4 Things You Have To Do When Visiting Montreal

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

 Image: Wikimedia

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?

33 thoughts on “4 Things You Have To Do When Visiting Montreal

  1. I’m sorry I didn’t get to see the interior of the Basilique Notre-Dame when I was in Montreal. I really wanted to. My host at the time was disinclined to go in because of religious reasons! I happen to love visiting cathedrals, churches, temples, mosques, etc. of all faiths. Maybe next time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, and thanks for dropping by! I’m playing catch-up today on comments.
      I didn’t have much choice but to tour the Basilique Notre-Dame when I visited Montreal the first time, as a sixteen-year-old – I was with my French class and teacher, so we had to go everywhere as a group. Glad I did get to see it, though; so very beautiful! I hope you do get your “next time”. 🙂


  2. Nice to read your inputs on Montreal and, in the process, catch up with you, Jennifer, after a long while. I have not been to Canada as yet. But when I do make it, your post will be very much in my mind while passing by Montreal. Ciao…):)….):)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post Jennifer. With our yearlong 375th birthday celebrations, this year is a particularly good one for a visit.
    To the food list, folks have to try Montreal bagels too. And depending on which part of town you’re in, either Atwater or Jean-Talon markets would be a good choice to check out.
    Cheers 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Norm! Thanks for weighing in on your beautiful city and sharing your own favourites in the food and market categories. I realize I’ve barely scratched the surface with this post, as there are numerous highlights of Montreal that I could have also shared.
      Funny thing: I just found your comment in my spam folder! I don’t usually check it all that often, so I’m glad I found it today. Have you changed anything about your profile here that would have caused this? Would have hated to miss out on your visit!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nothing changed on my profile. I’ll have to contact the spam filter experts again. I’ve been having this problem with my comments intermittently for a few weeks now. At first it was with everyone and now it seems to be with only some people 😥


  4. Thanks for sharing this post, Jennifer. Montreal is also on the ‘bucket list’ on my fridge! Since I have been there before, I did not include it when answering Jill Weatherholt’s Guest Post questions. But I haven’t been there for thirty years…and my husband has never been…so definitely time to go. Thanks for the extra motivation!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really want to go back to Montreal. My husband and I went there for a conference years ago, but twelve hours in, he got called back due to an emergency at his workplace. But at least we had visited the Basilique Notre-Dame before the call came in. And I agree–stunningly breathtaking!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My old stomping grounds! Folks should also check out Vieux Montreal where you can see the old Molson Bank built in the 1600s. What? I knew they made beer, but they had a bank too? You bet! It’s also where Cirque de Soleil got their start and today you can see many street acts and wares still. Also, be sure to get a Steamie hotdog at Victory’s on Beaver Hall where the proprietors still yell out, “cheeseburger, cheeseburger, pepsi, pepsi, hold the line, which pours out into the street at lunch time! ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

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