Here is all you need to know about Quebec City and the best spots to visit within the city!
We are close enough to Canada that we made this a road trip. It was about six hours of driving one way, which included two rest periods for bathrooms stops and food. Our first day we decided to bypass the busy city and drive straight to Montmorency Falls. Due to the quick weather change we decided to make the best of it while it was nice out. This giant waterfall is located 10-15 minutes outside of Quebec City. Our maps actually brought us to the river, but we had a hard time finding the entrance to the actual site. Finally after stopping for food and reassessing our direction we found the entrance. It is located closer to the St. Laurent river near the highway. If you’re using Google Maps, search for Montmorency Falls Parking. This will bring you to the base of the waterfall where you can purchase tickets to ride the cable car to the top! When you arrive you drive up to the window and pay. We paid about $25 for the Couples Pass, which gives you parking and unlimited cable car access up to the falls and back. Make sure you have good clothes on for the wind because it gets pretty windy at the top! Once you’ve parked, you go inside the building and wait in line to go in the cable car. The cable car brings people up and down the mountain every few minutes. You just stand in the cable car and catch views of the waterfall, as you get closer to the top. The cart itself is a panoramic window so the blind spots are at a minimum, providing you with great views the whole way up, which only takes a few short minutes.
When you reach the top there will be an observation deck to look out at the river and cityscape. The entire trail around, above and next to the waterfall is a giant circle with so many places to stop and get pictures. Each time we found a different angle of the waterfall another rainbow appeared! We saw double rainbows and even had rainbows forming right in front of us. The rainbows form because of all of the mist coming off of the waterfall and it makes for some gorgeous pictures!
Each winter, at the base of the waterfall, a giant ice mound forms. You can walk right up to the top of it, although we would advise not too. Even if you were to get a fantastic photo for your social media post, the risk is quite high. The fall wouldn’t kill you, but being trapped in a vicious current can keep you under the water and down the river. Stay safe, their are plenty of wonderful photo spots! We did not go to the top of the mound but a littler mound below was perfect for us and we got plenty of nice pictures with the falls behind us.
We spent about 2-3 hours at Montmorency Falls. I would say that was a good amount of time to see every angle of the waterfall and take some photos. Next, we drove straight into Old Quebec City. Our Airbnb was located right inside the Old City. A perfect place to be located with everything in walking distance. Once we checked into our Airbnb we made some dinner. Then, we decided to venture out and explore the city for a bit. We ended up finding the perfect place to see a nice view of the newer part of the city and also get some sunset and night photos here! It is a spot right between the Hilton and the Centre Des Congres De Quebec. Make sure that you stop by this spot for sunset when you’re in Quebec City!
The next day we decided to spend the whole day exploring the city. I have to say that the Old City has it all. We ventured out into the actual city and didn’t really find much to do. We couldn’t even find a large mall to walk around in. So, I would suggest that you spend most of your time in the Old City. Walking through the Old City is like walking through a little part of Europe. It has cobblestone, old buildings, history, a castle and french cuisine! We ended up walking to an open park area to get some shots of the Old City from a high point. The place is called La Terrasse Saint-Denis and you get a nice view of the river, as well!
After spending some time at this peak above the city we walked down to the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. That is the castle building you see in the photo above. (HISTORY) There is a boardwalk right in front of the Chateau for more views of the river below. When you gaze over the edge of the boardwalk you’ll see a whole other part of the Old City. It is a long street that you can walk down with little shops and restaurants. You have a few ways that you can get down to that lower street. You can walk down the stairs or you can take the Funiculaire du Vieux-Quebec. This is a cable car that brings you from the upper town to the lower town for a small fee. It is cash only so make sure you have some money on you! We decided to take the stairs, but this is a big tourist attraction that a lot of people feel like they have to do when in Quebec City.
On our way back to the Airbnb we stopped at a little burger place called Chic Shack. This restaurant had a great atmosphere, great staff and delicious food and drinks! It was a great lunch spot. They even make their own sodas and (obviously) poutine. We both had blood orange sodas and shared some poutine and burgers. The burgers are made with grass fed local beef. Vegetarians are also catered too with a nice selection of options.
Midway from lunch to our airbnb we decided to stop in a store that we had passed a few times called Ziba. Ziba is an oriental and middle eastern store that sells jewelry, lanterns, home decor and much more! There is no way you can not walk in this store when you walk by! Once you peer in the windows you know you’re in for a walk through another world. When you look at all the dazzling pieces in Ziba you’ll get lost in their detail and beauty.
Now, after some rest from lunch and the long morning at the Airbnb, we decided to venture out of the old city and more into the residential areas and newer part of Quebec city. We had no specific destination so we just walked around trying to find some hidden treasures . We tried to find a big mall to explore too, ultimately not finding much so we decided to call it a night and head back to home base. Which was spectacular timing, as it started to rain the just as we were nearing the Airbnb!
Our last day in Quebec city was a relaxing one and well deserved after all of the walking we had done! We checked out of the airbnb and walked a few minutes down to a little creperie for breakfast called Au Petit Coin Breton. It is a small restaurant with an early European vibe, that brings you the cuisine style from Brittany, France. We had to actually squeeze into our little table in front of the window. The staff are dressed in dresses and aprons representing an early time period we believe near the 1800’s, and the interior design brings you back in time too! We both ordered chocolate crepes that had Nutella, strawberries and a few scoops of vanilla ice cream. Yes, we know, ice cream and chocolate are not ideal breakfast items. Go ahead judge us haha. These crepes were the size of my head! Definitely, a great sugar fix to keep us awake for the rest of the day. They also have savory crepes if you’re looking for a different approach.
I think we saved the best activity for last… Strøm Spa Nordique! We were planning on spending a few hours at the spa and then a few hours at an aquarium. After a few hours at the spa we didn’t want to leave! So, we decided to stay at the spa for 4 hours! We each paid $44 for the Thermal Experience. This gives you access to the hot pools, cold pools, saunas and relaxation areas in the spa. At the spa you also get a robe, towels, a locker with a lock and plenty of access to drinking water. Now this isn’t your normal spa… this spa has little buildings outside of the main building with hammocks, lounge chairs and beds to relax on. The temperature inside the buildings is hot so you can feel comfortable while getting in and out of the pools.
There are also saunas in some of the outdoor buildings. They have eucalyptus steam rooms where you go in the room and sit in the eucalyptus steam. When we first went in, we were alone in the steam room and we had no idea what to expect. Good thing we were alone because we couldn’t stop coughing at first! It is so hot, steamy and a huge aroma of eucalyptus that we didn’t know how to handle it. We could only handle a few minutes of sitting in there so we left and went back to the little lazy river. The whole time we were swinging on the hammocks and floating in the pools we could taste the eucalyptus and it was extremely calming. We actually decided to go in again at the end because it was actually really relaxing.
Now there is a specific way that you are supposed to enjoy this spa. The nordic way is to go in the hot pools or saunas, then a quick dip in the cold pools and then warm up in the little buildings. We decided to just leisurely go around to the different areas and skip the cold pools. It was cold enough walking outside to each pool and sauna due to the passing storm. The wind was strong and the rain was cold, making it not the ideal conditions to walk around in a bathing suit!
Make sure you bring your own flip flops and a book while you overlook the river that the spa is located on! Take your relaxation to the next level!