How to Embrace Responsible Travel in Old Québec

Piétons près de la porte Saint-Jean
Pierre-Nic Lessard

Visitors around the world are drawn to the charming streets, unique architecture, and remarkable fortifications of Old Québec. Want to see this gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site for yourself while minimizing your carbon footprint? Here are some tips for embracing responsible travel in Old Québec. 

Explore Old Québec on Foot

Good news! You don’t need a car to see the sites in Old Québec. You can leave it in a parking lot from the time you arrive until you’re ready to leave. Old Québec is a place with a cultural or historic attraction around every corner—a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s best enjoyed on foot. 

There’s so much to see and do in Old Québec, whether you’re strolling up high along the fortifications between the Saint-Jean and Saint-Louis gates, taking a walk on the Plains of Abraham, or exploring the Petit-Champlain District. To discover the city’s incredible history and find the areas you want to spend time exploring during your stay, consider starting with a guided walking tour

Tip: Map out your visits 

Carte Vieux-Québec à pied

Old Québec is built on the side of a cliff, with an Upper Town and a Lower Town connected by numerous sets of stairs and steep streets. That means you’ll want to see all the sights in one before moving to the other. 

In the Lower Town, you’ll find Rue du Petit-Champlain, Place Royale, Musée de la civilisation, and the Old Port, among others. 

The Upper Town is home to Château Frontenac, the fortifications, the Citadelle, the Parliament building, the Plains of Abraham, and more. 

Slow Down and Soak Up the Culture

In Québec or elsewhere, one of the keys to eco-friendly travel is dialling down your motorized travel. That’s what slow tourism is all about. Instead of trying to cover as much distance and see as many sights as possible, the idea is to stay in the same place longer and really get a feel for it.  

In Old Québec, you have tons of attractions concentrated in a small, fully walkable area, making it an ideal destination for slow tourism and responsible travel. You can easily spend several days exploring the area and immersing yourself in the unique French Canadian culture and lifestyle.  

Take the time to see the historic sites and churches, go on a gourmet tour of foodie hotspots, and mingle with locals at one of the many events in Old Québec. Centre de valorisation du patrimoine vivant is also a great place to learn about Québec traditions and meet local artisans. It all adds up to an incredible few days of eco-friendly travel in Old Québec.   

Avoid High Season

Visiting Old Québec during the off-season has numerous benefits. You get better rates for accommodation, you avoid the crowds, and you’ll have more opportunities to connect with locals. 

April, May, and June can be perfect for enjoying the city’s attractions in spring before the peak summer tourism season rolls around. If you decide to visit between late November and mid-December, the German Christmas Market is sure to get you into the holiday spirit. So too will seeing Old Québec aglow in twinkling lights under a blanket of snow. 

What is Ecotourism and How to Do It in Québec City

Adding a few items to your travel bag before heading to Old Québec will help boost your ecofriendly travel quotient. Bring a reusable water bottle and coffee cup and use them in cafés and restaurants to avoid the need for disposables. For picnics and takeout meals, pack a few cloth bags and a set of utensils rolled into a cloth napkin.  

Book your accommodation directly with the provider. This small gesture makes a big difference by eliminating third-party fees for your chosen establishment and helping staff develop a personal relationship with you. There are tons of options for every budget, so try to find a room in Old Québec or within walking distance.  

Buy Local Souvenirs

To get an authentic travel souvenir in Old Québec, nothing beats a trip to Rue du Trésor (also known as the artists street) and Rue du Petit-Champlain, one of the oldest shopping streets in North America. The shops and galleries are filled with works by local artists and craftspeople, making it the perfect place to shop local and meet the wonderful folks behind all those great finds. 

Offset Your Carbon Footprint

For truly ecofriendly travel in Québec City, consider offsetting your carbon emissions. Visitors to Old Québec can use our carbon calculator to calculate their emissions and offset them with Carbone Boréal. 

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