Enjoy a global experience without leaving North America in Montreal, the largest city in Quebec and the second-largest city in Canada. With diverse cultural influences anchored in French but including residents of Italian, Irish, Asian, Arabic, African and other ethnicities, it is a city unlike any other in the world, with 18th century buildings, famous international festivals, inventive modern restaurants and distinctive contributions to local and global culture. Though it may seem daunting to first-time visitors as well as those returning, it is easy to find the perfect hotel to fit the purposes of your stay.
Things to See
Downtown Montreal is a cultural paradise boasting some of Canada's best museums, galleries, and performance spaces. Rembrandts, Renoirs, and Picassos sit alongside the works of Canada's finest artists at the Musée des Beaux-Arts. Tourists can learn about natural history at Redpath Museum or about Canada's origins at Musée McCord. The Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Opera de Montréal, and the Les Grands Ballets Canadiens all perform at Place des Arts.
Historic Vieux Montréal, or Old Montreal, shows another side to the city. Stroll down its cobblestone streets or enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of its waterside restaurants if you need to adjust the speed Montreal's pace.
Music lovers flock to Montreal during the summer to celebrate International de Jazz de Montréal, one of the world’s most revered jazz festivals and the city's biggest party. Book your hotel months in advance if you plan to attend Montreal Jazz Festival, as the best hotels fill quickly for
this event. The city becomes quieter in April and May, after the end of the NHL season but just before tourist season begins. Local secrets like the Montreal St. Patrick's Day Parade and the Vue sur la Relève Festival, a multidisciplinary performing arts event, keep visitors entertained as they travel during the low season.
Hotels in Montreal
Downtown Montreal hotels include recognizable chain resorts as well as a number of affordably elegant hostels in the downtown area, conveniently located within walking distance of key landmarks and attractions. These range from budget-friendly to five-star establishments. For a unique or unusual room, book one of the quirky inns, known as auberges, or boutique hotels outside the city center.
Where to Stay
Deciding where to stay in Montreal depends largely on your preferences and tastes. If you love the excitement of a big city, you'll adore the downtown area’s towering skyscrapers, high-class hotels, and contemporary restaurants. If you like old-world charm, you’ll likely prefer the auberges, boutique hotels, and bed and breakfasts, found in Vieux-Montréal and The Plateau. Hotels in the city center put the best attractions close to your door, while hotel options on islands Ile Sainte-Hélène and Ile Notre-Dame allow you to escape the activity of the city’s downtown district for a quiet, relaxing getaway. The Jean-Drapeau Metro station on the Yellow Line connects these islands to the rest of Montreal.
How to Get to Montreal
Air travelers touch down at the Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) in Dorval, 12 minutes from the heart of the city. It's the busiest airport in Quebec and a destination for flights arriving from all over North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
The 747 Express Bus runs between the airport and Gare d'autocars de Montréal, which is the bus terminal in the Montreal city center connecting to the Montreal Metro system at the Berri-UQAM station. The bus operates 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and the journey takes between 45 minutes and an hour, depending on traffic. The $10 CAD fare entitles you to 24 hours of unlimited travel through the city's Société de transport de Montréal bus and Metro network. Alternately, a cab from the airport to downtown Montréal costs about $40 CAD.
Montreal is a large city, but you should be able to discover the neighborhood around your hotel on foot. Cars are rarely driven on the islands, but Montreal has an efficient public transport network of Metro and bus lines that make it easy to explore further afield.