The Magdalen islands are fascinating. Located right in the middle of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, they are not easy to reach but totally rewarding and worth the effort. So take the plane (expensive but fast) or a ferry-boat from Montreal (expensive and slow), from Chandler (giving you the opportunity to also visit beautiful Gaspesia) or from Souris on Prince Edward Island (the least expensive option and fastest boat connection). Try to spend a week there to fully enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of these very special and highly photogenic islands.
This small dot with its green hills and steep cliffs is the first glimpse of the Magdalen islands you get when arriving by boat. Don’t limit yourself to the view from the boat and board a local ferry-boat from the main island to spend a day on Entry Island, where the english-speaking minority of the islands lives. Once there have a crab sandwich chez Brian Josey and climb up the Big Hill.
Beaches and cliffs
The Magdalen islands are known for their red cliffs and endless beaches, warm in the sunset light or dramatic under grey skies. The easiest way to discover them is to rent a car on the main island and drive it all the way through, from Havre-Aubert in the south to Old-Harry in the north.
The Magdalen islands are a bird lover’s paradise, with all those different sea birds. I have some kind of special affection for the beautiful gannets.
Don’t miss the Ariel raspberry liquor at Barbocheux estate, it’s to die for! Another interesting local wine producer is Poméloi, with their orchard of apples growing inside glass bottles.
Take some height at Butte du Vent (the top is easy to reach by car) to embrace the islands form above. Another nice overlook is located near Pied-de-Vent cheese farm (which I recommend to visit by the way).
Restaurants and accommodation
There are many nice restaurants in the Magdalen islands, and a lot of different hotels to choose from as well. I stayed at the intimate Havre-sur-Mer inn and was very satisfied. I also had a great paella at Auberge chez Denis à François.