Highlights of this self-drive itinerary in Quebec includes watching the charismatic beluga whale together with blue, minke, and fin whale, and the biodiversity and delights of Tadoussac and its surrounding area.
Enjoy coastal hikes, whale watching by zodiac or sea kayaking and a scenic cruise in the fjord. Discover this stunning region at your own pace and uncover its vibrant wildlife and wilderness.
Take a look at our blog page for a first-hand account of travelling in Quebec with a family.
Day1: Fly to Québec City
Fly from London to Quebec City via Montreal arriving in the early evening. On arrival at Jean Lesage International Airport, collect your rental vehicle then drive to your accommodation in the city.
The morning is free to explore. You may wish to take a walk around the historic old city; attractions include the Chateau Frontenac, the Vieux-Port, Petit Champlain quarter and the Saint-Laurent River. You can also explore La Citadelle.
After an early lunch, drive to Tadoussac in Baie-Sainte-Catherine, along the north bank of the Saint Lawrence river. On arrival in Tadoussac, settle into your accommodation and enjoy an opportunity to explore and get your bearings.
The area has always had a strong association with marine life: its original inhabitants – the Montaignais people – hunted seals here; settlers started whaling from as early as 1632 and the Saint Lawrence was visited by Basque whalers. The town is home to CIMM (the Centre of Marine Mammal Interpretation), an indoor interpretation centre for marine mammals – a visit is highly recommended.
Auberge La Galouïne, 5-nights on bed and breakfast basis (3-nights pre-Saguenay Fjord and 2-nights post Saguenay Fjord)
Days3-4: Explore Tadoussac area
This morning board a zodiac for a whale watching trip on the Fleuve Saint -Laurent at the southern end of the Saguenay Fjord. Accompanied by a certified naturalist guide, you can experience an intimate and unique encounter with the whales. In the afternoon, you have some time to explore Tadoussac: walk along the shore, explore the beach.
The following day you head out on an exciting included excursion – kayaking with whales. This is a half-day sea kayaking with a small group. Stable double kayaks are used and no previous experience is required.
The afternoon is free, but while you are in Bergeronnes, you can also visit Cap Bon Desir Interpretive Centre, where biologists organise talks and activities directly on the shore of the Saint Lawrence.
Day5: Tadoussac and Saguenay Fjord
This next morning is at your leisure and you can opt for more exciting marine activities such as another whale watching trip out into the Saint Lawrence by Zodiac inflatable. Or you may prefer to spend more time exploring the charismatic city of Tadoussac or hiking the beautiful coastline.
In the afternoon, you drive along the northern side of Saguenay Fjord. On the way you can stop to visit the Beluga Whale Interpretative Centre and/or go for a walk in Saguenay National Park for beautiful views over Saguenay Fjord. You go as far as Sainte Rose du Nord, where you spend two nights, allowing you plenty of time to explore the exquisite wilderness of Saguenay Fjord National park.
This afternoon you have time to go for a wander in the nearby boreal forest or on a canoeing trip on the river to listen to the sounds of Saguenay’s wilderness.
Today you embark on a full day scenic cruise departing from your base at Sainte Rose du Nord, stopping on the way at Saguenay Fjord National Park (Rivière-Éternité) before heading to the enchanting town of Anse-Saint-Jean where you go on shore to explore. Along the way you will come close to the most dramatic bays of the fjord and up to the statue of Notre Dame du Saguenay.
Day7: Saguenay Fjord and Tadoussac
This morning you head out on a half day sea kayaking excursion on Saguenay Fjord. After lunch you drive back to Tadoussac, and return to your hotel for a further two nights.
Today is at leisure and you can be as active or relaxed as you wish, from many hikes options or more water-based activities.
Day9: Drive to Québec City and depart
On your final morning there is still ample time to take in the CIMM (international Centre for Marine Mammals), with its fascinating interpretative displays and wealth of information about cetaceans and other marine mammals.
Then, after an early lunch you drive back to Québec passing through the lovely Charlevoix region and the towns of La Malbaie and Baie-St-Paul, with their many art galleries and antique shops, on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence. On arrival in Québec head directly to Jean Lesage International Airport to return your hire vehicle and check in for an overnight flight back to the UK, via Montréal.
Day10: Arrive UK
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 10 daysfrom £2,595 pp: Child: £1,645
Duration and price excluding international flights: 9 daysfrom £1,295 pp: Child: £745
Single supplement: From £395
When to go: Jun-Sep
This village on the Saint Lawrence, beside its confluence with the Saguenay River, was once a major fur trapping centre. It lies inside Canada’s first marine national park, where the rich environment attracts numerous whales – including belugas – and is home to CIMM (the Centre of Marine Mammal Interpretation).
Ideal for viewing: beluga whale, blue whale, fin whale, humpback whale, minke whale
Excellent for: Whale watching
Located in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, this national park runs along the eastern end of the Saguenay River where it adjoins the Saguenay – St. Lawrence Marine Park. The combination of fresh water from Lac-Saint-Jean and the St Lawrence River‘s salty waters makes it ideal for marine and wildlife.
Ideal for viewing: beluga whale, American beaver, peregrine falcon, moose, blue whale
Excellent for: Wildlife for families, Self-drive, River safaris, Whale watching
This monument to North American history perches high above Cap Diamant overlooking the Saint Lawrence River. Having prospered as a fur trading post in the early 1600s, it is now a dynamic port and a thriving research centre. The Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
Excellent for: City stopover, History & culture
Suggested accommodation options are shown below.
for further recommendations.
The Auberge Saint Pierre’s distinctive two-hundred-old exterior recalls a stately hotel, in contrast to the contemporary interior, whose warm interiors are enhanced by hardwood floors, stone walls and brickwork – making it one of Québec’s most sought-after boutique hotels.
Located in the heart of the Canadian wilderness, bordering the boreal forest and overlooking the Saguenay Fjord, this charming traditional wooden chalet offers comfort and tranquillity. Designed in original Acadian style with a spectacular view of the fjord, Cap au Leste offers the finest Quebecois hospitality.
Being the first hotel opening in Tadoussac and welcoming holiday makers almost two centuries ago (1864), Hotel Tadoussac hasn’t lost any of his authentic and atmospheric look while offering a high level of comfort. It is is now known as the most famous landmark in the bay and surroundings.