The average spa day does not normally necessitate submerging yourself in cold water – and by cold we mean bone-chilling, take-your-breath-away freezing. Yet, visit one of the many Nordic spas in Quebec, and this is exactly what you’ll get.
Fortunately, the polar bear dip component is only a brief couple of minutes of a circuit that takes spa-goers through much warmer and relaxing stations, including steam rooms, hot tubs, saunas and rest areas. Originating in Scandinavian climes, Quebeckers have made Nordic spas their own by using their unspoiled wilderness and abundant lakes and rivers as the setting for a stress-busting experience that is as good for you as it is enjoyable.
And just what are the health benefits? “Hydrotherapy brings about deep relaxation,” says Amélie Gagnon of Siberian Station Spa. “It reduces stress, eliminates toxins, relaxes muscles, improves sleep quality and strengthens the immune system.” Hugues Lavoie from Le Nordique Spa adds that, “spending 15 minutes in a sauna is the equivalent of spending fifteen minutes speed walking in terms of burned calories and cardiovascular effort.”
Considering that Quebec City is known for its culinary scene and nightlife, this is definitely a plus.
With so many fantastic Nordic spas in Quebec, we’ve selected a few of the best to try on your next trip:
On the banks of the Yellow River, surrounded by forest, it’s hard to believe that the Siberian Station Spa is mere minutes from the downtown core. There are nine hot stations, including an infrared sauna and eucalyptus steam bath, and three cold stations – two waterfalls and the river itself. Relaxation options range from the outdoor heated terrace to yurts, complete with fireplaces.
Approximately, 45 km outside of Quebec City, near Mont Ste-Anne Resort in the Laurentian Mountains, is the popular Le Nordique spa. Skiers, families and holidaymakers alike appreciate the sauna, Turkish steam bath, and outdoor hot tubs on the 30,000 square-metre property, which borders a private lake. If you want a more extreme sauna experience, try their Aufguss sauna, designed to increase sweating (perhaps making the plunge in the cold bath or a roll in the snow more appealing). Le Nordique also has another location in Stoneham, 30 minutes from the city on the shores of the Jacques Cartier River.
Also half an hour away is Tyst TrÃ¤dgÃ¥rd (Garden of Relaxation), on the site of the Station Touristique Duchesnay, a wilderness resort in Ste-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier. More private than most Nordic spas in Quebec, guests here have the hydrotherapy stations all to themselves.
A smaller spa with panoramic views of the mighty St-Lawrence River awaits at Spa des Neiges in Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre, a scenic 25-minute drive east of the city. And finally, if you’re more of an urban animal, try Sky Spa, which offers the hot/cold circuit on the 17th floor of Quebec City’s Complexe Jules-Dallaire building.
If you’re ever in doubt about what to do next just remember the Nordic Spa mantra – hot, cold, rest, repeat.
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Have you been to any of these Nordic spas in Quebec? Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Jennifer Merrick