Canada

Why You Should Visit the Magdalen Islands in the Winter

Aside from the fact that there wasn’t much information in English about the Magdalen Islands in the winter, this book aims to remedy that and offer you with some of the essential information you’ll need to know before your journey.

Why Winter is a great time to visit Magdalen Islands.

When the sun shines, the Magdalen Islands are a sight to behold. During these months, the weather is ideal, the world-class beaches are calling, the island is awash in water activities, and the land is rich and vibrant. This is also the time of year when the island is the most crowded, pricey, and toughest to get a reservation.

With its icy terrain and golden hour and being completely alone on the island, the winter season has a mystical quality to it that’s hard to put into words.

Nowhere we went, not even a single tourist was to be found.

It’s difficult to put into words, but once you’ve experienced it, there’s no going back.

Allow yourself to calm down, connect with nature and explore the world throughout the winter months.

On the Magdalen Islands: How to Get There

In the winter, planes and ferries are the main modes of transportation to the islands.

By Airplane

in the winter at iles de la madeleine airport
The airport code for Aéroport des Iles-de-la-Madeleine, which is where the Magdalen Islands are located, is YGR.

Three airlines fly to and from the Magdalen Islands: PASCAN Aviation, Air Canada, and PAL. Only PASCAN Aviation and PAL Airlines fly throughout the winter.

Both PASCAN and PAL are modest twin-propeller regional airlines serving Eastern Canada. The SAAB 340, Jetstream 32, and Pilatus PC 12 are among the aircraft in the PASCAN fleet. PAL’s aircraft include Dash 8 and Beech 1900D models. PASCAN Aviation is the older of the two and we flew with them on our vacation.

Most guests will arrive in Montreal or Quebec City, which are served by both PASCAN and PAL and will serve as your connection points. Don’t confuse Pierre-Elliot-Trudeau (YUL) with Saint-Hubert (YHU) airports in Montreal if you’re flying PASCAN.

As a reminder, flights to the Magdalen Islands often include a stopover at Bonaventure (YVB) or Gaspé (GSP) (YGP). This implies that you will remain on the aircraft throughout the flight in order to pick up and drop off passengers as needed.

Flying in the winter might have an influence on your vacation plans, so be prepared for the unexpected. This can be as minor as a few minutes to as significant as getting grounded for an extended amount of time at one of your stops (as happened to us).

It’s best to book directly with PASCAN Aviation or PAL Airlines for these flights. In comparison to search engines like Skyscanner, Kayak displays both airlines.

The Ferry

There are fewer ferry alternatives in the winter, but they still operate.

As of 1944, CTMA (Coopérative de Transport Maritime et Aéron) has been providing ferry service to the Magdalen Islands community on behalf of its members.

The ferry that connects Prince Edward Island with the Magdalen Islands

Winter ferries travel between Cap-aux-Meules in the Magdalen Islands and Souris in Prince Edward Island on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The time it takes to cross the river is dependent on the weather and ice conditions.

This ferry, despite the fact that we didn’t use it, has a wide range of amenities, including a cafe, tavern and restaurant as well as an indoor and outdoor play area for children and a kennel for dogs. The Interislander Cook Strait ferry between Picton and Wellington from our three-week New Zealand tour looks a lot like this.

The Magdalen Islands Cruise departs from Montreal.

A 7-day St. Lawrence River trip that includes three days in the archipelago is offered in July and August.

Where To Stay While Visiting The Magdalens

There are a few key lodging options that we recommend in the winter.

The largest hotel on the islands, the Château Madelinot, welcomed us with open arms and is well worth a look.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our entire review of the Château Madelinot (coming soon).

In a Good Spot

You can start your trip in Cap-aux-Meules, the most populous and central island.

Newly refurbished and comfortable rooms

The rooms at Château Madelinot have been completely remodeled to meet today’s high expectations, including USB ports, flat-screen TVs, high-speed wifi, and plush beds.

Accents of the Resto Bistro Style

One of the best breakfast spots on the islands, and you can stroll there from your hotel.

Modern comforts and conveniences

Pool, hot tub, and new gym are available for individuals who need some alone time.

Employees who are pleasant and helpful

The people at the front desk were extremely helpful and courteous, and they went out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed for our trip. They also double-checked with us if we wanted our room cleaned even though we had our Do Not Disturb sign visible.

There are some B&B-style properties that we recommend if you prefer to stay in a more traditional hotel.

This is an old-fashioned bed and breakfast

Located near the airport on the island of Havre-aux-Maisons, this welcoming B&B has a cozy cottage feel.

There are two shared bathrooms, and breakfast is included. There is also no charge for parking.e

Inns and B&Bs of Martinique

Cabins for rent off of Highway 199 between Cap-aux-Meules and Havre-Aubert are available at a reasonable price.

To begin with, you’ll have access to two separate bedrooms, each with its own private bathroom and shower. There is also a laundromat on the site.

The Winter Season’s Climate

The Magdalen Islands aren’t as far north as one may assume, and the archipelago’s climate is closer to that of the Maritime provinces than Quebec’s.

Although the base temperature drops to -5°C /23°F in the winter, these large gusts of wind, which are regular throughout the year, are when you feel the freezing temperatures most strongly.

This doesn’t mean that there’s always snow on the ground, but there is a fair quantity. If you’re lucky, you might catch some snowfall during your stay.

The most important thing we want to convey is that the weather on the islands can change at the drop of a hat, from a warm and bright day to a full-blown blizzard.

In light of the current weather conditions, it is imperative to be prepared with the appropriate attire and a flexible schedule.

Because it’s snowing so hard in Grand-Entrée, you can simply switch out that day for another and continue with your journey.

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