1. Travel
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Gaspe Peninsula

Learn about travel to the Gaspe Peninsula

By

The Gaspe Peninsula (properly, the Gaspésie or Gaspé Peninsula, pronounced Ga-spay-zee or Gaspay, respectively) is a region of eastern Quebec. Its geography puts the Gaspe Peninsula in close proximity to the Atlantic provinces and has many maritime features, including rugged shorelines, fine fishing and a laid-back, friendly population.

Where is Gaspe?

Aerial of the GaspeÃÅ peninsula, Forillon national park of Canada, quebec, Canada.
Russ Heinl/All Canada Photos/Getty Images

The Gaspe Peninsula is a mostly coastal region of eastern Quebec surrounded by the St. Lawrence waterway as well as by the Bay of Chaleur. The Gaspe Peninsula is 560 km from Montreal and 340 km from Quebec City by road.

The peninsula begins in Sainte-Flavie, where Route 132 splits to form an 885 km loop. Here you choose either the South Tour or the North Tour. Whatever your decision may be, all through your journey you are sure to find the most diversified and picturesque sea and mountain landscapes, valleys, bays and coastlines. This vast territory, is divided into five regions: The Coast, The Haute-Gaspésie, Land's End, The Chaleur Bay and The Matapédia Valley.

Getting to Gaspe

Photo © Ron Levine / Getty Images
  • VIA Rail makes stops along the Gaspe Peninsula. An overnight train from Montreal gives passengers a lovely seaside view in the morning.
  • Orléans Express is a Quebec bus service that goes to Gaspe from Montreal International Airport, downtown Montreal, Quebec City amongst others.
  • Air Canada flies into Gaspe with connector flights in Montreal or Quebec City.
  • Ferry service is available to the Gaspe north shore from Quebec and to the south shore from New Brunswick.
  • The drive from Montreal to the western edge of the Gaspe Peninsula is about 7 hours. Continue on another 6 or 7 hours and you'll reach the town of Gaspé at the eastern tip. From the Maine / Canada border, the drive to Gaspe is three or four hours.

What to Do in Gaspe

Many of the most popular activities in Gaspe involve the outdoors and nature discovery. Things to do include whale watching and sea excursions, kayaking, bird watching, salmon fishing, lighthouse and architectural tours, hiking and scenic drives.

Top Gaspe Attractions & Highlights

Photo © Scott McLean
  • Percé is a quaint scenic town, famous for its pierced rock formation
  • Bonaventure Island is a fascinating little island a short ferry ride away from Percé. Formerly a fishing village, today the island is one of the largest and most accessible bird sanctuaries in the world.
  • Gaspe is home to several national parks, including Forillon National Park near the town of Gaspé and the Parc national de la Gaspésie in the peninsula's mountainous interior.

When to Go to Gaspe

The Gaspe Peninsula is accessible year round.

Winter offers cross country skiing and some downhill skiing.

As the weather warms up in spring, a fuller breadth of outdoor activities becomes available, such as whale watching, sea kayaking, birdwatching and just meandering the gorgeous countryside.

June and July are the most popular months for whale watching when the massive mammals pass close to shore seeking food.

May and June is attracts birdwatchers as the peninsula is part of the Atlantic flyway. Many seabirds nest at Forillon National Park and Bonaventure Island during the summer months. September/October migration - amidst colourful fall foliage - also draws significant visitors.

Language

Though French is the prevalent language on the Gaspe Peninsula and some people you meet will not speak English, for the most part, English is widely understood, especially in tourist towns like Perce, at train stations and restaurants. Residents of Gaspe tend to be laid back and the degree of "haughtiness" that some visitors encounter in Quebec City, for example, is less likely here. Nevertheless, it bodes well to brush up on some French phrases for travellers.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.