Just when Gaspé's charms seemed to lurk deep in its national parks rather than in its towns, along comes Percé and its famous Rocher Percé (Pierced Rock). The 88m-high, 475m-long chunk of multihued limestone has inspired descriptive entries in travel journals dating back to Samuel de Champlain's captain's log of 1603.
One of Canada's best-known landmarks, the rock rears out of the sea near North America's largest migratory bird refuge, Île Bonaventure. Both sit in a patch of gulf that, from 1784, attracted schools of European cod fishers. Having stained a lobster bib, you can work off the fishy pounds with a hike in the hills, part of the Appalachians, that shelter the peninsula's most appealing town.