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Everything You Need to Know to Plan a Trip to Gaspésie
  • Percé UNESCO Global Geopark
    Nadeau Julien, créateurs de contenu

Everything You Need to Know to Plan a Trip to Gaspésie

Are you planning a trip to Gaspésie, a region of spectacular landscapes and abundant wildlife, not to mention vibrant cultural activities, contagious joie de vivre and talented artisans? If so, get ready for a vacation that’s going to engage all your senses!

Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you plan a memorable trip.

How to get there

Route 132, which takes you around the majestic Gaspé Peninsula, is one of this region’s main draws. Also known as the Bas-Saint-Laurent – Gaspésie Tour, this road runs along the coast through many picturesque villages nestled between the sea and mountains. Gaspésie has also been recognized by National Geographic Traveler as one of Canada’s 50 Places of a Lifetime, while the Michelin Green Guide has given it three stars—high praise that’s well earned, as you’ll soon discover!

Nature’s playground

Whether on land, at sea or on rivers, a wide variety of activities are offered in Gaspésie so you can fully appreciate the region’s many natural attractions.

Located in the heart of the peninsula, Parc national de la Gaspésie boasts a network of trails that are as varied as they are spectacular. There’s definitely one that’ll suit you, whether you’re planning a one-hour hike or a weeklong trek and whether you’d like to reach mountaintops or would prefer to meander along magnificent lakes and rivers. The trail that crosses the entire park is part of the Québec segment of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT-QC), which runs from the Matapédia Valley all the way to Forillon at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula. Trekkers, take note: you can hike for 1 to 40 days on this trail. In fact, in 2015, the IAT-QC became the first hiking trail in North America to be recognized by the French Hiking Federation (FFRP) as a Grande Randonnée (long-distance hiking route).

Beautiful hikes also await you at the Station de montagne sur mer de Mont-Saint-Pierre, which offers trails in a natural amphitheatre, and at the Percé UNESCO Global Geopark, where you can also learn about the geological evolution of this area and admire an incredible view of Percé Rock from a suspended glass platform.

At the tip of the peninsula, Forillon National Park also offers fantastic trails and is the perfect setting for a number of maritime activities. Go sea kayaking with Cap Aventure to observe seals—they may even swim right up to you!—or enjoy a whale-watching cruise with Croisières Baie de Gaspé.

Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé is probably the region’s most famous natural attraction. You’re sure to be impressed by Percé Rock, which dominates the landscape, and by the world’s most accessible northern gannet colony on Bonaventure Island, not to mention the stunning scenery found in this unique park. Croisières Julien Cloutier and Les Bateliers de Percé both offer excursions to the island to observe the gannets as well as the whales living in this area.

Gaspésie is also home to many spectacular rivers that you can explore in various ways with the following compagnies:

If you’re a fishing enthusiast, you’ll undoubtedly want to go sea fishing with either Destination Haute-Mer in Matane or Pêche Sportive Baie-des-Chaleurs in Carleton-sur-Mer.

If it’s thrills you’re after, don’t miss the opportunity to climb the via ferrata at the Chute à Philomène waterfall. If you want to get even higher off the ground, you can go on a helicopter tour with Hélico Horizon Gaspésie to soak up incredible views of the Percé area from the sky!

Regional culture and heritage

The Gaspé Peninsula is dotted with numerous museums and interpretation sites. Take the time to visit them to learn more about this region’s cultural and natural heritage. Here are a few you’ll want to add to your itinerary!

If you’re interested in natural heritage, Exploramer, a science museum focusing on the marine environment in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, is the place to go to learn about marine wildlife and the close ties that human communities have with these animals. You can also visit the Bioparc de la Gaspésie, in Bonaventure, to learn all the secrets of about 40 wildlife species found in the forests of Gaspésie. Both sites are popular family-friendly attractions. Another site worth visiting is Parc national de Miguasha, in Nouvelle, a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s home to a unique fossil-rich cliff.

Here are some other interpretation sites you’ll want to visit in Gaspésie that focus on the region’s history and/or its industrial and maritime heritage:

Music is also very important in Gaspésie, which is the birthplace of several singer-songwriters and musicians whose reputations extend throughout the province and even internationally. It’s therefore not surprising that an event like the Petite-Vallée Song Festival is hosted annually by the Village en chanson de Petite-Vallée. For one week every summer, up-and-coming artists can train with professionals, while the public is given a golden opportunity to see these musicians perform live. Be sure to also not miss the Festival Musique du Bout du Monde, an impressive world-music festival in Gaspé featuring over 200 artists and lots of music (obviously!) but also dancing, theatre and street art performances. And if you’re anywhere near Carleton-sur-Mer in the fall, you can also dance to the sound of traditional music during the Festival La Virée Trad.

Local artisans: A feast for your eyes and taste buds

Many local painters have captured the colours of Gaspésie as well as the region’s vast and picturesque landscapes on their canvases. Browse the many art galleries in Percé or follow the Circuit des Arts de la Gaspésie, a tour of local artists’ and artisans’ studios and workshops, to appreciate all the talent found in this region and maybe even take home some unique and timeless souvenirs.

Your taste buds are also in for a treat during your stay in Gaspésie. Did you know that it’s possible to make wine and liqueurs from strawberries? The owners of Ferme Bourdages Tradition, a fruit and vegetable farm, produce several unique alcoholic beverages from their strawberries as well as many delicious homemade products. You can also visit Distillerie des Marigots, which makes a range of spirits flavoured with local botanicals. Be sure to also try the products from the Reford Gardens, which are made from plants and flowers harvested on site.

Many restaurants in Gaspésie feature local flavours that are sure to delight you. One example is La Maison du Pêcheur in Percé, which specializes in seafood and offers fresh lobster throughout the season.

Where to stay in Gaspésie

Whether you prefer to commune with nature or have access to a host of amenities, Gaspésie offers a multitude of lodging options, from private or park campgrounds to cozy inns and luxury B&Bs, not to mention a wide selection of hotels and motels. Consult our directory to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Further adventures

If you want to combine a stay in Gaspésie with a getaway in Côte-Nord, board the Matane–Baie-Comeau/Godbout ferry to cross the St. Lawrence. The trip takes just over two hours and will give you a unique perspective on these two maritime regions.

This is just a taste of what’s in store for you in Gaspésie: come and see for yourself all that this region has to offer! Visit our webpage for the region and start planning your trip today.

Author Jean-Pascal Côté

A certified translator and avid outdoorsman, Jean-Pascal Côté works as a freelance writer and translator in Bas-Saint-Laurent, the region where he was born. He regularly escapes his daily life by going road biking, cycle touring or cyclocross racing, skiing in the mountains of Bas-Saint-Laurent or Western Canada, or sea kayaking on the St. Lawrence River. He is constantly dreaming up new travel plans. He also blogs (on an admittedly irregular basis) about his cycle touring adventures.

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(3) comments

Denise Toth

I want you to know my husband and I just drove the Gaspé and enjoyed every bit of it. The sites were beyond beautiful. The pictures don't do them justice. The people were kind and very understanding to our lack of French speaking. Accommodations plentiful and very reasonable. We were able to enjoy the view of water at every stay. The food fresh and always enjoyable. Now we are two of those people who tell others "you have to make the trip". Thank you for a wonderful vacation Québec.

Le Québec maritimeLe Québec maritime

Thank you to Denise for sharing her impressions on the Gaspé coast. W're really glad you enjoyed your trip and that you're telling all your friends! ;) Tanya

Judy starnes

New carlisle has the hertiage museum. And renee levesque statue. Plus a museum is going up about his life. There are 2 trailer parks to rest at plus a beautiful beach And a resturant that has a great atmosphere call Restaurant Hertiage. And motel call The belleuve and another called maison blanche beautiful little town. Friday nights music on the beach is free till middle of august. And every saturday a farmers market also

Cornelia Fransen

We are planning a trip to Gaspe -is the last week of September to the first week of October a good time to visit, or will a number of attractions be closed at that time ?

Le Québec maritimeLe Québec maritime

Hi Cornelia, some of the attractions are closed at that time, but the national parks, some museums and other places will be open. You can take a look at the official tourist guide in our brochure section to note the schedule of the attractions you want to visit. Have a nice trip! The Gaspesie region is so beautiful in the falll! :) | Marie-Eve - Team Québec maritime