17th Century architecture and friendly locals are just a small portion of what makes Quebec City so unique. Compared to Montreal, the city’s old town core is anything but crowded – there are just over half a million residents.

Still not enough to convince you? Take a look at these ten reasons why the capital city of Quebec is well-worth the visit:

1. Food

Quebec was initially a French colony so you can bet it reflected on the culinary tradition.  The chefs in Quebec City never refrain from taking advantage of the Paris’ acclaim and experiment with food creativity. Although the French influence is heavily present, there is an undeniable touch of Quebec’s uniqueness to every dish.

Food in Quebec

2. Access to the outdoors

How about some skiing or mountain biking? Mont-Sainte-Anne is conveniently located twenty minutes outside of town. And biking? The city has a great thoroughfare helping visitors see the different parts and neighborhoods of the city. Have you heard of Via Ferrata? If the answer is no, head to Canyon Sainte-Anne for the adventure of your life. To put the cherry on the cake, hiking and camping are aplenty and they are all within an hour’s drive from Old Quebec.

Green pastures and forests around Quebec

3. Locally produced food and drink

Handmade beer and wine, locally grown fruits and veggies, as well as fully-developed agriculture, are only some of Quebec’s trademarks. If you want to see the local community in action, head to St. Lawrence River on Ile d’Orleans. If you prefer not to, Quebec has got you covered, too. The Marche de Vieux farmer’s market at Port de Quebec welcomes inquisitive shoppers year-round and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of town.

Local products of Quebec city

4. Old Quebec

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 17th Century buildings and streets will be preserved and renovated as necessary. Walking Old Quebec, where many residents also live and work, is the easiest way to feel like you’re in Europe without having to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The area is divided into two parts – Upper Town and Lower Town, connected by a funicular (rail tram) that transports pedestrians.

The Old Town of Quebec

5. And the walls that surround it

At the break of the 19th century, Lord Dufferin managed to save the Ramparts of Quebec City from being torn down right in the nick of time. Today, these gates are the only fortified city walls still standing in North America and north of Mexico. You can enter Old Quebec through four entrances at the gates.

The old gates of Quebec

6. The accommodations within it

There is a unique flair to hotels and restaurants in Quebec – they represent a perfect mixture of the elements of North American modernism and classic European architecture. The most notable example is Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac which dominates the city’s skyline. It was originally built in 1893.

Architecture of Quebec

7. The city’s history

Quebec has a long and rich history. After the French rule ended in 1763, Quebec City was under numerous raids – mostly during the French and Indian Wars. The British took control of the city in 1759 after the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.Centuries-long history of Quebec

8. The café culture

Following in the footsteps of the biggest European cities such as Paris and Madrid, the café culture in Quebec is thriving. Sitting on a pleasant patio over coffee or beer in the afternoons is a past time and a preferred way to socialize with friends and family.

A garden outside a cafe in Quebec

9. Waterfalls

Quebec waterfalls

10. Relaxation

Spa des Neiges offers the traditional Nordic spa treatment, and around the city, numerous spas and parks help guests and locals unwind after a day in one of Canada’s most culturally rich cities.

A relaxing spa in Quebec

Hopefully, these photos were enough to convince you not to postpone your visit to Quebec any longer.