The ultimate Gaspésie road trip
Every year, thousands of travellers take to the scenic roads of the Gaspé Peninsula, and for good reason! A tour of Gaspésie is one of the most beautiful road trips you can take in La Belle Province.
If you're looking for an unforgettable Canadian tour, fasten your seat belts and off we go!
Road trip map
Road trip summary
Day 1: Montreal
Your ultimate Gaspésie road trip begins with your arrival in Montreal, the second-largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris.
In the city, there's no need for a car: everything is accessible on foot or by public transit. Feel free to go out for a walk once you've checked in to your hotel.
Montreal has earned the nickname "City of Festivals". If you're visiting in summer, be sure to check out the Quartier des Spectacles.
Whether it's the Francofolies, the Jazz Festival or Just for Laughs, there's action in the streets of downtown Montreal.
Saint-Denis street, to the east of downtown in the Quartier Latin district, is a great place to go for a bite to eat or a cocktail on one of its many enjoyable terraces.
If you prefer something quieter, a visit to Mount Royal Park, the "lungs of the city", is an excellent option. You can hike up the mountain on foot or take a bus.
Once you get to the top, go to the Chalet lookout for one of the best views of the city.
Day 2: Bas-Saint-Laurent
It's time to hit the roads of La Belle Province!
Your first destination is Bas-Saint-Laurent, a region known for its picturesque villages along the edge of the river.
Some of them are even on the list of the most beautiful villages in Québec: Cacouna, Notre-Dame-du-Portage, Saint-Pacôme and Kamouraska.
Admiring the sunset over the calm waters of the St. Lawrence River is one of the area's must-see attractions. The sunsets are said to be most impressive between Cacouna and Kamouraska.
Days 3-4: Bic Park
This morning, set a heading for Bic National Park, a charming, peaceful place with picturesque coastal landscapes.
Located in the St. Lawrence Estuary, the park is home to thousands of seabirds including the common eider, making it a paradise for bird watchers.
It is also a popular place for watching two species of seals during the summer and early fall.
The best spots for seal watching are the Pointe-aux-Épinettes and Anse aux Bouleaux observation areas, both in the Rivière-du-Sud-Ouest sector of the park.
But be sure to get back on the marked trails before high tide. ;)
If you prefer a guided experience, the park offers many wildlife and nature discovery activities led by park warden naturalists.
Don't hesitate to ask for more information at the Visitors Centre.
Day 5: Baie-des-Chaleurs
Today you take the scenic route through the Matapédia Valley to Baie-des-Chaleurs.
Baie-des-Chaleurs ("Chaleur Bay") is one of the few places in Gaspésie where the water temperature is comfortable for swimming. In fact, true to its name, it boasts the warmest waters in Gaspésie.
If you feel like a swim, head for the Carleton municipal beach, a kilometre-long stretch of sand and pebbles.
Or for something a little more energetic, don't miss your chance to paddle down the Bonaventure River with its clear turquoise waters, considered to be one of the most pristine rivers in the world.
On board your canoe, you will discover magnificent boreal scenery as you enjoy this typically Canadian activity.
Days 6-7: Percé
Your ultimate Gaspésie road trip continues to Percé, a former fishing village known around the world for the iconic Rocher Percé and the beauty of its coastal landscapes.
This charming village is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Québec. Spend an enjoyable afternoon exploring its Rue Principale and strolling along the waterfront.
Be sure to pay a visit to the all-new UNESCO Global Geopark, which offers visitors an array of activities to discover the geological heritage of the region.
Even if you're not afraid of heights, the suspended glass platform is sure to be a thrilling experience!
The next day, take a cruise to Bonaventure Island, one of the most popular activities in the region, and for good reason.
The island is home to more than 250,000 seabirds, including the largest colony of northern gannets in North America.
During your cruise, you will be able to get off on the island to pursue your exploration on foot along one of the island's hiking trails.
Note that on hot summer days, the smell of the birds can be quite surprising. ;)
Day 8: Forillon
Next you head to Forillon National Park, a peninsula jutting into the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
With its dramatic seascapes, cliffs and mountains, you will feel like you have reached the end of the world. In fact, don't miss the Les Graves hiking trail, which leads to the actual "end of the world", the very tip of the peninsula. ;)
At the end of the trail, enjoy being rocked by the sea air and the sound of the waves.
- Length: 15.2 kilometres (round-trip)
- Duration: 4 to 5 hours
- Elevation gain: 95 metres
- Level: Intermediate
- Departs from: Grande-Grave
If you are not a fan of hiking, the Cap-Bon-Ami lookout, easily accessible by car, offers spectacular views.
Bring along a picnic and walk down to the pebble beach just below the lookout. There you will have front-row seats to admire the sea and the majestic cliffs where many seabirds come to nest.
And finally, don't miss one of the region's most popular activities: sea kayaking at sunset, to paddle with the seals.
Accompanied by a biologist guide, you will be able to watch the seals without disturbing them, in their natural habitat.
Days 9-10: Gaspésie Park
This morning, one of the most beautiful scenic routes in Québec awaits.
Route 132 offers magnificent vistas. Take the time to stop and admire the view whenever you have the urge.
Your destination is Gaspésie National Park, right in the heart of the Gaspé Peninsula.
With its sea of mountains, this park is a true hikers paradise.
If you'd like to experience a real change of scenery, and you're up for a challenge, why not tackle the Mont-Jacques-Cartier trail.
The bare tundra at the summit is very similar to the Far North, and you have a good chance of seeing caribou who come here to feed.
- Length: 8.3 kilometres (round-trip)
- Duration: 4 to 5 hours
- Elevation gain: 465 metres
- Level: Difficult
- Departs from: Mont-Jacques-Cartier campground
For families, or if you have less time, the Lac-aux-Américains trail is a short hike that leads to an incredibly beautiful lake.
- Length: 2.6 kilometres (round-trip)
- Duration: 1:30
- Elevation gain: 80 metres
- Level: Easy
- Departs from: Lac-aux-Américains parking area
The park has more than 25 peaks that rise above 1000 metres, giving rise to stunning picture postcard scenery.
Be on the lookout as you travel through the park, either on foot or by car, because many of our quests have spotted moose there.
Day 11: Tadoussac
This morning you take a ferry across to the north shore of the river.
Once back on solid ground, your route continues to Tadoussac, the oldest village in Canada.
Tadoussac Bay is listed as one of the 50 most beautiful bays in the world.
It is also a favourite spot for watching whales and other cetaceans. From mid-May to mid-October, kayaking and zodiac or boat cruises are the most popular activities in the region, attracting tourists from around the world.
Don't even think of leaving Tadoussac without taking a whale-watching tour with a naturalist guide: it's a must-do activity!
Day 12: Charlevoix
This morning, set out for Charlevoix along Route 138, a magnificent scenic route along the banks of the St. Lawrence River.
Along the way, to catch the most spectacular views between the villages of La Malbaie and Baie-Saint-Paul, we strongly suggest taking a short detour along Route 362.
You won't be spending much time in the charming Charlevoix region, but if you get a very early start, you should have enough time to tackle one of the most beautiful and most difficult hikes in Québec, the Acropole-des-Draveurs trail.
- Length: 10.4 kilometres (to 1st summit) | 11.2 kilometres (to 3rd summit)
- Duration: 4 to 6 hours
- Elevation gain: 800 metres
- Level: Difficult
- Departs from: Félix-Antoine-Savard Discovery and Services Centre.
If not, don't worry, there's no lack of activities to do in Charlevoix, which has been designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
Discover the art galleries of Baie-Saint-Paul, explore Isle-aux-Coudres by bike, or take a black bear watching tour with the "bear whisperer" for an exceptional opportunity to get close to this elusive inhabitant of the forest.
Days 13-14: Québec City
Today you head for the "Old Capital", the very charming Québec City.
The Historic District of Old Québec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the only remaining fortified city in North America.
When you arrive, take some time to stroll through the picturesque streets of the Petit Champlain district. The architectural details, small shops, art galleries and many restaurants will quickly charm you.
Obviously, a visit to Château Frontenac is a must. In addition to being the emblem of the city, it is also the most photographed hotel in the world.
The next day, at just minutes from Québec and joined to the mainland by a bridge, Île d'Orléans awaits, offering bucolic landscapes along the St. Lawrence.
With its traditional Quebec countryside, it is the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs. For lovers of culinary discoveries, be sure to take a tour of the island and sample the local delicacies.
If you visit in the fall, you will notice that the island is extremely busy. That's normal: it's a popular place to go apple picking!
Along the way, pay a visit to Montmorency Falls Park, right across from the island. The 83-metre-high waterfall (30 metres higher than Niagara Falls!) is sure to impress!
You can stop for a snack at Manoir Montmorency at the top of the falls.
Day 15: Montreal
It's time to head back to Montreal, make your way to the airport and board your flight home.
Your Québec vacation is over, but you're leaving with beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.
If you have any questions and/or suggestions, don't hesitate to add them in the comments section below.