Quebec City is famous for its romantic French charm but its winter activities are very different to those you might find in Paris! The winters here are crisp and clear, with blue-sky days and feet of fresh snowfall. With direct flights to Canada’s Quebec City from the UK, you can be over here in no time enjoying snowy activities. From dog-sledding to snow-tubing, these are our favourites:
See the frozen Montmorency Falls
These impressive falls are higher than Niagara, and in winter they transform into what the locals dub the Pain de Sucre (sugar loaf). They look like they have been dusted in sugar thanks to their glittering ice covering and are reminiscent of the packed sugar cones grocers sold in the 19th century. It’s a magnificent sight! The suspension bridge at the top of the falls is still open to walk or snowshoe across. For adventurous souls, ice-climbing is available on the frozen face of the falls.
Mush a husky team
You can sit back in a cosy, lined sled for a thrilling ride across Quebec’s frozen countryside. Whizz along the snow-covered trails at the Jacques-Cartier National Park or at the Mont-Sainte-Anne ski report with an expert musher at the reins. It’s a wonderful experience…but we think you can top that. Many dog-sledding outfits teach you how to mush the husky team yourself, putting you in the driving seat and the reins in your hands. There is no exhilaration like it! It’s a wonderful way to experience an ancient tradition and get close to the adorable canine team.
Take a carriage ride through Old Quebec
There’s nothing quite as romantic as a horse-drawn carriage ride through the twinkling winter lights of a historic city. Old Quebec is the most historic part of the city and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Glide under the city walls, through archways and down cobbled streets for a truly atmospheric ride. Afterwards, stroll the streets for Christmas shopping in the festive shops or to warm up with a hot chocolate.
Visit the Hotel de Glace
From 4th January to 25th March, a very special hotel indeed will pop up outside Quebec City. The Hotel de Glace is an architectural marvel. It is the only hotel of its kind in North America and is built entirely from snow and ice. Visit to see the intricate ice carvings or to have a drink from an ice tumbler at the ice bar. If you stay over, you can sleep in an ice hotel room made cosy by reindeer skins, with the option to indulge in the outdoor hot tubs under the stars. Bliss!
Join in the Quebec Winter Carnival
From 26th January to 11th February, Quebec City hosts one of the world’s largest ice festivals. Adults and children alike will be mesmerised by the intricate ice sculptures and illuminated night parades. Some of the more zany activities on offer include stripping off for a snow bath or watching hardy souls battle across the frozen waters of the St Lawrence River in an ice canoe race. To top it all off, you can visit the enormous ice palace built each year to house some of the festivities.
Try out snow tubing
For the uninitiated, snow-tubing is the most fun you can have on the snow with no skill required at all! Zoom down the mountain slopes inside a rubber ring or an inflatable raft that’s safe for all ages. This way, you don’t need to be a skilled skier or snowboarder to join in on the slopes. The tubing and rafting takes place in the Valcartier Winter Playground located just outside Quebec City. This is the same place that sets up the Hotel de Glace each year. They have more than 35 snow slides as well as skating paths and rinks.
Soak in a Nordic Spa
There’s nothing quite like sinking into a steaming hot bath while snow falls all around you. There are at least half a dozen luxurious spas to choose from in the Quebec City area which offer hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms and fire pits to keep you cosy. Siberian Station Spa has a thermal waterfall, while Le Nordique Spa Stoneham boasts stunning views over the Jacques-Cartier Valley. Afterwards, choose a massage or luxury beauty treatment or head to one of the spa’s bistros for an indulgent meal.
Ski close to downtown
The ultimate snowy activity, no winter trip to Canada would be complete without a spot of skiing or snowboarding. In Quebec City there are four ski resorts to choose from and they are all within an hour of the city. The closest, Le Relais Centre, is just 15 minutes from Old Quebec. A shuttle bus service operates between each one so you don’t have to drive. Take your pick of Mount-Sainte-Anne, Le Massif de Charlevoix, Stoneham Mountain Resort and Le Relais Centre. As Quebec enjoys 4m of annual snowfall, you’ll always find great ski conditions and will usually get fabulous views of the St Lawrence River, too.
Tempted by the heady delights of Quebec’s Winter Wonderland? We’ve got just the holiday for you. Take a look at our package which includes time in both Montreal & Quebec City with a stay in the Hotel de Glace.