The Québec maritime Blog

5 Surprising Facts about the Îles de la Madeleine
  • La Grave heritage site
    Mathieu Dupuis

5 Surprising Facts about the Îles de la Madeleine

Home to landscapes of red cliffs, green hills and golden beaches, the Îles de la Madeleine archipelago fascinates, intrigues and attracts, summer after summer, numerous vacationers seeking a change of pace and scenery. But did you know that the region also has lots to offer outside the peak tourist season? A visit to the archipelago in June, September or October will allow you to enjoy a different but just as authentic island experience. Here are five facts about the Îles de la Madeleine that may surprise you.

1. Maritime heritage is all around you

When you first set foot on the archipelago, you’ll immediately recognize how rich in history this region is. The sight of the Islands’ lighthouses will inspire you to imagine a past filled with tales of sailors and shipwrecks. The La Grave heritage site is also a reminder of the important role played by fishing in the development of this region, since this site was a fishing hub for nearly 200 years. As you stroll through the area, you can admire wooden buildings dating from the 19th and 20th centuries that are now occupied by artisans’ studios, boutiques, cafés and restaurants. Be sure to also stop and talk to the chatty locals, who will be happy to share their history with you!

2. The Islands are bordered by over 300 km (190 mi.) of beaches

An integral part of the landscape of the archipelago, beaches are ideal places for a quiet stroll or an active hike. Some of them extend over several kilometres, allowing you to walk for hours in stunning landscapes where the golden sand gradually blends into the blue waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. If you’d rather just relax, you can also sit comfortably in the sand at the end of the day and admire the sun setting over the sea…

3. Lobster season is cause for celebration every spring

Will you be visiting the Îles de la Madeleine in the spring? If so, not only will you have the opportunity to savour the freshest of seafood, you can also participate in the celebrations marking the launch of the lobster season. The activities around this time attract many Islanders and visitors every year, as the fishing boats first head out to sea to catch this delicious crustacean. Seafood enthusiasts will also want to try clams, cockles, crab, scallops, razor clams and more!

4. Talent and creativity abound throughout the archipelago

Creative expression is very important to the Islanders. Local artists are inspired by the landscape, their island identity and the vibrant atmosphere of this region. You’ll quickly realize how much talent is found on the archipelago as you set foot in local studios and workshops, visit food artisans or taste delicious dishes prepared by local chefs. Want to learn from the pros? Creative workshops are offered in several places on the Islands and will add an artistic touch to your stay. For example, you can create your own pottery piece at La Maison du Potier, which will make a perfect souvenir of your vacation on the Islands!

5. The Islands are a paradise for sports enthusiasts

The mild and sunny weather will certainly please nature and outdoor lovers! Cycling, fatbiking and hiking all give you the opportunity to explore the Islands at your own pace. The archipelago is also known for being a wind sports destination and is ideal for kitesurfing. Whether on a road or path, at sea or from the top of a hill, be sure to take the time to soak up the beauty and diversity of the surrounding scenery!

Did these five facts about the Islands surprise you? Have they inspired you to visit this region? Visit our Îles de la Madeleine page to start planning a great trip!

Author Anne-Josée Pineau

Born in Bas-Saint-Laurent, Anne-Josée Pineau loves this region and is delighted to introduce others to it. Never far from the sea, she’s fascinated by lighthouses and could live on seafood alone! On this blog, she likes to write about our regions’ unusual attractions, make your mouth water by describing local delicacies, and pique your interest by revealing some of the hidden beauty found in Québec by the Sea. In other words, she wants to provide you with lots of ideas for an unforgettable vacation!

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