Photos taken during our winter vacation to Magdalen Islands will always be a part of our memories. It’s as if the islands have taken over themselves. Snow-covered landscapes bring out the most bright and clear colors in the light, making it impossible not to be transfixed by the spectacle.
However, looking back over the itinerary, it wasn’t immediately apparent where we needed to be in order to get these incredible shots. We had to rely on the Madelinot in our area for winter information because we had no other options. As soon as we return to the Magdalen Islands, I’ll be able to tell you where the best winter shooting settings are and how to get there.
The best places to photograph the Magdalen Islands in the winter.
All of the best winter activities on the Magdalen Islands have been covered in detail, but we haven’t mentioned the particular sites where we traveled to photograph the breathtaking vistas that we experienced on the Islands.
You can use this guide to organize your vacation to the Magdalen Islands if you’re a photographer, drone pilot, videographer, or other type of content creation who enjoys seeking out the most picturesque areas.
Magdalen Islands Activities for Winter
Lighthouse Cap Alright
The lighthouses dot the landscape of the Magdalen Islands, lending the area a distinct maritime feel. If you’ve read our list of the best locations to visit on the islands in the winter, the lighthouses are the second item on the list.
The Cap Alright Lighthouse is a particular favorite of ours (aka Cape Alright Lighthouse). Despite its diminutive size, it packs a powerful punch. Once used to protect ships from slamming onto rocks, this small lighthouse was purchased by a well-known Quebec host and restored to its former splendour.
Most visitors come right up to the lighthouse despite the fact that this is a private property.
Because the lighthouse’s position is perfectly aligned with the rising sun in the background, this is a great spot for photographing. You have a lot of alternatives when it comes to framing your shot because of the large open field.
If you go north from the parking lot, you may see the lighthouse from a different angle. At some time, you’ll come across a set of stairs that lead down to the shore. You’ll be able to see the lighthouse from the side with the red rocks facing you.
Using a drone, you can capture magnificent footage and photographs of the Cap Alright Lighthouse and the sunrise from a higher vantage point than you could achieve from the ground.
The little arch in the rock, the cliffs, the homes, and the La Butte Ronde hill to the right, which aren’t visible from the lighthouse, provide for stunning photographs when taken from a plane flying out to sea and returning to the island.
Cascades of wine from the Château Madelinot
There’s a certain feeling of security in photographing the sunrise from your hotel room because it isn’t far away and there are no perilous cliffs to contend with.
Like the preceding properties, Château Madelinot has an east-facing orientation, making it an excellent choice for early risers. In the winter, the sun reflects off the ice as it melts and shimmers in the distance, creating enchanting vistas.
Walking out towards the water from the hotel provides you quick access to the pebble beach which is visible even under thick snow, ice formations at shore if it’s been cold enough, and the gazebo on the hill.
The hotel and Havre-aux-Maisons can be seen from above using a drone, but I don’t think it’s required given that you can go up to the gazebo and take shots from a higher vantage point.
Entry Island (Île d’Entrée) can be seen in the distance on a clear day.
We recommend that you do this early on in your vacation so that you can get used to the cold and figure out your time before venturing further afield.
Port Authority Wharf
The Magdalen Islands’ economy is based on fishing, and during the summer months, boats come and go from the islands at a dizzying pace. During the winter, though, Madelinots and their fishing vessels finally get a rest.
Grande Entrée Wharf, the largest fishing port on the islands, is located on Grande Entrée Island, which is known as the lobster capital of Quebec.
It is common to see a significant number of boats in storage near the wharf in the winter. If you have the time, you can wander around the boats and examine how they are made and decorated in their own unique ways.
With so many boats in such close proximity, it’s an excellent opportunity for photographers to get creative.
In addition to Grande Entrée, the largest dock on the Îles de la Madeleine, you can also check out the one by Anse de l’Étang du Nord and Cap-aux-Meules’ major port, among others.
The Small Baie
Photographers flock to the Magdalen Islands to capture images like this one of the brightly colored buildings arranged in a straight line.
When it’s summertime, this panorama of rolling green hills framed by a bay of water is really stunning.
In the winter, I think it looks much better. There is nothing like a snow-covered La Petite Baie, which contrasts the white canvas with the azure sky.
However, where can you park and stroll to have a decent view of the houses is an issue. Since there are no easy pull offs along Highway 199, your best bet is to park at Auberge de la Petite Bae, a summer B&B, or at Plomberie Enterprise Lomer Richard, a plumbing store. You’ll see it from a mile away.
Once you’ve parked, you can walk to the bay’s edge and take as many shots as you like. The ice may or may not be solid enough to walk on, so exercise caution.
The Lighthouse at Anse-à-la-Cabane
This list wouldn’t be complete without one more of our favorite winter activities on the Magdalen Islands.
The island’s highest and oldest lighthouse, Anse-à-la-Cabane, is still operational. With its proximity to both Atelier Côtier and the historic La Grave site on Havre-southern Aubert’s island, this attraction is a natural fit.
With hay bales and a historic lightkeeper’s house and other facilities, this lighthouse has a unique hexagonal structure.
In terms of winter photography, you’ll have the place to yourself, so you can either get right up close or shoot from a distance, as you want.
In order to capture the entirety of the island’s landscape, we propose that you pull back a bit more if you’re licensed to fly a drone.