Quebec is an amazing place to visit year-round, but winter is when La Belle Province is at its most magical. Here are 5 enchanting reasons to make Quebec your winter getaway.
Have Fun in a Winter Wonderland
Lately, you may have been idly surfing around for package deals that will allow you to escape to a beach. But before you book your vacation, consider the fun you could have a bit closer to home. Quebec, for example, is a province that embraces winter to the fullest—there is even a whole carnival dedicated to the season. Though you may not be able to pack as lightly (long johns and a really warm jacket are a must), you will experience enough unique adventures that you may start to welcome winter each year instead of dreading its arrival. Here are 5 ways to take advantage of winter in “La Belle Province.”
1. Celebrate Winter at Carnaval de Quebec!
From late January to mid-February, head to Quebec City to experience the largest winter carnival in the world. The Mardi Gras of the north kicks off each year with a spectacular opening night of fireworks and revelry. After that, 17 days of winter fun, including skating and sleigh rides; watching canoe races on the St. Lawrence and dog sled races through the streets; outdoor dance parties; night parades and a whole host of other family-friendly activities are supervised by the jolly Bonhomme Carnaval. Interesting fact: the first winter carnival in the city in 1894 was actually organized as a way to help the population forget about winter’s hardships. Now it draws travellers from all over the world who want to experience a true Canadian winter.
2. Cuddle Up in a Cottage
Cottages aren’t just for summer vacations. If you can find winterized accommodations like the quaint but spacious cottages at Pohénégamook santé plein air, then you’ll have just as much fun cocooning indoors as you will getting sporty outdoors. Test your balance and endurance by ski sailing, which is basically windsurfing on skiis; cross country skiing, ice skating, ice fishing and inner tubing, among other outdoor activities. And, if you’re brave, relax those tired muscles in their outdoor Scandinavian Spa.
3. Stargaze at Mount Megantic National Park
On a clear winter night, snowshoe through the woods by torchlight in this northern part of the Appalachian Mountains and enjoy an evening learning about astronomy. Discover which stars will dominate the sky over the winter and enjoy a hot meal that is included with your tour. If you’re not keen on snowshoeing uphill, hitch a ride to the top and enjoy the easier hike going down. Tour times vary.
4. Brave the Elements in an Igloo
For the truly adventurous, settle in for a momentous night in an igloo. In the Parc national du Bic, you can purchase the NunaBic package, which will provide you with all the gear you need to stay cosy and warm: a winter sleeping bag and polar fleece blanket, a ground mattress, transport sled (though don’t pack too much!), a firewood and access to a hut where you can cook a hot meal. In the morning, strap on some snowshoes and explore this picturesque park.
5. Spend the Night in an Ice Castle
If you’re a little claustrophobic at the thought of spending a night in an igloo, head to the more spacious Ice Hotel just north of Quebec City. Each year, the space is re-imagined and rebuilt into a chiseled architectural masterpiece. Choose from 45 rooms with different themes. An information session will answer all your questions about what it’s like to sleep on a bed of ice in a room made of ice. Enjoy the Nordic Area with its spas and saunas under the stars.