Montreal is one of the true gems of Canada, an incredible fusion of historical authenticity, cosmopolitanism and sheer beauty.
If you’re planning a trip to this wonderful city, there are plenty of ways to make the most of it. While any trip to Montreal (click the link to check out photos from one of my visits there) is bound to be unforgettable, there are certain highlights that you may want to add to your list. Here are just four:
Trek Up Mount Royal
Mount Royal is probably the first place you should head to when you arrive in Montreal. The gorgeous views you’ll get of the city will instantly make that hassle with the electronic travel authorisation system worth it. It’s a lovely, scenic walk (or bus ride) to the top, and once you reach the Belvedere Observatory, you’ll be captivated by the beauty of your vantage point. It’s also a great spot for an impressive selfie! If you’re an early bird, try to catch the sunrise from the top of Mount Royal. Seeing the sun creep up over the horizon and spill its rays through the skyscrapers is a magical experience.
Try the Food
Montreal is a true foodie’s city, partly due to the French colonists’ influence. The culinary classics of Montreal may be a little greasy for some traveller’s tastes, but don’t knock it until you try it. Poutine is a trademark of the city, and while it may not be all that appetizing to look at, after just one bite you’ll probably understand why it’s become such a local staple. You also should try a four-inch thick smoked meat sandwich, a specialty of many diners and cafés scattered throughout Montreal. A lot of guidebooks will recommend Schwartz’s, but the locals may tell you otherwise.
Visit a Market
Markets are one of the best ways for visitors to meet the locals and get a taste for the city’s culture. You’ll also want to try a variety of fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables, especially if you’re there in the summer when pretty much everything’s in season. If you’ve never tried locally grown Quebec strawberries, then this needs to go on your bucket list immediately. Try to save a fair chunk of your souvenir money for a market, to look for local delicacies such as ice wines and ciders or preserves. Just like anywhere in Canada, you’ll also find countless maple-flavoured products.
See the Basilique Notre-Dame
Whatever your spiritual leanings, the Basilique Notre-Dame is one church that you need to see when you’re visiting Montreal. The Basilique Notre-Dame (Or Notre-Dame Basilica, to Anglo-Canadians) is one of the most breathtaking cathedrals in the world, and one of the few in North America that doesn’t pale in comparison to the ones in Europe. Have a wander around, and spend a while marvelling at the rustic gothic facades, the giant organ, and its beautiful chapel.
These are just a few suggestions to make your visit to Montreal a fun and interesting one. I hope I am lucky enough to return again one day to enjoy this beautiful city’s culture.
Have you ever visited Montreal?