Do you want to visit a city that blends the very best of North American modernity with the unique and quaint history of Europe? If so, Montreal could be your next great holiday destination. If you’re planning on joining the 19 million people that flew into Montreal-Trudeau airport last year, then read on for the complete tourist’s guide to Montreal.
Canada’s second-largest city is located just an hour from the American border, but once there, you’ll feel as though you’re thousands of miles away from the United States. There are parts of Montreal where you will hear the locals conversing solely in French as they enjoy patisseries in local cafes.
There are others where you will feel as though you’re in a thriving, modern metropolis. It’s the perfect blend of past and present, and also home to some of the best restaurants, bars and museums in the world.
Three Things To Do In Montreal
Scale Mount Royal
This small mountain is the centrepiece of Montreal and should be your first port of call for sightseeing in the city. At 682 acres, Mount Royal is a vast city park which gives you a taste of nature without having to leave the city boundaries.
It’s the perfect place to aze out over the city and views the most unique skyline in not just Canada, but North America. There are also cross-country skiing routes available to enjoy during winter, so you can make the most of your visit.
A trip up Mount Royal at night can be even better during the day, as you look down at the lit-up city below you
Vist A Super Casino
There aren’t many casinos in Montreal, but that vacuum is well and truly made up for by the stunning Casino de Montreal. Situated on the Notre Dame Island, this uniquely designed casino was first opened in 1993 and has since welcomed millions of visitors.
Casino de Montreal covers 526,488 square feet and hosts 3200 slot machines and over 115 gaming tables. Unlike the casinos of America and Las Vegas, the style of this establishment is very much a homage to Europe and the Casino de Monte Carlo. You won’t enjoy a more refined or unique gambling experience anywhere in North America.
Stroll Around Saint-Laurent
What makes Montreal unique is the people that live there and there is no greater example of this that Saint-Laurent stretch of the main and its accompanying alleyways. Street artists have used the sides of nearby buildings as their canvasses for years, and the result is an outdoor art gallery that will leave you in awe.
During the summer there are numerous street fairs, food stalls and outdoor bar terraces where you can rest your feet and enjoy some of the best of the world-famous local cuisine.
Keep an eye out for upcoming events as Saint-Laurent has been home to musical gigs during previous summer seasons.
A glimpse at the wonderful Saint-Laurent streets
Montreal has a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets. If you’re a backpacker or a budget traveller, you can get a room in a hostel or low-cost hotel for as little as $25.
There are luxury options available that will set you back around $160 a night. For those neither wishing to scrimp and save or go all out, there are a number of mid-priced options available in the centre of the city that will cost around $60.
Due to its design and subsequent rapid growth in the latter part of the twentieth century, Montreal is an absolute nightmare to drive around. Hiring a car is a no-no as you’ll spend most of your time searching in vain for parking spaces. Likewise, taxis should be avoided as they tend to be a lot more expensive than anywhere in the country.
Fortunately, Montreal has a great public transport network, meaning you can explore the city quickly and cheaply via bus or subway. In the warmer summer months, it’s a good idea to hire a bike so that you can see as much of the city as possible on your travels.
Food & Drink
Montreal is a foodie’s paradise with amazing cuisine from all four corners of the world and delicious local cuisine on offer. As you would expect, there are a lot of Gallic inspired restaurants around the city to enjoy, with some of the world’s best chefs calling Montreal home.
If the thought of Michelin star cuisine doesn’t get your juices flowing, you could turn to some of the cheaper alternatives. The vegan scene in Montreal is also incredible.
Surprisingly simple but incredibly tasty, you’ll love them from the first bite and might just develop an addiction for musts during your visit.
Despite being a hub of culture and diversity, Montreal is a city where you can get by just fine on a budget. $60 a day will cover basic accommodation and tasty local food with room for excursions and museum visits thrown in.
If you want to make the most of your trip and live in the lap of luxury you can do so for around $300 a day. Montreal is a moderately priced holiday destination, but it will provide you with priceless memories.