a lolly like to a 7 year old was a bit un-eventful.

The pudding was a simple cake served with a white sauce with maple syrup. There was nothing poor about this pudding. It was rich, decadent and left me smiling. I really enjoyed it, leaving me wanting more.

The service was good throughout however, it felt rushed at times as they were constantly looking to take our plates (with food) from our table.

Overall, a great culinary experience, leaving us with a good idea of Quebecoise cuisine and we would absolutely suggest you come here to experience good cooking in an ambient setting.

Final Thoughts

Quebec City is a destination that captivates with its blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re admiring the stunning architecture, indulging in local cuisine, or exploring its many attractions, there’s an undeniable charm that makes this city truly special.

From the bustling streets of Old Quebec to the tranquil parks and scenic vistas, every corner of Quebec City invites discovery and delight. We hope this guide helps you make the most of your visit and creates lasting memories of this enchanting city.

Ready to book? Below are some recommendations to get your trip started:

  • Accommodation – would recommend booking your accommodation through an aggregator such as or Agoda to get the best rates. We also use TripAdvisor to read reviews.

  • Transport – consider for car renting or if you rely on public transport, you can use Omio for trains, coaches, ferries, airport transfers and even flights.

  • Activities – a great option is GetYourGuide, Klook or Viator for tours, excursions, experiences and tickets to many tourist attractions.

  • Travel money – we have Starling Bank accounts (UK residents only) with 0% fees on FX and a good Mastercard exchange rate. Revolut is another good option.

  • Internet abroad – with Airalo or Nomad you can access a wide range of eSIMs (digital SIM cards) available for different countries and regions.

  • Luggage storage – if you need to store your bags whilst exploring the destination, you can use Radical Storage to find your closest luggage storage and enjoy your journey until the very end.

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