With a major airport just 16 km from downtown, Québec City is easily reached from most North American cities, with many airlines offering direct non-stop service from hubs including Toronto, Montréal, Chicago, Washington, Detroit, Cleveland and Newark/New York. From there, you can connect to anywhere in the world. Ten airlines operate a total of 350 weekly flights from Jean-Lesage International Airport to destinations throughout Canada, the U.S., Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean. By car, Jean-Lesage International Airport is easily accessed through three major highways. From the airport, private limousine services and car rentals are available.
The train is a comfy, relaxed way to reach Québec City, and VIA Rail Canada operates daily passenger rail service from Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. If you’re coming from the U.S., Amtrak’s scenic Adirondack line connects Montréal with New York. The daily train departs New York’s Penn Station every morning, stopping in Albany and many other towns along the route. The trip is lovely and inexpensive, but because of the border-crossing procedure between the U.S and Canada, is quite lengthy and can take more than 12 hours. Once you arrive in Montréal, you connect to Québec City on VIA Rail and the ride is a beautiful one. Québec City’s train station, Garde du Palais, is located in the heart of downtown, walking distance to many hotels and attractions.
Just a three-hour drive from Montréal, Québec City is easily reached by bus. Québec’s equivalent of Greyhound, Orléans Express, offers daily trips from Montréal that depart almost hourly. If you’re coming from the U.S. or elsewhere, you can grab the Orléans Express at the downtown Berri Maisonneuve bus terminal, and the Gare du Palais bus station in Québec City is conveniently located downtown.
A hundred years ago, Québec City’s Port was one of the world's busiest, and it’s still action-packed. Nestled on the St. Lawrence River, Québec City is a popular stop of private yachts and international cruise lines with New England or Canadian routes. Its beautiful port is located near Dufferin Terrace in Old Québec. A ferry also connects Québec City with neighbouring Lévis, with departures every half-hour during the day and every hour come nightfall. A short ferry ride across the St. Lawrence River to the town of Lévis provides breathtaking views of Old Québec.
Despite its inevitably steep streets, Québec is a great town for walking. (You don’t really need a car here, as public transportation is efficient and affordable. To get from Upper to Lower Town (or vice versa) hop on the funicular. Or on foot, the street Rue de Cote de la Montagne connects to Escalier Casse-Cou, a steep staircase that you can walk down—or up, if you dare! The region’s public bus system, Réseau de transport de la capitale, will get you where you need to go and costs $2.50 for an adult fare and $1.75 for seniors and youth. There’s also a wheelchair-accessible, eco-friendly bus service called the Écolobus that runs through the Upper Town and Old Port areas popular with visitors.
Québec City is served by several reliable taxi companies, including Taxi Québec and Taxi Coop Québec, and, fret not, most drivers can speak English. The best way to get a cab is to call one to pick you up or walk to the nearest taxi stand, as hailing one on the street can be difficult in certain areas. You can also take a boat taxi to stops along the St. Lawrence River. To get to the airport, a taxi from downtown Québec costs a flat rate of $32.50 and takes about a half-hour (depending on traffic). Between Monday and Friday, you can take a public bus.
Unless you’re planning side trips to neighbouring destinations like Ste-Foy (a nearby suburb popular with business travelers and conventions) or ski and snowboard mecca Mont-Sainte-Anne (a 30-minute drive away), you don’t really need a car in Québec City. The city centre is made for walking, and public transit and taxis can easily get you where you need to go. Think green; like any city, the highways and access roads are jammed with traffic during rush hour.