- Discover Montréal's museums and markets
- Spend a day mushing a dogsled
- Enjoy ski time and a spa session in Mont-Tremblant
- Stay at an ice hotel in Québec City
- Visit La Mauricie National Park for snowsports
|Arrive in Montréal, Ride the Observation Wheel
|Explore Montréal, Space for Life & Little Italy Food Tour
|Drive to Mont-Tremblant
|Mont-Tremblant Skiing & Scandinavian Spa
|Drive to Québec City & Visit Montmorency Falls
|Visit the Ice Hotel & the MNBAQ
|Drive to Mauricie
|Winter Activities in Mauricie
|Drive to Montréal, Depart
Day 1: Arrive in Montréal, Ride the Observation Wheel
Welcome to Canada! Pick up your rental car from Montréal airport to begin your self-drive adventure. Settle into your hotel and then head out to explore, starting with a ride on La Grande Roue de Montréal (Montréal's Big Wheel), Canada's largest observation wheel at 200 feet (60 m) high. Set on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, the wheel offers views of Old Montréal and beyond; step into a climate-controlled pod to soar above the city and savor panoramic views.
Day 2: Explore Montréal, Space for Life & Little Italy Food Tour
Spend today exploring Montréal, Canada's second-largest city, which offers French-soaked history, a famous food scene, and cultural attractions. Stroll through the lively downtown, stopping for poutine (fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy), and head down to the St. Lawrence River, where you'll find market stalls, the Old Port, boat trips, and the observation wheel. Take a horse-drawn carriage among 18th and 19th-century residences in Old Montréal, passing the imposing Notre-Dame Basilica and museums that tell the city's fascinating story, including the Pointe-à-Callière Museum and the Center of History of Montréal. Hike up Mount Royal for lake-dotted parks and sweeping city views.
Continue to Space for Life, a Montréal museum district in and around the Olympic Park. You'll find four museums: the Biodome, Insectarium, Botanical Gardens, and Planetarium Rio Tinto Alcan. This interactive space allows you to journey through America's ecosystems in the Biodome, visit 185 acres (75 ha) of themed botanical gardens, delve into space exploration, and explore one of the largest insect museums in North America.
The day ends with a food tour of Jean-Talon Market in Little Italy. As one of the largest outdoor markets in North America, there's plenty to discover, from seasonal produce to fine meats and cheeses, fresh flowers, and gourmet cookbooks. After the market tour, you'll continue into the heart of Little Italy to learn about the area's vibrant community and taste some local specialties.
Day 3: Drive to Mont-Tremblant
Start the day with a picturesque drive north to Mont-Tremblant, a famous ski resort in the Laurentian Mountains. The village is one of Canada's top ski resorts, with 102 trails stretching over 50 miles (80 km). You can explore the surrounding national park, which has plenty of stellar hiking trails through forests to mountain viewpoints over glistening lakes.
Mont-Tremblant offers a thriving shopping, dining, and bar scene, as well as classy spas and hotels. Spend some time in Place St-Bernard to soak up the atmosphere. Other activities include golf, gondola rides, and the luge.
Day 4: Mont-Tremblant Skiing & Scandinavian Spa
Spend today skiing on the slopes of Mont Tremblant, whose summit soars 2,871 feet (875 m) over the Laurentians. With over 1,200 snowguns, the ski station is one of North America's most powerful snowmaking systems and provides guaranteed powder. Explore trails spread over four slopes for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, whizzing past pristine alpine scenery.
Finish by heading into the village for a well-earned après-ski time in various bars, restaurants, and high-end resorts. This evening, soothe your aching ski muscles with a session at the tranquil Scandinave Spa Mont-Tremblant. Wallow in steaming Scandinavian baths nestled in the Laurentian Forest along the shores of the Diable River and book a decadent massage.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Drive to Québec City, Visit Montmorency Falls
Today, make the four-hour journey to Québec City. Along the way, stop to visit the town of Trois-Rivières, which has an array of eateries, museums, and attractions like the Forges du Saint-Maurice National Historic Site, the first iron mine and refinery in North America.
Settle into your hotel and then wander the narrow alleys of Old Québec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only walled city north of Mexico. Absorb the 17th and 18th-century architecture, which features European-style church spires, hilltop citadels, and stone buildings that now house French-style bistros. Learn about European influences at Place Royale, where Québec City was officially founded.
Next, head just outside the old town to Montmorency Falls, which at 272 feet (83 m) is 100 feet (30 m) higher than Niagara and accessible from various viewpoints. Take the cable car to the clifftop or cross a dramatic suspension bridge with the roar of the water beneath you.
After admiring the falls, learn about their history at the interpretation center and then relax with a meal or drinks at the Manoir Restaurant and Terrace, which has photo-worthy views of the falls. While the falls are accessible all year-round, they're particularly spectacular in the winter, when the spray freezes and creates a giant sledding hill. The area becomes a magnet for ice climbers who tackle the challenging Pain de Sucre ("sugar loaf").
Day 6: Visit the Ice Hotel & the MNBAQ
Check into the Hôtel de Glace de Québec this morning, the only ice hotel in North America. This temporary work of art is open from January to March and is made entirely of ice and snow. Marvel at the Great Hall, the Chapel, the giant slide, and intricately-carved exhibitions. Live the ultimate Nordic-style adventure by booking one of the themed suites giving access to the outdoor spas and saunas, or sipping a cocktail served in a glass of ice.
Thaw out with a trip out to the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec (MNBAQ). This world-class art museum aims to promote and preserve Québec art, showcasing over 42,000 pieces dating from the 17th century to the present day. Browse permanent exhibitions focusing on art in the early French colonies to contemporary works. Don't miss the Brousseau Collection of Inuit Art, one of the museum's highlights.
Day 7: Go Dogsledding
Enjoy an exciting dogsledding excursion today. Meet the dogs and your guide, a musher, who'll explain how to drive and steer your sled on well-groomed forest trails. Then you'll set off, dashing through the snow surrounded by remote forest scenery. Although you'll be holding the reins, you'll always have a guide close at hand should you need help. Afterward, head back to the lodge to warm up with a drink and snack. If you're lucky, you'll be able to visit the dog kennels for some time with the dogs before heading to your hotel.
Day 8: Drive to Mauricie
This morning you'll make the scenic drive west to La Mauricie National Park, a protected area of the Laurentian Mountains north of the St. Lawrence River. The site has long been home to First Nations people involved in the fur trade and was once a vast logging area for the paper industry. In 1970, the government established the park to protect the landscape, naming it after the nearby river.
Today, La Mauricie National Park sprawls over 207 square miles (536 sq km) of dense forest valleys scattered with 150 lakes. The area is a haven for wildlife, including the black bear, moose, wolves, beavers, and 193 species of birds. You can explore 53 miles (85 km) of cross-country skiing trails that lead to scenic viewpoints; ice climbing is also popular in the park.
Day 9: Winter Activities in Mauricie
Experience a proper Québec winter today, taking advantage of all the snow-related activities in La Mauricie National Park. Spend some time at hubs like the Auberge du Lac-à-l'Eau-Claire, which has skating rinks and ski and snowboarding trails. You can also strap on your snowshoes to explore networks of remote trails through forests glittering with snow and ice. Anglers will love the chance to do ice fishing, or you can get your blood pumping on a snowmobile tour.
Day 10: Drive to Montréal, Depart
Today you'll leave Saint-Alexis-des-Monts and the Mauricie region for Montréal airport, stopping in Trois-Rivieres for a break. From there, it's another 90 minutes to the airport, where you'll drop off your rental car in time for your flight home. Safe travels!