Sustainable Transport : Getting Around in an Eco-Responsible Way
Whether on foot, by bike, by public transit or by tourist shuttle, there are several sustainable transports to get around and visit the region's attractions responsibly. Discover our tips for visiting the region without a car and for reducing your carbon footprint as much as possible when travelling in the area.
Visiting Old Québec on Foot
- Steven D'Avignon
Walking is certainly the most sustainable transportation. Great news since the best way to take in Old Québec’s atmosphere, quaint streets, and hidden treasures is on foot. There’s nothing like a walking tour with a guide to get a better understanding of the place and dive into the past.
The city centre occupies a rocky promontory that overlooks the river. This means Old Québec is divided into Upper Town and Lower Town, which are connected by a flurry of stairs and steep streets. For walking comfort, it’s best to do all your sightseeing and visits in one area before heading to the next:
- Lower Town: Petit-Champlain, Place Royale, Old Port, Musée de la civilisation, boat excursions, etc.
- Upper Town: Château Frontenac, historic streets within the fortifications, the Citadelle, Parliament building, Plains of Abraham, etc.
One easy and sustainable way of getting from Lower Town to Upper Town is to take the funicular from Rue du Petit-Champlain. Ascenseur du Faubourg—a free elevator— connects the Saint-Roch neighbourhood to the Saint-Jean-Baptiste neighbourhood.
Ride a Bike to Discover the City and the Region
Given the many hills of Old Québec, it is recommended to take a guided tour to facilitate its visit. Guided bike tours also allow you to explore other areas of the region.
In Québec City, the bike-sharing service is called àVélo (equivalent to BIXI and B-Cycle in other cities). You can rent one of the e-bikes at different stations in Québec City’s central neighbourhoods. A handy green transportation alternative for getting around town from May to October.
It is mandatory to wear a helmet to use the àVélo service. Some hotels located near the stations have helmets available to lend: ask your accommodation to find out if it offers this service provided by Destination Québec cité.
Cycling is an excellent sustainable transportation option and the greater Québec City region offers nearly 400 km of bike paths and corridors.
Here are places to rent bikes near the city center:
Opt for Public Transit via RTC Buses
The local bus network, Réseau de transport de la capitale (RTC), is an easy and sustainable way to travel to most tourist attractions (see map). In addition, a shuttle service is in place during major downtown events and shows at the Videotron Centre giving direct access to the events from free parking lots.
- How much is an RTC fare?
- Several types of passes are available offering unlimited rides (1-day, unlimited weekends, and 5 consecutive days). See the RTC fare schedule
- Family privilege: children age 12 and under accompanied by an adult ride free at all times (maximum of three children per adult travelling with a valid RTC fare).
- Where can I pay for my RTC fare?
- Fares can be paid for in cash on board. However, you must have the exact change as drivers do not provide change.
- Some 170 businesses sell RTC tickets and passes (mostly convenience stores and pharmacies). Look for the RTC logo in the window or find the nearest point of sale.
- There is also a mobile application, the RTC Nomade payment, to buy tickets every where and at any time, without having to go to a point of sale. You can download this app from Google Play (Android) or the App Store (iOS).
Electric Cars and Charging Stations
Do you use an electric car to get around the region? Get all the information on parking lots in Old Québec, on the various traffic regulations and where to find charging stations.
Communauto (Self-Service Car Sharing)
If you subscribe to the Communauto service, you'll be pleased to know that Québec City is well served by this fleet of thousands of vehicles that can be rented at low prices for a few minutes, an hour, a day or longer.
If you are not subscribed to this service but wish to use it for your trips in the region, it is good to know that you must count at least 4 days for the opening of a new driver's record. Some packages do not require membership fee.
Shuttles and Green Transportation to Visit Major Attractions Without a Car
How to get to Montmorency Waterfalls
- Public bus (RTC) : You can take the 800 bus towards Beauport (get off at Montmorency #3473). Once there, you will be a few minutes from the suspension bridge at the top of the fall.
- Cycling : Live an even more memorable experience by cycling along the Corridor du Littoral bike path. Montmorency Falls is approximately 12 km from the Old Port.
- Bus tours : Unitours runs a shuttle service in summer and bus tours year-round.
How to get to Jacques-Cartier National Park
Shuttle: Quatre Natures offers a shuttle service from Old Québec every day from May to October and December to March.
How to get to Aquarium du Québec
How to get to Grand Marché de Québec (Public Market)
Public bus (RTC): Route 3 will take you near the Grand Marché of Quebec (stop # 2986 - Le Grand Marché).
How to get to Village Vacances Valcartier / Ice Hotel
- Winter shuttle: Unitours offers packages including transportation from Old Québec.
How to get to Île d'Orléans
How to get to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine
- River shuttle: Shuttle between the Bassin Louise in the Old Port to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré dock, for pedestrians and cyclists. In summer only
- Public bus: Served by PLUMobile, Monday to Friday. By reservation: 418-827-8484 or 1-866-824-1433.
- Bus Tours : Unitours offers guided tours to the Shrine year round.
How to get to Mont-Sainte-Anne
River shuttle + bus : Shuttle between the Bassin Louise in the Old Port to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré dock plus bus ride to Mont-Sainte-Anne. In summer only
how to get to Canyon Sainte-Anne
River shuttle + bus : Shuttle between the Bassin Louise in the Old Port to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré dock plus bus ride to Canyon Sainte-Anne. In summer only
How to Enjoy Winter Activities With Eco Friendly Transportation?
- On foot: Starting in early December, you can hit the ice at Place D’Youville. With the lights and music, it’s the ultimate urban setting for a turn around the rink, any day of the week. It’s especially beautiful at night, in the glow of the surrounding city. Starting mid-December, the ice oval on the Plains of Abraham will also be ready to welcome skaters daily. Both rinks are free and offer low‑cost equipment rentals.
Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel)
- Shuttle: Unitours offers packages including transportation from Old Québec.
Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
- On foot: You’ll find nearly 12 km of cross‑country ski trails and 4 km of snowshoeing trails on the Plains of Abraham. If you’re staying nearby, you can even put your skis or snowshoes on right at your hotel and head straight for this fantastic urban park.
- Public bus (RTC): You can take the 800 bus (get off at Bardy #1756) for a visit to Domaine Maizerets, where the trails criss‑cross landscaped areas and natural woodlands.
- Shuttle: Quatre Natures offers a day-long backcountry skiing package with a professional guide that includes all the necessary equipment as well as transportation to and from Québec City.
- On foot: Located 2 km from Musée de la civilisation, Strøm Spa is within walking distance. However, you will probably opt for a taxi or a bus ride (on route 1, stop at Champlain #1119).
- Public bus (RTC): For a more urban atmosphere, the Skyspa is accessible via bus routes 800 and 801 (get off at J.-Dallaire #2000).
- Public bus (RTC) : Fat biking is a hot new winter sport that lets you ride over the snow on bikes equipped with oversized tires. Try it directly from the Old Port with Tuque & bicycle expériences.
Calculate Your Trip’s Carbon Footprint
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What is the Most Eco Friendly Transportation?
Walking is the most eco friendly way to get around, followed by cycling. Unfortunately, there is no other means of transport that is 100% ecological. Public transit makes it possible to transport more users and to divide the carbon footprint among them. It is more eco friendly to use electric cars rather than gasoline-powered cars, as they are less energy-intensive and do not produce greenhouse gases from the combustion of gasoline.
What Are Some Eco-Friendly Ways to Travel?
For short and medium distances, bus, train and carpooling are good options for travel, as long as the number of cars on the road is limited and thus greenhouse gas emissions. There are few alternatives to traveling by plane for longer distances. Aircraft manufacturers and airlines are currently working to make air travel more eco-responsible by creating less energy-consuming engines and using service with biodegradable objects. If you have to take the plane, you can offset the carbon footprint of your stay.