Quebec City has a wealth of diverse draws, from its historic walled core and rich culinary scene to nearby waterfalls, mountains, and national parks. Here are some of the top options for a 3-day tour of the city, including museums in Old Quebec, a whale-watching excursion, and outdoor activities for all four seasons.
Day 1: Essential Quebec City
Kick things off with an overview of the city and its key sights. A sightseeing cruise along the St. Lawrence River will carry you past major landmarks including Château Frontenac, Orleans Island (Île d'Orléans), and Montmorency Falls, which at 272 feet (83 meters) is the highest waterfall in the province.
In the afternoon, delve deeper into the history of New France and Québécois culture with a thorough exploration of UNESCO World Heritage–listed Old Quebec. Museum-hop your way around the Museum of Civilization (Musée de la Civilisation) and the Museum of French America (Musée de l’Amérique Francophone), both of which can be easily reached by hop-on hop-off tour bus. Spend the evening drinking and dining in one of the city’s many brewpubs, which can be found scattered around the old town and St. Roch neighborhoods.
Day 2: Whale Watching or Ice Wine Tasting
The St. Lawrence River is a feeding ground for all kinds of majestic creatures, including more than 10 different whale species. Sign up for a whale-watching tour and travel from Quebec City to the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, where you’ll board either a high-speed zodiac boat (ideal for close-up whale encounters) or a larger observation vessel (which offers protection from inclement weather). A certified naturalist will explain more about the unique marine ecosystem as you scan the water for belugas, minke whales, and humpbacks.
Outside whale-watching season (May to November), or if you’d simply prefer to stay on land, take a food- and wine-focused excursion to Orleans Island, during which you can taste ice wine, ice cider, and locally made chocolate. Back in town, embark on a dinner cruise along the St. Lawrence River and admire the illuminated city skyline while tucking into a multicourse meal.
Day 3: Active Outdoor Adventure
Quebec City’s setting alongside the St. Lawrence River and the Laurentian Mountains make it well-suited to lots of outdoor activities year-round. In summer, cycle along the bike paths of the St. Lawrence or kayak with a guide through the Parc Maritime de Saint-Laurent. In winter, the plentiful options for outdoor fun include ski-shoeing (a cross between snowshoeing and cross-country skiing) in Station Touristique Duchesnay park, nordic skiing (a mix between cross-country and downhill skiing) in Massif du Sud Regional Park, ice canoeing on the St. Lawrence River, and snow tubing down the more than 30 slides at the Valcartier Vacation Village.
Having worked up an appetite, return to Old Quebec for a guided gourmet food tour. Sample charcuterie and French-style plates, and witness liquor-drizzled dishes being flambéed tableside.