Best Weekend Getaways Near Montreal

As the carefree days of summer come to an end, it may feel like all your free time quickly disappears with them. But the start of the school year shouldn’t discourage you from finding the time to enjoy yourself and travel: in fact, a weekend getaway may be the perfect cure to the fall semester blues. Just because the summer ends, doesn’t mean our fun times end too!

Quebec City, QC

Driving time: approximately 2 ½ hours.

Ask anyone who’s been to Quebec City and they will rant and rave about its many charms. Known as the “crown jewel” of French Canada, this town is one of the oldest settlements in North America.  Narrow cobblestone streets meander between picturesque seventeenth-century buildings, which are neighbored by plenty of art galleries, bistros and cozy cafes.  It’s the closest you’ll get to Old Europe without a plane ticket!

If you’re interested in exploring beyond the Old Town, Quebec City offers plenty more to see. La Citadelle is North America’s largest fort, and still serves as the base for Canada’s Royal 22nd Regiment. Booking a night at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac may be a little out of the typical student budget, but their breakfast buffet is not to be missed. A visit to the breathtaking Montmorency Falls will be worth your time as well - this immense waterfall is thirty meters higher than Niagara Falls!

Magog, QC

Driving time: approximately 1 ½ hours

Situated about 120 kilometers east of Montreal, the town of Magog is the perfect oasis for those that want to take a break from city living to enjoy a breath of fresh air. This region is known for its natural beauty, which can best be seen during a visit to Mont-Orford National Park. Nature-lovers will delight in the hiking trails, bicycle paths, campgrounds, and other attractions to be found amidst the maples, not to mention the beautiful vistas of Lake Memphremagog. The lake itself is the town’s main tourist attraction, and a walk along the sandy strips of beach that surround it is a staple of any visit.

There’s more to Magog than just a natural paradise: Main Street reveals plenty of art galleries, eateries, nightclubs, boutiques and more. Because of its fame as a tourist destination, you’ll also find quite a few lovely resorts that will cater to your every comfort. A perfect combination would be to follow up a relaxing day at the spa with a visit to a local vineyard like Chant des Vignes. 

Brome-Missisquoi, QC

Driving time: approximately 40 minutes

For any wine aficionados out there, a trip to the Brome-Missisquoi region is a must. As well as being the home of Quebec’s wine route, you’ll find some of the province’s prettiest villages in this region. Brome-Missisquoi is best known for its annual fair, La Fête Nationale du Québec, which takes place in June, but during the autumn and winter months, it is the perfect place for a bed-and-breakfast weekend paired with a tour of such wineries as Chapelle Ste-Agnès, a Romanesque stone chapel with eighteen terraces and several medieval wine cellars, or Domaine des Côtes d’Ardoise, where visitors can wander several peaceful nature trails, admire the sculpture-filled gardens, or enjoy a picnic on the vineyard’s grounds (with no entrance fee!)

Besides the orchards, vineyards and farms that are scattered throughout the valleys and hills of this region, Brome-Missisquoi is also a hotspot for many artisans and craftspeople, as well as a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts. No matter what time of year, you’ll always find a way to appreciate its allure.

Ottawa, QC

Driving time:  approximately 2 hours

At least one visit to Canada's capital should be on everyone’s to-do list. But once you’ve been, you’ll discover that there’s plenty to keep you coming back for more. This city boasts a wealth of historical institutions, cultural attractions, and a stunning modern visage in both its architecture and its atmosphere. Some of the country’s most famous museums, art galleries, government buildings and heritage sites are found here, such as the notable Parliament Hill. The Rideau Canal, where cruise boats, canoes and kayaks drift during the summer, becomes the world’s largest naturally-frozen skating rink once the winter chill sets in.

Packed with various options for shopping, nightlife, and exploration, Ottawa also hosts many seasonal events and festivals, such as the upcoming Ottawa International Film Festival starting on October 15.  For those who are just seeking a casual weekend in the city, spending your time with food and shopping at Byward Market or traversing the fifty kilometers of bike paths around the city may be just what you’re looking for.

More Information:

Quebec City Tourism

Memphremagog Tourism

Brome-Missisquoi Tourism

Ottawa Tourism

 

Works Cited:

www.quebecregion.com/en/

www.tourisme-memphremagog.com/en/

www.brome-missisquoi.ca

www.ottawatourism.ca/en/

 

Images obtained from:

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