logoCouleurBilCapitale-Nationale is one of Quebec’s 17 administrative regions. Mostly known through Quebec City, the cradle of French America, Capitale-Nationale nonetheless is a very rich region where nature offers spectacular panoramas in each of its subdivisions: Charlevoix, Charlevoix-Est, la Côte-de-Beaupré, la Jacques-Cartier, l’Île d’Orléans and Portneuf. Here is a list of five places not to miss, whether it is for outdoor sports or relaxation activities.

 1. Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier

Located about half an hour from Quebec City per se, the Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier is undoubtedly one of the most easily accessible nature spots in the region for the tourists who wish to remain in the city most of their stay while getting the chance to do some hiking or kayaking just for a day or two.

The park’s beautiful glacial valley, which is dominated by a coniferous forest and showcases the magnificent Jacques-Cartier River (named after the French explorer who claimed what nowadays is Canada in 1534), offers various sports and camping alternatives that will please the most adventurous travellers as well as families who simply wish to explore a totally new natural environment around Quebec City.

2. Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie

If you are visiting Quebec City for more than a few days, you absolutely cannot skip the Charlevoix region! Located just over one hour away from the city, the Charlevoix region is a very mountainous region that is home to what many do not hesitate to describe as the province of Quebec’s most enchanting wonders. In effect, not only does Charlevoix contain countless picturesque villages, but it is also renowned for the beauty of its mountains, its numerous fantastic outlooks on the St. Lawrence River, its gastronomy and its two national parks.

Although the Parc national des Grands-Jardins – which was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO – is closer to Quebec City and is more than worth a detour for its unique Arctic vegetation, the Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie is a real haven of peace that nobody should miss. Home to the some of the highest rock faces east of the Canadian Rockies, the fabulous Malbaie River and more than 30 kilometres of hiking paths, this park definitely is a must for any family, couple or single backpacker who wishes to explore a wonderful piece of paradise on earth. It ought to be noted that the Charlevoix region is very popular in the summer and offers various opportunities for spa and relaxation.

3. Île d’Orléans

 Located about 15 minutes by car from the Old Quebec area, the Île d’Orléans is an island that abounds with local producers who make among the province of Quebec’s best pâtés, ciders, wines and blackcurrant alcohols. Driving around the island makes visitors discover plenty of interesting products from the heartleand, little villages, and great views as well as worthy relaxation institutions, although great spa packages in close by Quebec City are not hard to find.

Located just east of Quebec City, the enchanting Île d’Orléans offers great outlooks on the Old Quebec and Old Port areas as well as on the 84-metre high Montmorency Falls (which is thereby more than 30 metres higher than Canada’s world-renowned Niagara Falls). The Montmorency Falls are easily accessible from the Île d’Orléans and their beauty can be enjoyed from different points of view, thanks to an endless staircase as well as a suspension bridge.

4. Vallée du Bras-du-Nord

Less than 45 minutes west of Quebec City is the Portneuf subdivision and its picturesque, captivating Vallée du Bras-du-Nord. Mountains, cliffs, forest, the majestic 150-meter high Delaney Fall and even more make the Vallée an inevitable stop for any nature lover. Its 2-hour long hike, its 17 kilometre-long kayaking section and its mountain bike paths will enchant anyone who wishes to spend a day away from the city.

5. Canyon St. Anne

Located in the Capitale-Nationale subdivision of Côte-de-Beaupré (about 30 minutes from Quebec City), the Canyon St. Anne is either a perfect spot to spend just an afternoon outdoors away from the city or a perfect stop on one’s way to the Charlevoix Region. The 74-metre high Sainte-Anne Falls, the charming cliffs and the three suspension bridges of the Canyon St. Anne make it all a great, quick intermission for visitors who wish to breathe some fresh air in the wild and go back to Quebec City within a very short drive.

Welcome this Guest Author on Quebec, Canada where I myself will be heading soon to check out the spas for more information just for you here at www. SpaTravel Gal.com !

Alexandre Duval is a freelance blogger for SkySpa who writes about travel destinations in Quebec, Canada and elsewhere in the world. He has lived in three countries and traveled in more than fifteen. He is currently completing a master’s degree in political science.

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