For our recent trip to Quebec City, we used many different modes of transport over the span of a few days. We took a road trip by car to reach Quebec from the Toronto area, which involved about eight hours of driving. And driving. And more driving. Unfortunately, as much as we love road trips, the drive to Quebec from Toronto isn’t terribly interesting. It involves a lot of driving on a main highway surrounded by a whole lot of farm land with very few attractions. From time to time, we saw a glimmer of something interesting, such as an incredibly large apple, or an imposing mountain off in the distance.
When we reached Quebec, we gladly ditched the car and opted for our favorite mode of “transportation” – walking! We walked everywhere we could in Quebec, from the Lower Town of Old Quebec to Upper Town; along the Fortification Walls to the Governor’s Promenade. For our first two full days in the city, we walked a total of 30km! When you’re in Quebec, definitely pack some comfortable walking shoes and get ready to explore on your own two feet! Also, be prepared to walk up and down a lot of stairs. Part of Quebec City is up on a hill, and part of the city is below the hill, so there are many, many stairways connecting both sections of town. I love walking all over cities, and I find that sometimes walking allows you to see things that you may have otherwise missed. For instance, we stumbled upon an outdoor art exhibition called “The Unusual Passages” that we may have missed seeing if we hadn’t been walking around, examining our surroundings more slowly.
One of the more interesting modes of transportation that we took in Quebec City was the Funicular Car. The Funicular Car has been in operation for over 125 years, and definitely adds to the historical feel of Old Quebec. This train travels up and down the hill, connecting the Lower Town with the Upper Town. It is a short ride that offers fantastic views of Old Quebec. For $2.50, you can save yourself the hassle of climbing all of those stairs and transport yourself to the top of the hill! Once we reached the top, we found ourselves in front of the famous hotel (and supposedly the world’s most photographed hotel), Chateau Frontenac. There is a giant boardwalk here that connects the Dufferin Terrace to the Plains of Abraham Park called the Governor’s Promenade.
Another mode of transportation we took in Quebec City was a ferry boat. We boarded the ferry to travel roundtrip from Quebec City to Lévis across the St. Lawrence River. However, we didn’t spend any time in Lévis! The main purpose of traveling by boat was for the views. You can enjoy wonderful views of the entire city when you travel by boat. Plus, we relaxed with a gentle breeze on our faces, and gazed around in all directions watching the other ships travel down the river.
One of the only times we got back into the car was to travel a short distance to Ile d’Orleans, a small island located very close to Quebec City. We drove across a bridge to reach the island, which was the only way to get there. Once across, we followed the Chemin Royal, a road that wraps around the entire island in a loop. Orleans Island might be close in proximity to the city, but it is an escape from the bustle of a busy, sometimes touristy place. Orleans Island is almost like traveling back in time, visiting the traditional rural lifestyle in Quebec. There were many stands selling fresh fruit and vegetables, and many small shops selling fresh preserves, jams, jellies, wine, and cider. When you’re making the loop, be sure to stop at a couple of the scenic lookout points for some gorgeous views. The only way to travel around Orleans Island is by car, or by bicycle. We saw many people that rented bicycles on the island and were driving around the loop that way.
Speaking of bicycles, Quebec City is the perfect place to explore by bike! Thankfully, our hotel had some complimentary bicycles that we were able to borrow. We rode our bikes on a bicycle path that ran parallel to the St. Lawrence River. We saw many interesting buildings on one side, and enjoyed fantastic views of the water on the other side. We also traveled by bicycle down some of the cobblestone roads in Old Quebec. There are plenty of shops in Quebec that will rent bicycles by the hour or daily, so get ready to pedal all over town!