The Québec maritime Blog
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 exploring caves. Inquire about the activities offered by Auberge La Salicorne and Parc Gros-Cap.
- 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: If you’re interested in learning more about local history or culture, you’ll want to visit the many museums that dot the archipelago. For example, the Little Red School House presents a slice of history in an authentic school house; the Veterans 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.
- Artisans’ shops and studios: Discover (and purchase!) original works of art and items made by local artisans throughout the archipelago, such as at Atelier Côtier, where you’ll find unique objects inspired by the surrounding landscapes.
- La Grave heritage site: Exhibitions, historic buildings and cultural events abound in this heritage site in Havre-Aubert, which was where the archipelago’s fishing industry first began.
- 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 orchards and cheese factories to bakeries, smokehouses and honey farms, the Îles de la Madeleine are renowned for their food artisans who produce exceptional local culinary products. Discover them by visiting the À l’Abri de la Tempête microbrewery and Gourmande de Nature (a gourmet store), among other places.
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 are Auberge La Salicorne, which offers unique vacation packages, and Château Madelinot, which provides a perfect home base by the water. Another possibility is Domaine du Vieux Couvent, a former convent that offers rooms with historical cachet and stunning views of the sea. For unbeatable value for money, Motel L’Archipel, directly on the Petite Échouerie Beach, is an excellent choice. And if you’d rather camp or are looking for more unusual options, you’ll be delighted by the idyllic setting of Parc de Gros-Cap.
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 star dishes. 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!