Visiting Montreal - What to See and Do
(Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport YUL, Canada)
The Canadian mega-city of Montreal
lies on Montreal Island in Quebec Province and is the country's second-biggest city. It is the gateway to French-speaking Quebec and its huge number of mother-language French-speaking city dwellers is second only to Paris
Culturally and historically, the metropolis holds a unique mix of the New World and the old. Fashionable, incredibly lively and dedicated to the arts, the city is a popular tourism hub for its eclectic selection of heritage sights and landmarks, superb dining, shopping, nightlife and entertainment options, and unique cultural charm.
The Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is the city's major air arrivals hub, with direct flights from many European cities, including London
. Efficient ground transportation networks make travelling around straightforward, while self-drive fanatics will enjoy the well-maintained roads and their careful drivers. Historic Old Montreal, with its Old Port and picturesque riverfront dwellings, will appeal to history buffs and, for a great night out, the Quartier Latin and Le Village are the hotspots.
Ten things you must do in Montreal
- One of the most delightful attractions in the whole of North America, the formerly walled city of Old Montreal is famed for its 17th- and 18th-century architecture, its unique French flavour and its vibrant community of bars, eateries and shops. The Notre Dame Basilica and the Pointe Calliere Museum are highlights.
- Dining like the French-Canadians is a special treat for visitors, with the delicious local cuisine ranging from hearty peasant dishes to gourmet fantasies created by top chefs. If you are travelling on a budget, the city's Jean Talon, Lachine and Maisonneuve fresh markets are the perfect places for breakfast and lunch, helping to save your pennies for a great evening meal.
- Shopaholics will adore Montreal's downtown Underground City, a vast subterranean mix of shops and eateries linking central stations on the Montreal Metro and many of the city's landmarks. More than 19 miles / 30 km of underground streets draw half a million visitors every day. Whatever you are looking for, if you can't find it here, then it probably doesn't exist!.
- The city's 1976 Olympic Stadium is a popular destination, not so much for the building, although it is a well-known city landmark, but for its sporting and other regular events. It is well worth a visit, being set adjacent to the lovely Botanical Gardens and the Montreal Biodome, both of which are interesting destinations for families.
- The beautifully designed Mont Royal Park and Summit are the city's natural landmarks, with the summit giving unforgettable views over the entire cityscape. Accessed by bus, car or on foot, the summit isn't the only attraction here, as the park offers lookout points, walking trails, a lake and a children's playground.
- The Museum of Fine Arts displays over 35,000 art works, from Inuit and Canadian carvings and paintings, to pieces by internationally known artists in the field of sculpture and painting. Also here are decorative and design items, dating from antiquity to the modern-day and originating from many of the world's important cultures, plus a fine collection of early and later photographs.
- The Montreal Biodome fascinates visitors of all ages with its four distinct ecosystems - the sub-Polar regions, the tropical rainforest, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Laurentian maple forest. Each ecosystem is presented in a dedicated space, complete with its unique climate, wildlife and vegetation, along with explanations of how every system functions.
- Even if you've never been attracted to gambling, the Montreal Casino's iconic, futuristic building is a spectacular must-see. Somehow managing to include two original pavilions from the 1967 Montreal Expo, this is one of the largest casinos in the world and certainly one of the most fantastic. If you do fancy a flutter, it is also one of the best equipped when it comes to gaming tables and slot machines, or you could just lunch or dine here while watching others trying their luck.
- The Montreal Science Center at the edge of the Old Port is the perfect place to go on a rainy day, with its I-Max screenings, special exhibitions and informative interactive exhibits. It is aimed at youngsters, but parents certainly seem to find it fascinating as well. There are fun play areas for even younger visitors, as well as a cafe.
- Montreal may well deserve its laid-back reputation, but those looking for adventure should look no further than the Lachine Rapids. The churning expanse of white water prevented early explorers from going upstream until the Lachine canal was built, and nowadays the rapids offer stunning white-water rafting, as well as speedboat and jet boat adventures. This is the most exhilarating activity anywhere in the city.