Travel Guide to Montreal
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Montreal is my favourite city in Canada and one of the most interesting in North America. It is youthful and fun, but rich in tradition and history. People from all over the world and all walks of life have made Montreal their home. This is apparent in the diversity of the neighbourhoods from Little Italy to Chinatown, Gay Village and more. There truly is something for everybody in Montreal.
In addition, Montreal is incredibly easy to get around on foot and public transit. There is delicious food everywhere, and lot of things to see and do. Montreal is also the most affordable large city in Canada. It is significantly less expensive than Toronto or Vancouver, and much more affordable than most U.S. cities, which makes it a convenient travel destination.
Having said that, here’s the complete travel guide to Montreal:
When is the best time to visit Montreal?
Montreal is located on the 45th parallel, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. However, its climate is continental with cold winters due to outbreaks of polar air masses. This is what the seasons are like in Montreal:
Spring starts around mid March and lasts until May, and you can expect vast temperature swings. It is common to snow in March and even April. Temperatures become warmer by May, however there may be rain and thunderstorms in the evenings. With nice temperatures and low tourist season, spring is the time to visit for those looking for a relaxing city vacation.
Summer lasts from June to August and it can get quite hot during the day. The month of July in particular gets incredibly hot with frequent, and potentially dangerous, heatwaves. During summer evenings there may be rainfalls and thunderstorms. Additionally daylight is very long, making summer the best time to visit if you plan to attend festivals and enjoy drinks outside.
Autumn starts from mid September and lasts until early November and is quite pleasant. If you are an autumn person, this may be the best time for you to visit Montreal because foliage magic is everywhere. The earlier in the season you go, the warmer the temperatures and longer the days. The later you go, the more rain and cold weather you can expect.
Winter is fairly long from mid November until mid March. It can get incredibly cold (this is Canada after all), with temperatures in January similar to those of Moscow. You may expect -30 °C, or even colder with the windchill. However if you bundle up well, Montreal is a great destination for a winter wonderland trip. I visited Montreal in December and had a great time. Just be prepared to take lots of coffee and pastry breaks for warming up.
*If you are visiting in the winter make sure to dress well. Bring gloves, scarves, and hats to minimize exposed skin. Frigid winter temperatures pose a serious risk to your health and safety.
How can you get to Montreal?
Regardless of where in the world you’re coming from, Montreal is very easy to get to.
The most common way to reach Montreal is by plane. The Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) is the second largest in Canada with 31 different airlines servicing 93 different destinations. Once you arrive, there is quick and efficient public transit that can take you to the city.
Find flights to Montreal:
If you’re coming from a nearby city, taking the train can be significantly more comfortable than flying in. However it may also be more expensive. If you’re coming from across the border, I would recommend against taking the train because you may get stuck at the border for many hours. A flight from NYC is only around one hour long, but a journey by train can take more than 10 hours! That’s because you have to change carriers at the border. On the upside, the train drops you downtown so you don’t have to take transit to reach your hotel.
The train is a great mode of transportation between Montreal and Quebec city. So if you plan on visiting both cities, then I recommend taking the train.
Taking the bus to Montreal is possible, and it’s less expensive than taking a train. In some cases, it even takes less time than taking the train. For example, taking a bus from NYC to Montreal takes 2 hours less than taking the train and is about $20-50 less expensive.
You can also drive your car into Montreal. When I was there I saw countless license plates from Maine and Vermont. However, parking may be difficult to find (as is the case with any large city). I would advise you check with your hotel/ rental to find out if they offer parking. There are many public parkings, but it can get expensive and you really don’t need a car while in Montreal. Unless you live close to the border or are planning on travelling further from Montreal, it may be cheaper to fly into the city.
This is a great cost-effective option for those travelling within Canada.
Poparide is a carpooling, ridesharing app that pairs multiple people going to one destination with one driver (and their car). A trip between Quebec City and Montreal can cost you as little as 25 CAD. This might be the most inexpensive alternative to reach Montreal if you live within driving distance. It is also great for those who plan to travel across the province during their trip. If you’re interested, you can sign up here.
What is the best way to get around Montreal?
Montreal is a very walkable city, and the public transit is the best in Canada. This is how to get around the city:
If you are staying downtown, almost everything is within walking distance. Regardless of weather, many people are out walking. The sidewalks are wide and safe. There are a few hills, so bring comfortable shoes. When I visited in the winter I found that salt is sprinkled on the sidewalks regularly, so you don’t need to worry about slipping. For visiting attractions that are not within walking distance (such as the botanical garden), you can take public transit.
Unlike most of Canada, Montreal is very easy to navigate without having a car. The city has the best subway system in the whole country! Additionally, you can easily walk to many attractions, take a bus, taxi, or Uber. For this reason alone I included Montreal in my Best 15 Destinations for Your First Solo Trip article.
All public transit is ran by STM (Société de transport de Montréal) and it includes métro and bus lines. One trip costs 3.5 CAD*. In addition you can purchase tickets for one day for 10 CAD, three day for 20.5 CAD, one week for 28 CAD, and one month for 90.5 CAD. There are also options for evening and weekend tickets, as well as lower fares for children, youths, and seniors.
*The single fare ticket is valid for 120 minutes and allows you boarding on both métro and buses. However, you cannot use this ticket to go to the airport or return to the métro once you left the station.
For travelling to and from the airport you have to purchase an airport ticket for 10 CAD, or a one day ticket (also 10 CAD). The three day, weekly, and monthly tickets are also valid for travelling to and from the airport.
Once you have your ticket, just tap it while boarding a bus or before entering the métro platform.
The métro is closed from 1:00 am until 5:30 am, but the airport shuttle service and other popular bus routes operate continuously.
I never took a taxi during my stay, but I hear taxi rides are inexpensive and comfortable. A ride from the airport to downtown costs about 40 CAD (without tip). Taking a cab may be the best method of transport to take at night if you are travelling alone as a single woman and are worried about your safety. Taxi companies also have websites and apps you can use to order a cab if you don’t like making phone calls. Here are some of the taxi services available in Montreal:
Taxi Bonjour | Taxi Montréal
Taxis are white with colored roof and the word Bounjour painted on the side of the vehicle. They have sedans, minivans, and limousines, as well as hybrid and fully electric cars. You can order a taxi here either on the spot or in advance.
This is an electric taxi service. Cars are white 2020 Kia Soul EV Limited and have green roofs. To order a taxi you must download the app.
Classic yellow cabs that are available anytime of the day or night. You may see them around the city or you can order one from the app or website. You may also make a reservation in advance.
Atlas is a driver-owned company. Prices are 3.45 CAD start, 1.7 CAD/ Km and 0.63 CAD/ min. waiting. Per hour it costs 40 CAD. You can request a cab by phone, or website.
If you are used to ridesharing apps and would rather take one of them, Montreal has most of the big players. Here are the main ridesharing apps:
A local rideshare and delivery app. Eva is owned by both drivers and riders. If you’re interested in trying out this ridesharing app, you can sign up here.
Where is the best place to stay in Montreal?
I recommend staying downtown. It is incredibly easy to get to and from the airport, and everything is within walking distance. Restaurants, museums, Old Montreal are all just a 5-10 minute walk away. And if you wish to venture out of downtown, there are plenty of subway stations.
I recommend hotels over rentals if you are staying for a short duration. These are my favourites:
A gorgeous art deco hotel located steps away from the Notre-Dame Basilica. This is a pet-friendly hotel with parking, gym, restaurant, rooftop terrance, and more.
AC Hotel by Marriott Montreal Downtown
Located just steps away from the Place d’Armes metro station and the Notre-Dame Basilica. AC by Marriott is a newly build hotel with modern finishes. There is an indoor pool, a fitness centre, restaurant, bar, and more. Pets are not welcome except for service animals.
Hotel Le Cantlie Suites
A great option if you’re travelling during the Christmas season. Rooms contain a small kitchenette featuring a fridge, dishes, microwave oven, and coffee/ tea maker. This makes it ideal to buy some ready-to-eat meals in advance and heat them up on Christmas Day. There are 2 restaurants, a rooftop pool, parking, and more. The hotel is located steps away from peel metro station, within walking distance of multiple museums, restaurants, and shopping opportunties.
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Old Montreal
An affordable option in the centre of Old Town. The rooms also feature a small kitchenette with refrigerator and microwave oven. You may consider choosing this hotel if you are travelling with children since the Science Centre is just steps away. It is also very close to La Grande Rue ferris wheel and La Ronde amusement park. In addition, there are lots of restaurants and ice cream/ chocolate shops all around. The location of SpringHill Suites is truly great! I would recommend booking in advance if you’re travelling during high season.
Embassy Suites Montreal by Hilton
Also located in the Old Town, this hotel features a larger kitchenette with full sized refrigerator (with freezer for ice cream) and dishwasher, as well as free breakfast. It is also wheelchair accessible.
If you’re looking for a luxury stay and your budget permits, is there a better place than the Ritz? This property dates to 1912 and is located within walking distance to Mt. Royal Park. The rooms are large and service is impeccable. The afternoon tea experience is a favourite among the locals and tourists alike. There is also an indoor pool, a full serve spa, garden, terrace, and more.
What are the best things to see & do in Montreal?
As Canada’s second largest city, there is something for every interest and every budget. These are the best things to see & do in Montreal:
Walk around Old Montreal
Grab a hot coffee or ice cream (depending on the weather) and stroll around Old Montreal. Admire the beautiful architecture as you walk down the narrow cobblestone streets dating back to the 17th century. Stop by one of the many souvenir shops and grab a little charm. You can take gorgeous pictures in Place d’Armes (a historical public square) and appreciate the beautiful Notre Dame Basilica. Furthermore, you can walk along the Old Port and catch a ride on Canada’s tallest ferris wheel (La Grande roue de Montréal) to get an aerial view of Old Montreal and beyond.
Experience Le Plateau
Le Plateau is one of the most interesting neighbourhoods I have come across. It is a youthful, working-class, bohemian zone with lots of theatres, countless restaurants and unique shops. Thanks to the abundance of greenery, it really does not feel like you are in a big city, but in a tranquil and inviting town. It is home to park La Fontaine, which features outdoor paddling pools, ice rinks, outdoor tennis courts, soccer, volleyball, baseball fields, and more. There are also public bathrooms, and picnic areas.
Visit La Ronde
The largest amusement park in Quebec and the second largest in Canada, La Ronde is on the island right next to Old Montreal. There are several attractions including over 40 rides, shows, restaurants, and shops. A day pass with access to all rides only costs 39.99 CAD. The park is open Saturdays and Sundays from May to October. There are rides for little and big children. So La Ronde can be a great place to spend a day for families and anyone looking for some excitement.
Hike Mont Royal
A great free thing to go on your trip to Montreal. The park was opened in 1876 and is a place where Montrealers love to go jog, ski, stroll, and have picnics. Mont Royal is located in the centre of the city so you can easily reach it from anywhere. At the top there is an observatory with fantastic views of the downtown. Pro tip: visit at sunrise to take beautiful pictures with no one around. There is also an artificial lake and a casual restaurant.
Visit a farmers market and try local produce
Atwater and Jean-Talon are the two largest farmers markets in Montreal. They are both easily reached by subway from downtown. Try locally produced cheeses and cured meats, pastries and small cakes.
If you visit Atwater market in the winter you will feel like you’re in heaven once you enter the bakery from the cold outside. You’ll be greeted by all sorts of sweet aromas from freshly-baked goodies. You can also find ready-cooked dishes and sides, making it a great place to grab provisions for a picnic.
TIP: If you’re staying at a hotel with a kitchenette, grab a large fruit tart. It makes a great snack in the evenings after you spent the whole day walking.
These two farmers markets are also a good place to grab some souvenirs for back home. They both have chocolate shops where you can find delicious, locally made chocolate, truffles, and other small treats. I recommend them both.
Have a picnic
If the weather permits, grab some things to eat from one of the markets and have a picnic. These are some of the best spots to have a picnic in Montreal:
Mount Royal Park
I already mentioned this, but Mount Royal Park is a great spot for a picnic. The park itself is massive so you can either have a picnic is a populated zone, or find a completely secluded area where nobody will bother you. I do recommend visiting the park first to explore and familiarize yourself with it.
A tranquil little park in the Westmount area of the city, close to the Atwater Market. It is a great spot for a quiet picnic.
La Fontaine Park
This park has picnic tables and public bathrooms, so it may be more suitable for longer picnics.
A very large park that is close to Jean-Talon Market, as well as numerous restaurants and bars. There are picnic tables, so Jarry Park Park is a great destination for a takeout in the park if you’re not prepared for picnic.
A little out of downtown, but very easy to reach. There is a metro station right on the corner of Angrignon Park. This park feels a little more wild, like you are truly out in nature, outside of the city. There are barbecue pits, so you can cook your own food. A great picnic place for the budget conscious travellers.
Lachine Canal passes through the southwestern part of the Island of Montreal and spans 14.5 kilometres. It is a great picnic spot for those who like to people watch. There are benches, walking and cycling trails along the canal.
Île Ste. Hélène
Île Ste. Hélène is the home of Parc Jean-Drapeau, Expo 67, La Ronde amusement park, as well as an outdoor waterpark. This could be a great “day trip” for a family.
NOTE: Wherever you choose to picnic in Montreal, there are fat squirrels everywhere. They are unafraid of humans and like to beg for food. Do not feed them, and beware so they don’t steal your food when you’re not looking.
Visit the botanical garden
It is composed of multiple thematic gardens including: aquatic, Chinese, food, innovations, Japanese, roses, Quebec corner, and more. There is free entry in winter time, but there’s not much to see since everything is covered by snow. However there is an insectarium and greenhouses you can visit that require paid ticket. Next to the botanical gardens are the Biodôme, a little habitat of plants and animals side-by-side. and the Planétarium. If you visit during the summer season, there are places to eat, have a refreshing beverage or ice cream.
NOTE: Currently there are government-mandated restrictions. Visit the website for up-to-date opening times and ticket prices.
This is Canada’s largest immersive museum featuring art, design, and technology. Held at Palais des Congres, OASIS Immersion appeals to both young and old. Tickets need to be booked in advance so it doesn’t get too busy. Find up-to-date opening hours and tickets here.
Saint Joseph’s Oratory
More than 2 million visitors and pilgrims visit Saint Joseph’s Oratory every year. It is the largest sanctuary dedicated to Saint Joseph. The grounds contain a beautiful “hidden” outdoor garden that looks like it came out of the fairytale, which is ideal for a proposal.
TIP: If you’re a full-time traveler without access to a gym, climb the stairs at Saint Joseph’s Oratory for free exercise.
Go café hopping
Montreal has a strong coffee scene. Some of my favorite cafés are:
The place to be for everyone who’s young, hip, and looking for that insta stop. There are 3 locations, but the one next to Notre-Dame is the most famous. Aside from a large variety of coffees, teas, matchas, you can also find alcoholic beverages, breakfast, snacks and sandwiches.
Crew Collective & Café
A café and co-working space located in a historic former bank in the Old Town. I would rank this a one of the best cafés I have visited in my life thanks to it gorgeous interior and delicious coffee. You can also find small bites, sandwiches, and salads. Crew Collective & Café is worth a stop, especially if you’re visiting during the cold winter.
Café and local market. Stop for a delicious coffee, lunch or dinner in a cozy and rustic atmosphere in the heart of downtown Montreal. You can also find bags of coffee to take home as souvenirs.
Inspired by a 90’s Italian espresso bar. This is a great spot for those looking for a blast from the past. In addition to coffee made from beans roastes in Italy, you can also find pastries and small bites.
A café, bar, and restaurant, Le Darling offers something for everyone. With beautiful interior and delicious coffee and food, this is a great place to spend a few hours on a day with bad weather.
Relax at Scandinave Spa
Located in Old Town, steps away from Notre-Dame Basilica, the spa offers massage therapy and Scandinavian baths. Note: this spa is for adults 18 and older.
Enjoy an AURA show at Notre-Dame Basilica
A beautiful sound and lights show inside the Notre-Dame Basilica. The show consists of two parts. In the first half you can walk around and enjoy little shows projected around statues and artworks. In the second half everyone is seated to enjoy a main show projected all around the inside of the church. The sounds can get a bit loud and because of that I wouldn’t recommend it to little children younger than 5. Also keep in mind that you cannot take pictures or videos during the second part of the show. Find tickets and more info here.
Explore the underground city
Also known as RÉSO, the underground city is a series of interconnected pedestrian paths that link to shops, shopping malls, food courts, and metro stations. Those of you travelling to Montreal during a heatwave or blizzard will appreciate this. Starting at Complexe Desjardins, look for the RÉSO sign. Explore the 20 miles of underground networks at your own pace.
Warm up at the mall
If you need to warm up a little during colder months, a visit to the mall could be great. Even if you’re not planning on buying anything, the malls feature cafés, restaurants, chocolate/ candy shops that are unique to Quebec. Also at the mall you can find grocery stores where you can buy snacks unique to Quebec. Look for the Aliments du Québec logo for locally produced goods.
Here are some of the malls in Montreal:
A large building containing offices, a hotel, and a shopping mall. There is an entry from René Lévesque Boulevard, very close to multiple hotels. The shopping complex also contains restaurants, and a grocery store. During my stay I went there multiple times to grab takeout and other provisions, since it was only steps away from my hotel.
Centre Eaton de Montréal
The largest mall on the island of Montreal, Eaton has more than 175 stores and restaurants. You can access the mall straight from the metro station without having to go outdoors. I went there once around Christmas time and it was very busy; busier than Complexe Desjardins. If you dislike crowds, don’t visit Eaton around the holidays.
Visit a museum
A visit to the museum is always a good idea on a rainy day.
A museum dedicated to past and present life in Montreal. The exhibits include historic recipes and food, designers and clothes including Chanel and Dior, artefacts, photographs, and more. Visit the website for up-to-date exhibits and ticket prices.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
The largest museum in Canada and one of the top 10 most visited museum in North America. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts features more than 43 000 works across 5 pavilions! There are decorative arts, sculptures garden, Quebec and Canadian arts, international paintings, interactive exhibits and much more. There is a restaurant with a la carte menu and a bistro with pastries and coffee.
Montreal Science Centre
Located in the Old Port, Montreal Science Centre is a great museum for families with children. There are multiple interactive exhibits for children to learn about science. There are also travelling exhibits and IMAX movies about animals and nature.
Open since 1882, this natural history museum has nearly 3 million pieces in its permanent exhibit. Some of the things you can see include: a mineralogy garden, a shell collection, Egyptian mummies, artefacts from world cultures, and more. This is another popular museum amongst families with children. Do note Redpath Museum does not have as many interactive activities at the Science Centre.
Did you know that every year Montreal hosts around 100 different festivals and public events? Regardless of the time if year you visits, there is almost always something going on. From families to youths, there is a festival for everyone. Here are some of the most popular festivals in Montreal:
Not really a festival, but an ongoing, outdoors art installation in Montreal’s Old Town. There are sound and video projections that depict Montreal’s history and historic people. Cité Mémoire is free for all. Although it runs year-round, the schedule changes depending on season. See the updated schedule here.
An international festival of street art held every June. There are painting sessions, workshop and music performances. There are both free and paid events. Many of the murals are left on the buildings so you can admire them outside of festival season. You can find a map of the artworks and purchase tickets on the MURAL website.
An electronic music festival held outdoors in Old Montreal between mid January and early February. The festival has been running since 2007 and features both local and international artists. Tickets start at 22 CAD and can be purchased here.
Fête des neiges de Montréal
A festival for the whole family dedicated to celebrating winter. It spans four weeks between mid January and early February and it is held in Parc Jean-Drapeau near Expo 67.
Montréal en Lumière
“Montreal in Lights” has been running every year at the end of February since 2000. Enjoy Quebec gastronomy, light displays and night walks, concert, fireworks shows and more. The festival is appropriate for the whole family and it is free to attend (food has to be purchased). Learn more about it here.
Just for Laughs
Since 1983, every July Montreal hosts the largest international comedy festival in the world. Children can attend, but not all events are child friendly. It is free to attend the outdoor performances, but indoor shows require payment. Tickets can be purchased here.
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
The largest jazz festival in the world according to Guinness World Records. This festival has been running for 40 years and it lasts 10 days at the beginning of July. Every year 500 concerts are held by 300 musicians from 30 different countries. There are free events across the city as well as concerts that require individual tickets. Find more info here.
Take a food tour
Lastly, if you’re looking for a guided activity, there’s nothing better than a tour.
Where are the best places to eat in Montreal?
Kyo Bar Japonais
A great restaurant to stop by after the AURA show as it is just steps from the Notre-Dame Basilica. Kyo Bar Japonais also offers a variety of dishes for every preference or dietary restrictions. Some of the dishes include: vegan seaweed salad, dumplings, soups, specialty and classic makis, grilled fish and meats, bento boxes, and more.
Located in the Old Port this restaurant features a rustic decor and a seafood-themed menu. In addition to lobster, fish, and scallops, you can also get duck, steak, and a selection of various seafood and non-seafood appetizers. There is also a seafood bar. The restaurant is quite small and you may need a reservation if visiting during high season.
The best place in Old Port for French cuisine. There are two options for dining: the casual brewery, or the formal dining room. You can enjoy steak, foie gras, duck, and more. They have a decent selection of cocktails, a few beers, and over 400 different wines!
Restaurant le Carré
Seasonal Mediterranean cuisine and drinks in a contemporary, open-spaced setting. The menu includes vegetarian, seafood, chicken, duck, and beef dishes. You may be able to get in without a reservation, especially if you are a small party, but it’s best to have one.
Il Campari Centro
High end Italian dining in downtown. There is a large selection of traditional pasta dishes, some fish and steak, and antipasti. The decor is classic luxury with white tablecloth and a lot of wood elements. They can accommodate small and large parties. There is an extensive wine list but bottles can get expensive.
The most famous smoked meat sandwiches in Montreal! The famous smoked meats have been prepared the same way since 1928! Throughout the years, Schwartz’s has been visited by many celebrities and important people. As for the menu, you can order more than just sandwiches. You can also find: steak, chicken, poutine, desserts, and more. You don’t need a reservation, but expect to wait in line to be seated. However, you can order to go and walk to nearby Mont Royal and have a picnic.
Café des Amis
A little casual French bistro located in Mont Royal, by the lake. This is a great place to stop by and recharge after a long walk in the park. You can have coffee, pastries, and a selections of hearty dishes. This includes: mac and cheese, burgers, pasta, sandwiches, soups, and of course, poutine. The interior is large, open-spaced like a cafeteria.
When visiting Montreal, a bagel is one the the local foods you should try. They are different from New York bagels (most people say they’re better). Hinnawi Bagel&Café has four locations, one in plateau and three downtown. The menu is very generous. You can have all sorts of bagels with cream cheese, butter, eggs, as well as bagel sandwiches. In addition you can order salads, pastries, and sweets. There are vegetarian options and a large selection of coffees. You can also buy bagels to go, so if you’re staying at a hotel with a kitchenette you can have them for breakfast. Bagels come in a few varieties: plain, with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, multigrain, everything, cheese, and cinnamon raisin.
Souvenirs to get from Montreal
Planning to bring some gifts back from your trip to Montreal? Here are some things you may consider:
NOTE: check with your country before buying any edible gifts. Some countries (like Canada) don’t allow to enter with grains and grain products (i.e. cookies) coffee beans, seeds, and more. In addition there is a limit on the quantity of alcohol and cigarettes you may bring.
Chocolates are always a great gift, and luckily for you there are multiple places to find delicious chocolates made in Montreal. Recently I compiled a list of 10 amazing places for buying chocolates in Montreal. Have a read if you’re interested in getting some chocolate.
If you taste a great cup of coffee at any of the cafés you visit, chances are you can also buy that coffee in bags. If you’re travelling domestically, a bag of artisan coffee is a very thoughtful and practical gift. However, if you are travelling internationally, check your country’s regulations beforehand.
Jars/ tins of maple syrup, maple candies, cookies, butter or tea are all great (and affordable) gift ideas. You can find them at farmer’s markets, grocery stores, souvenir shops*.
Clothes and accessories
T-shirts, hoodies, and sweatpants are always practical gifts since they can be worn. They are available at all souvenir shops. As are small accessories like magnets, keychains, bottle openers, postcards, and more.
*Souvenir shops are scattered all around Old Montreal. In just a short walk you will come across plenty of them.
Things to keep in mind
Here are some things to be aware of before visiting Montreal:
Most Montrealers are bilingual and can communicate with you in English. However, once in a while you may encounter a person who doesn’t know much English. So be prepared to learn a few phrases in French but don’t stress too much over it.
I put off visiting Montreal for a very long time because I heard a lot of “horror” stories of judgement towards anglophones. I found this not to be the case. No one treated me badly because I didn’t speak French.
Safety-wise, Montreal is significantly safer than most North American cities. I would say it is even safer than Western European cities. You don’t really need to worry about pickpocketing, however you should still keep an eye on your belongings in busy areas. It is also safe for LGBTQ people. Montrealers don’t judge.
As with the rest of Canada, Montreal uses the Canadian dollar (CAD). One US dollar will get you around 1.2-1.3 CAD.
When you use a foreign card elsewhere, most banks will charge you hefty foreign transaction fees. Some banks may also have an additional fee on top of that. There are a few things you can do to save money:
Taking cash from a foreign ATM will typically cost you around $ 2 plus a the foreign conversion rate. I like to withdraw $ 500 at a time to minimize the number of times I pay the ATM fee and to avoid carrying too much cash. I typically use an ATM 2-3 time during a trip. Read point #7 in this article to learn more about keeping your money safe while traveling.
Prepaid Credit Card
A prepaid credit cart is accepted everywhere credit cards are accepted, including online. You can purchase it in advance and load as much money as you think you may need. If you find during the trip that you need more money, you can go online and load more. You may also purchase it once you arrive at your destination. It can also be a great option if you don’t have any credit cards. As we have seen during the pandemic, sometimes cash is not accepted so it’s always good to have a card on you. That being said, Montreal (and Canada) isn’t as card-centric as the Scandinavian countries. I can’t think of any place where cash is not accepted.
Foreign Currency Credit Card
Many banks in Canada offer credit cards in US dollars for those travelling south. If you are from the US, your bank may have a CAD credit card.
This has been my complete travel guide to Montreal. Have you been to Montreal?