Getting Around Quebec City
The best way to get around Québec City is on foot. Once you pass through the walls of Old Québec, nearly everything you wish to see or do is within walking distance. But if your feet grow weary or the weather is just too chilly, the city's Métrobus shuttles visitors around the historic area with six different routes (800, 801, 802, 803, 804 and 807). And for excellent views, consider a ride on the funicular, a steeply sloping railway connecting Haute-Ville (Upper Town) and Basse-Ville (Lower Town). You do not need a car in Québec City, but if you plan on taking a daytrip or two, you can rent a car in town or at the Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB), located about 8 miles west of Old Québec. Another option for exploring is by bike. A series of bike paths start from the Old Port area and travel along the river and out to the suburbs.
Because many of Québec City's top attractions can be found within Old Québec's ancient walls, you won't need more than your own two feet to make the most of your visit. Just make sure that you're dressed warmly, especially during the winter months, and that you stop frequently: The city's many cozy cafes and quaint shops make excellent venues to thaw.
If you want to see more of the river or take a look at what the suburbs of Quebec City look like, there are several excellent inline bike trails, most of which start in the Old Port. The 5 ½-mile Corridor de la Rivière-Saint-Charles trail starts from the Old Port Market, is separated from traffic and loops along both banks of river. Other routes can be found on the Quebec City Tourism website. There are a couple of area companies that rent bikes and offer guided tours. However, considering the hills in Old Québec, biking is not the best way to get around the city.
When you grow tired of walking or the cold weather has chilled you to the bone, Québec City's RTC (or Réseau de Transport de la Capitale) Métrobus is there to save the day. There are six bus routes that offer transport throughout Old Québec, stopping near many of the neighborhood's most popular attractions, such as the Citadel and the Museum of Civilization. A one-ride general ticket costs only CA$3 (about $2.40), or CA$3.50 (about $2.75) if you pay in cash. Discounted fares are available for children, teens, students and seniors. One-day passes, unlimited weekend passes and five-day passes (Monday through Friday) are also available. Buses stop every 10 to 15 minutes, so visitors won't have to wait long to catch a ride.
If you're exploring outside the old city walls, you can rely on leBus, the most expansive bus network within the city's transportation system. RTC operates 60 bus routes throughout the greater metropolitan area, but to figure out which buses to rely on for all your tourist needs, check out RTC's handy bus guide for visitors. Fares are the same for leBus as they are for the Métrobus.
It's a pretty steep climb from Old Québec's Basse-Ville (Lower Town) to Haute-Ville (Upper Ville). To save your energy and to enjoy fantastic views, ride the funicular. This cliff-side elevator travels 210 feet at a 45-degree angle between the northern edge of the Quartier Petit Champlain in Basse-Ville to the entrance of the Château Frontenac in Haute-Ville. The funicular opens every day starting at 7:30 a.m., but closing time varies between 11 p.m. and midnight depending on the season. Rides cost CA$3 (about $2.40) per person.
Taxis are plentiful in Québec City. While you can hail them on the street, you may have better luck catching one if you head to a designated cab stand, which you'll find near all the major sites. The meter starts at around CA$3.45 (roughly $2.75), and each extra kilometer (approximately 0.6 miles) costs CA$1.70 (about $1.35). The ride-hailing app Uber also operates in Quebec City.
You can rent a car either in town or at the airport, but we strongly advise you not to. Parking on Old Québec's narrow streets can be a nightmare, not to mention that you'll be hard-pressed to find a free spot (even in the evenings and on weekends). Plus, Canadian gas prices closely resemble America's, except you'll be charged by the liter rather than by the gallon, making it more expensive. The only time a car would come in handy is when you're taking a daytrip outside the city. If that's the case, we suggest waiting to rent until the day of.
Remember: Distances and speeds are posted in kilometers per hour and some signs may only be in French. U.S. driver's licenses are valid for visitors in Canada.
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