If you are travelling to Quebec City from the south short and are heading downtown, the Quebec City - Levis ferry offers an alternative to taking the highway and takes you right into downtown Quebec City.
You can take your car or do this by foot. The ride takes about 10 minutes.
Given that my visit was mid-winter and that most of the rivers I had encountered here in Quebec Province and Ontario had been frozen I was surprised to see this ferry still running! A little research reveals that the ferry is a major commuter link between the two cities and so the ferries run year round.
The ferries carry foot passengers and vehicles and positively encourages cyclists with over 100 bike racks and no extra charge for the bikes themselves. The Quebec terminal is just after Petit-Champlain, on the river (obviously) below the Old City.
I never did take the trip across but by all accounts it is worth doing for the views of Quebec City from the river.
The ferries run roughly every 30 minutes with a crossing time of 10 and a return fare of about $5.
Two renovated ferry boats carry you across the St. Lawrence from Quebec City to Levis. You can find the boats at 109 rue Dalhousie. The ferry take 10 minutes to cross the 1 km and leaves approximately every 30 minutes until 6 pm. It then leaves hourly until 2 am. The price was $2.50 Cdn (2005) during the summer season.
You will see these two boats crossing the St. Lawrance River every half an hour and they are generally always crossing each other.
The crossing is 1 km and takes 10 minutes to get across once they leave.
Many people from Levis work in Quebec the ferry runs are busy.
I personally took the trip to get the excellent views of Quebec it is a spectacular skyline from the other side of the river. This is very affordable as well. It cost me $4 CDN for the round trip!
For a great view of Quebec City from the St. Lawrence, hop on the ferry (on the water near Petit Champlain) to Levis. Not only will you feel like a local, but for CAD$5, you can rest your feet, learn some history (great pictures and guides on board, inside and outside), and get some perspective on Chateau Frontenac (it's still big from across the river....)
Hey, one of the great things about VT is that you get all these very useful tips from other travellers! Well, I decided to make use of one of the ones that I had read. During the last stages of the afternoon of my arrival in the city, I walked down into Old Quebec where I was able to board one of the ferries that will take you across the river to Levis. The cost for a round-trip ticket is only C$5 (US$3.80) and it gives you a chance to get out on the water to view the boating activity as well as get a different perspective on Quebec City. I never even got off the ferry, and the entire trip took less than an hour. As we were returning to the departure point, I took this shot of the venerable old Chateau Frontenac perched on the cliffs above the old town. In the foreground, is a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker, one of many that is used to keep the St. Lawrence River open to ships travelling to Quebec City and Montreal during the winter months. The entire river and the Gulf of St. Lawrence normally freeze over right out to the Cabot Strait, where Nova Scotia and Newfoundland nearly meet each other!
WHEN WE TRAVELLED TO QUEBEC IN 1981, THERE WERE HIGHWAYS TO ENTER THE CITY, BUT I INSISTED WE TAKE THE FERRY FROM THE OLDER ROAD...WHICH HAD BEEN SUCH AN IMPRESSIVE MEMORY FROM MY CHILDHOOD. IT'S REALLY THE ONLY WAY YOU SHOULD ENTER QUEBEC. WHAT A SIGHT THE HOTEL FRONTENAC IS STANDING HIGH ON THE BLUFF.
The Quebec-Levis ferry costs less than $2 and only takes 15 minutes to take you across the St. Lawrence. I was talking to some folks from Vancouver who were visiting Quebec for a few days who told me that Levis is a cheaper option than staying in Quebec.
Quebec - Levis Ferry
To get some great views of Old Quebec, ride the ferry across the Saint Lawrence River. Departures are every 30 minutes during the day.