A Visitors Guide to: Montréal

Montreal is a marvellous city to visit. I took a two-day trip here during the fall and was surprised by all the neat things to do and see. The locals were very welcoming and the food, of course, was spectacular. Montreal being one of the most famous Canadian cities definitely lived up to its expectation. In the short travel time I managed to do and see everything I had on my list, but I definitely saved some things for next time!

What I particularly liked about Montreal was its combination of the old village with the new city skyline. Since Montreal is a very old city it has a district dating back to New France. As a history buff like myself, I was excited to tour around and explore the foundations of this famous city. Another thing that stood out to be was Mont Royal which overlooks the city to the St. Lawrence River and beyond. It’s a great hike up the hill but the view is totally worth it. If you want to catch a fresh breath of air take a quick climb to the top where you can see Montreal for kilometres and learn about the city from a different point of view. 

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Best Time to Travel

Weather wise the best time to visit Montreal would be during the summer so you can enjoy walking around the city. I visited during the late fall, early winter and we were pleasantly surprised with the good weather we had. The advantage of this time of year is that the roads and attractions are quieter and less busy. 

I should mention in comparison to Toronto since Montreal further north its temperature is slightly cooler due to its location near the river. 

Lodging

Hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts. Montreal has it all. Since this is a pretty big city I stayed at my first Canadian hostel to give it a try. I ended up having a great experience at Le Gîte Du Plateau-Mont-Royal and would really recommend it to anyone. I choose this location due to its inexpensive price, free breakfast and its awesome location. 

I suggest staying downtown if possible. It’s so much easier when you stay in the city because you won’t have to walk to far and everything will be at a close distance. Rue Sherbrooke is a great street with tons of hotels and restaurants perfect for any trip. Old Montreal also has some quaint lodges that are worth giving a try.

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Food

Montreal has the highest number of restaurants per Capita in Canada! You are faced with so many options with choices from every cuisine. Classic Montreal staples include Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich, Poutine and Homemade Bagels. There are full food courts underground with hundreds of options you just have to be willing to explore a little. I enjoyed La Banquise and Copper Branch for healthy and exciting options.

To Do:

Mont Royal

Climb the famous mountain that overlooks Montreal where you can relax, have a picnic and enjoy the day. There are lots of things to do on Mont Royal including the Kondiaronk Belvedere lookout, Mount Royal Chalet, the Sculpture garden or the many trails that circle the mountain. Remember to pack your camera for some amazing shots!

Old Montreal

The old city of Montreal is a beautiful historic centre not to miss! When the first settlers came to Montreal they set up houses and shops next the river where many remains still lay. Today these have turned into small charming boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Stroll down the narrow cobblestone streets of Montreal’s famous Parisian-style historic district and explore its cultural landmarks and museums to learn more about the city.

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Pointe-à-Callière Museum

This archaeology and history museum located in Old Montreal debuts as an underground archaeological site containing ruins from every period of the city’s past. It comprises of three historic sites including Pointe-à-Callière, Place Royale and 214 Place d’Youville. This museum is a great way to learn more about Old Montreal and its history as seeing real live foundations of previous buildings allowed me to get a better grasp of what the city looked like before.

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Downtown Montreal

Montreal’s downtown core is much like any other city. You can find the typical street food, commercial brands and apartment buildings, but what makes it unique is what lies within the tall skyscrapers. Various historic sites such as cathedrals, forts and squares add a unique personality to the city, one you just have to look for. Visiting the downtown for any traveller is a must because there’s so much to do and see. Gawk at the Sun Life Building, explore Dorchester Square or stroll inside Christ Church Cathedral!

Underground City

There is a whole world hidden underground in Montreal known as  RÉSO (for réseau, the french word for network). Hundreds of shops, restaurants, hotels and banks lie beneath the pavement of Montreal connecting everything into one giant “shopping mall.” Connected by multi-level tunnels above and below ground the underground city stretches for over 32 km where up to 500,000 people use them every day. Be sure to check out the largest underground complex in the world during your trip to Montreal.

This post was written in collaboration with Tourisme MontrealAll opinions are my own , as always.

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