The Best of Montréal, Canada – City Discovery Series

This article has links to products and services we recommend, which we may make commission from.
Learn all about what makes Montreal, Canada, a great city to visit - what to do, where to eat and drink in the city.
Like it? Pin it on your Pinterest board!

Welcome to the fifth edition of Savored Journeys’ City Discovery Series. There are so many fabulous cities around the world that I haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting and that are on my travel radar and I feel they should be on yours too.

Since I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Montreal in person, we’ll discover it together through links to popular blogs, online guides and travel sites.

There is a wealth of information out there on Montreal, Canada, and I’ve drawn it together in this series for you to explore and enjoy. If you see something missing, or have a blog post of your own to add to the list, let me know!

If you haven’t already, check out the others in the series – Stockholm SwedenAmsterdamSydney and Abu Dhabi.

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

The Best of Montréal, Canada

Admire the beautiful architecture of the city, both modern and historical.
Admire the beautiful architecture of the city, both modern and historical.

Getting To Know Montreal, Canada

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. I like the way Lonely Planet explains Montreal. 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 also 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. Check out Travelette’s 10 Reasons to Go to Montreal for more reasons you should make it your next destination.

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 or GetYourGuide.

In Montréal, Viator has these great tours:

You can check out some of the walking tours below.

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, according to To Europe And Beyond. 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)

According to, 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!

Hike, Bike, Travel say, “when you visit Montréal don’t miss trying [a] Montreal style bagel, poutine or a smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz’s Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen.” 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. I have to admit that the Foie Gras Doubledown from Joe Beef looks incredible. It’s made with “Two slices of foie gras dredged in seasoned flour then deep-fried, sandwiching slices of double-smoked bacon, maple syrup smoked cheddar cheese and mayo made with rendered duck fat… then drizzled with brown sugar apple juice.” It’s that type of dish that truly defines the gastronomic creativity of Montréal’s chefs.

According to Serious Eats, Montréal is 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 from MLT Blog for trying some of those microbrews include Vice & Verses, Dieu du Ciel and Le Saint-Bock. Before Last Call provides a slightly more comprehensive list of the best pubs in Montréal.

And just in case you’re into desserts (and who isn’t), Braised and Confused has us covered by offering 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.

The Best of Montréal, Canada – City Discovery Series

11 thoughts on “The Best of Montréal, Canada – City Discovery Series

  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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.