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Completely at a loss about where to start when planning your trip to Montreal? Quebec City? The rest of the province? Want to venture out further but don’t know where to start or where to get off the beaten path in Canada’s francophone gem?

Are you looking to get a grip on all the specifics for your upcoming itinerary and travels to La Belle Province?

Go beyond the guidebook and let these local tips and tricks ease, smooth and facilitate your travel prep to get the most out of your journey, creating everlasting memories you’ll share over and over again!

Here are some of my (by the way, who am I?) best tips and tricks to get you started as well as frequently asked questions (FAQ) about travelling through Quebec to inspire your planning.

Skip to the latest articles in each of these categories, click on the links below.
Bon voyage, as we say!

Popular Travel RoutesWhen to Go  Where to Stay
How to Get There and AroundWhat to See and DoWhat and Where to Eat
Quebec DestinationsTravel BudgetPacking Essentials

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some of the questions I’ve received over time through email, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and in response to my newsletter. I’ve collected them here to let you read the practical answers too!

It’s my first visit to Quebec Province, where should I go?

That’s a tough question! Every city, village, shore and mountain of Quebec is worth a visit, in my opinion. Here are some ideas nonetheless.

The Classic Landmarks and Cities

Of course, there are some nice weather classics, like spending a few days in the city of Montreal, hopping to Mont Tremblant for some nature bathing in the Laurentians, then making your way to Quebec City to get your fill of history and end with Tadoussac for some whale watching.

In fall, you’ll definitely want to admire the autumn colours in the Laurentians or the Eastern Townships, climb a mountain top to view the leaves in all their glory in Charlevoix and go apple picking in Montérégie.

As for winter, it’s more about the activities than the place, as many of our typical winter sports and fun happenings can be done in multiple regions. Some of the unmissable iconic spots include the Ice Hotel near Quebec City, Montreal’s Nuit Blanche festival, glamping in a national park surrounded by snow, ice fishing on one of our lakes, dipping in a hot spa or chasing the North star on a dog sled.

When spring comes along, make sure you sip a cocktail on a terrasse or have a picnic in one of our parks as the sun starts to shine and Quebecers hit the streets. Savour fresh local lobster and crab as Gaspésie and the Magdalen Islands’ fishermen hit the sea. Don’t leave without trying a sugar shack where maple syrup is king!

Off-the-Beaten Path Ideas

Not into checking typical bucket list items off and more of a remote or lesser-known experience kind of explorer? Hit Témiscouata’s nature paths, go cheese-hopping in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, see the Magdalen Islands in the winter time, get an adrenaline rush in Laval or venture north to uncover some of Quebec’s backwoods that deserve just as much attention!

Need more itinerary ideas?
Click here!

How long should I stay in the province of Quebec?

Whether you’re here for two days, a long weekend, a week’s vacation, spring break or a 2- or 3-week trip, Quebec has something for you. It really depends on the time that you have.

Start off with a 48-hour getaway to the big city of Montreal, in the heart of Quebec City’s historical roots or in the province’s best natural spots, or extend your trips to add in foodie destinations, adventures, sports, nature, lifestyle moments, and maybe even some maritime or aboriginal tourism experiences to create a full trip!

Need itinerary ideas? Click here!

When is the best time to visit Quebec?

12 months per year! Anytime is the right time to travel around Quebec.

Of course, summer is a booming season and the most travelled one, with reason. Exciting festivals, miles of coastline to lounge around on and great peaks to hike, terrasses to have a drink on, and local artisans to meet and greet are only the tip of the iceberg of what awaits if you like the sun and greenery. Yes, I have to admit we do have mosquitoes in certain regions, but with the right tools, you’ll forget all about them!

In fall, you can hit up most of the classic tourist spots, but add on some impressive colours as the leaves change and the temperatures decrease. It’s a perfect segway to the cold, as you dip your toes in spas and enjoy the view. Autumn is also harvest season, so you can experience apple picking, wine tasting and pumpkin patch photo ops!

Winter is definitely underrated, although Quebec is known for its snow and ice activities. There is so much that can be done and it’s a great time of year for Christmas markets, March spring break adventures or introductions to ice and snow if you’re used to warmer climates. The cold definitely doesn’t slow us down and neither should it stop you from coming to visit us!

Spring is time for renewal, as winter slips away and Quebecers start soaking up the sun. Families head to the sugar shack to celebrate our natural gold (maple syrup), tulips fields and apple trees are growing and blossoming, and the crowds haven’t yet moved in. If you don’t mind wearing a jacket, you’ll have such a great time.

Is Quebec safe? Even for a female traveller or solo travel?

Absolutely! The province (and even the country) is very safe, whether you are travelling solo or as a female traveller. Besides basic care you would take anywhere in the world, you can rest assured you’ll have a safe trip to Quebec.

Don’t walk around unlit places, alleyways or parks at night, for example. Watch uout for your valuables in crowds or the metro like you would do anywhere else and lock your car doors.

Do I need a visa to travel to Quebec, Canada?

It depends on where you’re from! At the date of publication:

  • Americans/Australians/Brits/New Zealanders/most Europeans need an eTA visa, a visa that is requested online in minutes and costs only $7. You can apply here.
  • Brazilians/Chinese/Indians/Philippinos/Russians need a visitor visa that costs $100 that must be requested in advance. Apply here.

You can find out up-to-date information about visas, electronic travel authorizations (eTA) and documents needed to travel to Quebec, Canada on the Government Website. Things can change quickly, so make sure to check it out regularly!

What is the currency in Quebec?

Quebec province uses the Canadian dollar (CAD$) as a currency. You’ll find on the market 5, 10, 20, 50, and $100 bills. Dollars are also divided in 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, $1 (loonie) and $2 (toonie) coins.

The penny no longer is distributed or accepted, so amounts at the cash register are rounded up or down unless you are paying with a debit/credit card.

Most of the touristy stops accept American dollars, but not always at the best exchange rate, so I don’t recommend using this alternative unless you really have to.

Visa and MasterCard are widespread, but American Express isn’t always accepted although it has improved these past years. Ask in advance if you only have one method of payment for your trip expenses.

How do taxes work and what do they amount to in Quebec?

Most prices do not include the sales taxes (QST and GST) which will be added at the register, for a total of 14,975%. Keep that in mind when shopping. Basic non transformed foods at the grocery store, for example, aren’t taxable, but potato chips and such are, like other non-essential items.

What is the tipping policy in Quebec? When should I give some?

Tipping in restaurants when there is table service is almost mandatory since it’s so widespread and the wait staff doesn’t make the minimum wage without it. Most Quebecers leave 15% of the bill before tax and round it up to make calculations simple. Same goes for bartenders and barmaids.

At a hotel, if you’re getting help with your luggage, calculate about $1 per suitcase or a total of $5. For the maid, it’s about 2–5$ per day depending on the type of establishment you’re in, and the valet driver generally gets about $5 to retrieve your car. These amounts are more indicative than widespread, as it varies from one service ranking to another.

When going to the hairdressers or getting a massage, for example, it’s customary but not at all obligatory to leave a tip, generally around $5 depending on the service, but not as enforced as for food. In taxis or when getting food delivered, tips (what we call pourboires) are around 10%.

What is the legal drinking age in Quebec?

You must be 18 years old to drink alcohol in Quebec.

How much does a trip to Quebec cost?

Anywhere from zero to a million! Just kidding, but it’s kind of true. The cost of a Quebec trip depends on whether you are sleeping in hostels or hotels, B&Bs or camping, whether you’re cooking or eating out, hiking or going on daily tours. For a better idea of costs per travel type, view these articles!

On a side note: one of the elements you have to consider for your budget in Quebec is transportation. If you’re outside of the big cities, you’ll most likely need to rent a car and pay for gas, so make sure you consider that. Yes, there are travel alternatives, but sadly my province hasn’t yet become an awesome public transportation hub… 🙁

What are the top regions I should visit in Quebec?

Oh my gosh! What a cruel question to ask someone who loves every bit and part of Quebec… Every region has its quirks and perks, advantages and disadvantages. A lot of the decision process will have to do with the time at your disposal and the transportation mode you’ll be using.

Too many people run around the province from Outaouais to Gaspésie and Abitibi-Témiscamingue to the Magdalen Islands, sometimes even hopping north and wanting to explore the south as well. One thing I can recommend is to cut down on regions. Choose one or a few and explore them well. Like for any destination, I’m convinced that less is more.

Now that you’ve read to the end, I’ll let you in on a secret about some of my ultimate places to visit, but it’s soooo hard to name only a few, trust me! The Magdalen Islands have stolen my heart. If you have time to get out there for a week or more, go for it, you’re sure to fall in love. If you like nature and indigenous experiences, head to Eeyou Istchee Baie-James or Nunavik, or even Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

For incredible sunsets, definitely choose Bas-Saint-Laurent. A wine lover? Head to the Eastern Townships. If you’re in Montreal or Quebec and have little additional time, discover my home region of Montérégie or the rolling hills of Charlevoix. I’ll stop now… but I can guarantee even those I haven’t mentioned are worth considering!

What guidebooks about Quebec do you recommend?

Ohhh, there are so many to choose from. If you’re at the library or bookstore and hesitating on which to buy, or in front of the computer and ready to order online (use the links hereunder to help me keep helping you!), here are the pros and cons of the main publishers’ guidebooks about the province of Quebec.

I only wish you could speak French so I could recommend the 3 guidebooks I coauthored at Lonely Planet and Ulysse (Québec, Montréal et Québec en quelques jours, Testé et approuvé: le Québec en plus de 100 expériences extraordinaires)… Maybe one day they’ll be translated in English! 🙂

What should I pack for a trip to Quebec?

To better answer your question, I’ve created packing lists for every season of the year so you can prepare your luggage efficiently! In a nutshell, unless you’re staying in cities and towns where regular urban wear and good shoes will be fine, make sure you pack for different weather types, as it can get chilly at night in the summer near a lake or river and you might get hot playing around in the snow. Layers, layers, layers!

  • Summer Packing List for Quebec Travel
  • Winter Quebec Packing List
  • Fall Packing List for Quebec
  • Spring Packing Checklist for Quebec
Can I drink the tap water in Quebec?

Absolument! Quebec’s tap water is great, in big cities and on the countryside. You can drink it without worry. Some rural areas have wells, so the water is fresh and clean as can be, although it can sometimes have a taste to it, but it’s not dangerous at all.

Make sure to check out signs posted in rest stops, rest areas and nature cabins though, as some places have running water, but it’s not drinkable. In French, drinking water is “eau potable”. If you can’t drink it, you’ll see something along the lines of “ne pas boire” or “eau non potable”.

Should I buy travel insurance?

Yes, yes, yes and absolutely. You should ALWAYS have travel insurance, whether you are travelling around your home country or going elsewhere. Make sure you’re covered and read the fine print!

Here are some insurance companies to get the ball rolling with an estimate:

  • World Nomads
  • Kanetix
  • Allianz
  • Blue Cross

Get started now and discover Quebec’s best destinations from a local’s perspective. You ready? Follow me!

Jennifer Doré Dallas