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Quebec City is officially one of my favorite cities in all of North America. I mean, it’s obvious why. Anyone who reads this blog already knows how much I adore trips to Europe and rewatch episodes of Rick Steves ad nauseam.
For years and years, I had heard Quebec City was the most “European” city in all of North America. I wasn’t sure if it was an exaggeration.
Yet, while Quebec City has its own special quirks setting it apart from France, I still really loved the European atmosphere that permeates throughout the whole city.
The red shutters on stone homes. The cobblestone streets. The gold-adorned churches. The fortress overlooking the city.
Everything about Quebec City was so special. It is probably one of the best destinations for first time solo travel in Canada. I loved it.
While solo travel in Montreal is a very urban and fun experience (god, I had so much fun seeing hockey there), Quebec City will make you feel as if you’ve been magically teleported to France. And the best part? Coming from the East Coast meant no jetlag! Haha.
So, if you’re planning a solo trip to Quebec City, I promise that you’re making a wonderful choice.
Solo Travel Quebec City: My Experience
Quebec City exceeded my expectations a million times over. At first, I thought Quebec City would feel like “Europe Disneyland,” but the city is so much more than that.
For example, I’m a huge fan of art and food whenever I travel to a new place alone. Seriously, I spend a lot of money on both those things, and always have zero regrets.
Quebec City delivered on both fronts. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a city that had so many beautiful art galleries on the same street. It felt like an open art festival where I could marvel at all the works of local artists in peace.
And the food. Oh god. The food. Quebec City takes cuisine seriously. Most menus promoted local produce and meat from farms on the nearby Il d’Orleans. It seemed like every restaurant had its own farm.
As a solo traveler, Quebec City was perfect. Even if you only have 2 days in Quebec City, don’t skip it.
Should You Travel Alone in Quebec City?
In my opinion, you absolutely should travel to Quebec City alone. I completely understand new and experienced solo travelers have different needs, but I think, regardless of where you are in your travel journey, that you will fall in love with this magical walled city.
Let’s talk about it.
Is it your first time traveling alone? Then Quebec City is an awesome choice for you! Quebec City is an absolute treasure that will sweep new solo travelers off their feet.
Furthermore, while blogs and other travel content make traveling alone look easy, it’s stressful too, especially for newbies. Luckily, nervous solo travelers will find Quebec City is an easy place to relax, too. If you live in the United States or Canada, then Quebec City isn’t a super far destination for you. Being “closer to home” will build your confidence as a solo traveler.
Not to mention, although learning a few phrases of French is smart and respectful, you won’t encounter the same language barriers as an English speaker as you would in some parts of Europe. In my experience, everyone was kind and willing to help with directions and suggestions.
Last but not least, Quebec City is very safe for a solo traveler. You won’t stand out as a target nearly as much as you would in more challenging destinations.
Experienced solo travelers will also fall in love with Quebec City. You might think “you’ve seen it all,” but trust me, you haven’t.
Let’s also be real here. Sometimes you just don’t feel like dealing with long and annoying travel days even if the reward is worth the hassle. For example, I am a person who frequently does long overseas trips and while inspiring, these itineraries require a lot of planning.
Plus, as a fearful flyer on long haul flights, I need to mentally prepare myself for the journey. Not fun.
Quebec City was such a relaxing and beautiful trip for me. While frequent solo travelers might not be as enthralled with the tourist crowds, they will still love exploring the shops, visiting locally-owned bistros, wandering museums, and so much more.
If you have a few trips under your belt, Quebec City might be exactly what you need to refresh and destress and revive your life for travel.
6 Reasons to Travel Alone to Quebec City
Need more convincing? Don’t worry. Below, I’ve written a couple of reasons why Quebec City is perfect for solo travelers.
Of course, this list isn’t meant to be 100% inclusive. I feel like Quebec City (and the surrounding province) is a destination that you can visit time and time again, and still not scratch beneath the surface.
Delicious Cafes and Bistros Everywhere
Despite my anxiety eating alone in public, food and drinks taste better when you travel alone, because you’re focusing on your tastebuds and not other people around you (is this just me?).
You won’t lack options here. Quebec City has plenty of small bistros and cafes that are welcoming toward a single traveler.
Not to mention, a lot of the restaurants also have expansive bar seating, so if you’re like me and feel more comfortable at a bar, then that is an option for you too! I personally like small talk with the bartender and chatting with other patrons, although nothing says “I’m confident” quite like a smartly dressed women with a book at the bar. So go for it!
Of course, it’s hard to break away from the mentality that meals are social occasions. So, if you’d like to eat in a group, then check out a food tour of Old Quebec City to savor delicious culinary treats and learn some history at the same time.
Fantastic Shopping Options
Quebec City has amazing shopping. Especially if you’re a fan of art galleries.
Shopping alone is a lovely experience. For example, you can spend as long or as little as you want trying on clothes, buying souvenirs for loved ones, admiring art in independent galleries, and more. I know whenever I shop with family or friends, I feel a low sense of pressure to rush and move onto the next store.
For an independent traveler, Quebec City is a shopper’s paradise. No doubt about it.
Lots of Friendly Travelers (and Locals too!)
Quebec City truly embraces tourism. I won’t lie to you.
I met a lot of happy-go-lucky tourists on my visit even on the plane! I met a French teacher in the row across from me, and her excitement about Quebec City was contagious. I promise, even if you’re alone, you’re very likely to strike up a conversation with someone.
Furthermore, I initially wasn’t sure how locals would receive me, because my French language skills… aren’t the greatest. None the less, everyone (I’m serious, everyone) was gracious, kind, and welcoming.
They all wanted to know if it was my first time in Quebec City and whether or not I was enjoying myself. I was even given local recommendations. While the Quebecois are a tad more reserved (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), they were happy to hear how much I loved their city as a visitor.
Quebec City’s friendly atmosphere makes it the perfect small city for solo travelers.
Most Unique City in North America
As a solo traveler, I personally like to feel as if I’ve been transported to another world. It’s the unique experiences that make the best souvenirs, especially on a solo trip.
Quebec City is very unique. It’s been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the only walled city in North America. An independent traveler will love climbing to the The Citadelle of Quebec and Plains of Abraham.
One of the best parts of solo travel is bringing home stories to share with your friends and family. Quebec City’s uniqueness will certainly provide them!
Strong Tourism Infrastructure
Quebec City welcomes tourists with open arms. Seriously, this charming city has some of the best tourism infrastructure that I’ve ever seen, which is awesome for someone who’s traveling alone.
For instance, Quebec City offers plenty of tours for visitors to explore outside the city with the burden of renting a car.
Want to go see the waterfalls? Not a problem! Lots of half day trips go to beautiful Montmorency Falls, which are even higher than Niagara Falls, where you can hike to sweeping views or even go ziplining.
Additionally, tours can also be arranged to the scenic Island of Orleans, which is well-known for its rich food scene.
Most guided tours leave right outside the tourist office. I loved the tourist office here! They were super helpful booking tickets, and showing me exactly where I need to go to meet my guide.
Very, Very, Very Safe
I felt very safe in Quebec City. Of course, I’m only speaking from my personal experience, but whenever I travel alone, I rely on my instinct to keep me safe. My “internal alarm bells” didn’t ring once.
I could walk freely in Quebec City and not feel hassled. I wasn’t catcalled. I wasn’t harassed for money. Quebec City was refreshing, because I was able to enjoy the beauty of the parks and buildings without feeling the urge to look over my shoulder.
I’m not saying you should throw all common sense in the trash. However, if you’re a solo traveler wanting a less challenging destination, then Quebec City is the perfect option for you.
Solo Travel Quebec City: Essential Travel Tips
Last, but not least, I wanted to include some essential travel tips for solo travel in Quebec City. If you’re unsure of what to pack or where to stay, then read over this section carefully, and feel free to reach out with any questions.
Safety Tips for Quebec City
Like I already said, Quebec City felt remarkably safe to me.
However, you still want to be prepared for any solo trip and that includes taking your personal safety seriously. Basically, if you wouldn’t wander an empty street drunk at three in the morning in your hometown, don’t do it in Quebec City either.
While Quebec City is safe to explore at night (seriously do, it’s gorgeous all lit up and fireworks take place in the summer months), stay on well-traversed streets and limit how much alcohol you drink. Two drinks is a reasonable limit.
Keep someone at home informed of your plans. Share your hotel and dinner reservations. Stay in touch too. It’s easy to get a phone plan for Quebec City especially if you’re visiting from the United States.
At the end of the day, you don’t need to feel paranoid about your safety in Quebec City, but at the same time, if something doesn’t feel right, then leave. And you are never obligated to be polite to strangers who won’t leave you alone.
How to Get Around Quebec City
Quebec City is very walkable. If you’re only visiting Quebec City, you don’t need to rent a car, which will make your life a lot easier as a solo traveler. Parking is a bit of a nightmare, so walking makes sightseeing less of a logistical nightmare.
As I’ve said above, you don’t even need a car to go outside of Quebec City if you’re willing to take a guided tour. Of course, if you plan to do a road trip around the province, then a car is required for your itinerary. But, while in Quebec City, don’t bother with a car. Your own two feet are fine.
Last but not least, if you’re flying into Jean Lesage International Airport, taxi is the fastest way for you to get into the heart of Old Quebec. I personally loved Jean Lesage International Airport. It’s a small and relaxed airport that puts a solo traveler at ease.
You can easily catch a taxi outside the airport. There is a flat fare, so you’ll know in advance what you owe for your trip. Taxis accept credit card.
What to Pack as a Solo Traveler in Quebec City
- Comfortable Shoes (or Snow Boots): You need good footwear for Quebec City. You will climb a lot of stairs and a lot of hills. Of course, your footwear highly depends on the time of year. Sneakers are great for summer. Meanwhile, invest in sturdy snow boots for winter.
- Crossbody Bag: I don’t like carrying purses all day when I’m traveling alone (or with people). Crossbody bags all the way! Quebec City has very little crime, but if you still want to protect yourself against potential pickpockets, then invest in a Pacsafe crossbody bag for your adventures.
- French Language Guide: The vast majority of residents in Quebec City speak both French and English. However, it’s very polite to speak a little bit of French on your visit. I recommend taking a French language guide to help you learn a couple important phrases. Believe me, it’s worth it.
- Mirrorless Camera: Smartphones take wonderful photography, but if you want to step up your game, invest in a compact mirrorless camera. My favorite travel camera is the Sony A6400 Mirrorless Camera because it is reasonable to carry and still takes gorgeous shots. Worth every penny.
- Quebec Guidebook: Canada is a huge country. If you’re only visiting Quebec City (and perhaps Montreal), I recommend taking a guidebook that specializes in the city, such as this small Lonely Planet city guidebook. Lonely Planet is my favorite guidebook publication, and I always check out their suggestions before any solo trip.
- Travel Insurance: Quebec City is very safe, but you never know if you’ll get sick or have to cancel. Travel Insurance is essential to protect your finances. And, yes, Canada has Universal Healthcare, but that’s only for residents. Plan accordingly.
- Winter Gear (Season Dependent): Pack extra diligently if you’re visiting Quebec City in winter. The city does a great job clearing snow and whatnot, but you still need to do everything in your power to stay warm and cozy. Pack long underwear. Bring gloves, a hat, and a scarf. Buy a strong winter coat that is equipped to handle snow and wind. Winters in Quebec are cold.
Where to Stay in Quebec City
Okay, first a disclaimer. As much as I loved the iconic Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, I don’t know if I would recommend actually staying there for a solo trip.
This famous hotel is said to be the most photographed hotel in the entire world, and as a result, it is immensely popular with … well, everyone. Inside, Le Chateau Frontenac is busy and a little overwhelming. I personally prefer small boutique hotels on my trip.
I absolutely recommend at least seeing Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, though. Go to Afternoon Tea on a Saturday. Or, if you’re a history buff, take a guided tour of the hotel to learn all about the famous people who once stayed there.
- Auberge International de Quebec: Are you looking for a hostel? Part of the HI Hostel organization, Auberge International is affordable, clean, and safe, and the communal areas will help you meet other travelers if you’re looking to socialize. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Hotel Manoir D’Auteuil: As a “step up” from a hostel, this charming 3 star hotel is decorated in a fun French art deco style. Centrally located, but on a quiet street near a park. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Hotel le Priori: This is the perfect hotel for pampering yourself. I loved the location, which is right across the street from all the art galleries. The breakfast was absolutely outstanding. Worth every cent. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
I hope you loved reading about solo travel in Quebec City. It is one of my favorite cities in Canada, and I highly recommend a visit there. For those of you who have already gone, what were your favorite things to do alone in Quebec City? Feel free to share with me!