Ile d'Orleans © Alberto Otero Garcia
The little island in the Saint Lawrence River, just 15 minutes from downtown Quebec City, is an historical treasure trove containing 600 heritage buildings. Algonquin natives called the island Windigo, meaning 'bewitched corner', before French colonists arrived in 1535 and named it for the Duke of Orleans.
The island is the ancestral home of more than 300 Quebecois families and still has more than 7,000 inhabitants. A perimeter road called the Royal Way, which extends across the Taschereau Bridge to the mainland, connects all the six villages on the island. Visitors enjoy cycling or driving around the island to marvel at panoramic views of the river and explore sites like the oldest church in New France.
Address: 9 miles (15 km) from Quebec City