With its stunning architecture and brilliant culture, it’s no wonder tourists are drawn to Quebec City. Are you also planning a trip but struggling to decide when to go? We think summer is the best time to visit Quebec with its warm weather and festivals. But every time of year has something to offer. With four distinct seasons, each has unique benefits, so the answer is not clear-cut. But don't worry, our team of Canadian insiders has done the research for you and has curated the best information to help you plan your visit.
For example, if you want to experience the city's famous winter carnival, then visiting Quebec in the winter is a must. Or if you want to enjoy the trees changing colour, then visiting in the autumn is the best time of year to visit Quebec for you.
This comprehensive guide on when to travel can help you plan the perfect trip. We'll also provide information on popular events and activities that take place in each season, so you can plan your trip accordingly. With our insider knowledge and curated content, you'll have the best trip possible.
Quebec City is the provincial capital of Quebec. There are many great destinations nearby as well, including Montreal and the Laurentians. Whether you're looking to experience the beauty of Quebec in the summer, the vibrance of fall, or the magic of the winter, our guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your visit. Keep reading to discover the best time to go to Quebec City.
#1 Travel tip: Enjoy a food tour
No matter the time of year, a food tour is a great way to experience the culture of Quebec City. Ask your travel advisor about our Old Quebec Five-course Gourmet Food and Historical tour.
Learn about Québec City's Four Seasons
Québec City is a destination that offers something for everyone, no matter the time of year. With its four distinct seasons, each one offers a unique experience for visitors.
Summer in Québec City is a time of warmth, sunshine, and outdoor activities. The weather in Quebec during the summer is usually quite pleasant. The days are usually sunny, with occasional afternoon showers. The city comes alive with festivals, concerts, and outdoor markets. You can enjoy walking around the charming Old Town, taking a boat tour of the St. Lawrence River, or visiting one of the many parks and gardens. The temperature ranges from 15 to 25°C.
In the fall, Quebec City is a leaf-peeper's paradise. (Leaf peepers travel to see the fall foliage.) The leaves on the trees turn golden and red, and the city is filled with the smell of wood fires. You can enjoy apple picking at one of the many local orchards, hiking in the nearby mountains, or taking a scenic drive along the St. Lawrence River. The temperature ranges from 5 to 15°C.
Winter in Québec City is a magical time. The snow-covered streets and buildings create a picturesque setting, and the famous Carnaval de Quebec brings the city to life with ice sculptures, parades, and other fun winter activities. You can enjoy ice-skating on the Plains of Abraham, skiing or snowboarding at the nearby Mont-Sainte-Anne, or taking a dogsled ride. The temperature range between -10 and -20°C.
Finally, in the spring, the city comes alive with blooming flowers and lush green landscapes. The snow starts to melt and the city comes back to life after a long winter. The days get longer, making it perfect for exploring the city. You can enjoy the first warm days of the year, as well as the many festivals, concerts, and other events that take place during this time. The temperature ranges from 0 to 10°C.
Each season has its own charm and atmosphere, and visitors can choose their own best time to visit according to what they want to experience during their trip.
Visiting Quebec in Summer
Summer is the best time to visit Quebec City. It is the season of warm weather and endless outdoor activities. The temperatures range from the low 20s to the high 20s (Celsius). It's also a great time to experience the local culture and entertainment through the various festivals and events.
- Cycling is a popular activity in Quebec during the summer. With a variety of terrains to choose from, you can take in the beautiful scenery as you pedal through nearby towns and villages.
- Swimming is another popular summer activity. There are numerous lakes, rivers, and even beaches to cool off on a hot day. If you're feeling adventurous, try stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking.
- Hiking is another great way to explore the outdoors. From the rugged terrain of the Laurentian Mountains to the rolling hills of the Eastern Townships, there are countless nearby trails to choose from. Experience the beauty of nature as you hike through forests, along coastlines, or up mountains.
- Treetop adventure is also a popular activity during the summer in Quebec. Zip-line through the forest canopy, navigate rope bridges and enjoy the birds-eye view of nature.
- Summer is also a great time for wildlife and bird-watching in Quebec. Keep your eyes peeled for a variety of birds and animals. Bring binoculars and a field guide to help you on the trip.
- In addition to the outdoor activities, Quebec City and nearby Montreal are also home to a variety of festivals and events during the summer, including the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Quebec City Summer Festival, and the Just for Laughs Festival.
So pack your sunscreen, grab your gear, and head out to enjoy the warm weather and beautiful summer in Quebec.
Visiting Quebec in Autumn
Autumn in Quebec is typically a pleasant season with mild temperatures, sunny days, and cool nights. The temperatures range from the high 10s to the low 10s (Celsius) making it perfect for enjoying the great outdoors.
- Hiking is a popular activity in Quebec during the autumn. With the changing leaves, it's the perfect time to take in the stunning fall colors. The trails in the Laurentian and Eastern Townships are particularly popular, as are the trails in the Gatineau Park and Mont-Tremblant National Park.
- Fruit picking is another popular activity during autumn in Quebec. Apples and pumpkins are the most popular fruits to pick, and it's a great opportunity to get out into the countryside.
- With the cooler temperatures, it's the perfect time to enjoy camping in the great outdoors and take in the beauty of nature. There are plenty of campsites to choose from, depending on whether you prefer a more rustic experience or more amenities.
- There are also autumn festivals taking place throughout the province of Quebec. Among the most popular are the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Montreal International Festival of Films on Art, and the Montreal World Film Festival. The Montreal International Fireworks Festival is a particularly spectacular event. During the festival, the city is illuminated by dazzling displays of fireworks and music.
- The Huron-Wendat Museum is another great activity to do during autumn in Quebec. The museum is dedicated to the history and culture of the Huron-Wendat Nation and offers a great opportunity to learn about the history of the area.
- Wildlife watching is also a popular activity during autumn. As the leaves change color, it's the perfect time to spot a variety of birds and animals in their natural habitats.
Autumn is one of the best times to go to Quebec city and enjoy the crisp weather and beautiful fall colors that autumn in Quebec has to offer.
Visiting Quebec in Winter
Winter in Quebec is a unique experience with temperatures ranging from a mild 0°C to a bitterly cold -40°C. Snow usually falls from late November to early April, and the province is often blanketed in thick, white snow. Winter is the time for snow sports and activities.
- Skiing is a popular activity in Quebec during the winter. With a variety of ski resorts to choose from, such as Mont-Tremblant, Mont-Sainte-Anne, and Le Massif, there's something for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. Take in the beautiful scenery as you glide down the slopes.
- Snow tubing during winter in Quebec is a great way to have fun with friends and family, and it's perfect for people of all ages. Snow tubing hills can be found at many ski resorts and outdoor parks.
- Snowshoeing is a great way to explore Quebec with a variety of trails to choose from, it's a great way to get some exercise and take in the beautiful winter scenery.
- Snowmobiling is another popular winter activity in Quebec. With thousands of kilometers of groomed trails to choose from, it's a great way to explore the backcountry and enjoy the beautiful winter scenery.
- The Québec Winter Carnival is another popular winter event in Quebec. It's one of the largest winter festivals in the world. The festival features parades, ice sculptures, the traditional night parade, ice canoe race, and the famous Bonhomme mascot.
Winter in Quebec is an experience like no other. The snow-covered landscapes and many outdoor activities make it a winter wonderland.
Visiting Quebec in Spring
Spring is a great time to enjoy the milder weather, as the snow melts and the trees and flowers begin to bloom.
- Spring skiing is a popular activity in Quebec. With warmer temperatures and longer days, it's the perfect time to hit the slopes and enjoy the last of the snow before it melts away.
- Sugar shacks are traditional Quebec cabins where maple sap is collected and boiled down to make maple syrup. Many sugar shacks offer traditional meals and activities such as horse-drawn sleigh rides, and it's a great opportunity to experience the local culture and tradition.
- Nordic Spas are also a popular spring activity in Quebec. With the warmer temperatures, it's the perfect time to relax and rejuvenate in the natural hot springs and saunas. It is a great way to pamper yourself.
- Quebec is rich in history and culture, and there are many historic sites to visit such as the Fortifications of Quebec City, the Château Frontenac, and the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré during spring.
- Spring is a great time to explore Jacques Cartier National Park and take in the beautiful scenery. The park features many hiking trails, and it's a great place to spot wildlife.
Spring in Quebec is a season of renewal and exploration. So, whether you’re looking to relax and unwind or explore and adventure, Quebec is the perfect place to spend your spring.
Events in Quebec
Quebec is home to a variety of events throughout the year. These events offer a great opportunity to experience the local culture and entertainment.
- Mois Multi: One of the most popular events in Quebec is the Mois Multi, which is a month-long celebration of the arts and culture in February. This event features a variety of performances, exhibits, and workshops that highlight the diverse talents of Quebec's artists and creators.
- Ice Canoe Race Grande Virée des canotiers: The Ice Canoe Race, or Grande Virée des canotiers, is a unique way to experience the winter season in the month of March. This thrilling event has participants racing canoes across the icy waters of the St. Lawrence River. The race is open to all, and the winner is rewarded with a cash prize.
- ImagiNation Writers' Festival: The ImagiNation Writers’ Festival is one of the popular events in Quebec City that celebrates the written word. This festival brings together authors, publishers, and literary experts to share their love of writing. During the festival, there are workshops, talks, and readings from both established and emerging authors.
- Québec City Magic Festival: The Québec City Magic Festival, held in April, celebrates magical arts and culture. During the festival, magicians from all over the world come to Quebec City to show off their skills. The festival also features activities for people of all ages to enjoy.
- Québec City Day: Quebec City Day is another popular event that takes place in Quebec City on July 3rd. This day celebrates the history and culture of Quebec City and features a variety of activities and events that are open to the public.
- New France Festival: The New France Festival is a great event for those interested in Quebec's history. During the festival in August, you can take part in activities that bring the past to life, including re-enactments, historical tours, and demonstrations. There are also performances from musicians, dancers, and art exhibitions.
Where to stay in Quebec
Quebec offers a wide range of accommodation options for visitors, from luxurious resorts to cozy inns, and from charming cottages to rustic lodges. Whether you're looking for a peaceful retreat or an action-packed adventure, Quebec has it all.
- Fairmont Le Château Frontenac: This iconic hotel is located in the heart of Quebec City's Old Town and is a National Historic Site of Canada. The hotel offers luxurious accommodations and stunning views of the St. Lawrence River.
- Auberge Saint-Antoine: Located in the heart of Quebec City’s Old Port, Auberge Saint-Antoine is a charming hotel that offers guests a unique experience. With its cozy rooms, modern amenities, and stunning views of the river, this hotel is a great option for those looking for a romantic getaway.
- Hôtel des Gouverneurs: This hotel is located in the heart of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region and offers easy access to the beautiful lakes and wilderness in the area. The hotel features comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a fitness center.
- Hôtel Le Germain Quebec: This modern hotel is located in the trendy Saint-Roch neighborhood in Quebec City, and is known for its contemporary design and excellent service. The hotel features a fitness center and an indoor pool.
- Mont-Tremblant: This beautiful mountain resort town is located in the Laurentian Mountains and is a popular destination for skiing, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Visitors can choose from a wide range of accommodations, including luxury resorts, cozy chalets, and more.
#2 Travel tip: best day trips
Montmorency Falls is a highly recommended day trip from Quebec City, as is the Huron traditional site Wendake. Ask your travel advisor about adding them to your itinerary.
Famous Food in Quebec
Quebec is known for its delicious and unique cuisine. Here are some famous foods to try while visiting Quebec, along with some recommended restaurants or hotels where you can find them:
- Poutine: Poutine is a classic Quebec dish that consists of fries, cheese curds, and gravy. It is a staple food in Quebec and can be found at most restaurants and fast food outlets. Some popular restaurants to try Poutine are La Banquise, Poutineville, and Chez Ashton.
- Tourtière: This savory pie is traditionally made with ground pork, beef, or veal, as well as potatoes and onions in a pastry crust. It is served as a main course for special occasions such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Tourtière is available in many bakeries and restaurants, including Aux Anciens Canadiens, Chez Ashton, and Au Pain Doré.
- Maple syrup: Quebec is known for its maple syrup production and it is widely used in many dishes. Head to Maison de la Crêpe for some delicious maple syrup-filled crêpes or visit Cabane à Sucre for a traditional maple syrup feast.
- Crêpes: Sweet or savory, these thin pancakes filled with a variety of ingredients are popular throughout Quebec. From apple compote to ham and cheese, there are a variety of options available. Head to a crêperie such as Crêperie du Vieux-Port or Crêperie du Petit Cochon for some delicious crêpes.
- Pea soup: Pea soup is a staple of Quebec cuisine. It is usually made with dried yellow peas, smoked pork, and vegetables. It is often served with crusty bread and is available in many restaurants throughout the city, including Restaurant Chez Lévêque and Chez Boulay.
Quebec offers a wide range of delicious and unique cuisine that is sure to please any palate. Whether you're in the mood for a hearty traditional dish or something sweet, you can find it in Quebec.
When choosing to travel to Quebec or other places throughout Canada, choose Canadian Train Vacations for optimum comfort while traveling. You can choose from different routes, depending on what interests you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many days do you need in Quebec?
Generally, 4-7 days is a good amount of time to explore Quebec.
What is the best month to visit Quebec?
The best month to visit Quebec is July. The best time to visit Quebec is in the summer (June through August) when the weather is warm and sunny.
What is the tourist season in Quebec?
The tourist season in Quebec usually runs from May to October.
Is Quebec worth visiting?
Yes, Quebec is definitely worth visiting. With its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and unique history, it is a great destination for any traveler.
About the author: Athena McKenzie is the Managing Editor at Fresh Tracks Canada. An experienced lifestyle journalist, she has written about travel, design, arts and entertainment. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Zoomer Magazine, Elle Canada and... Read more
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