Wonderful Wintertime in Québec
Our Travel Specialist Charlene Everest travelled to Quebec for the ultimate winter wonderland experience. She got the opportunity to combine adventure activities, a city break, fine dining and relaxation. Here she lists the highlights of that unforgettable trip…
1. Winter Carnival in Québec City.
Quebec City is completely taken over by Carnival every year for the first ten or so days of February. Millions of people have participated in the world’s largest winter carnival throughout the last 60 years, and with new activities added to the schedule each year, it’s no wonder it ranks with Rio and New Orleans for a party atmosphere.
The festival mascot, Bonhomme, has his very own Ice Palace (measuring 40 feet tall and containing 300 tons of ice) – a dazzling creation carved out of snow and ice. While Carnival is on, you can enjoy many activities including snow tubing, ice fishing, relaxing at the arctic spa village, winter camping, snowshoe and skating challenges, watching the ice sculpting competition and ice hockey matches.
It’s a great time to visit as the city is buzzing with events and joie de vivre!
2. Stay in a Chateau for the night
Experience a stay at the famous Fairmont Chateau Frontenac Hotel located in Old Quebec City. This iconic building – one of the most recognisable in Canada’s skyline – is steps away from the famous St. Lawrence River and within walking distance of restaurants, bars and coffee shops.
3. Sample local delicacies
Enjoy an unforgettable dining experience at one of the many restaurants the city has to offer. Make sure to sample some ‘Poutine’ – a regional speciality. The dish, which originates in Quebec, is made with French fries, rich gravy, cheese curds and sometimes meat (such as duck) is added too.
4. Winter Retreat at Lake Sacacomie
Escape the city for an unforgettable stay at the stunning Hotel Sacacomie. This log-cabin style hotel borders the Mastigouche wildlife reserve, and you can admire the view of the lake and surrounding wilderness from every angle.
Local specialities and regional produce are served in the restaurant, and whether you prefer to visit the spa, soak in a private jacuzzi, or have a glass of wine on the terrace (after days filled with exploring the surround landscapes), Hotel Sacacomie is the perfect place to unwind.
It’s around a 2hr drive from Quebec City or Montreal but if you really want to arrive in style, you can do so by helicopter or floatplane transfer, which takes just 30 minutes.
5. Try winter activities
Out in Quebec’s winter wonderland landscape, there are lots of activities you can try. From Hotel Sacacomie alone you can go husky sledding, snowmobiling, horseback riding, horse sleigh ride and ice driving – amongst many others. My favourites were riding a husky sled through the enchanting snow-clad forests, and discover spectacular landscapes by snowmobile. Quebec has over 1,500km of snowmobile trails – so there’s plenty to explore!
6. Visit Hotel De Glace
Quebec’s own ice hotel, the Hotel De Glace, is just ten minutes from downtown Quebec City. Don’t miss your chance to sleep on a bed of ice in one of the beautifully carved ice suites, and – whether you stay all night, or just visit for the day, make sure you have a drink in the ice bar or ice café before you leave.