Québec City Travel Planner

Planning a trip is always an exciting endeavour — at least we think so. It’s when we can sit down, plan our activities, where we want to stay, and hit up Instagram to look for restaurant ideas, but what about the logistic? Are we going to go on a road trip? Should we take a train? Is flying a better option? There are so many questions. While we enjoy searching for all the information we need, we know that there are many people out there who don’t want to spend hours on the internet or reading guidebooks.

Our Québec City trip planner is designed to help you find all the answers you need about travelling to Québec City:


When to Go

Québec City is beautiful any time of year, but June to September and December to February are the most popular times to visit. In the summer, the city is filled with people visiting from around the world; tour groups checking out the sites, cruise ships docking for a couple days of exploration. The streets of old Québec are filled with art installations, live performances, artists, music, and festivals. In the winter, once the snow has fallen, the city turns into magical, winter wonderland. It’s the perfect time to enjoy decadent chocolat chaud, party with locals for New Years, or experience all the fun activities at Carnaval de Québec.

January

Average temp: -8ºC to -18ºC | 0ºF to 18ºF

Carnaval de Québec starts in mid-January, and the city comes alive with snowtastic activities, parades, competitions, and parties. Dress warm. We highly recommend investing in snow pants if you are planning on visiting Québec during the winter months.

February

Average temp: -6ºC to -16ºC | 3ºF to 21ºF

Carnaval de Québec usually runs until the second weekend in February. The weather is cold, and snow and ice storms are commonplace. Dress warm. Ice cleats are also a good idea as the sidewalks and streets can get slippery!

March

Average temp: -0ºC to -9ºC | 16ºF to 32ºF

March is a slow month in Québec City, and the weather can be a little unpredictable. Snow and ice storms a common, which means you’ll need to be more cautious walking around the city. The good news is that the weather is generally not too cold.

April

Average temp: -1ºC to 8ºC | 30ºF to 46ºF

As spring begins, it does not mean winter is over. Always bring boots and a warm winter jacket to Québec City in April, as freak snowstorms can happen. Not much happens in the city in April, so enjoy the quiet atmosphere and the scenery as you wander.

May

Average temp: 5ºC to 17ºC | 41ºF to 63ºF

Yay! Spring! And yes, there has been the odd snowstorm in May. It’s Canada. It happens. For the most part, May is filled with a little rain, a little sunshine, and some cool air. Towards the end of the month, the city gets busy as school buses filled with children pour into the city for class trips.

June

Average temp: 11ºC to 22ºC | 52ºF to 72ºF

Summer is around the corner and school buses of kids on their grade 8 history trip are still arriving in the city, and the cruise ships are pulling into port, the sun is shining and the patios are beginning to open up for the summer. It is an exciting time to be in the city.

July

Average temp: 14ºC to 25ºC | 57ºF to 77ºF

Oh yes, summer is finally here, and it is a glorious time to be in Québec City. Celebrate Canada with parades, cake, and balloons. Enjoy free street performances, watch local artists paint, and soak up the sun on a patio.

August

Average temp: 13ºC to 24ºC | 55ºF to 75ºF

It may be the last month of summer, but there it still plenty to do. We highly recommend the Nouvelle France festival, and sitting atop Pierre-Duga-des-Mons terrace and take in the views of Château Frontenac and the St Lawrence river.

September

Average temp: 8ºC to 18ºC | 46ºF to 64ºF

The weather begins to cool a little, more at night than during the day. As kids go back to school the city gets a little quieter and you don’t have to battle crowds. Spend some time on Île d’Orleans before everything closes for the year. We recommend a chocolate-dipped cone from Chocolatier Île d’Orleans.

October

Average temp: 2ºC to 11ºC | 36ºF to 52ºF

The leaves begin to change colour mid to late September and by the beginning of October Québec City is filled with gold and rust coloured leaves. One of our favourite times of year. The weather is cooler, so be sure to pack sweaters. We recommend a day trip to Charlevoix to admire the autumn beauty.

November

Average temp: -4ºC to 3ºC | 25ºF to 37ºF

The weather is November is usually cool, but not cold. Pack warm clothing, as well as an umbrella. Rain can be a common occurrence towards the end of the month. Snow is not common in November, but storms can happen so it is a good idea to travel with your winter gear. You don’t want to be caught off-guard.

December

Average temp: -4ºC to -13ºC | 9ºF to 25ºF

Rain is common at the beginning of the month and as snow arrives, the streets can be a little messy and sometimes slippery. If there is a big snowstorm, definitely walk around and enjoy the city as it turns into a magical winter wonderland.

The weather in Québec City is unpredictable and the move numbers are just a basic guide. We highly recommend checking the forecast on the weather network website before your trip, especially in the winter months when snowstorms can swoop in at any moment; the wind in winter can be very cold, and there are occasional cold spells when the temperatures will drop to -25ºC with the windchill. In summer, the days can get hot and the nights can be cool.


Driving to Québec City

We loving going on road trips, especially within the province of Québec; so much beauty to be found, foods to enjoy, and quaint French towns to discover. If you enjoy road trips and adventure, we highly recommend creating a couple playlists, hopping in your car, and embarking on an adventure to Québec City – where an even better adventure awaits you.

Roadside Emergencies

Should you have am emergency while driving to Québec City, the following information may be of use:

  • CAA Québec: Provides roadside assistance 24/7. Call 1.800.222.4357 if you need assistance with changing a tire or if your car should suddenly breakdown.
  • 911: Call to report an accident or any emergency that may require the police, fire department, or paramedics.
  • How to change a flat tire: Not everyone knows how to change a flat tire, nor do they want to spend money on roadside assistance. If that’s the case, this YouTube video is very helpful.

 

Speed Limits

Speed limits change depending on the type of road and signs are posted clearly, and regularly.

  • On highways and major provincial roads, the speed limit is 100 km/hr (60 miles/hr), with a minimum speed of 60 km/hr (36 miles/hr).
  • On minor provincial roads, the speed limit is 80 km/hr (48 miles/hr)
  • When driving in villages, towns, and city streets the speed limit is 50 km/hr (30 miles/hr) unless posted otherwise. For example, school zones are 40 km/hr (24 miles/hr)

 

Important Road Rules/Laws

Whether you’re Canadian, American, or from another part of the world, it is important to know (and remember) road rules/laws.

  • Cell phone use: It is illegal in the province of Québec to hold a cell phone while driving. You can, however, use your phone handsfree through a Bluetooth device.
  • Driver’s license: If you are driving to Québec City, but you are not Canadian, you need to have a valid driver’s license in your home country. If you are planning to drive in Québec for six consecutive months or more then you must have an international driver’s permit. See here for more information.
  • All passengers must wear a seatbelt: This is a law which carries a fine if you are pulled over by police. Learn more about fines here.
  • Move-Over Law: In the province of Québec it is mandatory for drivers to move over as far as possible or stop when emergency vehicles are present and display flashing lights or their arrow is lit. More info here.

 

Driving rules that are only in the Province of Québec

  • You’re not allowed to drive on private property to avoid a red light – that means not cutting through parking lots.
  • The left lane is for passing only.
  • If you’re driving below the speed limit, you must turn on your four-way flashers. You’ll notice this a lot during the winter months, especially in snowstorms.
  • Motorcycles cannot ride side-by-side in a lane.
  • There cannot be more than 15 cyclists in a row. So if there is 16, one of you is cycling solo.

 

Travelling from within Canada

If you live in Eastern Canada, we encourage you to make a road trip to Québec City at least once in your lifetime. Canada is a beautiful country, and we, as Canadians, do not explore it enough. Take major highways and pray for no construction zones or leisurely drive country highways, stopping for a picnic or a nap or maybe both.

Montréal

Distance to Québec City: 255 KMs

Explore Québec City as a day trip, or spend a night, or maybe three.

Routes: HWY 138 or HWY 20

Ottawa

Distance to Québec City: 448 KMs

Venturing from the Canadian capital to where Canada began, Québec City.

Routes: HWY 138 or HWY 40

Toronto

Distance to Québec City: 805 KMs

The journey is long (9-11 hrs), but you’ll be glad you did it once you arrive in Old Québec.

Routes: 401 & HWY 20 or 401 & HWY 138

Halifax

Distance to Québec City: 1024 KMs

Drive through rugged landscapes to Canada’s oldest city.

Route: HWYs 2 & 20

Routes

There are several routes to choose from for your journey to Québec City; leisurely drives on small country highways, or putting the peddle to the metal and breezing down a major highway, stopping only for gas and a quick bathroom break. Below are some of the popular routes to Québec City.

Highway 138

Also known at Chemin du Roy (King’s Highway), this major provincial highway runs along the St Lawrence river from Elgin, Québec (near the New York border), all the way up to Kegashka in Côte-Nord, Québec northern coast. This route is perfect for those who want to admire the Québec countryside and take their time getting to Québec City. This is our favourite highway in Québec — we’ve taken it almost to its end point at Kegashka!

It’s important to note that this highway runs through downtown Montréal, so be sure to look for signs stating HWY 138 or Chemin du Roy, so you don’t get lost.

Highway 20

If you are travelling from Toronto, you’ll notice that the 401 turns into Highway 20 once your cross the border into Québec. You can stay on this highway all the way to Québec City, but we recommend taking the bypass as HWY 20 cuts through downtown Montréal and it is very easy to get stuck in traffic, or lost, or both.

After crossing into Québec stay on HWY 20 until you see a sign for HWY 30 Sorel/Tracey, then take that exit and follow the signs for Québec City. This is a bypass, and also a toll road. The cost is $2.40. Stay on HWY 30 until you see signs again for HWY 20 Québec City, then return to HWY 20.

Highway 40

Many people driving from Ottawa will choose to cross the bridge into Gatineau, Québec, then drive along Highway 50 east to Highway 15 south towards Montréal. Before reaching the city, we suggest taking 640 east which will turn into Highway 40 — and bypass the city!

Highway 40 is probably one of the busiest highways in Québec when while you are within Montréal’s city limits. Once you are outside of Montréal though the drive can be quite pleasant. You can stay on HWY 40 all the way to Québec City, or if you want to slow things down you can pop down to HWY 138 and drive along the St Lawrence river.

401 & Highway 20

If you are travelling from Toronto, then you will most likely take the 401 to the Ontario-Québec border. After crossing into Québec stay on HWY 20 until you see a sign for HWY 30 Sorel/Tracey, then take that exit and follow the signs for Québec City. This is a bypass, and also a toll road. The cost is $2.40. Stay on HWY 30 until you see signs again for HWY 20 Québec City, then return to HWY 20.

Insider tip: The 401 from Kingston to Cornwall can be very dangerous in winter, especially during a snowstorm. Be cautious, take your time, and utilize the ONroute rest stops along the way to take breaks. 

401 & Highway 138

If you are travelling from Toronto, then you will most likely take the 401 to the Ontario-Québec border. After crossing into Québec stay on HWY 20 until you see a sign for HWY 30 Sorel/Tracey, then take that exit and follow the signs for Québec City. This is a bypass, and also a toll road. The cost is $2.40. Stay on HWY 30 until you see signs again for HWY 20 Québec City, then return to HWY 20.

Once you are in Montréal, exit at Boulevard Robert-Bourassa and drive north to rue Sherbrooke Ouest and turn right. This is HWY 138. Follow the signs out of Montréal, and continue your drive through quaint towns along the St. Lawrence river.

Highways 2 & 20

If you are travelling from Halifax, take NS-102 to Trans-Canada Highway 2 at the New Brunswick border (part of this road has a toll, so have change ready). Once you cross into the province of Québec the highway changes to Highway 85 and take you all the way up to Rivière-du-Loup. From there take Highway 20 Est to Québec City.

The drive through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick is gorgeous, it is hard to resist stopping along the way to have a picnic or a nap or snap photos, or all of the above.

 

Travelling from the United States

We adore our American neighbours, many of whom make the trip up to Québec City throughout the year. The roads from the USA into Québec (and Canada) are beautiful – we definitely enjoy them when we decide to visit you! As a foreign driver, you do not need an international driver’s permit to drive in Québec City, unless you plan to visit us for six consecutive months. The only ‘hoop‘ you will need to jump through on your journey to Québec City is clearing customs at the Canada-United States border.

Portland, ME

Distance to Québec City: 275 KMs

Have a lobster roll before leaving home, then compare with the ones in Québec City.

Routes: I-295, US-201 & HWY 73 or I-95, HWYs 2 &, 20

Boston, MA

Distance to Québec City: 397 KMs

We love driving near the White Mountains in New Hampshire on the way to Québec.

Routes: I-93, I-89 & HWY 20 or I-93, I-91, HWYs 55 & 20

Hartford, CT

Distance to Québec City: 429 KMs

Take in the charms of Québec’s Eastern Townships as you venture to Québec City.

Routes: I-91, HWYs 55 & 20 or I-91, I-89 & HWY 20

New York, NY

Distance to Québec City: 518 KMs

From Upstate New York to the charms of Québec City, it’s the ultimate journey.

Route: I-87, HWYs 30 & 20

Routes

Most routes from the Eastern United States travel through New Hampshire and Vermont; unless of course, you want to take the long way through Maine to New Brunswick and up to Québec.

I-295, US-201 & HWY 73

The shortest route from Portland, Maine is the I-95 north to US-201 north. Follow US-201 to the Canada-United States border near Sandy Bay township. Once you cross the border into Canada the highway changes to HWY 73, which takes you all the way into Québec City. There are tolls on part of this route.

I-95, HWYs 2 & 20

Probably the longest route to Québec City; and a beautiful one as well. Follow I-95 to the Canada-United States border near Houlton, Maine. Once you cross the border into Canada take HWY 2 north to Rivière du Loup, then take HWY 20 west to Québec City.

I-93, I-89 & HWY 20

A beautiful route through New Hampshire and Vermont, take I-93 to Concord, New Hampshire, then switch to I-89 at the Vermont border. From there travel north to the Canada-United States border near Highgate, Vermont. Once you cross the border into Canada drive HWY 133 to Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge, then take HWY 235 north to the junction with HWY 211 (where HWY 235 ends), turn left, then take HWY 20 to Québec City.

 

I-93, I-91, HWYs 55 & 20

This is, by far, our favourite route from Boston. Hop on the I-93 north and take it through New Hampshire, then continue onto I-91 when you cross into Vermont. Once you cross the Canada-United States border in Stanstead, take HWY 55 through Québec’s quaint Eastern Townships to HWY 20. Once you reach HWY 20, travel east to Québec City.

I-91, HWYs 55 & 20

Whether we are travelling from Hartford or Boston back to Québec City, this is one of our favourite routes. Talk about nature porn! Take I-91 to the Canada-United States border in Stanstead. Once you cross into Canada take HWY 55 through Québec’s quaint Eastern Townships to HWY 20. Once you reach HWY 20, travel east to Québec City.

I-91, I-89 & HWY 20

This route is a little longer and doesn’t travel through as many small towns. Travel on I-91 to Lebanon, New Hampshire, then drive I-89 north to the Canada-United States border. Once you cross the border into Canada, drive along HWY 133 to Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge, then take HWY 235 north to the junction with HWY 211 (where HWY 235 ends), turn left, then take HWY 20 to Québec City.

I-87, HWYs 30 & 20

We love driving home from New York City as it gives us a chance to explore Upstate New York. For somewhat obvious reasons, this is our favourite trip to make in autumn. This route is fairly direct and does include some toll roads. Travel I-87 north to the Canada-United States border near Champlain, NY. Once you cross the border into Canada drive HWY 15 north to HWY 30 east. HWY 30 bypasses Montréal and takes you to HWY 20 east, which will take you all the way to Québec City.

Crossing the border into Canada

US citizens need to have a valid ID and proof of citizenship to enter Canada, however, they will need a valid US passport or another Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative document to cross the border back into the United States. Minors aged 16 or older will be required to present a passport or another WHTI document.

If you are travelling with minors, but you are not the guardian, you will need a notarized document signed by the guardian giving you permission to take the minors across the border. This document should have the contact information (address and phone number) of the guardian. If you share custody of your children and wish to cross the border, you will need the notarized document for the other parent or guardian, as well as a copy of the custody order.

Before leaving home, make sure you have valid documentation for your vehicle including registration and insurance. Border patrol will sometimes ask to see your registration to ensure you are not bringing a stolen car into Canada.

Which items you are allowed to bring into Canada:

  • Dried and packaged food
  • 11 pounds of fresh beef, per person
  • A few eggs
  • Processed or canned potatoes
  • 1.5 litres of wine, 40oz of liquor, 24 12oz cans of beer
  • 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars

Bringing Pets into Canada

Many people travel with their pets, so we thought it would be helpful to let you know what you need before arriving at the border. The process if fairly easy for bringing cats or dogs into Canada, all you need is a letter signed by your veterinarian stating your pet’s breed and physical description, as well as proof that their rabies shots are up to date.

Note: You cannot bring dog or cat food into Canada if it contains beef or lamb by-products.

Driving a Rental Car into Canada

It is possible to rent a car in the United States and bring it into Canada for your vacation. Companies like Hertz, Budget, and Dollar usually allow cars to cross the border into Canada. It is a good idea to contact car rental companies in your area and ask if they allow rental cars to travel into Canada. Once you have booked your rental, many companies will want to know your itinerary, including dates and locations, so be prepared to offer that information.

Before leaving you will need to get a Canadian Non-resident card from the rental company, this will let Canadian authorities know you are an insured driver should you be asked for proof of insurance. If you plan to use your own insurance company, make sure your policy extends into Canada.

Before leaving the rental company parking lot make sure:

  1. There is a spare tire in the trunk, in good condition
  2. The car comes with a jack and jumper cables
  3. A note has been made of all marks, dents, scratches
  4. Tires are in good condition
  5. Write down the starting mileage, in case it comes into question later on

Driving in Québec City

Driving in Québec is slightly different than the rest of Canada, here are a few things to remember when driving in Québec City (and the rest of the province):

Turning at traffic lights

Drivers wishing to turn left at a traffic light have the right of way when the traffic light flashes green or displays a green arrow. This can be confusing at times as most Canadian cities only use the green arrows to signify that drivers can turn left. Do not panic. Nobody wants to get into an accident when travelling.

Bus lanes

When driving in Québec City you will see dedicated bus lanes with signs posted as to what times of day these lanes are restricted. If you need to drive into a bus lane to turn right, that is fine as long as you do so safely, however, if you drive in the lane to try to avoid traffic, there is a heavy fine. Do not stop or park in bus lanes.

Parking On the Street

Parking in Québec City, particularly Old Québec, downtown, can be a little challenging at times. Metered parking is available throughout the city, including Old Québec. The majority of parking meters operate Monday to Saturday, from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm and on Sundays from 10:00 am to 9:oo pm. After parking, make a note of the number on the small pole marking the space. There will be a pay station nearby, which can be used in both French and English.

  • In Old Québec, you can use metered parking for a maximum of 2 hours.
  • Some parts of downtown you will find meters that are good for 3 or 5 hours.
  • Before parking in a metered space make sure there are no orange signs stating that space is closed.
  • If you are parking on the street after the hours of operation, it’s FREE.
  • Pay if forward! Save your parking slip. If you’ve paid for more time than needed, stick the slip to the pole near your space and treat the next person to some free parking time.
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT!: Before your trip to Québec City download the Copilote app from iTunes. This is a FREE app that allows you to securely pay for your parking, without having to walk back to the pay station. It’s also handy for finding available spaces.

Parking Lots in Québec City

There are several parking lots within the city of Québec. In Old Québec (Vieux-Québec & Vieux Port) some hotels will use parking lots/garages for guest parking, which means they fill up quickly during high season. Our recommendation is to drop your luggage off at your hotel, then park in a garage outside the old city walls. You’ll find more spaces, and sometimes the parking will be a little bit cheaper. Québec City is a walking city, you won’t need your car unless you want to venture out to Île d’Orleans or into the city’s suburbs. Parkopedia has a list of public parking spaces and costs here.


Taking a Train to Québec City

We love road trips, but taking the train to Québec City is an adventure everyone should try (do you notice a theme in this trip planner?). Train travel to Québec is available to anyone travelling from the United States or from within Canada. In this section, we will talk about your route options and estimated costs, as well as information on crossing the border, luggage, and ways to keep yourself entertained.

Amtrak

Travellers wishing to take the train from the United States to Québec City will do so with Amtrak. Wherever you reside in the US, make your way to New York City where Amtrak’s Adirondack makes the trip from the Big Apple to Montréal, Québec.

VIA Rail

Canada’s passenger train company, VIA Rail makes it easy for Canadians to venture to Québec City. Sure, the journey may be long for some, but that is all part of the fun — especially if part of your journey takes place on The Canadian.

Travelling to Québec City with Amtrak

ROUTE: Amtrak’s Adirondack is a daily train travelling from New York City to Montréal, Québec.

STOPS: Yonkers, Cronton-Harmon, Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff, Hudson, Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, Fort Edward-Glens Falls, Whitehall, Ticonderoga, Port Henry, Westport, Plattsburgh, Rouses Point (border crossing), and Montréal, Québec.

DURATION: 10 hours*

COST: A one-way ticket can be as low as $69 USD

WHAT TO EXPECT ONBOARD: The Adirondack features coach seating that includes wide reclining seats with leg rests and folding tray tables. Pillows are available at no extra charge. The train also comes equipped with an Amfleet Dinette car which offers passengers scenic panoramic views of the train journey to Québec, as well as café snacks which are available for purchase. FREE wifi is also available onboard.

Amtrak has published a route guide for the Adirondack that is packed with interesting information about your journey from New York to Montréal. We highly recommend downloading the Adirondack route guide for quick reference on your journey.

CROSSING THE BORDER INTO CANADA: All US passengers 16 years of age or older must present one of the following: passport, passport card, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST, enhanced driver’s license, merchant mariner document, US military ID with military orders, or American Indian status card. If you are travelling with a passport other than US or Canadian, you will need either an eTA document of a tourist visa for Canada, as well as a valid passport.

BAGGAGE: Passengers are permitted to bring two personal items up to 25 lbs (14”x11”x7” each), as well as two carry-on bags up to 50 lbs (28”x22”x14” each). Checked baggage is not permitted on this route. If you go over the weight limits there will be a $20 USD excess baggage fee applied.

Passengers travelling with an infant are allowed to an additional item onboard at no extra charge; generally a stroller or a diaper bag.

HOW DO I GET TO QUEBEC CITY FROM MONTREAL?: Good question! The Adirondack arrives in Montréal in the evening, after the last train to Québec City. You have three options: fly, take a bus to Québec City or spend the night in Montréal and take a train to Québec City the following day.

TIP: The duration is an estimate. Trains can be delayed for a number of reasons, including heat-slows and freight traffic which requires passenger trains to pull over and wait. Always give yourself a time cushion of at least two hours.

Travelling to Québec City with VIA Rail

As Canada’s national passenger rail line, there are routes connecting Québec City as far east as Halifax, and as far west as Vancouver. Depending on where you live and how much time you have, the journey to Québec City could be anywhere from three hours to five or six days.

The Canadian

VIA’s premier route, The Canadian travels from Vancouver to Toronto and makes stops in Jasper, Edmonton, and Winnipeg. The journey takes four nights, five days, and offers passengers stunning views of Canada’s varying landscapes. Travel on a budget in VIA’s economy class or splurge and travel in sleeper or prestige class.

Corridor

The Corridor is a commuter line running from Windsor, Ontario to Québec City, this route includes stops in Windsor, London, Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, Montréal, and Québec City. Passengers can choose between economy and business class tickets. Free wifi is available onboard, but reception can be spotty.

The Ocean

The Ocean runs from Halifax to Montréal and includes stops in Moncton, Miramichi, Rimouski, Ste-Foy (Québec City) and Montréal. The journey Québec City begins in Halifax just after twelve noon and arrives in Ste-Foy in the early morning hours, passengers are then transferred to Gare du Palais at no extra charge.

Classes

ECONOMY: Available on all routes, Economy class is comfortable and comes with reclining seats and outlets. Depending on the route, free wifi may be available. On The Canadian and The Ocean lines economy passengers have access to a skyline or services car to enjoy the scenery.

BUSINESS: Available on the Corridor, Business class passengers have wide leather chairs that recline, room to move around, outlets, free wifi, and complimentary food and beverage service. We love riding in Business class from Toronto or Ottawa to Québec City as we have lounge access as well.

BERTH: Available on The Canadian line, by day berths are sofas that fit two people, by night the sofas are converted into upper and lower berths with privacy curtains. Berths are generally located near car doors, so there can be a lot of foot traffic. A bathroom with shower can be found within a few feet. Meals included.

CABIN FOR ONE: Available on The Canadian line, a cabin for one offers a little more privacy than a berth. During the day you can relax on a small sofa, and a toilet is available for use. At night, a comfortable bed is pulled out and set up. The only downside is that the toilet is covered at night. Meals included.

CABIN FOR TWO: Available on both The Canadian and The Ocean, a cabin for two comes with or without a shower. On The Ocean, the beds are converted to sofas during the day, on The Canadian the beds are put away and armchairs are set-up for your comfort. Meals included. Handicap cabin available.

SUITES: Available on The Canadian, three-person suites are available. It is possible to have a suite for four, this is created by opening the divider between two cabins for two. Ideal for a young family travelling together, however if you are travelling with teenagers, you may want to keep the divider shut.

Travelling with Pets

VIA Rail has a fairly strict pets policy in that cats, dogs, and small rodents must travel in the baggage car (unless you’re travelling with a guide dog) and have appropriate cages as well.

How much does it cost?

Escape Fares

If you’re planning to travel on the Corridor than VIA’s escape fares is the best way to save money. This is where you’ll find fares as low as $20 at times. That is a fabulous deal. These deals are ideal for those travelling from Toronto, Ottawa, and Montréal to Québec City.

Stay Entertained on the Train

RECOMMENDED READING

Travelling by train gives you plenty of time to nap, or chat, or read. While we are a big fan of naps, we love spending our time reading books on our destination or plan out the last tidbits of our trip using a guidebook. We recommend using Lonely Planet Montréal and Québec City, or Moon Québec City; both guidebooks offer detailed insights to Québec City, as well as decent maps of the city.

We loved reading the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny; all of the books in this series takes place in various parts of the province of Québec, with book number six, Bury Your Dead, taking place in Québec City. You don’t need to read the entire series to enjoy book six, but if in case you want to, here are the books in the Inspector Gamache series: Still Life, A Fatal Grace (Dead Cold), The Cruelest Month, A Rule Against Murder (The Murder Stone), The Brutal Telling, Bury Your Dead, A Trick Of The Light, The Beautiful Mystery, How The Light Gets In, The Long Way Home, The Nature Of The Beast, and A Great Reckoning.

If you enjoy reading about the history of a city or country, there are a couple books worth reading before embarking on your trip to Québec City:

  • Québec: Word Heritage City by David Mendel – David is a historian and tour guide who has lived in Québec City for many years. This book is small and filled with photos, histories, and details about many of the historic sites in Québec City.
  • Québec: The Story of Three Sieges by Stephen Manning – If you want to understand what makes Québec City tick, it’s important to learn about three battles that shaped the city. This book by Stephen Manning provides a concise history of the battles in 1759, 1760, and 1776. We highly recommend reading this book before your trip.
  • Three Weeks in Québec City: The Meeting That Made Canada by Christopher Moore – A fascinating read about the Québec City Conference which took place in 1864, and where there were discussions about uniting all the provinces in British North America. Thirty-three delegates attended the conference, including John A. MacDonald, the future (first) Priminister of Canada.
  • Champlain’s Dream by David Hackett Fischer – Samuel de Champlain was an explorer and cartographer who established the settlement of called New France. A Pulitzer prize-winning book, Champlain’s Dream is one of the best biographies written about the founder of Québec City.

Taking a Bus to Québec City

If you are on a tight travel budget, do not own a car, or are adverse to flying, then taking a bus to Québec City may be the ideal option. Most buses, thankfully, are quite comfortable in Québec, which makes the long drive enjoyable — nobody wants a painful and cramped bus ride!

Whether you are travelling from within Canada or the United States, you will need to change buses in Montréal before continuing on to Québec City. If you have time, spend a few days exploring Montréal and resting from your travels before venturing out to Québec City.

Greyhound

Greyhound has not been known for being comfortable, but the buses are slightly better than they use to be. Most buses now come with complimentary wifi, individual outlets, and reclining seats. It is important to remember that there can be delays when taking the bus, so give yourself plenty of travel time.

Greyhound has three ticket classes: Economy, Economy Extra, and Flexible. The difference between the fares is minimal: economy and economy extra fares are non-refundable tickets with a $20 change fee and 1 FREE checked bag (an additional bag is $15), the flexible fare is a refundable ticket with no change fee and 2 FREE checked bags.

New York

There are eleven buses daily travelling from New York City to Montréal. The trip takes roughly 8-9 hrs, depending on traffic, and tickets can be as low as $65 USD one way.

Boston

The are seven buses daily travelling from Boston to Montréal, however, only four of them make the trip without transfers. The trip takes about 7-8 hrs, depending on traffic, and tickets can be as low as $51 USD one way.

Hartford, CT

The are four buses daily travelling from Hartford to Montréal, however only one of them make the trip with one transfer, the rest have two transfers. The trip takes about 9.5 to 10.5 hrs, depending on traffic, and tickets can be as low as $51 USD one way.

Portland, ME

There is one bus travelling from Portland, Maine to Montréal. The bus departs at 2:50 p.m. and arrives in Montréal at 2:55 a.m., with two transfers along the way in Boston, and Albany where you switch to an Adirondacks Trailways bus. Tickets can be as low as $48 USD one way.

Mega Bus USA

Travelling on a Mega Bus from the United States to Montréal is not as easy as Greyhound, in the sense that you will need to go to New York City first, take the Mega Bus to Toronto, and then boarding another bus to Montréal. There are two buses that travel from NYC to Toronto, with each trip taking about 11.5 hrs. A one-way ticket can be as low as $60. It is important to note that you are permitted to bring one piece of luggage weighing no more than 50 lbs.

All buses have wifi, individual outlets, and reclining seats.

Trailways

A family owned bus company in New York stake, Trailways offers service from New York City to Montréal. There are eleven daily departures from New York to Montréa. The trip takes between 7.5 hours to 9 hours, depending on traffic. A one-way ticket can be as low as $61 USD.

Most buses have black leather seats, wood floors, and FREE wifi.

 


Do I Need a Visa to Visit Canada?

US citizens and permanent residents do not need a visa to visit Canada, however, they do need to present a valid form of ID such as a passport, birth certificate, certificate of citizenship, or certificate of Indian status along with photo ID. While US citizens do not need to present a passport to enter Canada, it is advisable that they travel with one as US customs officials will ask to see a passport before allowing them to return to American soil.

The following countries need a tourist visa to enter or transit through Canada. If there is a (B) beside the country, applicants will also need to provide biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) when applying for a visa:

Afghanistan (B), Albania (B), Algeria (B), Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh (B), Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burma/Myanmar (B), Burundi (B), Cambodia (B), Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia (B), Comoros, DR Congo (B), Congo Republic of, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt (B), El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea (B), Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti (B), Honduras, India, Indonesia (B), Iran (B), Iraq (B), Ivory Coast, Jamaica (B), Jordan (B), Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea North, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos (B), Lebanon (B), Lesotho, Liberia, Libya (B), Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria (B), Oman, Pakistan (B), Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines (B), Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Sao Tomé e Principe, Saudi Arabia (B), Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia (B), South Africa, South Sudan (B), Sri Lanka (B), Sudan (B), Surinam, Swaziland, Syria (B), Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand (B), Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia (B), Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam (B), Yemen (B), Zambia, Zimbabwe.

To find out how much your visa will cost, visit the Government of Canada website.

The following countries need an eTA (electronic travel authorization) when entering or transit through Canada by air:

Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, British citizens, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Cayman Islands, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Falkland Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic of, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montserrat, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turks and Caicos, Ukraine.

If you need to apply for a visa or eTA, visit this website for information. Note: if you’re applying for an eTA you will need a valid passport or accepted travel document, as well as a credit card and an email address. The cost to apply for an eTA is $7 CAD and can be paid with Visa, Mastercard, and American Express credit cards; or prepaid Visa, Mastercard, or American Express cards. 

IMPORTANT: Entry requirements for Canada are subject to change. Always visit the Govenment of Canada website to verify entry requirements.

Embassies and Consulates in Québec City

United States Consulate General

2, rue de la Terrasse-Dufferin
Québec, Québec
G1R 4T9
Tel: 418.692.2095
Website

Consulat Général de France

500, Grand Allée Est
Québec, Québec
G1R 2J7
Tel: 418.266.2500
Website