Immerse yourself in the fascinating historic beginnings of Canada as this tour explores the French culture of Quebec, the inspiring villages and national parks of the St. Lawrence River and the imposing shores and deep wilderness of the east coast. Combine the classically French city of Quebec with the heady mix of native and Scottish ancestry that defines the Atlantic provinces and you have a journey of discovery.
• International flights with Air Transat departing from London Gatwick in economy class
• Includes seat selection
• 17 nights accommodation
• Ferry crossing
• 18 days Intermediate car hire with Fully Inclusive insurance
• A personalised Roadbook, containing travel information and daily route maps
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Treat yourself and upgrade your hotel to a superior accommodation
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Day 1 Montreal
Arrive at Montreal Airport and transfer independently to your downtown hotel. Pick up your Canada Roadbook at the front desk and check in. Remainder of the day at leisure. Montreal is renowned for its superb dining, sampling menus and cultures from around the world. Overnight in Montreal.
Day 2 Montreal to Montmagny (303 km)
Depart Montreal and travel eastward on the east side of the St. Lawrence through the cultural heartland of French Canada. En route to Montmagny, we suggest a stop at Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Canada's national shrine to the Virgin Mary. You may wish to alter your route slightly north to the shore of the river to the bustling town of Trois-Rivières. Stop for lunch, or perhaps visit the Museum of Quebec Folk Arts and Traditions to see excellent examples of period wood carving, tapestries and other fascinating artwork that tells the story of the region’s people and cultures. Overnight in Montmagny.
Day 3 Montmagny to Edmundston (243 km)
The towns and villages such as Riviere-du-Loup and Saint Pascale have grown up along the banks of the river and reflect a complex modern history spanning over three centuries. The cultures of these communities are the legacy of both French and English empires during the country’s formative years. Take your time as you travel through eastern Quebec and perhaps stop at any one of the many vibrant towns to experience a true taste of Quebecois culture, before crossing into New Brunswick. Arrive in the small, picturesque town of Edmundston for the evening. Overnight in Edmundston.
Day 4 Edmundston to St. Andrews-By-The-Sea (348 km)
Today journey through the central wilds of New Brunswick en route to the southern shores of the province. The central region of New Brunswick contains some of the most pristine wilderness of Eastern Canada. The vast tracks of forests are home to wildlife such as brown and black bears, moose, wolves and other woodland creatures large and small - it is both an avid naturalist’s and casual outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. Arrive in the seaside village of St. Andrews-by-the-Sea where the rest of the day is free to explore this charming maritime community. Overnight in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea.
Day 5 St. Andrews-By-The-Sea
Today is yours to experience a day in the life of an East Coast villager. This bustling town has developed into one of the premier destinations in the Maritimes. Everything from local modern and native art galleries, to interactive salmon hatcheries, to a fascinating aquarium delight visitors year round. If seafood is to your liking, the small restaurants of the village serve up delicacies from the daily catches that are sure to tantalize you. Overnight in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea. Activity Embark on a marine wildlife and whale watching tour, experiencing the thrill of racing across the waves of the Fundy coastal waters to view magnificent natural spectacle of a massive humpback, finback or minke whale cresting the surface to feed. A small group of 6 to 12 participants is guided by an experienced mariner in a high-speed rigid hull Zodiac boat, equipped with the latest modern tracking equipment to maximize the chances to view as many whales as possible.
Day 6 St. Andrews-By-The-Sea to Digby (108 km land only)
This morning take the short journey to St. John where you independently take a ferry across the deep blue waters of the Bay of Fundy. Disembark at naturally-sheltered cove settlement of Digby, a Loyalist town dating back to English settlers in the 1750’s. Named after the captain of the first colony ship, Robert Digby, you can tour several small museums and historic homes celebrating the town’s establishment. Overnight in Digby.
Day 7 Digby to Halifax (240 km)
Crossing the width of Nova Scotia, your route takes you alongside the gates of Kejimkujik National Park, an idyllic natural oasis of old growth forest surrounding a large inland lake. Continuing on towards the southern coast, pass by Bridgewater on the shores of the La Have River, followed by a drive through the port of Lunenburg and its Famous Fisheries Museum. On the approaches to Halifax, you follow the northern shores of Margaret’s Bay, one of Nova Scotia’s largest natural harbours. This harbour is peaked by the famous Peggy’s Cove and its iconic whitewashed lighthouses - historic sentries preventing ships from running aground on the rocky shoals that surround the harbour entrance. Arrive in the premier city of Halifax for the evening. Overnight in Halifax.
Day 8 Halifax to Baddeck (350 km)
Today you drive through the centre of Nova Scotia, passing through the towns of Truro and New Glasgow, celebrating their European heritage. Arrive at the narrows of the ocean and eastern reaches of the Northumberland Strait at the doorstep of the island and the commercial hub of Ports Hawkesbury near the tip of St. Georges Bay. Continue on through gentle rolling fields of the bay area as it transitions into the beautiful Bras D’Or Lake lowlands. Arrive in Baddeck, often known as the gateway to the Cape Breton Highlands. Overnight in Baddeck.
Day 9 Baddeck
With a day free in Baddeck, we suggest a scenic drive along the Cabot Trail into the highlands of northern Cape Breton. The trail runs past lochs and glens settled by Scottish Highlanders and along scenic coastlines settled by Acadians. You will meander through the rugged Cape Breton Highlands National Park, enjoying stunning views of sea-swept headlands, steep cliffs and tranquil beaches. Hiking trails lead into the interior of the park where stunning vistas appear at each turn. Return to Baddeck through the lush Margaree Valley. Overnight in Baddeck.
Day 10 Baddeck to Shediac (425 km)
Today you have another opportunity to stop and visit the small towns on the route back into New Brunswick. If you didn’t have the chance on your journey east, perhaps now stop for lunch in the small town of Truro, or watch gravity be defied at the Magnetic Hill in Moncton where your car will appear to roll uphill. Stay a little longer and visit the adjacent Magnetic Hill Zoo with creatures both unique to Canada and from around the world. Continue on to Shediac where you might wish to treat yourself to a lobster dinner at one of the local restaurants. Overnight in Shediac.
Day 11 Shediac to Caraquet (271 km)
Heading up the coast of New Brunswick you may choose to visit Bouctouche Bay Eco-Tourism Site, preserving and restoring one of the few remaining great sand dunes on the north-eastern coastline of North America. Alternatively, you may wish to consider stopping at the Kouchibouguac National Park visitor centre for an interactive presentation of the wide variety of forests, marshes and lagoons indicative of the Maritime Plain ecosystem. Continue on to Caraquet where the remainder of the day is yours to explore this pleasant waterside community of the shores of Chaleur Bay. Overnight in Shediac.
Day 12 Caraquet to Perce (422 km)
Today the road follows the southern shores of the Baie des Chaleurs and the original lands of the Acadian people who were among those expelled from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in 1760. Passing through seaside resort town of Bonaventure, you may wish to visit the Acadian Historical Museum of Quebec, featuring the art and cultural artifacts of that displaced community. Crossing the provincial border back into Quebec, you arrive in Percé. Overlooking the waters of the river, this commercial centre of the Gaspe Peninsula marks where Jacques Cartier first took possession of the land for France in 1534. Overnight on Percé.
Day 13 Perce
Once the largest fishing port in the Gaspé Peninsula, Percé is now the gem of the entire Gaspé region as a resort and tourist town and renowned for the extraordinary beauty of its surroundings. Its prominent geological feature is a great rock pierced with a hole, from which the community derived its name. The town has a delightful selection of restaurants and cafes, some of the best in the region as well as a summer theatre programme and a boardwalk that stretches along the south beach. At the wharf you can watch the fishermen cleaning their daily catch. Overnight in Percé.
Day 14 Perce to Matane (355 km)
Passing by the wide headwaters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, you begin to follow the river of the same name as its waters flow by out to sea. Perhaps divert inland a short distance for a pleasant drive or short outing in Parc de la Gaspésie – one of the most beautiful and accessible protected lands in eastern Canada. Continue on to pass through the lush and historic farmlands of Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, one of the first and most prominent early Catholic churches in the New World. Although most of the original building has been destroyed by subsequent fires over the last 150 years, it has been immaculately restored and is an unforgettable sight for all visitors. Arrive in Matane where the rest of the day is at leisure to discover the charms of this francophone town. Overnight in Matane.
Day 15 Matane to Tadoussac (224 km land only)
This morning you board the ferry in Matane and cross the wide waters of the St. Lawrence to Baie- Comeau. During your sailing, you may see some of the Great Lakes shipping vessels that continue to use the waterway as a viable transportation route for heavy goods into the interior Great Lakes. Upon debarking at Baie-Comeau, the scenic north shore of the river offers a day of discovery through picture-perfect waterside towns. Les Escoumins is considered one of the most beautiful villages of the Haute-Côte-Nord region, located along the riverside at the gate to the Parc Marin du Saguenay. During the summer months, whales may be glimpsed from the shores of the village on their migratory or feeding routes. Arrive in the town of Tadoussac at the confluence of two mighty rivers. Overnight in Tadoussac.
Day 16 Tadoussac to Quebec City (351 km)
Today as you travel into the heart of Quebec, you are retracing the route of early European explores as they pushed into the interior along inter-tribal trade and hunting routes used by the First Nations peoples for thousands of years. Furthermore, the towns and villages such as Beaupre, Baie-St-Paul and Saint- Simeon that have grown up along the banks of the river reflect a comparatively recent 300-year history of both French and English empires, leaving their mark on the architecture and the local cultures. As the river narrows, the spires and fortifications of Quebec City come into view, quickly dominating the riverside landscape. Overnight in Quebec City.
Day 17 Quebec City
Today you depart on a comprehensive orientation tour of historic and modern Quebec City. The cobblestone streets still resonate with the long histories of French and English empires that formed the foundation of Canada. The walled city is one of the finest examples of a colonial fortified city in the world. On this guided tour, you will see the Latin Quarter, the Plains of Abraham, the Citadel, the Fortifications, the National Assembly, Place Royale, the Basilica and other points of interest within Quebec City. The remainder of the day is free to independently explore the sights of sounds of the city. The local restaurateurs have refined dining to a fine art and invite all visitors to sample the indulgent local dishes, or experience the delights of fusion menus that combine ingredients and preparations from around the world. Overnight in Quebec City.
Day 18 Quebec City
Today your journey comes to an end as you proceed to either Quebec City or Montreal International Airports for your flight home.Want to alter anything?
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Selected departure dates between May and Sep 2017
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