If you are searching for a picturesque landscape with rolling green hills and breath-taking panoramic views along a spectacular coastline aligned with both smooth and rocky steep cliffs facing the marine blues of the ocean waters, reflecting a sort of red-orange to copper colour when the sunset hits the cliffs’ face, then your search will bring you to the Gaspé Peninsula in the province of Quebec, Canada. Drive along the winding roads that wrap around the hills, and you will wish that the ride never have an end, as the views will mesmerize you and fill you with a peacefulness that is what the Gaspé is all about.
The Gaspé, also known as the Gaspésie, is located at the eastern tip of Quebec, neighbouring just north of New Brunswick. It is almost equi-distant from the big cities of Montreal, which is a 560 kilometre drive away, and from Quebec City which is only 340 kilometres away. So if you happen to be visiting either of those destinations in Canada, it would be worth the extra vacation days to make time for a visit to the Gaspésie, as the contrast of big metropolitan cities and their historic sites are a different kind of beautiful from that which you will find as you head towards the Maritimes and the Gaspé Peninsula is just the start.
The coast of the peninsula runs alongside the St. Lawrence estuary and is simply a beautiful drive. The peninsula is divided into five differing regions each will have its own unique sites and activities to partake in. The regions are The Coast, Upper Gaspé, Land’s End, the Bay of Chaleur and The Valley.
Along the coast you can stop to see the small municipalities with their historic charm. Visit the village of Metis-sur-Mer and stop by the city of Matane.
In the Upper Gaspé region you will find many wonderful sites but one significant thing you will notice are the many salmon rivers that include Cap-Chat and Sainte-Anne. You can explore the highest peaks in Quebec at the Chic-Chocs Mountains, and discover the region’s wild side with a tour through the provincial park, the Parc de la Gaspésie. Go hang-gliding in the mountains of Sainte-Pierre; see the landmark lighthouse over in Le Martre and learn about the wind generator plant in Cap-Chat.
Land’s End will introduce you to charming little villages, some based on the fishing industry. You’ll find plenty of places to visit from museums to national parks like Forillon national Park, to seeing the cannons of Fort Peninsula. But one really key site you cannot miss is Perce Rock. Perce is the most easterly tip of the Gaspé and it is uniquely this rock that tourists from all over come to Perce especially to see.
The warmest area of the Gaspésie is the Bay of Chaleur, which is essentially indicated in its name, meaning the “bay of warmth” or “heat.” Here, among the lagoons and mountains, biking and hiking paths and even the UNESCO World Heritage site of Miguasha Park, you will find some of Canada’s loveliest beaches in areas of Caplan Bonaventure, Paspebiac and Hope.
In The Valley, you will come across the more salmon fishing experiences, remarkable churches like the Saint-Moïse church; see the Matapedia Lake and the well-known bridges like that over Anse-Saint-Jean and the covered one in Routhierville that resembles the iconic look of the typical farm red barn. Venture into some more charming villages like Sainte-Therese-de-Merici.
A tour of the Gaspé truly is a tranquil experience and like a long walk in the countryside. So plan a trip to see the beauty of Mother Nature’s canvas with your own eyes.