The Québec maritime Blog

En Route to the Îles de la Madeleine
  • Petite Baie, Îles de la Madeleine
    Kam Vachon/Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine

En Route to the Îles de la Madeleine

Breathtaking landscapes, exquisite sea flavours, an endearing island culture… In the Îles de la Madeleine, you can expect beautiful scenery, a rich culinary tradition and warm island hospitality. A vacation in this fascinating archipelago is an opportunity to enjoy intoxicating moments as you discover the Islands’ many attractions.

When to go

To avoid the summer bustle, why not visit the archipelago early in the season? The months of May and June are a perfect time to enjoy the charms of the Islands without having to contend with the high volume of tourists who visit at the height of summer. Another interesting option is to be patient and plan a memorable trip in the fall. The magical light in September and October will delight you, as will the opportunity to soak up the archipelago’s unique atmosphere in complete tranquility.

Regardless of when you visit, be sure to book your travel and accommodations as soon as possible. Given the popularity of this island destination, you’ll need to make sure you can reserve both for the same time period.

What to see and do

The Îles de la Madeleine offer a wide range of outdoor and cultural activities to fill your days. Here are some examples...

For outdoor enthusiasts

  • Hiking: Explore the Islands on the Sentiers Entre Vents et Marées, a network of hiking trails that offer striking views of the coastline and the archipelago’s typical red sandstone cliffs.
  • Beach fun: The Îles de la Madeleine are known for their long sandy beaches bordering crystal-clear waters—perfect spots to relax or go for a stroll.
  • Cycling: The archipelago is a great place to go cycling, either along the main road (Route 199) or on the many bike paths throughout the region.
  • Sea kayaking and other sea activities: The ever-present water surrounding the Islands offers ideal conditions for sea kayaking and other sea activities, including caving. Inquire about the activities offered by Auberge La Salicorne and Cindyhook Sports Aventures.
  • Wildlife observation: Since the archipelago provides shelter for many species of migratory birds as well as colonies of seals, this region is an exceptional place to observe these wildlife species in their natural habitats.

For culture and history buffs

  • Museums and interpretation sites: If you’re interested in learning more about local history or culture, you’ll want to visit the many museums and interpretation sites that dot the archipelago. For example, the Little Red School House presents a slice of history in an authentic one-room schoolhouse; the Veteran’s Museum preserves the memory and history of local veterans; and the Entry Island Museum offers a unique glimpse into the Islanders’ way of life of yesteryear. You can also visit the Îles-de-la-Madeleine Thermal Generating Station to learn more about how electric power is produced in this region.
  • Artisans’ studios, workshops and boutiques: Discover (and purchase!) original works of art and items made by hand by local artisans throughout the archipelago by visiting places such as Atelier Côtier, where you’ll find unique objects inspired by the surrounding landscapes, Maison Papier, which presents beautiful art prints, or La Maison du Potier, which is also a pottery economuseum.
  • La Grave heritage site: Located in Havre-Aubert on the site where the archipelago’s fishing industry first began, La Grave offers a multitude of exhibitions, historic buildings and cultural events to discover and enjoy.
  • Lighthouses: Six lighthouses dot the archipelago, three of which are easily accessible to the public: Anse-à-la-Cabane, Borgot and Cap Alright. The other three (on Brion Island, Entry Island and Rocher aux Oiseaux) are less accessible due to their locations.
  • Local culinary products: From cheese factories and bakeries to an orchard, a smokehouse and a honey farm, the Îles de la Madeleine are renowned for their food artisans who produce exceptional local culinary products. Discover them by visiting Gourmande de Nature, a gourmet store, and the Hook Café. To find out all about smoking fish, be sure to also visit the economuseum at the Le Fumoir d’Antan smokehouse.

Where to stay

Hotels, vacation homes, B&Bs, cottages, campgrounds… The Îles de la Madeleine offer many lodging options, depending on the length of your stay and your specific needs. Among the most popular is Auberge La Salicorne, which offers unique vacation packages. You can also stay at Château Madelinot, Domaine du Vieux Couvent, La réCréation, Motel L’Archipel and Petit hôtel de la Montagne, all of which provide a perfect home base by the water. If you’re looking for more privacy, Les Rochers architectural home, Blanche de l’Ouest vacation rental, Navigateur Millerand and Domaine des Vacanciers offer fully equipped accommodations where you can enjoy memorable moments.

Where to eat

Famous for their culinary expertise, the Islands offer a multitude of places to eat. From snack bars to gourmet restaurants, local products are featured on most menus. Fresh fish and seafood are abundant, including shellfish (scallops, oysters, mussels, etc.) and the famous Island lobster, which is one of the archipelago’s specialties. Delicious artisanal cheeses, including Pied-de-Vent, are also on the menu, not to mention craft beers, locally produced honey and other delicacies.

How to get there and get around

There are two ways to get to the Îles de la Madeleine. Your first option is to go on a road trip to Prince Edward Island and then board the CTMA ferry, which will take you to the Islands in five hours. A quicker option, of course, is to hop on a plane and fly to the archipelago. For example, PAL Airlines connects several towns and cities in Eastern Canada to the Islands. You can then rent a vehicle on site, but make sure you book it as soon as possible. Once you’re on the Islands, you can also explore the region on a guided bus tour with Autobus Les Sillons.

It’s never too early to plan your next vacation to the Îles de la Madeleine! Salty sea air, long beaches, friendly hospitality and breathtaking views of the sea await you there!

Author Nathalie Katinakis

A foodie traveller based in the Montréal region, Nathalie Katinakis regularly writes about her adventures in North America and Europe on her blog, Une Porte Sur Deux Continents. A fan of slow travel, she loves discovering new spots to recommend to others and revisiting old favourites on both sides of the Atlantic. The maritime regions of Québec are high on her list: she never tires of visiting them to admire their beauty!

Blog: (in French only)

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