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30 Best Things to Do in Iles de la Madeleine – Magdalen Islands Travel Guide

Looking for things to do in Iles de la Madeleine? In this travel guide, we’re featuring 30 of the best attractions and things to do in the Magdalen Islands from nature to culinary!

The Magdalen Islands has been a bucket list destination for me in Canada, and I’m so happy to finally visit.

I did a 5 day trip in Iles de la Madeleine and had such a great time!

Imagine the stunning landscape of lighthouses on red shoreline and sculpted cliffs, beautiful sand dune beaches, lush green meadows and hills with colourful houses.

Travelling Foodie Raymond Cua at Lighthouse Cape Alright Beach in Magdalen Islands

Oh, Iles de la Madeleine, you are so beautiful!

Beyond the postcard idyll of the Magdalen Islands, the sea surrounding the islands offer some amazingly fresh seafood and the pastures offer a clean environment for farming and space for animals to graze on fresh grasses.

It’s like being in the French countryside… but in a remote island… in Canada!

More behind the scenes on Travelling Foodie Instagram: @TravellingFoodie for Food and @JourneyTraveler for Travel


Best Things To Do in Iles de la Madeleine - Magdalen Islands Travel Guide on TravellingFoodie.net
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Iles de la Madeleine – Quebec by the Sea

While it’s part of the province of Quebec, this small archipelago in the Quebec maritime is closer to the Atlantic provinces than to mainland Quebec.

Iles de la Madeleine is comprised of 8 islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with a population of 12,500 inhabitants (or Madelinots):

  1. Entry Island
  2. Havre Aubert Island
  3. Cap aux Meules Island
  4. Havre aux Maisons Island
  5. Pointe aux Loups Island
  6. Grosse Île Island
  7. Grande Entrée Island
  8. Brion Island

All the islands are connected except for Entry Island and Brion Island.

Rolling hills in Iles de la Madeleine

The primary language in the Magdalen Islands is French, but you can still get by with English since most Madelinots can speak both.

But still be prepared!

There were places I visited where there were no English like restaurants with French-only menus.

Having a smartphone is very handy as I simply used Google Lens and Google Translate when I needed translations.

Red sandstone cliffs during sunset at Iles de la Madeleine

Also Read: 3 Day Trip in Eastern Townships, Quebec


Best Things to Do in Iles de la Madeleine

Iles de la Madeleine has so much to offer that I’m sure I barely scratched the surface.

On top of the nature and historic sites, I was amazed by the culinary offerings in the Magdalen Islands, some of which I’ve never done before!

Even better was the fact that a lot were focused on seafood.

For travelling foodies, culinary experiences are also attractions and things to do when visiting destinations.

In this travel guide, I’m covering an encompassing 30 things to do in Iles de la Madeleine with some of the best attractions, tours and experiences, restaurants, boutique shops and places to eat, drink and stay.

Sunset at Borgot Lighthouse in Iles de la Madeleine

Bagosse at Le Barbocheux

An island specialty, Bagosse is known as the “beer of the Islands” (though it’s actually a fruit wine) so it’s a must try!

One of the best places to drink bagosse in Iles de la Madeleine is straight from the source at Le Barbocheux.

Sylvie Langford at Le Barbocheux in Iles de la Madeleine
Le Barbocheux Owner Sylvie Langford

You can sample and buy their award winning bagosse and fruit liquors that are homemade on-site with local fruits and flowers from the Islands.

I enjoyed all five of their offerings but top picks are the Cranberry and Dandelion Bagosse as well as the The Ariel (Raspberry Liquor).

Bagosse botte at Le Barbocheux in Iles de la Madeleine

Website / Address: 475 Chemin du Cap Rouge, Havre-aux-Maisons, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 5C7


Beer Tasting Flight at À l’abri de la Tempête

For beer lovers, À l’abri de la Tempête is the best place to drink beer in Magdalen Islands.

This family-owned microbrewery right by Dune de l’Ouest (west dune) Beach / Corfu Beach has cozy indoor vibes and a beautiful outdoor seating overlooking the beach.

I highly recommend getting the tasting flight so you can enjoy a good selection of their craft brews which uses local Island ingredients like sea water, marine algae and fresh flowers.

If you can only do one, my faves were the Fleur D’eau, an easy drinking wheat beer that packs a flavourful punch, and the Cale Sèche, which is a Blonde ale that uses sea water!

Beer Flight at A labri de la Tempete in Iles de la Madeleine / Magdalen Islands, Quebec

Website / Address: 286 Chemin Coulombe, L’Étang-du-Nord, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 3V5


Beignets for Breakfast

Would you eat fried food for breakfast?

Iles de la Madeleine’s iconic beignet (or banax) is bread dough that’s braided and deep fried, served with a homemade caramel sauce to dip/drizzle.

It’s a popular breakfast staple in the Magdalen Islands, and you’ll find most restaurants serving them for breakfast (and all day) in the islands.

Beignets with homemade caramel drip at Reso Bistro Accents in Magdalen Islands

It’s crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and light & airy.

Highly addicting!

I had this Island staple during my stay at Chateau Madelinot for breakfast and it goes so well with black coffee to balance the sweetness.

I went behind the scenes with Resto Bistro Accents’ Executive Chef Hugo Lefrançois to see how beignets are made.

Watch it here!

Executive Chef Hugo Lefrançois and Travelling Foodie Raymond Cua at Resto Bistro Accents in Iles de la Madeleine

Boat Excursion with Les Cultures du Large

The boat excursion with Les Cultures du Large is one of the best culinary things to do in Iles de la Madeleine.

It was my first time doing something like it.

You go on a boat ride to the open sea where they cultivate oysters and learn how they do it during the trip.

Travelling Foodie Raymond Cua on oyster fishing Les Cultures du Large boat in Magdalen Islands

You get to see them lift the oyster traps straight from the waters and then you get a taste of these fresh oysters right on the spot.

A true sea-to-mouth experience! Can’t get any fresher than this!

Travelling Foodie Tip: If you can’t speak French, ask them which day would have a guide that speaks English as well.

Oyster Shucking on boat with Les Cultures du Large in Magdalen Islands

Website / Address: 26 Chemin du Quai, Havre-aux-Maisons, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 5M1


Captain’s Plate at Maisonnee Des Iles

Maisonnee Des Iles is one of the best restaurants in Iles de la Madeleine for seafood in a family atmosphere.

You’ll love its cozy rustic setting with all sorts of fishing and boating paraphernalia.

Travelling Foodie Raymond Cua holding Captain's Plate at Maisonnee des Iles in Iles de la Madeleine

I highly recommend getting the Captain’s Plate, which was my favourite dish during the trip!

It’s literally seafood heaven on a plate with lobster claws, crab claws, seared scallops, butter garlic shrimp and breaded cod.

The Captain's Plate at Maisonnee des Iles in Magdalen Islands

Address: 319 QC-199, Havre-aux-Maisons, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 5A4


Cheese Sampling at Fromagerie du Pied-De-Vent

Fromagerie du Pied-De-Vent is one of two artisanal cheesemakers in Iles de la Madeleine.

One of the best things to do in Magdalen Islands, Fromagerie du Pied-De-Vent is flocked by both locals and tourists.

Inside to your left, you can see a “museum” area that shares the history of the cheese maker and a huge glass window showing their operations.

Cheese sampling is available on-site where you can try four of their cheeses including the famous “Pied-de-Vent” and the “Tomme des Demoiselles”.

Pied-de-Vent cheese molding demonstration available every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11am.

If you ordered dishes from restaurants that contain cheese like poutine, it’s highly likely it has cheese from Fromagerie du Pied-De-Vent.

The seal poutine I had at Cafe de la Grave and the scallop poutine at Les Pas Perdus both had the Pied-de-Vent (raw-milk cheese with a lightly washed rind).

Art Senau cheese at Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent in Magdalen Islands

Website / Address: 149 Chemin de la Pointe Basse, Havre-aux-Maisons, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 5H7

Also Read: Oxford County Cheese Trail in Ontario


Cider and Gin Tasting at Le Verger Pomeloi

Le Verger Pomeloi is one of the best things to do in Magdalen Islands for cider and spirit lovers.

This small organic family orchard does everything from growing to bottling to produce unique ciders.

I highly recommend doing the tasting flight which lets you try 6 of their products:

  • 2 ciders: one fermented with honey and the other with maple syrup
  • 2 fortified ciders (fortified using their own calvados/apply brandy)
  • 2 apple gins (one infused with young balsam fir shoots and bayberry; the other one with candied citrus fruits)
Cider and Gin Flight at Le Verger Pomeloi in Magdalen Islands

I was amazed by their Pomeloi, one of the two fortified ciders, which has a fully grown apple inside the bottle!

They actually put the bottle under the tree so an apple grows inside it before putting the fortified cider.

I’ve never seen something like that before!

It was my favourite out of all of them with the Eve (apple gin) being the second.

La Pomeloi Bottle with fortified cider and apple at Verger Pomeloi in Magdalen Islands

Website / Address: 33 chemin du P’tit Bois Nord, Iles-de-la-Madeleine Bassin, Îles de la Madeleine, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 0H1


Cinnamon Rolls and Baked Goods at Boulangerie Grandma’s Bakery

Part of CAMI’s Historical Heritage Complex, Boulangerie Grandma’s Bakery is one of the best things to do to get a taste of Grosse-Ile Island.

Using ancestral recipes, Grandma’s Bakery is so popular with locals and visitors that they sell out daily!

They have some interesting baked goods like Queen Elizabeth Squares (first time hearing it), Molasses Crinkle, Date Squares and Cherry Cheese Brownies,

I highly recommend the their popular cinnamon rolls, which was thinner than usual, crispy exterior and moist and fluffy inside.

When I visited, they just sold out of them and I waited for a fresh batch. Worth it!

During the summer, you can also find them at the farmers market at Cap aux Meules Island.

Cinnamon Roll at Boulangerie Grandma's Bakery in Iles de la Madeleine

Website / Address: 787 Chemin Principal, Grosse-Île, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 6B5


Clam Digging with Auberge La Salicorne

Soft-shell clams and quahogs are widely available and harvested on the shores.

Clam digging is one of the best activities in Iles de la Madeleine, and another great way to showcase the Islands culinary offerings.

Though clam digging is a local activity that anyone can do, I highly recommend going on the guided tour at Auberge La Salicorne especially when you’ve never done it.

The guide has all the knowledge in regards to the rules and regulations of clam digging (there’s a limit to how many and what size clams you can harvest).

Sand digging with Auberge La Salicorne at Iles de la Madeleine

They have the tools needed like the buckets and the gauge (to measure clams).

And, of course, they will teach you how to do it properly too.

You go to the lagoon at low tide and start digging up these small mollusks in the sand.

I was taught to do it by hand but was told another way is by using a plunger.

It was honestly a great arm and leg workout, and the experience was therapeutic at the same time.

Travelling Foodie Raymond Cua holding live soft-shell clam with Auberge La Salicorne in Iles de la Madeleine

Here’s another reason why it’s better to do this guided tour.

After gathering the clams, you bring them back to Auberge La Salicorne where they will cook the clams for you.

Then they taught me how to eat and enjoy these soft-shell clams fresh.

A real tide-to-table experience!

Honestly one of the most unique things to do in Iles de la Madeleine, and it’s perfect for some family fun with kids too.

Travelling Foodie Raymond Cua eating soft-shell clam at Auberge La Salicorne in Iles de la Madeleine

Website / Address: 377 QC-199, Grande-Entrée, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 7A5


Cliffs of La Belle Anse

The cliffs of La Belle Anse is one of the best Instagrammable things to do in the Magdalen Islands.

With its breathtaking red cliffs and sea caves, Belle Anse is featured on the cover of the official Îles de la Madeleine Tourist Guide 2021-2022!

Belle Anse at Magdalen Islands, Quebec

Coffee and Pastries at Boulangerie Madelon

I can never start my day without coffee.

Opened in 1964, Boulangerie Madelon is one of the best coffee spots in Iles de la Madeleine offering coffee roasted on-site!

This cafeteria-style bakery offers fresh bread, baked goods, pastries and ready-made meals including Island specialties like pot-en-pot and cod cakes.

It’s such a local gathering hole. I went a little past 1pm on a Tuesday and it was still bustling with locals buying food to go or enjoying their meal outside.

Cod Cakes and Fries at Boulangerie Madelon in Magdalen Islands

Website / Address: 355 Chemin Petitpas, Cap-aux-Meules, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 1J8


Corfu Shipwreck at Dune de l’Ouest Beach (West Dune Beach) / Corfu Beach

A fun fact I learnt about Iles de la Madeleine is mariners call it a shipwreck cemetary.

Why? Between 500 and 1,000 ships have been wrecked on the shores of the Magdalen Islands.

This explains the many lighthouses on the Islands.

Shipwreck of SS Corfu Island at West Dune Beach in Iles de la Madeleine

A popular spot to see a shipwreck up-close is Dune de l’Ouest Beach (West Dune Beach), also known as Corfu Beach named after the shipwreck of SS Corfu Island in 1963.

The shipwreck is literally on the sand and, depending on the day & time and the tides, you might see more or less of the wreckage.

Corfu Island Shipwreck at Dune de l'Ouest (West Dune) Beach in Magdalen Islands

Eat Seal Meat

Trying seal is one of the best foods to try in Iles de la Madeleine especially for the adventurous eater.

It’s very rare to find seal meat, but it’s a unique delicacy here due to the Islands’ history and culture of seal hunting.

The first time I had seal was as a liver pate in St. John’s, NL.

In Iles de la Madeleine, I had seal pate and pepperettes at Auberge La Salicorne.

It was also my first time seeing seal poutine when I went to Cafe de la Grave so I had to try it!

What does seal taste like? I found it had a beef texture, and an interesting fishy yet gamey flavour.

If you love trying new foods, I highly recommend trying seal poutine because the seal used is 100% seal meat unlike pates and pepperettes where it’s mixed with pork and seasoning.

Seal Poutine at Cafe de la Grave in Iles de la Madeleine

In the Magdalen Islands, you can find seal meat offered in restaurants, hotels and butcher shops.

A local also told me you can buy seal meat from Boucherie Côte à Côte in Cap-aux-Meules.

I also saw Resto Bistro Accents in Chateau Madelinot had seal rillette and grilled seal mignon.

Les Pas Perdus has seal burger too.


Explore the La Grave Historic Site

As the only official heritage site in the Îles de la Madeleine, La Grave is one of the best things to do that combines history, nature, shopping and food.

Did you know? La Grave got its name from the pebble beach that borders the site.

Located in the eastern end of Havre Aubert Island, this site of the Islands’ first settlement is the archipelago’s oldest fishing ground.

Now, La Grave is a thriving shopping and dining area with unique picturesque boutiques of local arts & crafts, iconic restaurants and cafes, The Musée de la Mer, a marina, the aquarium and more.

Take the time to stroll and soak everything this beautiful area has to offer!

Catapult overlooking island at La Grave Historic Site in Iles de la Madeleine

Fishermen Monument and Wharf at Site de la Cote

This cute vibrant community near the fishing wharf of L’Étang-du-Nord is one of the best things to do in Iles de la Madeleine for Instagrammable selfies, shopping and food.

Site de la Cote is filled with colorful boutiques, cafes and restaurants and an outdoor games area for giant chess as well as a French lawn game called “La Pétanque”.

Close-up Fisherman Monument at Site de la Cote in Magdalen Islands

Plus, free outdoor shows during summer!

Take a selfie at the popular Fishermen Monument, at the wharf and at the terrace restaurant with a sunset view overlooking the wharf.

Fishermen Monument at Site de la Cote in Magdalen Islands

Website / Address: 499 Chemin Boisville O, L’Étang-du-Nord, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 3J8


Goat Farm and Cheese at Fromagerie Les Biquettes à l’Air

When I told locals I was visiting La Grave area, they told me I must visit Fromagerie Les Biquettes à l’Air since I was already in Havre-Aubert Island.

While it’s not exactly at the historic site, Fromagerie Les Biquettes à l’Air is one of the two artisanal cheese makers in Iles de la Madeleine.

What makes them special?

While Fromagerie du Pied-De-Vent specializes in cheeses using cow’s milk, Fromagerie Les Biquettes à l’Air specializes in goat!

As you go to the parking lot, you won’t miss the outdoor park with baby goats (they have 27 goats on-site both baby and adult).

Inside the store, you can enjoy various goat products from fresh goat cheese to goat meats.

Whatever floats your goat!

Baby goats at Fromagerie Les Biquettes A L'Air in Iles de la Madeleine

Website / Address: 833 Chemin du Bass., Îles de la Madeleine, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 0C9


Lobster Roll at Gampy’s

When you’re in Iles de la Madeleine, you definitely want to eat lobster especially when you’re visiting during lobster season.

After a traditional lobster dinner, the next most iconic lobster dish is the lobster roll.

Enter Gampy’s!

I’m always drawn to random street-side food truck eats because sometimes they offer food much better than restaurants.

Enjoy delicious lobster roll and homemade fries on the patio while overlooking South Dune beach (Dune-du-Sud).

This is a local gem that not a lot of tourists know about!

I’ve had a lot of lobster rolls especially in my travels to Nova Scotia, and the one at Gampy’s hit the spot!

Good amount of fresh & sweet lobster meat, not too much mayo, perfectly toasted and buttered bun.

They also serve the Island’s iconic beignets all day so you can knock off two things in this guide in one visit!

Be sure to bring cash because they are cash-only.

Lobster Roll at Gampy's in Iles de la Madeleine

Website / Address: 424 Chemin de la Dune du S, Havre-aux-Maisons, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 5G3


Lobster Tempura at LA Renaissance des Iles

Nothing fresher than eating seafood straight from the fishermen.

That’s what you get at LA renaissance des Iles!

LA renaissance des Iles is one of the best places to eat lobster in Iles de la Madeleine for sea-to-table food.

They are the fishermen, and the site is their own production plant for their fresh caught seafood (lobster, crab, scallops, whelks and more).

On-site at LA Renaissance des Iles, they have a fish shop (LA Pecherie) and a small cookery (LA Cantine) to buy and taste fresh seafood.

Tempura lobster is not common to find so I highly recommend getting the La Fabuluese Queue (The Fabulous Tail).

In fact, I’ve only ever had lobster tempura in Halifax, NS before so the one here is my second time.

The one at LA renaissance des Iles is a tender and juicy half lobster tail soaked in tempura batter.

Don’t expect Japanese tempura. Theirs is thicker and fluffier which actually went well in holding and soaking the excess lobster juices and flavour!

Enjoy The Fabulous Tail either indoors in the limited bar seating by the window or outside in the patio seating.

Lobster Tail Tempura at LA Renaissance des Iles in Magdalen Islands

Website / Address: 521 Chemin du Gros Cap, L’Étang-du-Nord, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 3M1


Madelinot Dinner at Auberge La Salicorne

You know the saying, “Nothing beats a homecooked meal“?

The Madelinot dinner at Auberge La Salicorne feels as if a Madelinot grandma invited you for a home-cooked meal at her home.

Enjoy a traditional Island cuisine concocted by Madelinot home cooks which were born and raised by the sea.

You can either drop by the restaurant to enjoy this, or stay the night at Auberge La Salicorne since it’ll be included in the package.

The Table d’hôte Madelinot Dinner menu changes daily.

On my Tuesday dinner, I had the cod cakes as my entree (you get a choice from two options) and it was definitely my favourite cod cake in the trip!

Madelinot Dinner at Auberge La Salicorne, best things to do in Iles de la Madeleine
Cod Cakes

Website / Address: 377 QC-199, Grande-Entrée, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 7A5


Old Harry Beach

I asked a local what her one must-thing to do in Iles de la Madeleine is, and she told me to stroll the Old Harry Beach (Grande Échouerie Beach).

Making up the coastline of the East Point National Wildlife Reserve, Old Harry Beach is one of the longest beaches in Canada offering 14 miles of uninterrupted sand dune with views of red cliffs.

A lot of locals buy food from nearby Boulangerie Grandma’s Bakery and have a picnic at the beach.

Old Harry Beach (Grande Échouerie Beach) in Iles de la Madeleine

Picnic at Dune-du-Sud (South Dune Beach)

Dune-du-Sud is the only beach with red cliffs and caves to explore at low tide.

Having a picnic at Dune-du-Sud is one of the best things to do in Iles de la Madeleine since this family beach has toilets and shaded picnic tables.

Doing this is a great way to combine a bunch of things on this list since they are nearby!

Grab cheese from Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent, smoke herring and meats from Le Fumoir D’antan, bagosse from Le Barbocheux, lobster dishes and beignets from Gampy’s and you’re set!

Picnic with cheese and seafood at Dune-du-Sud / South Dune Beach in Iles de la Madeleine

Poke Bowl and Culinary Finds at Gourmande de Nature

Ask locals where to eat in Iles de la Madeleine and Gourmande de Nature would be up there on top.

Gourmande de Nature is one of the best culinary things to do in the Magdalen Islands because it’s both a gourmet food store and also one of the best places to eat.

Here you’ll find a culinary boutique offering 100% natural jams, syrups, coulis and fruit pastes, homemade gourmet products and cooking and kitchen products.

Gourmande de Nature also has a bistro with menu prepared with seasonal and best in market ingredients.

I highly recommend getting the poke bowl, which changes based on the flavour of the moment.

During my visit, it was scallop poke with a Japanese twist, which I just had to get because scallop is fresh and local to the Islands.

If you want a taste of the season and best in market, this is it!

Scallop Poke Bowl at Gourmande de Nature in Magdalen Islands

Website / Address: 1912 Chemin de l’Étang du N, L’Étang-du-Nord, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 3C7


Sand Treasures at Atelier Côtier

Formerly Artisans du sable, Atelier Côtier is the best things to do in Îles de la Madeleine for buying souvenirs that’s distinct to the Islands.

You’ll find beautiful and unique sculptures that use sand from the Magdalen Islands, and you may even catch the artists make them on-site.

Sand Creations at Atelier Cotier in Magdalen Islands

With their sand creations, you are literally bringing home a part of Iles de la Madeleine with you!

This is a must-visit when you’re headed to La Grave historic site because it’s right at the entrance of it. You can’t miss it!

Atelier Cotier at La Grave Historic Site in Magdalen Islands

Website / Address: 907 Chemin de la Grave, Havre-Aubert, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 9C8


Scallop Poutine at Les Pas Perdus

Love a good local night life with delicious eats?

Les Pas Perdus is one of the best restaurants in Iles de la Madeleine where the locals hang for some delicious food with a traditional pub atmosphere and vibrant vibes.

If you’re feeling adventurous, Les Pas Perdus also has seal burger!

When I came here, I was on a mission for a specific dish: La Poutine du Boss (The Boss Poutine).

You don’t typically find scallops as poutine topping but, when scallops are this good in the Magdalen Islands, it just makes sense!

Scallops, mushrooms, homemade creamy sauce and cheese from Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent over a bed of crispy fresh cut fries.

OH. SO. GOOD!

Scallop Poutine at Les Pas Perdus in Iles de la Madeleine

Website / Address: 169 Chemin Principal, Cap-aux-Meules, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 1C4

Also Read: 4 Day Food Trip in Saint John & Fredericton, New Brunswick


Seal Interpretive Center (Centre d’interprétation du phoque)

With seal being a part of Madelinot culture and cuisine, Seal Interpretive Center is one of the best things to do in Iles de la Madeline to discover fascinating world of seals.

Open all year round (except December and January), this ecomuseum explores the world of seals and the historical, environmental and cultural context of this maritime heritage to promote the Madelinot way of life.

Seal Interpretation Centre in Iles de la Madeleine

Website / Address: 377 QC-199, Grande-Entrée, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 7A5


Smoked Herring and Meats at Le Fumoir D’antan

Iles de la Madeleine is home to unique local artisans.

Opened since 1952, Le Fumoir D’antan is one of the best things to do to get a taste of Island tradition and history.

Dubbed “the smokehouse of Magdalen Islands,” Le Fumoir D’antan is the only smokehouse in Iles de la Madeleine.

Here, you’re taken back in time to discover how smoked herring was made using artisanal process of smoking that’s been passed down through the family for over 20 years.

You must try the smoked herring here, which is quite rare to find!

Unlike smoked salmon, scallops and mackerel that takes hours to smoke, their smoked herring is smoked for 3 months!

The result is more of a jerky texture, but the flavours are so rich and intense unlike other smoked seafood you’ll have.

They also have an economuseum that are open for self-guided tours and guided visits depending on months.

Smoked Skewers from Le Fumoir D'antan and Cheese from Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent at Iles de la Madeleine
Smoked Herring (left) and Smoked Skewers of Scallop, Mackerel and Salmon (right)

Website / Address: 27 Chemin du Quai, Havre-aux-Maisons, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 5M1


Stay at Seaside Accommodations

Being on Islands surrounded by water, you definitely want to take advantage of this and stay somewhere seaside with views.

Luckily, Iles de la Madeleine has plenty of waterfront accommodations from hotels and motels to bed & breakfasts and and cottages.

I’m sharing two of the places I stayed at (Chateau Madelinot and Auberge la Salicorne) on the “Where To Stay” section below.

View from La Grave Historic Site in Magdalen Islands

Stroll through Lighthouse Cape Alright and Beach

Lighthouse Cape Alright is one of the best attractions in Iles de la Madeleine, and perhaps the most iconic!

Built in 1928, this smallest (8.3 metres hight) and last lighthouse in Magdalen Islands is perched on a red sandstone cliff towering over the sea.

Cap-Alright Lighthouse with red sandstone cliffs in Iles de la Madeleine

Cap-Alright Lighthouse is the most photographed lighthouse on the Islands.

In fact, it was commemorated on a Canada Post stamp in 2003 as an iconic image of Canada!

You can visit Lighthouse Cape Alright up-close from the viewing area parking lot.

Lighthouse Cape Alright in Magdalen Islands

Further north from the viewpoint, you’ll find a beach that’s connected to the cliffs and a great way to get a landscape shot from below.

Cape Alright Lighthouse from the beach in Iles de la Madeleine

Sunset at Borgot Lighthouse

When I asked a local where I should go for sunset, I was told Borgot Lighthouse is a must!

Built on 1874 at Cape Hérissé in Étang-du-Nord, Borgot Lighthouse (also known as Cape Lighthouse) is one of the most popular sunset spots in Iles de la Madeleine.

Borgot Lighthouse with red sandstone cliffs in Magdalen Islands

When I went in time for sunset, there were many people including photographers who wants to admire and take shots of this breathtaking sight.

You know it’s meant for it when there’s a viewing platform and benches at the lighthouse as well.

Borgot Lighthouse Sunset at Iles de la Madeleine

Traditional Pot-en-Pot at Cafe De La Grave

I love trying local cuisine when I visit destinations.

Pot-en-Pot is one of the Island specialties and must-try foods in Iles de la Madeleine.

Based on the French tourtiere (meat pie), the Madelinots made their own version by using local seafood instead of meats.

Traditional Pot-en-Pot at Cafe de la Grave in Iles de la Madeleine

In my quest to try the best pot-en-pot in the Magdalen Islands, I ended up at Cafe de la Grave, a cozy cafe located in La Grave historic site, set in a former general store built in 1865.

This traditional seafood pot pie is the best way to try a truly authentic Magdalen Island dish that uses lobster and scallops (from the Islands) and shrimp.

It may not be photogenic and Instagrammable, but it is hearthy and delicious like a warm embrace.

Traditional Seafood Pot Pie at Cafe de la Grave in Iles de la Madeleine

Website / Address: 969 Chemin de la Grave, Havre-Aubert, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec G4T 9C8


Where To Stay in Iles de la Madeleine / Magdalen Islands

Looking for where to stay in Iles de la Madeleine? During my trip, I stayed at two of the best Magdalen Islands hotels with sea views.

Auberge La Salicorne

One of the best hotels in Iles de la Madeleine located in Grande-Entree Island, Auberge La Salicorne is not your typical hotel.

It felt more like a community centre, outdoor recreation and adventure center with an inn…

in a beautiful and immersive way!

Auberge La Salicorne is a non-profit organization with the goal to promote the Islands, the Madelinot way of life, provide employment for local people and help connect locals and visitors.

Their interesting tours and activities get your really immersed with the Islands from soft-shell clam fishing and clay baths to kayaking and sea cave excursions.

Rooms are cozy and cabin-like and some with views of the sea (though bring earphone or plugs if you’re a light sleeper).

Plus breakfast, Madelinot dinner and your choice of activities are included with your packaged stay!

Sea views from room at Auberge la Salicorne in Iles de la Madeleine

Website / Address: 377 QC-199, Grande-Entrée, Magdalen Islands, Quebec G4T 7A5

Chateau Madelinot

One of the best hotels in Iles de la Madeleine located in Cap-aux-Meules Island, Chateau Madelinot is one of the biggest hotels on the islands.

Offering views of the Atlantic Ocean, this refined seaside hotel is very convenient: 2-km from the ferry terminal, 7-km from Cape Alright Lighthouse and 8.2-km from the airport.

Courtyard at Chateau Madelinot in Magdalen Islands

With over 100 rooms (all kinds including double beds, suites and with kitchenettes), Chateau Madelinot is one of the best accommodations in Magdalen Islands that work for all kinds of visitors from single and couples to family and groups needing a kitchen.

It also has modern hotel amenities like indoor pool and jacuzzi, gym and sauna.

Balcony View at Chateau Madelinot in Iles de la Madeleine
Balcony view

Plus it’s home to Resto Bistro Accents, one of the best restaurants in Iles de la Madeline for a more refined Island dining experience while overlooking views of the water.

Resto Bistro Accents interior with view in Magdalen Islands

This is where I had breakfast every morning since it’s included with the stay, and where I had the delicious iconic beignets.

Beignet and Coffee with view at Resto Bistro Accents in Magdalen Islands

Dinner menu is a mix of traditional and contemporary dishes.

I highly recommend the seafood chowder, a heartwarming delicious soup with Island lobster and scallop.

If you’re into winter adventures and wildlife, Chateau Madelinot’s Seal-Pup Excursions is one of the 25 Best Trips to Take in 2020 by National Geographic!

Seafood Chowder at Resto Bistro Accents in Iles de la Madeleine

Website / Address: 323 QC-199, Fatima, Magdalen Islands, Quebec G4T 2H6


How to get to Iles de la Madeleine / Magdalen Islands

There are two ways to get to Iles de la Madeleine.

Travel to Iles de la Madeleine by Plane

If you’re taking the plane, you will be arriving at the Îles-de-la-Madeleine Airport (YGR).

This airport is not that big with only one terminal, two airline check-in counters, two car rental counters and one baggage claim area.

There are three options to get to the Magdalen Islands by plane:

  1. Air Canada – I took the seasonal direct Air Canada flight from Montreal (YUL) to Îles-de-la-Madeleine Airport (YGR) but also flew from Toronto (YYZ) to Montreal.
  2. PAL Airlines – A regional airline offering scheduled flight services and daily routes to and from destinations throughout Eastern Canada.
  3. Pascan Aviation – A local airline offering flights to Magdalen Islands from St-Hubert, Quebec City, Gaspé and Bonaventure.
Air Canada flying over Magdalen Islands

Travel to Iles de la Madeleine by Ferry

You can take the five-hour crossing with CTMA Ferry that goes between Souris, Prince Edward Island and Iles de la Madeleine.

Learn more about CTMA Ferry here.


Best Time to Visit Iles de la Madeleine / Magdalen Islands

I went to Iles de la Madeleine in Spring during the first week of June, and it was still quite cold where I needed a jacket.

Because of its location, the weather in the Magdalen Islands is very different from the Quebec mainland.

Being surrounded by water means the temperature is generally cooler in each season, and the wind always blows.

Borgot Lighthouse in daytime at Iles de la Madeleine in Quebec

I spoke to locals and they said tourist season is typically from mid-June to September, with July and August being the peak.

If you are into seafood, you may want to be here for lobster season which is 9 weeks from May to July.

For travelling foodies, I recommend visiting during the 8th or 9th week of lobster fishing season so you can still taste fresh lobster caught the same day while being in a warmer weather where you hopefully won’t need a jacket.

Travelling Foodie Raymond Cua on oyster fishing Les Cultures du Large boat in Magdalen Islands

MAP: Iles de la Madeleine Best Attractions & Things To Do

Here’s a map that plots all the best attractions and things to do in Iles de la Madeleine featured in this travel guide.


Hope this travel guide helps you plan your Iles de la Madeleine vacation.

I loved my Iles de la Madeleine trip so much and it’s definitely a destination I can keep going back to.

I’m always looking for recommendations so please let me know what you find are the best things to do, restaurants and accommodations in the Magdalen Islands for my future visit!


Huge thanks to Quebec Maritime for sponsoring this post! As usual, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Learn more about Quebec Maritime on their website here.


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Roger

Wednesday 15th of June 2022

It sounds like you saw and did quite a lot during your trip!

Raymond Cua

Wednesday 15th of June 2022

It's not too too much. 7 things per day? :)