As I look out the window, seeing the blue water, magestic deep red cliffs and the all so colorful little houses, I'm instantly overwhelmed with excitement. The wheels touch down on the Magdalen Islands and I know I've chosen the perfect destination for my weekend getaway.
It's raining so we decide to venture off to Havre Aubert Island to grab a bite. Some shopping was planned afterwards.
Our first stop is at Cafe de la Grave where I order a delicious sea food pot pie. The ambiance is unique, welcoming with beautiful artwork from local artists hanging on the walls.
The day is not complete without some shopping in the quaint little boutiques. I'm surprised and delighted with what I find here. One of the boutiques is owned by a local cartoonist, who sells comic books, jewelry, artwork, refined chocolates and many more diversified local products. I decide to splurge and buy myself a sea shell sand sculpture from l'Atelier Côtier.
The next few days on the archipelago are mostly spent exploring, enjoying the beautiful scenery and meeting locals. No matter where you meet the Madelinots, you will be delighted by their warm welcome cute accent.
There are so many activities and things to do on the islands that it is sometimes hard to choose from: relaxing on the beautiful beaches (my favourite being Sandy Hook beach), enjoying local dishes, doing arts and crafts circuit, visiting local farms and many different outdoor adventures, like stand up paddleboard, kitesurfing, cycling, hiking, horseback riding, boat excursions, marine wildlife watching and more.
My favourite part of the trip is by far a paddleboard excursion with Cindy Hook. The local owner, Cindy, is so energetic, upbeat, and she also shares her experiences. The direct access to a shallow lagoon makes it the ideal spot for beginners. I also highly recommend visiting her shop.
One cannot visit the islands without stopping at the local microbrewery L'Abris de la Tempête. Their beer offers a strong brewing uniqueness as they make their beer using local resources. My personal favourite is the Terreferme, a delicious IPA.
As my trip comes to an end, I take avantage of my last day to go to L'Étang-du-Nord, which is a must visit during your stay, as this is where you'll witness the most gorgeous sunsets overlooking the ocean. Be extremely careful since erosion is not always visible and can be very dangerous. Stand at least 3 meters (10 feet) from the edge of the cliff when you walk there.
So grateful and privileged on this getaway, as the Magdelan Islands is the one place that time truly stops. I enjoy the present moment and go with the flow of things. It's uniqueness and serenity vibe is why I call this little island paradise. One doesn't need to travel far to get that true sense of adventure... as this beautiful archipelago is in my home province of Quebec.
Whether you arrive by plane or boat, all means are good to access Les Iles. Both Air Canada Express and Pascan have daily flights. During high season, Air Canada Express even offers a direct flight from Montreal.
Another option is via ferry but even these have to be booked in advance. I highly recommend booking your accommodation or mode of transportation as early as possible, as the island gets very busy with tourists. From July to September, things fill up very quickly.