Perfect 3 Day Itinerary for Quebec City, Quebec – Canada
I cannot believe it has taken this long to have a proper trip to Canada. We had a day trip to Montreal several years ago but this trip certainly peaked our interest in more weekend getaways to Canada. We visited Quebec City in winter time for the annual Carnaval de Quebec and we were amazed by how much there is to do in and outside of the city but also the outstanding food scene.
Know before you go
Language – French is first! It felt like we transported across the ocean to France. Everyone speaks English so do not worry if you do not speak French but as always, be polite by learning some basics. Give a strong “Bonjour!” when you enter an establishment, “merci” for thank you, and asking “parlez vous anglais?” for “do you speak English?” to transition to an English speaking conversation. We did encounter some menus that were only in French so take a photo and let Google Translate take it from there. Otherwise the staff were more than happy to go through the menu in English.
Currency – We never had to take out cash as credit cards were accepted everywhere we went. Canadian dollar is the currency if you were to take out cash but if you have a credit card with no foreign transaction fee – highly recommend getting one if not – that will be fine for your trip.
Getting around – Quebec City is extremely walkable even in the middle of winter. If you want to see things outside of the city, you can rent a car or look into public buses to get around. For popular destinations such as Valcatier, there is a bus that goes back and forth from the city you can book for a fee. Uber is hit or miss so if you are looking for ride share, you may need to go the taxi route.
Where to stay?
There are lots of great places to stay. Most popular is to stay in the iconic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac but we wanted to stay outside of the Old City tourist spot. We ended up in the Saint-Jean neighborhood and could not have been happier with the location – it was central to everything and very safe. The Airbnb was perfect – just enough room for the two of us and super cozy.
What is there to do?
- Explore Old City – A completely charming section of Quebec City full of shops and places to eat. It is also one of the best spots in the city to see the river as well as the famous Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. The area was perfectly decorated for winter festivities with occasional nooks and crannies to explore. Quebec City is quite hilly so this section does have a funicular as an option for those that do not wish to walk the stairs.
- Carnaval de Quebec – And if you are lucky enough to visit at the beginning of the year, look out for timing your trip with Carnaval de Quebec. Filled with fun winter activities throughout the city, this was such a fun carnival to visit.
- Explore various neighborhoods – There is more to Quebec City than the Old City. Make sure to leave time to explore. That was one of the Carnaval benefits was festivities were spread all over the city so we were able to see so much. We also ate all our meals outside of Old City and my goodness, they were incredible and it was a great way to see more of the city.
- Spa – There are several options here to indulge in some spa time. They were all closed when we were there due to COVID but if this is something that interests you, definitely look into this! Strøm Spa Nordique was highly recommended.
- Day trips outside of Quebec City
- Montgomery Falls – This spot is very close to the city so if you have a few hours free I would definitely recommend! If you do not have a car, there is a bus that goes here and it is only 20 minutes away. Visiting here can occur all year round and the landscape drastically changes depending on the time of year you visit.
- l’Île d’Orléans – Across the St Lawrence River from Montgomery Falls is the l’Île d’Orléans. I read this is quite lovely during the warmer weather. We visited for Cassis Monna and learned that there are vineyards here as well! Definitely look into wine tasting if that interested you – I know we will be partaking in this on a future visit.
- Valcatier – This activity complex is filled with both summer and winter activities. There is a hotel there for people that want to spend more time exploring everything there is to offer. In the summertime, it is a full water park. In the wintertime, it is a tubing park with the addition of Hotel de Glace – the only ice hotel in North America. If you do not have a car,
- Dog sledding – If you are visiting in the winter time, we had a surprisingly fun experience with this one!
- Mont Sainte-Anne – Mountain prime for winter activities. In the summer months, it transforms for hiking, mountain biking and golfing.
- Jacques-Cartier National Park – Beautiful park with many outdoor adventures to offer. This one is definitely on my list for a return visit.
Where to eat?
You are going to eat very well in Quebec City. The restaurants here made it impossible to pick just a few nights for dinner but here is the list of all the places we narrowed down to:
- Kraken Cru
- L’affaire est Ketchup
- Le Clocher Penche
- Buvette Scott
- Le Fin Gourmet
- Be Club
- Le Voisin
- Pied Bleu
I do not think you can go wrong anywhere and everything we ate was incredible. Definitely save your dining options for outside Old City. Not that many spots did not have a lunch service so make sure to check for lunch spots. We ended up at Chez Temporal and it was perfection.
Let’s not forget all the coffee and snack stops you should also consider working into your visit:
- Cafe Pekoe – coffee
- Nektar Cafeologue – coffee
- Cantook Cafe – coffee
- Second Cup Cafe – coffee
- Cafe La Maison Smith St-Jean – coffee
- Les Cafe du Soleil – coffee
- Korrigane – brewery
- Tutto Gelato – ice cream
- Paillard St Jean – bakery
- Snack bar – poutine
- Chic Shack – poutine
- Chez Ashton – poutine
- Aux Petits Délices – cheese plate
- Fromagerie des Grondines – cheese plate
- Pied Blue – cheese and meats
- Queues de Castor – beaver tail
Here is a perfect three day itinerary for exploring Quebec City! With all our three day itineraries, we like to leave on Thursday night to get a full day in on Friday.
Grab dinner / explore neighborhood
|Day 1||Morning||Explore Old City|
|Afternoon||Explore Old City|
|Day 2||Morning||Day trip of choice|
|Afternoon||Day trip of choice|
|Day 3||Morning||Explore new neighborhood|
|Afternoon||Food / Snack / Brew hop|