Switching to Slow Travel Mode in Québec City

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Updated on December 15, 2023
Family in a kid's playground in Old Québec
Pierre-Nic Lessard

Want to explore Québec City at a slower pace, take it all in, and live like a local rather than an outsider? Time to switch gears and embrace the world of slow travel. What is slow travel? It’s about going with the flow, getting off the beaten path, and living in the moment. About taking a “quality, not quantity” approach to travel. Slow travellers take time to meet new people, try new things, and basically, stop to smell the roses. Travelling slowly is an opportunity to settle in and stay awhile—quite the opposite of our fast-paced daily lives. 

So what does slow travel look like in the Québec City area? Read our tips on how to slow travel and get even more out of your next vacation. 

Live Like a Local and Meet People

In slow travel mode, you’ll ditch the usual practice of quickly checking off major attractions at your destination. Instead, you’ll get to know a community through the eyes of the people who live there. There are so many amazing things to do in the Québec City area, but too many visitors make the mistake of only staying a few days. Why not stay at one of the area’s many B&Bs, cottages, or vacation rentals? That way, you’ll meet your hosts and learn more about the culture. 

Staying longer gives you the chance to experience life like a local. You have time to pop in and enjoy the independent coffee shops, microbreweries, and other neighbourhood favourites. You also have the chance to strike up conversations with locals and get their recommendations. Each Québec City neighbourhood has its own vibe, and if the great outdoors is calling, you’ll find wide open spaces nearby. 

Get Around on Foot and by Bike

Every trip involves getting from place to place, but with slow travel, it's not about finding the quickest way from point A to point B. Want to admire the unique architecture of Old Québec or explore local parks? Rent a bike! Or put on a good pair of shoes and go on foot. 

Stay Somewhere That Makes It Easy to Unwind

Some places are designed to inspire peace of mind. As a slow traveller, you’ll want to stay somewhere that gives you cues to slow down. Here are a few places to add to your wishlist.

Centre de l’Hêtre

Dome in a winter landscape
Audrey-Lyne Ferlatte

We recommend a yurt or a dome open to the sky. Choose from a wide variety of packages, including yoga, massage therapy, and on-site wellness treatments. A unique forest experience, just 25 minutes from Québec City! 

Bora-Boréal Floating Cottages

Bora-Boréal - In Autumn

Could there be anything better than sleeping peacefully, out on the water? Escape from it all at Bora-Boréal floating cottages, just 30 minutes outside the city. 

Monastère des Augustines  

Yoga at Monastère des Augustines
Le Monastère des Augustines

This historic former monastery is a blissful retreat. Relax and recharge in a minimalist environment with practices and retreats designed to foster wellness and well-being, all while experiencing a slice of history in the heart of Old Québec. Yoga, meditation, delicious and nutritious food—this place has it all. 

Auberge Triangle d’Été, Île d’Orléans

Auberge Triangle d'été
Auberge Triangle d'été

This inn is a “home away from home” for creative minds, offering guests a warm welcome and plenty of inspiration. There are yoga classes, an artist’s residence, and creative workshops, all in a gorgeous heritage home overlooking the St. Lawrence River.  

Montagne le Maelström

Windowed view of the mountain from the Maelstrom

Fresh air fiends, this one’s for you. Maelström is an impressive outdoor playground just 30 minutes from Québec City. Tucked up in stylish forest cabins, guests don’t even have to get out of bed to enjoy epic sunrise and sunset views. If you’re into mountain biking, you can hit the trails right outside your door. It doesn’t get any better than this. 

Villa éco, Vallée Bras-du-Nord  

Un parent avec son enfant sur le terrain de la Villa Éco
Villa Éco

Villa éco offers a year-round back-to-nature experience tried and tested by Vaolo explorers. The location offers easy access to a ton of outdoor activities, including mountain biking, back-country skiing, fatbiking, canoeing, and more! 

Escale au Lac

Spa Escale au Lac
Gizem Senturk

The mini-chalets and thermal experience facilities at Escale au Lac are perfectly integrated into nature and operate entirely energy autonomously. A great way to take a moment for yourself while reducing your footprint on the environment.

Try Something New

Sometimes you just need to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Maybe that new thing is yoga, meditation, or a retreat at Monastère des Augustines, Temple Sanctuaire, or Oanaqa. It’s worth taking the time to get into a different groove. 

Feeling sporty? You can go ice canoeing on the river, fatbiking on groomed snowy trails, or mountain biking in the summer. Or take out a kayak for a front-row seat to an Île d’Orléans sunset.  

Get Off the Beaten Path

Slow travel is about finding new, authentic places where you can connect with nature, not your cellphone. For forest parks that champion sustainability, look no further than Vallée Bras-du-Nord and Centre Récréotouristique des Hautes Terres.  

In the city, take the time to feast your eyes on the exquisite details of Old Québec’s unique architecture and visit hidden gems. Even better, take a guided tour to learn more about Québec City’s fascinating history. 

Delve into the Local Terroir

Chatting with local artisans at Québec City’s Grand Marché is a must. In summer, we recommend stopping at one of the public markets to pick up what you need for a meal or a picnic made with local ingredients. If beer and wine are your thing, there are plenty of local microbreweries and wineries just waiting to be discovered, one glass at a time. 

Travel in the Slow Season

The key to slow travel is to visit in the slow season. A trip to Québec City in fall, for example, gives you a chance to see the forest colours when they’re at their peak. Come November, the magic of Christmas is already here, and it’s the season for staying warm and cozy. Spring is a great time to recharge your batteries as nature comes back to life. 

Stay Longer in One Place

It’s called slow travel for a reason. People embrace slow travel to slow down and enjoy every minute, without the pressure of time! Staying in the same place longer is less stressful and cuts down on travel-related emissions. For many, looking out for the environment is one of the main reasons for joining the slow travel movement.

Calculate Your Trip’s Carbon Footprint

Your carbon offset will be used to plant trees in the boreal forest. Details

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Vaolo is a collaborative platform for travel experiences that get you off the beaten path. With inspiring recommendations on places to stay and things to do, Vaolo makes it easy for travellers to embrace sustainable tourism, delivering fully immersive experiences vetted by Vaolo explorers. 

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