Benefits of slow tourism

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Cathedrals, museums, zoos... Same old same old, every year. Like most travellers, you’re running from one tourist attraction to the next for fear of missing out. Make sure you get those pictures, have to save those memories! It’s all fine and dandy, but this type of vacation can also wear you down. Have you considered slow tourism?

What is slow tourism?

Spending your time thoroughly exploring a specific region and its heritage. Immersing yourself in its culture, history, landscape and food.

Here a few examples:

  • Explore nature

  • Bike to a neighbouring village
  • Plan a road trip, by car or RV
  • Embark on a spiritual quest. How does a pilgrimage to Notre-Dame-du-Cap or Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré sound? Or how about the Camino de Santiago? Don’t forget your hiking shoes!
  • Give cultural tourism a shot – Cross the Route des Belles-Histoires (This hyperlink will open in a new tab) in the Laurentians by bike (or car) or discover the rich heritage of the First Nations (This hyperlink will open in a new tab) (French only). Shhhh, quiet! can hear the tam-tams in the distance...

  • Take a bite out of culinary tourism. Drive the Route des vins (wine tour) in Estrie or sample farm-to-table dining in Gaspésie or elsewhere... Bet you’re salivating already!

Why try it?

If slowing the pace down and taking everything in appeals to you, then slow tourism is right up your alley. There are many benefits to unwinding in a new environment.

First, you’ll get the most out of the area you’re visiting and maximize your time. No more stress or traffic. You can truly enjoy the moment.

And contrary to traditional tourism, slow tourism is a lot more eco-friendly! That’s because it includes:

  • Less polluting means of transportation
  • Respecting local heritage
  • Protecting biodiversity

And you don’t need to travel very far to disconnect. There’s nothing preventing you from discovering areas close to home. You may be surprised by the immersive and enriching experiences you'll have.

Sound good? Then why not check out one of the top five Canadian cities to tour by bike.

Discover Montreal by bicycle. Try out one of the many urban trails using the public bike-sharing system BIXI, our partner (This hyperlink will open in a new tab). You’ll see the city through a different lens... and at your own pace. Plus, no need to look for parking.

Other benefits

Slow tourism causes you to stay longer in one place. You’ll therefore fully appreciate the local markets and businesses. You may even pick up a few words and expressions in a new language. And why not try the local bars, cafés and bistros? Or try a homestay (spend a few nights in a resident’s home). These are all great ways to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Plus, slow tourism is much easier on your wallet. Ditch plane tickets for train tickets. Use ferry boats and buses, or grab your backpack and hike to your next destination. You'll have much more flexibility as you take in the sights. Get off the beaten path! It’s the only way to explore out-of-the-way areas such as the Lusk Cave (This hyperlink will open in a new tab), in Outaouais.

In short, slow tourism is a great way to discover any location. Forget about traditional tourism...change it up. Embrace the unexpected. Did you miss your boat? No big deal! Who knows where this opportunity will take you. And if you thought global inflation was making it much more difficult to travel, think again. Just make alternative travel plans...without breaking the bank!