A First Timer’s Guide to Montreal

by Julia on March 2, 2020

Montreal, a rich and expansive municipality in Quebec, Canada, is an amazing sight to behold. Centered on the island of Montreal, the city is full of references to its history of French settlement, blooming culture, and major waterway development.

Now, the beautiful island has both skyscraping architecture and modern comfort for everyone. If you are considering visiting this beautiful location, don’t get overwhelmed by the abundance of sights, smells, and activities. Here is a quick travel guide of the must-dos in Montreal.

1. Travel Accommodations

First and foremost, after landing or arriving in the area, you need to secure a reliable form of transport. With 166 square miles of land and a population of 1.78 million people, this Canadian city is best discovered by car or train. Many of the best sights and food are spaced consistently throughout the city, which makes walking a pain.

While there is a metro situated underneath the city, having the freedom of your own car makes rental an attractive option. You can book a car ahead of your arrival easily with the use of a rental site. Globecar, a company that serves the Canadian area, is a great option. You can find their quotes and perks, which include additional drivers, low rates, and roadside assistance, at www.globecar.com/en/.

2. Places to Stay

Now that you’ve figured out transportation, you’ll want to start looking for a hotel to book ahead of time. There are plenty of sleeping accommodations in Montreal, from hotels to house-sharing options. Here are some of the most highly-rated hotels, broken up by pricing:

  • Fanciest

    • If money is no issue and you want the best of the best in the city, the famous Ritz-Carlton Montreal is a great choice. The price ends up at a whopping 540 Canadian dollars for a king bedroom, but the amenities and history you get at that price are sure to impress. Flatscreen TVs above the bathtub, afternoon tea service, champagne bars, and a botanical spa are a few of the perks that accompany this luxurious hotel. This hotel has hundreds of years of reputation, but that comes with a price.

  • Cost-effective

    • On the other side of the price spectrum is a lovely boutique hotel called Abri du Voyageur. With a great location, quaint rooms and accommodations, and a continental breakfast, this spot has everything you need for a satisfying stay in Montreal. In addition, the pricing of this hotel starts at 60 CAD for a single bed. If you want a great bargain, this hotel is for you.

  • Strike a Balance

    • When the Ritz is too fancy, but Abri du Voyageur isn’t fancy enough, try a cute little spot called Hotel Zero 1. With pricing of around 140 CAD, this hotel has a great location, a restaurant and meeting rooms, plus a hint of luxury.

3. Eating

Perhaps even more important than the living situation is the eating situation. With a rich culture like Montreal’s, finding a great place to eat is not difficult. However, the sheer amount of options may leave you feeling overwhelmed. Here is a great starter’s guide, split up by breakfast, lunch, and dinner to get you accustomed to the varied cuisine that Montreal has to offer.

  • Breakfast

    • If you want to visit one of Montreal’s most famous breakfast/brunch spots, you have to hit L’Avenue at least once. With a hip and airy atmosphere with a touch of traditional French cuisine, this restaurant is a great opportunity to get a feel for the essence of Montreal. Some of their best dishes include the eggs benedict, french toast, and carrot pancakes. Be prepared to wait in line for this incredible food.

  • Lunch

    • It might surprise you to find a Vietnamese spot in Canada, but Le Red Tiger will be a welcome break from the heavy traditional food custom to Quebec. With affordable prices, tasty fusion cuisine, and a young atmosphere, you’ll likely want to visit Le Red Tiger a couple of times on your visit to Montreal. The ribs, Bahn mi, and papaya salad are great options for this restaurant.

  • Dinner

    • For dinner, try a beautiful little place called Au Pied de Cochon. This traditional restaurant serves elegant dishes that represent the rich history of Montreal. With budget options like Fish and Chips alongside a rib of beef, everyone will find something amongst the decadent dishes served here.

4. Sights

The city of Montreal blends modern sights with a traditional French flair. Simply walking from one district to another makes for a beautiful sight-seeing tour, but we have a couple of sights and activities that are great for a first time trip to Montreal.

    • Old Montreal is the historical region of the city, carrying the earliest signs of history within cobblestone roads and gothic architecture. You don’t have to pay to perform a self-guided tour of this region. Try starting with Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, one of the most famous and most beautiful chapels, painstakingly restored to its former glory. Some other sights to see include the Notre Dame Basilica and the Old Port along the historic waterway.

    • The Jean-Talon Market is a great place to hit if you want to experience the famous food of Montreal all in one spot. Bakeries, bee-keepers, butchers, and local farmers flock to this spot to sell their goods, and a walking tour of this place is sure to leave you full.

    • The Jardin Botanique is a wonderful spot to visit if you love the sights and smells of a lush, otherworldly garden. Although you pay a fee at the gate, it is a small price to pay for the 3,000 specimens located in their greenhouses. Try a guided tour for a breath of fresh air after walking the city.

Montreal is the perfect spot for your next vacation. Use this guide as a jumping-off point, but make sure to branch out and explore the beauty and history of this city.

Related Posts:

Leave a Comment