Québec truly feels like a country within a country, an island of francophone linguistic and cultural identity within the greater Canadian sea. Of course, this is Canada, with its interplay of vast wilderness and cosmopolitanism, but Québec's embrace of terroir, its language, its passion for everything from winter snow to wine to gastronomy, is something else, an 'else' that encompasses identities both distinctly North American and European.

Montréal and Québec City are bustling metropolises with a perfect mixture of sophistication and playfulness, and history-soaked preserved quarters tucked away around town. The rustic allurements of old Québec are scattered among the Eastern Townships, and produce from bucolic Charlevoix graces the tables of the region's stellar restaurants. Past these creature comforts is the raw outdoors: the jagged coasts of the unblemished Gaspé Peninsula, the vast taiga and tundra of the North Shore, and the windswept isolation of the Îles de la Madeleine.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Québec.