Canada is one of those countries you have to include in your list of future destinations if you are a great traveler. A country full of contrasts and brimming with nature that will leave you speechless. On this occasion, we are going to talk to you about the east coast. Specifically, we will tell you what to do in Montreal, one of its cities with the most life and flavor of this nation.
One of the main charms of Montreal is checking the balance between history and modernity. This Canadian city has become one of the most advanced in the country and on the continent without preserving its heritage.
Montreal is the largest city in the province of Québec – and the second in Canada – with a population of 1,700,000. But do not be scared, it is an accessible place, with good transport, where you can visit many exciting places without stress.
We have prepared a list of 7 essentials that you cannot miss in the Canadian city. A selection for you to get all the juice out of Montreal and make the most of the great atmosphere of this place.
We start in a big way, at the place most visited by tourists: Mont-Royal. To go up here, you will have to take a bus. This is more than two kilometres uphill. Along the way, there are several viewpoints, although the most famous is the Kondiaronk Belvedere. From there, you can contemplate the skyline of skyscrapers dotted by the green of the city parks, the Saint Lawrence River and the Monteregian hills. It is especially recommended to visit it in autumn to be able to enjoy the reddish and brownish colors that are spread throughout the city.
- Old Montreal
The Old Montreal has its own life. It is a city within another. The Sainte-Catherine and Saint-Paul streets recall the European past of the country, heavily influenced by the presence of British and French in the early centuries of life. Markets, restaurants, bars and art galleries – there are plenty of them and all full of interesting proposals – awaiting you in the heart of Montreal. We advise you to walk through it calmly and do not miss the opportunity to try poutine there. This is one of the most typical dishes that consists of a generous portion of fried potatoes accompanied by cheddar cheese and meat sauce. Those with a sweet tooth can enjoy bagels or trumpets on their terraces, some pancakes covered with cream or butter.
- The main square
The parade of Montreal is one of the busiest places in town and usually a must-visit for tourists. This is where the mix between tradition and modernity is best appreciated. In a few meters, you will see a 19th-century basilica, Notre Dame. Yes, like the one in Paris, which it imitates in its design – and the latest skyscrapers. Here, homage is paid to the city’s founder, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, with a monument in the centre of the square. Many of the excursions that run through the historic centre depart from here.
- Montreal Port
Together with Old Montreal, which we have already told you about, Montreal Port forms one of the city’s liveliest and most visited areas. Not only for tourists but also for the locals who come here to enjoy the leisure activities held throughout the year. If you travel with children, they will enjoy it here too. There is a massive zip line, a playground with many attractions and the big wheel, a gigantic Ferris wheel that has become one of the symbols of Montreal. There is also a food truck space for you to rest and recharge after releasing so much adrenaline. You can also see here one of the most iconic places in Montreal: the clock tower.
Until a few years ago, you could see members of the now world-famous Arcade Fire group on the Plateau-Mont-Royal. Now it is more difficult for you to find people on the streets of this neighborhood with Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, but it is still full of hipsters and artists who wander between its graffiti-filled murals and organic juice bars. All the city’s alternative takes place in its two streets: Mont-Royal Avenue and Sant Laurent Boulevard.
- The underground city
Montreal has a secret: its underground city. The reason for this underground construction you will know first-hand if you visit the Canadian city in winter. It’s freezing here in those months, and this is an excellent way to shelter from the low temperatures. In these 30 kilometres of tunnels, which you can access for 120 entrances, you will find everything: shops, restaurants and cinemas.
- Jean-Drapeau Park
Some of the city’s most popular events and festivals take place on these 268 hectares of land. The Jean-Drapeau Park is located in the centre of the San Lorenzo estuary, made up of two islands, that of Sainte-Hélène and that of Notre-Dame.
What can you do in Jean-Drapeau Park? Virtually everything. Attend a Formula 1 Grand Prix, see a tremendous electric music festival, practice all the sports you can imagine (running, skating, rowing, cycling, rowing, climbing, CrossFit …), have a picnic, listen to classical concert music, ride a roller coaster or even going to the casino.