Useful Tourism Information for Québec City

Tourist Information in Old Québec
Guy Lessard

Planning Your Trip

What is Québec City known for? 

Why visit Québec City? One of the top destinations in Canada, Québec City is best known for the historic buildings and ambiance of Old Québec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Château Frontenac, and its unique French culture.  A vibrant city with great outdoor activities nearby, delicious food (hello, poutine!), and many festivals and events throughout the year. In winter, Québec City is best known for its winter wonderland vibes (at their top for Christmas and the Holidays!), sparkling Ice Hotel, and winter carnival, Carnaval de Québec. 

What to see or do in Québec City? 

Deciding what to do in Québec City can often be the best part of planning your trip. We recommend starting with a walk in Old Québec, surrounded by historic buildings, shopping, and great restaurants. Whether you visit in summer or dream of a winter wonderland experience, Old Québec is a great place to start. 

From there, we suggest visiting central neighbourhoods for some local flavour. There are so many great activities in both summer and winter in Québec City. Take a guided walking tour to get to know the city’s rich history. Spend time along the St. Lawrence River enjoying a boat tour or dinner cruise, cycle the Samuel-De Champlain promenade, or admire the city’s skyline from an International cruise ship. 

What to see or do in Old Québec City?

Old Québec is the perfect place to start your trip to Québec City. Visit Château Frontenac on your own, or take a guided tour. Enjoy beautiful views of Old Québec and the St. Lawrence River from Dufferin Terrace and Pierre-Dugua-De Mons Terrace. We like to walk down the Breakneck Steps and do some shopping in Petit-Champlain, followed by a stop in Place-Royale and a wander through Notre-Dame-des-Victoires church. 

We also recommend walking along the fortification walls, visiting Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica Cathedral, the Citadelle, Plains of Abraham and the Parliament building. 

What to do around Québec City?

We love discovering what to do around Québec City, and you will too. A day trip to Montmorency Waterfalls and Île d’Orléans will feed your soul, and your tummy! Outdoor activities abound in Jacques-Cartier National Park and Charlevoix. A drive up to Tadoussac is picturesque and perfect for anyone wishing to go whalewatching. Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine is a go-to for religious pilgrims, and we like to spend time exploring the rest of Côte-de-Beaupré as well. Wendake is a must for memorable indigenous experiences, and Portneuf is filled with charm and adventure. In winter, make sure not to miss the Ice Hotel. 

What is the best time of year to visit Québec City? 

The best time of year to visit Québec City depends on the type of activities you want to do while you’re here. Québec City’s monthly weather can change quite a bit.  Summer is the busiest season, with several fun festivals and events, exciting outdoor activities, and beautiful restaurant patios to enjoy. In fall, the city is full of vibrant colours, with warm days and cool nights. Winter is pure magic as the city transforms into a winter wonderland, the Ice Hotel opens its doors, and Carnaval de Québec gets everyone excited. Spring is a laid back season with flowers blooming and plenty of opportunities to enjoy Québec City like a local. 

Do they speak English in Québec City?

French is the official language of Québec, however, English is widely spoken in tourist areas. If someone does not speak English, they will let you know, while also doing their best to help you. Learning some French words before your trip to Québec is always a good idea, especially if you’re planning to explore smaller towns outside the city. Downloading a translation app on your phone might also be helpful. 

How many days do you need in Québec City? 

We recommend spending a minimum of 3 days in Québec City to get a feel for the city, its people and authentic French Canadian culture. Our Québec City itineraries are filled with suggestions on things to do in Québec City, whether you’re coming for a weekend getaway or planning to stay longer. Planning a Eastern Québec (or Canada) road trip or riding the rails with VIA Rail? Québec City is the perfect location to start or end your trip. 

Is Québec City expensive? 

Québec City is an affordable city. Travelers with a mid-range travel budget will find plenty of fun activities to enjoy, as well as a cornucopia of restaurants and cocktail bars to experience. Looking for ways to experience Québec City on a budget? Like every city in the world, there are tips to save money and still have a memorable Québec City vacation. 

Can I use US dollars in Québec City? 

Yes, you can use US Dollars in Québec City, however, Canadian dollars and American dollars are not at par. American currency is accepted at most establishments, but the rates of exchange fluctuate. Your money matters, so be sure to budget for exchange rates, sales tax, and tipping. 

 Is Québec City safe at night? 

Québec City is a very safe city, with a low criminal rate. You can safely walk around the city any time of the day or night. Public transit makes it easy to get around, whether you want to take the bus, a taxi or uber. Similar to other destinations, following basic travel safety tips is something everyone should do. 

What is the best area to stay in Québec City? 

Visiting Québec City for the first time? We suggest staying in Old Québec, a neighbourhood filled with 400+ years of history, and several 4-star and 5-star hotels. Explore streets which are off-the-beaten-path and admire the architecture, enjoy restaurant patios, shop, sip local cocktails, and more. 

If you’re returning to Québec City, or looking for a more local experience, we recommend staying in a central neighbourhood close to Old Québec. Saint-Roch and Montcalm are the best choices, easy walks from Old Québec, and filled with fabulous restaurants and shops. 

Staying at a hotel near downtown is often more affordable, and offers more flexibility. Hotels in Ste-Foy are perfect for families and those who want to spend time at the Aquarium or visit shopping centres. Hotels in Beauport are close to places like Montmorency Waterfalls, where you can hike, rock climb, experience via ferrata or zipline and more.         

Staying in the outskirts of Québec City provides a quiet escape, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Think about locations such as Île d’Orléans, Stoneham, Wendake, Saint-Raymond and Charlevoix. 

Do I need a car in Québec City? 

If you plan to visit only Old Québec and the central neighbourhoods, you definitely won’t need a car. But, similar to everywhere in North America, the region is huge and having a car makes moving around the city and surrounding areas easier. If you don’t have a car, there are ways to visit Québec City’s attractions without a car, including the bus, and shuttle services to places like Wendake, Jacques-Cartier National Park, the Ice Hotel and more. 

Where should I stay in Québec City without a car? 

If you don’t have a car, choose an accommodation in Québec City that is either in Old Québec, the Parliament Hill area or in Ste-Foy. Each of these areas are major tourist hubs, and easily accessible by public transit. 

What are the procedures regarding the customs and immigration? 

You want to travel, study or work in Québec City? Find practical information related to customs and immigration

Travelling to Québec City

How far is Montréal from Québec City? 

The distance between Montréal and Québec City is about 250 km (155 miles).  

How do I get from Montréal to Québec City? 

Driving from Montréal to Québec City? Take either Highway 20 or 40: depending on traffic, driving can take from 2.5 to 3.5 hours. If you’re in the mood for a scenic drive, take road 138 (Chemin du Roy), which is the first roadway built between Québec City and Montréal, where you’ll enjoy panoramas of the St. Lawrence River and quaint villages on your way. Don’t have a car? Take a bus (3 to 4 hours) or train (3.5 hours). 

Is there a bus from Montréal to Québec City? 

Yes, Orléans Express offers bus service from Montréal to Québec City. Depending on the time of day, the trip can be anywhere from 3 to 4 hours. 

How much is the bus from Montréal to Québec City? 

A bus ticket from Montréal to Québec City is about $59 CAD (prices subject to change, please check the Orléans Express website for current pricing and deals). 

How much is a train ticket from Montréal to Québec City?

Train tickets from Montréal to Québec City with VIA Rail start at $75 CAD, however, on Tuesdays tickets are often cheaper (prices subject to change, please check the VIA Rail website).

How long is the train ride from Montréal to Québec City? 

The train ride from Montréal to Québec City is about 3.5 hours. 

Is there a direct train from Toronto to Québec City? 

Not at this time. There are two train routes from Toronto to Québec City. One makes a stop in Ottawa, the other in Montréal. We recommend taking the train which stops over in Montréal. 

How long does it take to get from Ottawa to Québec City? 

Driving from Ottawa to Québec City? Taking Highway 50 and then Highway 40 is your fastest route, and will take about 4.5 hours, depending on traffic. You can also take Highway 20, which will add about 20 minutes to your drive. You can also take a bus (8 hours) or train (6 hours). 

What are the driving and parking rules in Québec City? 

Do you plan to drive in and around Québec City? Get information on parking in Old Québec, winter driving and various traffic regulations. 

General Questions

What are the shopping hours & official holidays in Québec City?

This list of the statutory holidays and information on business hours will help you better organize your stay in Québec City. 

What are the pet friendly hotels in Québec City?

You might be asking yourself “Can I travel with my dog?” Québec City is welcoming and full of discoveries to do with your canine companion. Here are the pet friendly hotels and some practical tips to make the most of your stay. 

How do I travel in Québec City when disabled? 

Old Québec's beautiful cobblestone streets can be troublesome for people with reduced mobility. Check out our tips for travellers with disabilities

What is Québec City’s time zone?

Daylight Saving Time (DST) comes into effect every year on the second Sunday in March when all timepieces are advanced by one hour. Canada reverts to Eastern Standard Time (EST) on the first Sunday in November when clocks are set back one hour. 

How do I get free Wi-Fi in Québec City? 

Québec City offers Wi-Fi free access points on many commercial streets. When travelling, look for the free Wi-Fi visual and follow the instructions to connect to the ZAP Quebec network. 

What are the cannabis, liquor and no smoking regulations?

The purchase and consumption of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis are regulated by different laws. Learn about the different features

What do I do in case of emergency in Québec City?

Consult the list of hospitals and other emergency services.  

What metric system does Canada use? 

Canada uses the metric system. Visitors find weather temperature reports given in Celsius degrees, gasoline sold by the litre (milk and wine by millilitres, and litres) grocery items in grams and kilograms, and speed limits posted in kilometres per hour. 

How many churches are there in Québec City? 

An incredible wealth of religious diversity can be felt in one basilica, 2 cathedrals including a basilica-cathedral, 130 churches and 20 chapels including 10 conventual, all of which bear witness to the many origins that colonized the region. Discover this uniquely North-American heritage


Québec cité
Editorial Team

As proud ambassadors of our beloved city, we’re delighted to be sharing the things and places we love most in the Québec City area. What a joy for us to help you discover everything this vibrant and welcoming city has to offer!

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