Why You Should Visit Montréal, Canada

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Located on an island at the confluence of the St. Lawrence River and Ottawa Rivers in Eastern Canada, Montréal is the largest city in Quebec. They say it is “a captivating blend of old and new, with stone-walled taverns, candlelit drinking dens, wild festivals and a cutting-edge arts scene.”

Montréal is often considered the food capital of Canada. If you never knew Canada was so big into food, you’ve never been to Montréal!

You might want to brush up on your French before visiting Montréal, since it is second largest French-speaking city, after Paris. But don’t worry, most people in the cosmopolitan city speak a second language (mostly English) and sometimes even a third.

It’s the duality of cultures in Montréal that makes it so unique. It’s where Europe meets North America and it’s truly a fascinating city because of it.

Love traveling for food like us? Check out this guide on where you find Montreal’s best dumplings.

What to do in Montréal

The city lights of Montreal, Canada
The city lights of Montreal, Canada

Whenever we are planning a visit to a new city, we check out the tour offerings from Viator and make sure we get in on a sightseeing tour and whatever great food tours they have to offer.

In Montréal, Viator has these great tours that are a great way to spend some of your time.

Montréal is well known for its festivals, including the highly acclaimed Montréal Jazz Festival and Quebec City’s Winter Carnival. Summer is the major festival season and you’re bound to happen upon something going on if you visit when the weather’s nice.

According to Tourisme Montréal, there are over 100 festivals devoted to art, music, comedy, fashion, food and more. There’s really something to everyone.

Hiking up Mont Royal is one of the top activities to do in Montréal. They also suggest taking a food tour, and walking along St. John street to admire the old side of Montréal. Here’s their itinerary for first timers.

However, Matt at Landlopers wants to make sure we don’t make integral mistakes while visiting the city, like staying only in Old Port and not discovering other neighborhoods and areas. He also suggests not buying maple syrup, but tourists will be tourists and that is probably one of the most bought commodities!

National Geographic Travel suggests a good walking tour of the city, which will take you past markets, great shopping, museums and cathedrals.

Where and What to Eat & Drink in Montréal

Montreal Smoked Meat
Montreal Smoked Meat (Photo by Danny K1M CC3.0)

Montreal has the highest number of restaurants per Capita in Canada and the second in North America after New York. Not only is Montréal overflow with quaint English pubs, incredible food markets and interesting little cafes, it’s brimming with renown chefs who know just how to knock your socks off with inventive flavors and traditional dishes. You’ll even find dumplings in Montreal!

When you visit Montréal, don’t miss trying a Montreal style bagel, poutine or a smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz’s Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen or any of the other great delis in the city.

For a rundown of all of those specialties, along with a few others, check out Shut Up and Eat’s Top 10 Iconic Montreal Foods.

Montréal is also a brewpub town where every brewpub feels like it could be your neighborhood bar. In Canada, it was one of the first cities to embrace microbrewing and turn away from mass-produced beer. Some top suggestions for microbrews include Vice & Verses, Dieu du Ciel and Le Saint-Bock.

And just in case you’re into desserts (and who isn’t), here’s a list of the best desserts in Montréal, which includes my favorite, chocolate fondue!

Where to Stay in Montreal Canada

Looking for the right place to stay in Montreal during your stay? There are two main choices – Old Montreal and Downtown Montreal. They are located really close to each other, so no matter which you choose, it won’t be a hassle getting to and from the other. It really comes down to what type of feel you’re looking for. Both areas have many bars, restaurants, shopping amenities.

Old Montreal Hotels

Downtown Montreal Hotels

I’m convinced that no matter what you find to do and see in Montréal, you’ll have a fantastic time. You just might want to avoid winter, if you’re not interest in freezing your face off in the chilly winter weather. Do you have a favorite part of Montréal of thing to do there that you’d like to share? Tell us about it in the comments.

Want to travel to Montreal? Pin this post as inspiration!

Why You Should Visit Montreal Canada

Why You Should Visit Montréal, Canada

11 thoughts on “Why You Should Visit Montréal, Canada

  1. melody pittman says:

    Licking my lips thinking about that sandwich you described. Montreal is high on my radar. Hoping to get there in 2016 for sure. Love all the links you’ve included and I, too, prefer to use Viator for their fun activities.

  2. Dave from Daves Travel Pages says:

    I spent a few months in Canada, but never got the chance to visit Montreal. This post as made me want to return though, even if it is just for the Foie Gras Doubledown!

  3. Traveling Rockhopper says:

    After reading your post, I feel like I just visited Montreal! 🙂
    It’s a beautiful city. I haven’t been there yet, but I really want to see it, especially I heard lots about Montreal.

  4. Kathrin says:

    Canada and Quebec are almost on top of my travel list, and I hope I can also make a detour to Montreal when I ever get the chance to visit the country.

  5. Mar says:

    Such great memories from my time there as a student! It was a while ago but the city still keeps its soul. The people made it extra special to me too

  6. Nancy says:

    Montreal is a fabulous city, Laura. I have so glad to you enjoy it too. I love the Old Town – cobbled streets, cafes, shops, etc. Summer is my favourite season to visit the city. I have visited Montreal a few times during the winter and discovered underground passages between the shopping malls – very convenient!

  7. Karilyn says:

    Great post. I have only been to the airport in Montreal, but I have heard nothing but amazing things. One of these days I will make a stop over.. This post has really made me feel like I am missing something by not stopping!

  8. Monica says:

    This is definitely a post that shouldn’t be read when you’re hungry – I made this mistake 🙂
    I’ve already heard about great cuisine of Montreal, but I remember the first time I heard it I was surprised, because the only food thing I associate with Canada is maple syrup 😉

  9. Marie @ To Europe And Beyond says:

    Thanks for linking my Montreal post. However, the photos of “Old Montreal” are actually from Old Quebec City.

  10. Pingback: 5 Top Things to See & Do in Toronto, Canada | Savored Journeys

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