Many of us will soon be lucky enough to enjoy the sight of the majestic Saint Lawrence River covered in ice shields as winter cruises begin sailing. And while there are several fun outdoor activities to do as the ground turns into a giant snow-covered playground, visitors may need to head inside for a bit of warmth and a hot chocolate from time to time.
Even if some rest from the cold is needed, there are still ways to make the most of your winter getaway. Here are a few suggestions of things to do during a visit to snowy Québec.
Discover the he-art of Gaspé
Art galleries can be appreciated all year long, of course. However, imagine coming from the cold, stepping into a calm and serene space and admiring heart-warming photographs, beautiful paintings and stunning sculptures.
There is no better way to explore Gaspé’s rich history and culture than through the work of its local artists. Take time to meander through the many galleries and exhibitions, many of which specialise in a particular media or theme. And don’t forget to take a souvenir home, so you can always remember the warmth of the people of Gaspé, which is legendary even in the dead of winter!
Unleash your inner artist in Îles-de-la-Madeleine’s artisan boutiques
The creativity of the Madelinots knows no bound. Many artists head to the islands in search of inspiration, and for good reason! The area offers breathtaking views, no matter where you look, and raw materials from all over the islands such as sand, shells, stones or washed up driftwood are used and transformed. Tourists can not only view and buy these beautiful creations, they can also tour the artists’ workshops and watch sand carvers, painters, metal workers, and glassblowers as they shape their material into art. Art lovers can also take creative workshops and meet with local artists to learn their craft.
Grab a coffee nearby, and pop into a boutique to warm up from the cold. Be warned: you’ll be blown away by the talent of the local people.
Sample the produits du terroir in Saguenay
The Saguenay region is well known for its abundance of local delicacies, or produits du terroir. From microbreweries and distilleries brewing tasty beverages with local fruit and plants to cheese and chocolate factories, there is no shortage of products to sample.
The boreal forest and northern agriculture produce little gems such as Distillerie du Fjord’s km12 gin. The distillery is located a mere 30 minutes away from Saguenay: make sure you head there for a tasting tour. Or stop for a drink at one of the port village’s restaurants to choose from a wide selection of local beers while enjoying spectacular views over the impressive frozen fjord. With so many things to taste, bad weather days have never been so pleasant!
Relax at the spa
We can’t think of anything better than relaxing in a warm thermal pool and enjoying the unbeatable sight of a majestic ice-covered Saint Lawrence River while snowflakes are falling all around us. That's the experience you get at Québec’s Strom Spa, a thermotherapy experience located less than five kilometres away from the port.
Relax after a busy day of sightseeing in Old Québec, or spend the entire day there getting pampered. The view is one of the best around, the food is utterly decadent, and the relaxation options are endless. The best bit? Bad weather cannot ruin your plans when you’re spending the day at the spa!
Meet the Indigenous nations of Québec
Lastly, no experience is as memorable as immersing yourself in the culture of the local Indigenous nations. Whether you are visiting during summer or winter, don’t miss a chance to meet with the fascinating communities that populate the shores of the Saint Lawrence River. Some of our ports of call are home to great museums, many of which explore the history and culture of Québec’s First Nations.
Winter in Québec is all about fun in the snow, but even les Québecois know that contending with the capricious weather can sometimes mean spending a bit of time indoors. So while you should be lucky enough to get the full winter experience, there is definitely plenty to do indoors too!
Find out more about the Cruise the Saint Lawrence sustainable development guidelines on our sustainability page.