Founded in the 17th-century, Québec City sits atop Cap Diamant, a UNESCO World Heritage site surrounded by fortified ramparts and the St. Lawrence River far below. Québec City is located roughly 160 miles northeast of Montréal, just above the Maine border. There are many easy—and affordable—ways to visit for those who are planning their next trip to Canada.
To fully experience Québec City, it's best to arrive by train for the fantastic views of the historic Old Town. From the Via Rail station in Lower Town, tourists are greeted with views of the Old City high up on a cliff. The old city is accessed by steep, twisty, narrow roadways or the apt-named "breakneck stairs" that have been around since the 1600s.
Visitors traveling by train from the US come into Montréal via Amtrak, then transfer to VIA Rail Canada trains going to Québec City.
The Via Rail trains run four times a day from Montréal and offer a pleasant three-hour trip east. For a truly memorable journey, spring for a first-class seat that includes a hot meal, wine, beer, spirits, and chocolate truffles. That's how to arrive in style.
If you decide to drive, there are two directions you can take when leaving Montréal: Autoroute 20 or the more scenic Autoroute 40. Both take approximately three hours. Québec City is also about 500 miles (eight hours) from New York City and less than 400 miles (six hours) from Boston.
Coming from New York or destinations south of the Big Apple, take Interstate 91 to the Canadian border. From Boston, the best route is to take I-93 and switch to I-91 in Vermont. After crossing the border, I-91 becomes Québec Autoroute 55, to Sherbrooke. From Sherbrooke take Autoroute 55 to Autoroute 20. Once you cross the Pont Pierre-Laporte bridge, turn right onto Wilfrid-Laurier boulevard, which leads to the Château Frontenac.
If you're visiting Canada and need to rent a car, you're in luck. Many big-name car rental companies—such as Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise—all operate in Canada, making it easy for you to pick up a car and go. In fact, some compact cars can be rented for as low as $25 a day.
Air Canada, which flies from the U.S. via Montréal or Toronto, is the most popular airline. However, WestJet, Alaska, and United are also good options. United has many different flight routes while WestJet provides affordable airfare for budget travelers. All flights arrive at Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB), which is only a 20-minute cab ride into downtown.
The bus is the least expensive option and relatively easy to use, as long as you don't mind making extra stops along the way. Greyhound runs from New York and Boston to Montréal. From there, you can transfer to one of the hourly buses connecting to Québec City via Orléans Express. Similar to a car ride, the bus takes around three hours to drive from Montréal to Québec City. The bus service also links Québec City to most points throughout the province and the rest of Canada.