Updated: May 26, 2020
Looking forward to spend your next holidays surrounded by nature in a totally peaceful environment? Canada is the perfect destination. Discover the East region of Québec, French island in the hearth of an English Country, its multicultural and lively city of Montréal, the stunning national parks and its wild nature, go whale watching in the Northern Tadoussac and jump on a dog sliding on the snow for a thrilling experience in contact with these beautiful animals.
Is this a nice start to convince you? If so, let me suggest an ideal itinerary that can introduce you to this amazing Country and its highlights to discover what it has to offer!
My Highlights for a 12-15 day Itinerary:
- Quebéc City & Montmorency Falls
- Tadoussac & Saguenay Park
- Mont Tremblant Park and Omega Park
- Niagara Falls
Montréal is the most European city, a real melting pot of cultures, gastronomies and traditions, influenced by the French language. After a long freezing winter, in the warm season Montréal becomes home for festivals, concerts and street events. During summer, every Sunday Montréal hosts Piknic Eléktronic and Jean Drapeau Island is transformed into an outdoor dance floor until the sun goes down. For a chill vibe, reunite your friends, take a duvet and a pack of beers and enjoy the tam-tam rhythm in Mont Royal park that enchants people of all ages.
Explore the city with its colourful graffiti districts and the Old Port, have a walk up to the Belvedere on the Mont Royal (which gives the name to the city) for a stunning view and of course try the typical Poutine, a local dish with potatoes to fill with all the ingredients that you prefer! If you have the chance, book your tickets for the lights show called Aura in Notre Dame Cathedral and don't miss a hokey match at Bell Centre for a truly local experience which can make you feel their strong patriotism (GO HABS GO!!!).
Montréal is also full of original bars to enjoy a drink between friends and nice clubs to dance on different bits, a nightlife that no many cities can beat! This can explain why I spent one year living there, I totally felt in love with the city, the surrounded landscapes, its people and their lifestyle, I've even survived a truly freezing Canadian winter :D
Start your road trip from Montréal heading to the wild nature that makes the Country so special. 2hours away, the authentic Québec City, famous for its Old Centre and the glamorous Hotel Chateau Frontenac inaugurated in 1892 (you can visit the interior hall for free). During winter, there's even an Ice Hotel for the bravest souls ready to spend a night sleeping on an ice bed! Make sure you don't miss the close Montmorency Falls, 30 metres higher than Niagara Falls and absolutely spectacular, especially on a sunny day.
Time to head North direction Tadoussac, the most common whale spot and perfect for a hike in Saguenay National Park. Before leaving, make a stop to admire the sandy dunes overlooking Saint Lawrence river. During a road trip with some friends, we stayed at Tadoussac Hostel where we met many other young backpackers to enjoy a shared dinner with, some good music and the firelights on the bay.
Time to come back towards the South passing by national parks, forests and beautiful lakes: choose the right playlist that helps creating a nice Road trip vibe! One of my favourite park is absolutely Mont Tremblant, where you can rent a chalet or book a typical tipi accommodation for a more authentic experience. The park offers a multitude of activities: snow-bike, dog sledding (absolutely in the TO DO LIST!!), hikes and ice fishing depending on the season. Walk in the city to discover its glamorous spots who attracts luxury tourists in the winter season then drive to Montebello for a visit to the Omega Park, an animal reserve accessible by car where you can meet the most famous Canadian animals and feed them with carrots :D Caribous, mooses, white wolfs and buffalos are just some of them!
Let's head West and discover the Canadian capital, Ottawa! Despite its political status, the city can be visited in one day. Highlights are Parliament Hill (make sure to book your visit in advance), National Gallery of Canada, known for its big spider sculpture by Louise Bourgeois, and a walk through the Rideau Canal.
Now experience the English part of the Country, magic Toronto. The city is super dynamic and very lively, I would call it a little New York! Admire its skyscrapers from the CN Tower, The City Hall (famous for its colourful sign), visit the Distillery District and then enjoy a stunning sunset from Toronto Island for a unique view.
Daily tours are organised to the close Niagara Falls, a must see natural wonder. Make sure to avoid the most tourist activities (SADLY the small village has become a kind of amusement park) and admire the landscape on your own, walk around the falls to have different views!
- People are super kind and polite (they respect the line even when waiting for the bus!!)
- Weather is either extremely hot and humid or freezing cold
- Improvisation theatres are very common
- During summer around 5pm people go straight to a rooftop bar to enjoy a drink between colleagues, this helps creating Team Building in the company
- Strong patriotic spirit
- Unemployment rate is only 5.8%
- Strong alcool is not served in supermarkets but at SAQ that owns the 'alcool monopoly' (this is why it's more expensive!)
Contact me for further suggestion, otherwise I would fill another 1000 pages about Canada :)
Connected post: Must-do List Montréal
Canada for me is not only a beautiful Country with a healthy social system and a political balance, but a truly second home. This mostly for the amazing people I met there, the majority of them from different parts of the world and eager to experience daily life deeply. The fact of being all far from home and our comfort zone united us in a special way, creating strong and unique relationships.
Despite my working experience there I managed to find the time to explore the area around Montréal and to have an idea of the East Canada, but I really want to come back to discover the West Coast with stunning British Columbia and fascinating Vancouver!
My best souvernirs? All the chalets with my Victoria's Crew, the crazy nights at Clebard, summer festival Osheaga, Montmorency Falls hosting a wonderful rainbow, the coldest event in the world Igloofest, the magic Christmas atmosphere, watching a Northern bottlenose whale in Tadoussac and playing with the friendly dogs after the sledding in the snow!
Scroll the gallery to see a few personal memories!