Update Jan 23, 2017 Best Solo Travel Destinations: Quebec Quebec City is the perfect solo travel destination year-round. Having just returned this week, I have some new tips and recommendations.
As a solo traveler, I always look for new destinations when traveling alone. After 6 trips to Quebec City, it is one of my favorites. From the US East Coast, it is a quick, affordable flight.
Except for holidays, prices are good for both 5 star hotels and quaint bed and breakfasts. In addition, in winter trip, there are many sports to enjoy. Dog sledding and skiing are my favorites. However, you can find ice skating and sledding. For a top treat, go to Winter “Carnaval”. In 2017, it is from Jan.22-early March 2017.
For a real adventure, try out the Ice Hotel or speed down the luge track filled with wild and happy screams!
Best Solo Travel Destinations: Quebec-A Brief History:
Quebec City is one of the few remaining walled cities. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you enter the Gate of St. Jean, you step back into the 18th century.
- Although older North American cities exist, such as, St. Augustine, Santa Fe and Jamestown, Quebec has uniquely continued to be the site of major historic events well into the 20th century.
- Following its 16th century origin as a fort founded by Jacques Cartier, in 1608 Samuel de Champlain established a permanent settlement on the St. Lawrence Seaway.
- Today tourists can still visit the Plains of Abraham, the site of one of the most famous battles between the French and British. During the American Revolution, new skirmishes began from the South later causing the Quebecois to build the still functioning Citadelle for protection.
- In the 20th century, Canada and the US came together as staunch allies during World War II. Chateau Frontenac, now a key tourist attraction and top hotel, was the venue for a critical follow-up meeting between Churchill and Roosevelt prior to the D-Day invasion.
- One contrast with the US is that Quebec and Canada never had a revolution, and the Queen still is on coins!
Best Solo Travel Destinations: Quebec-Things to See and Do:
- Hike through Mont-Megantic National Park by day or gaze at stars at night. In winter, ski or snowshoe through the park! This year a fellow skier showed me a great video he took: A baby moose was slowly strolling the slope.
- Be sure to visit the Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of Civilization.
- See the Place Royale. It really will take you back in time to medieval and Renaissance France.
- The Church of Our Lady of Victory (L’Eglise de Notre Dame des Victoires) was originally built in the seventeenth century. After the eighteenth century Siege of Quebec it was largely rebuilt.
- Go for a carriage ride. In winter time, be sure to wear a heavy jacket!
- Tour the Chateau Frontenac. This is the historic site where US President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met during World War II.
- Stroll through the Plains of Abraham. This is the battlefield where the French and British forces made one of their final stands in 1759. That was followed by the Battle of Sainte-Foy.
- Shops range from a year-round Christmas boutique to tee shirt shops. They were filled with colorful, irresistible moose caricatures as well as fine antique and art galleries. I especially liked the Christmas shop open year round. It is the perfect way to find gifts and stocking stuffers for friends and family. I found great water proof winter boots as well.
- Be sure to visit the authentic, large enclosed market. It offers a wide range of baked goods, groceries and gift items.
- Exploring the Upper and Lower Towns is easy via tram/funicular for those who forego the daunting staircase between the two.
- Venture beyond the historic Old Town’s walls to the remainder of Quebec City. There are multiple coffee shops and bistros there as well.
Of my multiple visits to Quebec, two stand out.
- The first was at Christmas. Right on cue, when I arrived, the snow began to fall. It formed a backdrop for ice skaters on the bank overlooking the St. Lawrence against a panoply of Christmas trees decorated with bright, white lights. Christmas Eve Day choristers in peacock blue velvet with gold trim wandered through the Old Town singing carols. Jugglers, performers and street musicians made their way through the narrow streets all day as well. After a festive dinner in the Chateau Frontenac dining room, I joined both the French and English-speaking Christmas services for a completely bi-lingual celebration.
- Following the holidays, Quebec provided great outdoor options for those who don’t mind cold (really cold) weather. With my skis I headed out to the intermediate ski slope about 45 minutes away by minivan or bus. I was in luck as there was just enough snow to ski but no blizzards or total whiteouts.
- A second visit was planned around dog sledding. With visions of the Alaskan Iditarod, I headed out to the starting point. Fellow tourists from children to grandparents were raring to go as were an array of howling sled dogs, each opting for the chance to go for a run. As a solo traveler, I was paired with the group leader. As a result, my only required skill was to hang on and not fall off en route. Our wilderness day ended with hot chocolate indoors.
Best Solo Travel Destinations: Quebec-Why it is a top solo travel destination:
After five trips, Quebec City is one of my favorite destinations. Why is that?
1. It has a deep history but also a current flavor.
2. It is easy to get there. Connections are frequent through Toronto or Montreal.
3. The hotels and bed and breakfasts are well-priced.
4. There are multiple options for fine dining as well as casual bistros. The prices are also very good.
4. For winter sports enthusiasts, there are many options from dog sledding to skiing and skating.
5. During the remainder of the year, hiking or biking would be great.
Each season has something special.
- The fall has vibrant foliage.
- The winter brings many sports.
- The spring is filled with flowers.
- Summers are cooler than in much of North America.
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