Québec: Québec City & the Saguenay Fjord

Guided Walking Tour, Quebec: Québec City & the Saguenay FjordGuided Walking Tour, Quebec: Québec City & the Saguenay Fjord

Québec

Québec City & the Saguenay Fjord

overview

From the crooked cobblestone streets and boutique shops of Québec City—the most European metropolis in North America—to the rugged pine forests, granite cliffs, and plunging fjords of the Charlevoix, Québec combines the best of new-world natural beauty and old-world charm. Here, you’ll explore the Saguenay Fjord and St. Lawrence River via Zodiac boat, floating up to minke and beluga whales. Delight in birch forests and secluded, grassy bluffs on walks along the broad river. In Baie-Saint-Paul, wander a charming village and artists’ colony full of quaint wooden houses and local galleries. Enjoy the architectural and cultural riches of Québec City on a guided walk through its narrow, shop-lined streets and French-influenced squares. At night, stay in unparalleled accommodations, including a boutique hotel with a historic pedigree and a grand bayside resort with extensive, manicured grounds. Savor meals showcasing the best of Québecois cuisine: a touch of France, a dash of frontier, and the distinctive bounty of this natural wonderland.

Activity Level
Easy to moderate;
2-7 miles daily
Meet
Québec City, Québec
Depart
Québec City, Québec
Daily Itinerary
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itinerary
Reading List
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From our blog

Guided Walking 
6 days, 5 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • Two expert, local guides (for groups of 8 or more), with you 24/7
  • All meals except for one dinner; local wine or beer included with dinners
  • All accommodations while on tour
  • Transportation from the meeting point to the departure point
  • Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the Country Walkers staff
per person double occupancy
Single supplement + $745
 

Solo surcharge + $0
 

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

 

REQUEST RESERVATION
Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Tadoussac
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2
Tadoussac
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3
Tadoussac
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4
Québec City
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5
Québec City
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6
Québec City
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Day 1

Tadoussac

River walk along the Malbaie; 5-7 miles, easy. Transfer to Tadoussac

After a brief orientation meeting in Quebec City where you meet your guides and fellow travelers, your first destination is the Parc National des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie. With a name that translates to “the great gorge,” this breathtaking park boasts an extensive trail system. You walk to the misty base of hanging waterfalls plunging hundreds of feet into Canada’s largest canyon east of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. This park is a true ecological gem situated in the heart of the Charlevoix World Biosphere Reserve. The walk is a long, easy stroll along the Malbaie River with a more spectacular view offered around every bend.

After a picnic lunch you begin the drive north to the town of Tadoussac. This lovely village is located at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence River and the Saguenay Fjord and was the first trading post in New France, founded in 1600, making it the oldest surviving French settlement in the Americas. A stunning setting, the sheltered bay is surrounded by unique sand dunes, the cliffs of the Saguenay in the background, and the vast St. Lawrence—home to an abundance of marine life.

Your home for the next three nights is the historical Hotel Tadoussac. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner of refined Québecois cuisine in its intimate dining room that overlooks the St. Lawrence River. 

Hotel Tadoussac

Tadoussac, Québec

A grand hotel in the 19th-century tradition, this historical complex overlooks the waters of sheltered Tadoussac Bay and offers extensive grounds, an outdoor swimming pool and spa. Simple but comfortable guest rooms compliment an inviting bar and patio area with views of Saguenay Fjord.

Day 2

Tadoussac

Sentier Le Fjord to Saint-Louis Lookout; 4-6 miles, easy to moderate with one challenging section, 920-ft. elevation gain

Today, after a copious breakfast, you begin your exploration of the Saguenay Fjord and St. Lawrence Estuary. One of the longest fjords in the world at just over 60 miles, the Saguenay is unusual not only because its fresh waters run into the saline estuary, but also for its southerly location—most fjords are at much higher latitudes (in either the Northern or Southern Hemispheres).

Created in the last Ice Age around 10,000 years ago, the fjord features steep cliffs on either side, rising to 1,400 feet at the highest point and plunging below the surface to a maximum of almost 900 feet. An incredible diversity of wildlife thrives in this amazing geography—beluga whales gather here in the summer, it is thought, for the unique combination of waters and sandy floor, and the cliffs are an ecological success story for the return of peregrine falcons. Today’s walk provides an opportunity to view both as you make your way to the Baie Sainte Marguerite and the Beluga Halt overlook—as its name implies, a place to spot the small white whales. You continue on to the St. Louis viewpoint, watching for raptors. On-going archaeological surveys have uncovered evidence of Iroquois seal-hunting settlements along the shore, millennia before the arrival of European explorers.

You return to your hotel to refresh after a full day. Before dinner on your own you have time to explore the charming center of Tadoussac, an easy stroll from the hotel, with its many small shops featuring regional handicrafts and food products, as well as bustling restaurants and cafés.

Hotel Tadoussac

Tadoussac, Québec

A grand hotel in the 19th-century tradition, this historical complex overlooks the waters of sheltered Tadoussac Bay and offers extensive grounds, an outdoor swimming pool and spa. Simple but comfortable guest rooms compliment an inviting bar and patio area with views of Saguenay Fjord.

Day 3

Tadoussac

Zodiac whale watch. Dunes walk; 2-3 miles, easy to moderate

This morning you embark on an exciting whale watch by Zodiac boat, cruising into the Saint Lawrence River and underneath the soaring granite cliffs of the Fjord. With luck, you may spot minke or beluga whales, just two of ten different species that make their summer home in these rich, warm, salty waters. The compact Zodiac allows for up-close encounters with these large mammals, and your experience is enriched by commentary from an expert naturalist on board.

In the afternoon, your walk takes you through the nearby dunes, actually marine terraces, remnants of the last Ice Age. At a lookout over the Saint Lawrence, you take in the expansive views, scanning for eagles and peregrine falcons, before descending to the sandy beach. From the crescent beach, you may spot one of the river’s beluga whales. Climbing back up and over the dunes, you loop back to your hotel.

You return to the hotel with time to relax at the pool or gardens before enjoying another sumptuous meal at a nearby restaurant in Tadoussac.

Hotel Tadoussac

Tadoussac, Québec

A grand hotel in the 19th-century tradition, this historical complex overlooks the waters of sheltered Tadoussac Bay and offers extensive grounds, an outdoor swimming pool and spa. Simple but comfortable guest rooms compliment an inviting bar and patio area with views of Saguenay Fjord.

Day 4

Québec City

Transfer to Québec City via Baie-Saint-Paul. Cap Tourmente; 2-4 miles, easy to moderate

This morning, you depart Tadoussac and return south along the Saint Lawrence River, driving approximately two hours to the historical village of Baie-Saint-Paul. Settled in 1678, Baie-Saint-Paul has long been an artist’s colony—a colorful mosaic of art, nature, and culture—with the quaint wooden houses and buildings framed by a backdrop of the majestic Saint Lawrence. You have the opportunity to explore some of the excellent galleries and art centers, and shop for and sample the locally made products. 

After a hearty lunch, you head to Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area, located on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River. Made up of plains, forests and marshlands, the wetlands are a site for migrating birds such as the greater snow goose. You may be lucky to observe a wide range of bird species along the forest trails and boardwalk that follows the river. A short climb rewards you with a magnificent view over the Saint Lawrence River and Orleans Island.

Continuing south to Québec City, you arrive at your hotel, the Auberge Saint-Antoine, located in the heart of the lower “old” town and rated as one of Canada’s best hotels. Built on the foundation of an old warehouse, the hotel today displays more than 700 priceless historical finds that were uncovered during construction. On the way to dinner, you stroll through the cobblestone streets perusing the many outdoor cafés, intriguing parks and squares, and numerous quaint shops.

Auberge Saint-Antoine

Québec City

This award-winning Relais & Chateaux property on the banks of the mighty Saint Lawrence River evokes comfort, ambiance, and warmth. Located in the lower town of Québec City, the Auberge is perfectly situated only steps from the museums, galleries, and cafés of the Old Port.

Day 5

Québec City

Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier; 3-6 miles, moderate, 1,500-ft. elevation gain, or easy option of 2-3 miles

Just over an hour from Québec City is one of the province of Québec’s largest provincial parks, the Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier. The landscape is characterized by remarkable contrasts—this mountainous upland plateau is cut by steep-sided glacial valleys. A river winds through the most spectacular of them, the Vallée de la Jacques-Cartier, a trench more than 1,800 feet deep. In forests of yellow birch, sugar maple, and black spruce, you are immersed in the classic woodland of North America—habitat for myriad bird and animal species, from the small northern chickadee to large mammals such as black bear, moose, and even re-introduced caribou in the more remote regions. There are a variety of trails to choose from, all of which have lovely views of the valley. You enjoy a trailside lunch at a scenic point.

This afternoon, you return to your hotel to freshen up for another evening in Québec City. You have some time to wander before dinner at another outstanding restaurant, where warm hospitality and exquisite French cuisine provide a fond farewell meal.

Auberge Saint-Antoine

Québec City

This award-winning Relais & Chateaux property on the banks of the mighty Saint Lawrence River evokes comfort, ambiance, and warmth. Located in the lower town of Québec City, the Auberge is perfectly situated only steps from the museums, galleries, and cafés of the Old Port.

Day 6

Québec City

Quebec City walking tour, 2-3 miles, easy city walking. Departure from Quebec City

After a delicious breakfast, you embark on a guided exploration of Québec City where you learn about its history, from the first European settlements in the early 17th century to the present and, in particular, the struggle for control of the continent between the French and English in the 18th century. As a result of that conflict, Québec City is the only fortified city north of Mexico. Its charming cobbled “Lower Town” and the Place Royale date to the earliest days of the French colony. Architectural landmarks of stone and wood, winding streets, and outdoor cafés are all a part of the tapestry of this French-speaking city. You also explore the Plains of Abraham, site of the Battle of Québec in 1759, which forever changed the fate of North America. It’s now an expansive grassy urban park full of walking trails, historic sites, and museums.

After a final lunch you bid farewell to your newfound friends and begin your journey home or continue your exploration of this unique corner of North America.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a Country Walkers adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call Country Walkers at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

Guides

Vincent Filion

A native of Québec, Vincent Filion has been spent the last several years guiding tours in the Rocky Mountains, Québec, and Ontario. A certified ski patroller, he travels the world in search of the next mountain adventure! When not traveling, he shares his love for the outdoors with young adults through hiking, camping, skiing, and climbing trips. Vince’s good nature and upbeat attitude is contagious and his passion for sharing his knowledge will surely be a highlight of your trip.

Mia Dion Francoeur

A passionate outdoor enthusiast, Mia Dion Francoeur has been guiding adventure tours—walking, canoeing and kayaking, cycling, and winter trips—for over six years. Completing studies in tourism management, she enjoys sharing her vast outdoor experience and her knowledge of the natural and human history of her native Quebec. A world traveler, she has pursued her favorite outdoor activities throughout Europe, the Americas, Asia, and New Zealand.

Christopher Atkins

With a deep knowledge of local history and significant outdoors experience, Chris is the ideal guide to lead you through Quebec’s distinctive landscapes. A Montreal native, he works as a high school history teacher during the cooler months and has been known to coach at a local hockey school too. Fluent in two languages (he grew up speaking French), he is also a proficient Spanish speaker. In his free time, Chris enjoys a number of active sports, ranging from basketball to paragliding and including, of course, hockey! He has traveled extensively around the world, from the Arctic Circle to the Andes, and is a certified open-water diver as well.​

Renée-Claude Bastien

Renée-Claude Bastien has been guiding professionally for the past 12 years not only in her native Quebec, but also in such far off places as Alaska, Nepal, and Argentina. Renée is inspired by nature and is endlessly curious about the history and the culture of places she visits. Creating memorable experiences is a skill she has mastered over the years and she is always thrilled to share her local knowledge and infectious energy with our guests.

Guest Comments

M. Brady, California, September 2014

Fabulous opportunity to visit "Europe" without leaving North America!

J. Deitch, Pennsylvania, September 2014

Loved the variety of hikes, the combination of city and parks, the whale watch, meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends.

P. Carrell, California, August 2011

The whale watch boat trip may have been the highlight, although our exploration of Québec City and each day's hike into a different part of the Charlevoix were wonderful as well. Our two-night stay in Québec City was at, quite possibly, the most exquisite small hotel it has ever been my pleasure to inhabit.

D. Schuetz, North Carolina, September 2009

If you love the outdoors, great hotels, excellent food, you can't go wrong. Everyone has one common thread—the desire to be outside, off the beaten track during the day and comfortable in the evening.