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Montreal’s food scene continues to entice visitors. From decadent dishes to more creative fare, this Canadian metropolis prides itself on its world-class food and drink. Here are some must-have Montreal meals.

poutine AdobeStock 65043706

Smothered in cheese curds and a pile of steaming gravy, this plate of fries is Montreal’s go-to comfort food. This savory dish is so delicious, you’ll see poutine on virtually every restaurant’s menu. Definitely plan to try some while you’re here.

Smoked Meat

For a savory, perfectly charred repast, try a variety of smoked Canadian meat. In many Jewish delis, beef brisket is cured then smoked with a variety of spices and served alongside mustard on rye bread. Salty, yet satisfying, the smoked meat is worth a bite.

Pouding Chômeur

Directly translated to “poor man’s pudding,” this delicious cake-style dessert was created by female factory workers during Quebec’s Depression. Luckily, the Depression is over, but this sweet dish remains on many menus around Montreal. Make sure you save room for this tempting treat.

Montreal prides itself on these doughy breakfast breads. We suggest asking your guide for their favorite local spot for this classic breakfast favorite. Montrealer’s usually have a hard stance on which bagels are the best, so try a few and cast your vote.

Continue on in your merriment of eating and drinking and enjoy one of Montreal’s many festivals. Celebrating international film, comedy, or music, the city becomes even more lively when one of these headline events take place. Here are some highlights we think you may enjoy.

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Les FrancoFolies

One of Montreal’s most iconic festivals is the popular Les FrancoFolies. Hear some of the best French music from Quebec alongside close to one million other attendees. If you’re in Montreal in June, you should consider checking out this huge festival.

Montreal Jazz Festival

Our guests who love jazz will be in their glory if they visit Montreal during the Jazz Festival. Featuring international jazz acts from all genres, this is one of the world’s largest festivals and continues to be the concert to attend in the summer season. The best part is that many of the shows are free of charge. Be sure to ask your local guide for details about where to go and when.

Just for Laughs

Another major event for the city is its comedy festival. From newcomers to famous comedians like Jon Stewart, Tim Allen, and Dave Chapelle, there will be plenty of laughs during this festival.

World Film Festival

Catch some notable films produced in Canada and beyond at this international film festival. Focused on presenting truly independent cinema, this festival is the oldest in the country and often attracts a few high-profile guests. This event is another major artistic event in Montreal.


Montreal is a great North American getaway. Easily accessible and fun to take a stroll around, the sites in this Francophone metropolis are a beautiful blend of old and new. Visit this Canadian hub and take in some of its stunning attractions.

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Mount Royal

Rising above the city you’ll find the resplendent Mount Royal. Explore this lush park on one of your free days from touring; find the summit where you’ll see a magnificent panorama of the Island of Montreal and the St. Lawrence. For a tranquil day outdoors, we recommend visiting the Mount.

Old Montreal

Walk back in time through this Parisian-esque district and see some of Montreal’s most iconic landmarks. Head to the open-air square of Place Jacques-Cartier and get a deeper understanding of Montreal’s history.

Notre-Dame Basilica

Visit the oldest and most revered church in Montreal, the Notre-Dame Basilica. A beautiful example of neo-Gothic architecture, this holy site is a grand example of Montreal’s strong faith. If you are strolling through the city at night, stop by the church to see a fascinating light and sound show that tells the founding story of Montreal.

St. Joseph’s Oratory

A mecca for religious pilgrims, St. Joseph’s Oratory is a massive domed cathedral and significant landmark in Montreal. Take a walk through this Renaissance-style building and learn about the patron Saint of Canada, the site’s namesake. Hear of miraculous acts that occurred here before ascending the cloister behind the church to access the Mount Royal Park.

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About Tourisme Montréal

Tourisme Montréal plays a leading role in making Montréal shine as a leading tourism destination and port of entry to Canada. Made up of a team of over 100 employees who are passionate about their city, the organization has been keeping Montréal in the top rankings for leisure and business travel for over a century.

Tourisme Montréal unites nearly 1,000 members and partners and promotes synergy within the industry to maximize the economic, cultural and social benefits of tourism in Montréal for all of Québec.

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1,000 members and partners, about montréal.

Montréal is a giant playground that is home to a multitude of festivals, major events and attractions all throughout the year.

Its vibrant neighbourhoods offer up a world-renowned, diverse and creative culinary scene.

Whether soaking up panoramic vistas from atop Mount Royal, strolling along the majestic St. Lawrence River or immersing yourself in the city’s laid-back ambiance, there are a multitude of ways to enjoy a rich and unforgettable Montréal experience.

Diversity is the beating heart of Montréal. People loves the city for its unique mix of cultures, its conviviality and its openness, the DNA of all Montrealers.

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Montreal Reviews & Ratings

Frank Wright

Best of Eastern Canada end Montreal

For the price, other than the hotels, it was substandard. The food was not what was expected and we were left to purchase many of the dinner ones. This was not like ...

The best trip I ever did, so glad I made this decision

The best trip I ever did, so glad I made this decision. I saw...

During this short 2 weeks trip, I traveled many places and met many people

During this short 2 weeks trip, I traveled many places and met many people. Those places and especially the people will always have a special place in my heart. I wa...

Fun and amazing, great time camping and activities plus free time to explore

Fun and amazing, great time camping and activities plus free time to explore.

Great experience

Great experience. A good way to travel.

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How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Montreal — Luxury Hotels, Beautiful Parks, and Canada's Best Restaurant Included

Here's where to eat, stay, and explore in Montreal, according to a local.

Best Hotels

  • Best Things to Do

Best Places to Eat

Best nightlife, best shopping, best neighborhoods to visit, best time to visit, how to get there, how to get around.

Despite its sometimes divisive language politics, extreme seasons, and chronic traffic headaches, Montrealers, or les Montréalais , are justifiably proud of their distinctive, if idiosyncratic, city — and for good reason. Travel + Leisure readers named Montreal one of their favorite cities in Canada in 2023 .

The sophisticated, French-speaking (yet very bilingual), culturally diverse city lays claim to world-class restaurants, lovely parks, superb art galleries and museums, a dynamic music scene, inspiring 18th- and 19th-century architecture, and vibrant nightlife.

It can also be a lot of fun in the winter , when locals like to get out and celebrate the cold and snow, even extending the revelry at outdoor festivals and concerts at night.

R.M. Nunes/Getty Images

Thom Seivewright, a Montreal expert and former hotel concierge, launched his small-group tour company, Tours Montreal , in the Canadian city in 2016. “Our art scene is on par with cities two or three times our size,” he says. “There’s obviously a big emphasis placed on arts and culture in Montreal.”

There’s a big emphasis on food , too. Montrealers love their bagels, cheeses, poutine, and maple syrup, and they’re loyal to their chef-owned restaurants. “It’s a little gem of a city that has world-class dining — and world-class junk food,” says Seivewright. 

Long known for its exuberant after-dark scene, Montreal has it all, from cocktail bars to Irish pubs, jazz bars to pulsating dance clubs. The city is even planning to create a 24-hour nightlife district .

Here's everything you need to know to plan a memorable trip to Montreal.

Top 5 Can’t Miss

  • The fashionable, Parisian-style brasserie and rooftop terrace at Hôtel Le Place d’Armes, a boutique luxury property overlooking Place d’Armes and the Notre-Dame Basilica, attracts locals and tourists alike.
  • Designed by American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who was also responsible for New York City’s Central Park, Parc du Mont-Royal is an oasis of greenery in the city center.
  • Mon Lapin, a cozy wine bar and restaurant in Little Italy serving natural wines and an ever-changing menu of small plates, was voted Canada’s best restaurant in 2023 . 
  • Bar Furco’s lovely terrace becomes lively in the summer during Montreal’s ritual cinq à sept (happy hour).
  • Saint Laurent Boulevard, a.k.a. the Main, is a good place to get a glimpse of Montreal’s 19th- and 20th-century immigrant history. It's also the historical dividing line between French and English in the city.

Courtesy of Four Seasons Resorts

Hotel Nelligan

Hotel Nelligan , located in the heart of Old Montreal, was T+L readers' favorite city hotel in Canada in 2023 . Spanning four 19th-century graystones, the 105-room boutique property lies near the Notre-Dame Basilica and Old Port waterfront. Its seasonal rooftop terrace is a summer favorite for its picturesque views and lively happy hour.

Hôtel Place d’Armes

Another T+L reader favorite, Hôtel Place d’Armes is housed in four 19th-century neoclassical buildings opposite the Notre-Dame Basilica. The property is highly rated for its tasteful rooms featuring hardwood floors and brick walls, swanky French brasserie , and popular rooftop terrace. 

Hôtel Uville

One of the city’s newer hotels, opened in 2020, Hôtel Uville got its name thanks to its location in Old Montreal’s Place d’Youville. Uville is part design hotel, part museum — a love letter to the Montreal of the 1960s and '70s. This was transformative period, a time when francophone Quebecers were turning away from the Catholic church and leading the charge in North America vis-à-vis cuisine, style, and design — the culmination of which were Expo 67 and the 1976 Olympics.

“This hotel is very cool,” says Seivewright. “They did a great job. The details, like the tiled bathrooms and custom-made wallpapers, are amazing. They’ve got archival photos and artifacts from the '60s and '70s in each of the rooms, and documentary films from the National Film Board that you can watch on your room’s TV.”

The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal

Montreal’s grande-dame hotel, the Ritz-Carlton , opened in 1912 in the city's Golden Square Mile. In addition to housing chef Daniel Boulud's Maison Boulud , the refined property offers afternoon tea in the ornate Palm Court and seasonal garden terrace, Spa St. James, and an indoor saltwater pool.

Four Seasons Hotel Montreal

Located in Golden Square Mile since 2019, the posh  Four Seasons Hotel Montreal is connected via a third-floor walkway to the luxury department store Holt Renfrew Ogilvy . The hotel boasts Marcus Restaurant + Terrace, in partnership with legendary Manhattan chef Marcus Samuelsson; a Guerlain Spa; and a skylit swimming pool with an upstream current generator. What more could you want from a world-class Montreal hotel ?

Best Things to Do 

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

Parc du Mont-Royal

What Central Park is to New Yorkers and Hyde Park to Londoners, Parc du Mont-Royal, or Mount Royal Park, is to Montrealers. At 764 feet high, Mount Royal may not be much of a mountain, but the park is, as Seivewritght says, “the heart and soul of the city.” He adds, “The fact that Montreal is a four-season city and Mount Royal is a four-season park makes it even better because you’ve got skiing, skating, and tobogganing in the wintertime. And in the summer, you can go biking and walking.” You can also go for a picnic and rent a rowboat or Mölkky or spikeball equipment at Beaver Lake. 

Old Montreal

With its graystone buildings and narrow streets, Old Montreal can sometimes feel like a slice of Europe in North America. Certainly no visit to Montreal is complete without a stop here. Not only will you find the city’s most important historic landmarks, including the Notre-Dame Basilica , the 18th-century Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel , the Second Empire-style City Hall, and the neoclassic Marché Bonsecours , but it’s also home to pretty boutique hotels, haute-couture shops, and chef-owned restaurants.


A national archaeological site, Pointe-à-Callière , now an impressive archaeology and history museum, sits above the ruins of the birthplace of Montreal. “The Pointe-à-Callière museum is amazing,” says Seivewright. “They’ll take you underground to see the ruins of the original fortifications of Montreal, the original city the French built here in the 1600s.” Visitors can also see Indigenous artifacts uncovered during a dig and part of North America’s first collector sewer, built between 1832 and 1838.

Arsenal Contemporary Art Gallery

Opened in Montreal in an 80,000-square-foot building in 2011, Arsenal Contemporary Art has since expanded to include locations in Toronto and New York City. “Outside of the museums, I would send my clients to certain galleries around town. These days, one of my favorites is Arsenal. It has an amazing [selection] in its permanent collection, but it also puts on temporary exhibits that are just mind-blowing,” says Seivewright.

Montreal is a city of festivals, with everything from jazz (the city hosts the world’s largest jazz festival) to Pride to circus arts celebrated here. There’s even a dedicated festival and outdoor performance space downtown called the Quartier des Spectacles . While there are festivals year-round , May to September is the city’s busiest period.

eyedias/Getty Images

La Banquise

One of Quebec's most beloved foods is poutine, traditionally a mess (translation of "poutine") of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. But poutine continues to get more upscale. A veritable institution since 1968, La Banquise doesn’t claim to be high-end, but the casual eatery serves 35 kinds of poutine and it’s open 24 hours. “La Banquise is a classic. I’m [vegetarian], and in my opinion, the veggie gravies are even more delicious,” says Seivewright. “A lot of people knock La Banquise because it’s popular, but I stand by it.”

Montreal Plaza

The design at Montreal Plaza is elegant and stylish, yet also notable for its eccentric touches like a dollhouse hanging upside down from the ceiling and Elmo sitting on the bar. Even certain dishes, like crudo or oysters, are served atop a toy triceratops or among plastic Smurfs. Chef and owner Charles-Antoine Crête and his team enjoy serving great food in a playful, joyous way. “This is my favorite place,” says Seivewright. “It’s not the just the way the food is prepared or what it is, but the whimsical, creative way it’s presented.”

Sushi Momo , from Mexican-Canadian chef Christian Ventura, is Montreal’s best vegan sushi restaurant. The sleek, dimly lit, botanically adorned space in the Plateau area is inviting, while the artfully plated confections are a feast for the eyes and the fusion of flavors a song for the taste buds.

Nora Gray , a lively, casual restaurant in Griffintown, is known for its southern Italian cuisine, updated cucina povera , and privately imported natural and organic wines. The dark wood, banquettes, long bar, and warm candlelight lend the restaurant an intimate, romantic, and club-like feel. 

Dominique Lafond

Voted Canada’s best restaurant in 2023 , Mon Lapin is a cozy wine bar and restaurant in Little Italy. It serves natural wines and an ever-changing menu of French- and Italian-inspired small plates. Each dish highlights fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients plus unexpected flavor combinations.

Henryk Sadura/Getty Images

Cloakroom Bar

The 25-seat Cloakroom Bar , with a cloak-and-dagger atmosphere, was named Canada’s second-best bar in 2023 . “It’s one of my favorite bars anywhere in the world,” says Seivewright. “It’s hidden behind a menswear shop, which makes it even cooler. It’s very exclusive feeling. You tell them, 'I like gin, I like citrus,' and they’ll create something for you. If you’re three people and you all like the same thing, they’ll create three different drinks.”

Situated in the Plateau Mont-Royal, Diese Onze is an intimate jazz bar that also serves tapas and mains. “I’m a big jazz fan, and I love Diese Onze,” says Seivewright. “It’s a good mix of local and out-of-town musicians.”

Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill

A Montreal institution since 1995, Upstairs is, funnily enough, located in a basement. It attracts big-name international jazz acts who make this a routine stop on their tour itineraries.

Pub Le Sainte-Élisabeth 

Established in 1997, this European-style pub between the Quartier des Spectacles and student-heavy Quartier Latin is quite cozy inside, but it’s the enclosed, leafy terrace at the back that draws people here come summer. The service many not win any awards, but Le Sainte-Élisabeth is about the ambience. 

The minimalist redesign of the Canadian Fur Company building (hence Furco ), located on a downtown back street, is a big draw for wine lovers and the happy hour crowd. It features an adventurous food and wine menu, in addition to more traditional charcuterie and cheese plates.

Maison Marie Saint Pierre

Marie Saint Pierre 's Montreal-made, ready-to-wear pieces marry timeless feminine styles with contemporary flair and function.

Entering this handsome Crescent Street atelier-cum-boutique near the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is like stepping into an old-school European tailor shop. Started by their father, Arthur Der Shahinian, sons Tavit and John carry on the tradition of crafting impeccably fitted and designed bespoke men’s suits and shirts, with damask silk lining and hand-sewn button holes, never compromising on quality or friendly, professional service.

Simons is originally from Quebec City, but it’s popular in cities across Canada. The small, mid-range department store downtown carries popular fashion brands as well as its own collections, in addition to homewares. “I’m a big fan of Simons,” says Seivewright. “I buy half my clothes there. The price point is good, the quality is good, and I like that it’s a local brand.”

Holt Renfrew Ogilvy

Montreal’s answer to Saks Fifth Avenue, Holt Renfrew Ogilvy is a one-stop shop for all things luxury, including clothing, shoes, and accessories. Clients can also enjoy a personal shopping experience in one of the five fifth-floor suites or the glamorous art-deco Café Holt, with its remarkable solar-like orb set above the central bar.

Saint Laurent Boulevard

“Saint Laurent [Boulevard], between Saint Joseph Boulevard and up to Van Horne Avenue, has the best boutique design shopping nowadays,” says Seivewright. “You could go all the way up to Little Italy and it’s still amazing. I was walking there the other day and every single window I walked by made me want to go in. There are furniture shops, clothing shops, and jewelry shops — some of it is new, some of it is vintage, and it’s all local.”


Saint-Henri, once a francophone working-class neighborhood, is now gentrified, replete with popular, chef-owned wine bars and restaurants, antiques shops, cafes, and boutiques. Still, it retains pockets of its former self. “I love it because it has parts that haven’t changed in a hundred years and others that make it the most modern neighborhood in Montreal,” says Seivewright. “It’s got a cool, little rough-around-the-edges vibe. It’s one of those neighborhoods where you’ll have a multimillion-dollar home next to a really rundown place, and you see that contrast. Then, you listen to the people and hear French and English. You've got old people, young people — it’s a neighborhood where everything mixes.”

Plateau Mont-Royal/Mile End

Once relegated to working-class European immigrants, the Plateau/Mile End area is the epicenter of Montreal’s creativity and bohemian joie de vivre. Leafy streets lined with triplexes fronted by balconies and steep, often-winding, wrought-iron staircases invite visitors to explore this neighborhood bursting with convivial cafes, top-drawer restaurants , funky vintage shops, and trendy boutiques.

For a glimpse into how the upper crust of Montreal lived until the 1970s and '80s, head to the neighborhood of Outremont. Its two main shopping and dining strips are Bernard Ouest and Laurier Ouest avenues — part of the former turns into a pedestrian-only area come summer, with restaurant terraces sitting directly on the street.

Montreal is a four-season city. Late April to mid-May tends to be best for blooming trees, while October to early November is usually prime for leaf peeping. The holiday season is lovely, but a white Christmas is increasingly rare. For a stronger chance of experiencing the romance of winter snow, January and February are ideal. Summers in Montreal are hot and humid, and heat waves can now begin as early as May. Visit in May, June, or late August through September and October to avoid the worst of the summer temperatures and crowds.

Chris Jongkind/Getty Images

Montreal can be reached via regular flights with Air Canada, Delta, American, and United. Flying from New York’s LaGuardia to Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, better known as Dorval (YUL), takes about 90 minutes gate to gate. Driving may be cheaper, but it takes about seven hours, and unless you’re planning to pay for hotel parking, parking in Montreal can be a hassle. For travelers living in New York or Vermont, a more scenic and leisurely option (10 hours) is Amtrak’s Adirondack train from Moynihan Train Hall to Montreal’s Gare Centrale (Central Station).

Patrick Donovan/Getty Images

In summer, the best way to get around is on foot or by Bixi, the city-wide bicycle rental system. In 2023, Bixi decided to end the storage of their bicycles during the winter, so they are now available year-round. However, there are not as many stations as in summer. The metro (subway) is fairly reliable and frequent during rush hour — and often the quickest way to get from point A to point B. Buses tend to be less reliable, but they go everywhere the metro does not. An Opus card can be purchased with several fares added, if you’re planning on using the metro and/or buses often. Taxis and Ubers are readily available, too, and taxis can be hailed on the street.

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20 Best Things to Do in Montreal

Montreal Quebec Canada Museum Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Montreal is one of Canada's most exciting cities, but it's also an incredibly historic place. When French explorer Jacques Cartier visited what is now known as Montreal in 1535, he found a thriving community of St. Lawrence Iroquois, whom are now believed to have inhabited the area for at least 3,000 years. Flash forward to today, and there are centuries of history weaving their way through each and every neighborhood, and a plethora of museums, tours, and architecture that all speak to that. But Montreal hums a modern tune as well, with music and nightlife, and world-class design and technology community, and some of the best food in the world . From Plateau to Verdun, our editor's picks of what to do in Montreal will have you leaving the city enlightened, full, and probably a little bit tired—all marks of a trip well spent.

Read our full Montreal travel guide here .

Montreal Quebec Canada Things to Do Mount Royal

Mount Royal Arrow

Mount Royal Park, Montreal's unofficial playground north of downtown, was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (of Central Park fame) and inaugurated in 1876. The park sprawls more than 692 acres and is a favorite destination of Montrealers, who make use of the park year-round, from jogging and enjoying family picnics in summertime, to skiing and tobogganing in winter. Attractions include the Mount Royal Cross (first erected in 1643), Mount Royal Chalet, Beaver Lake, and Sir George Etienne Cartier Monument.

spinning Ferris wheel at night. pink lights

La Grande Roue de Montréal Arrow

Situated on the banks of the St. Lawrence River just steps from Old Montreal, the largest observation wheel in Canada, brings guests nearly 200 feet into the sky, offering panoramic views over the city, tee river, and Mount Royal. It’s touristy, but it’s worth it for those of us who love seeing cities from above. Bringing you high above Old Montréal, each ride is long enough for you to appreciate the sights and start to understand the city’s topography, but not so long that you’re wishing it would be over. For added thrills, upgrade to the “VIP Package” aboard gondola number 42: It’s the only one on the wheel that has a glass floor and Italian leather seats.

Montreal Quebec Canada Museum Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Arrow

The MMFA was founded in 1860 and has since grown into one of the most visited museums in North America; visitors flock from all corners of the globe to view the outstanding permanent collection: some 43,000 works from antiquity to today, much of it on display throughout five pavilions. The enormous institution also hosts seasonal blockbuster exhibitions. Be sure to visit the breathtaking Napoleon collection.

McGill university Arts Building in Montreal

McGill University Arrow

Canada's leading research university occupies a prime piece of picture perfect real estate in central Montreal, nestled between Mount Royal and the skyscrapers of downtown. Whether you're dropping in for a lecture or just passing through on your points elsewhere, spend a little time getting lost amid the buildings here and you'll be rewarded with some serious Hogwarts vibes. Walking up the main entrance from the front gates, you'll be greeted by the inspiring, iconic tableau of the Arts Building cupola framed by Mount Royal; museums and libraries are to your left, and imposing gothic revival classroom buildings to your right. Guided tours are available and depart from the Welcome Center on rue McTavish, just make sure to sign up online as group sizes are limited.

people walking through indoor food market. Marché JeanTalon sign above

Marché Jean-Talon Arrow

In the heart of Little Italy, Jean Talon Market, one of the largest open-air markets in North America, is an unmissable Montreal experience for food lovers. The space, which is full of small shopkeepers, bustles with activity year-round; you'll find local fruit and vegetable growers, butchers, bakers, fishmongers, grocers, and restaurateurs. It's hugely popular with locals and tourists, and if you're looking for old-world charm, there's nothing better.

dark room with projected lights

OASIS Immersion Arrow

There's a deep history of and passion for design and technology in Montreal, and this immersive exhibit held at the Palais des Congres is the largest of its kind in Canada. The show itself is a stunning display of natural landscapes, videos of artists performing and creating, poetry that floats across the screen, and psychedelic designs that transport the audience; the substance of the show itself appeals to adults and children alike. Because you need to book tickets in advance the exhibit never gets too crowded, so you'll be able to keep your distance from others and experience the magic without feeling cramped. Expect to hear lots of "oohs" and "ahs."

Montreal Quebec Canada Museum Space for Life

Space for Life Arrow

The Montréal Space for Life, home to the Biodôme, Insectarium, Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, and Botanical Garden, is the largest natural sciences museum complex in Canada. This is a great place to explore and embrace the natural world; don't miss the “Gardens of Light” lantern festival and the dazzling “Butterflies Go Free” event, both held annually at the Botanical Garden.

Montreal Quebec Canada Restaurant Coffee Café Olimpico

Cafe Olimpico Arrow

Founded in 1970, Café Olimpico is a European-style café that serves a wonderful selection of coffee, espresso drinks, and Italian pastries. The Mile End landmark is a favorite among hipsters and artists, including Montreal-raised singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright.

woman sitting in round window looking out on to water.

Bota Bota, spa-sur-l’eau Arrow

There are two volumes of conversation allowed at Bota Bota, a floating spa docked in Montreal's Old Port: “quiet” and "silence." Since opening in 2010, it has become an attraction for locals and tourists drawn to its spa treatments and hydrotherapy circuit. You can soak in a mineral-rich hot tub—and perhaps conquer that jet lag—while gazing upon the Downtown core, Mount Royal, and the historic Old Port, all from the river. While admission is typically limited to guests over the age of 18, the spa recently brought back its popular “Pirates Layover,” where children between 12 and 17 can visit on select dates to learn about and experience the benefits of hydrotherapy.

A large group of people visiting Muralfest 2019 during the sunset on StLaurent street

MURAL Festival Arrow

From Mile-End to Griffintown, Montreal is covered with murals. Public art is a huge part of the city’s cultural landscape, and each summer for about ten days, the annual MURAL Festival offers live painting sessions, workshops, and music performances in celebration of the street artists who keep this city (which can be oppressively grey and cold for much of the year) so colorful. Luckily for those of us who can’t make the trip up north during the festival itself, many of the murals are left up year-round. Boulevard Saint-Laurent is now the largest street art corridor in Canada, with works ranging from figurative representations of historic Montrealers to more abstract designs: The MURAL Festival website has a wonderful dynamic map to help you navigate them all.

Montreal Quebec Things to Do Canada Upstairs Jazz Bar  Grill

Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill Arrow

Upstairs, located downtown, is home to many Montreal-based acts, such as renowned drummer Jim Doxas, blues queen Dawn Tyler Watson, and jazz legend Ranee Lee. But international musicians often headline at the club too, which was also the first off-site jazz club to be a part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival; it has also been selected by Downbeat Magazine as one of the world’s 150 most important jazz clubs, so you know there'll always be something good on.

Montreal Quebec Canada Museum PointeàCallière  Museum of Archaeology and History

Pointe-à-Callière - Museum of Archaeology and History Arrow

Pointe-à-Callière, the largest archaeology museum in Canada, is built atop the historic Old Montreal sites where the city was founded in 1642. There is lots of drama here, from the excavated remains of the original settlement to interactive video installations. Pointe-à-Callière also presents three to four temporary exhibitions every year.

Montreal Quebec Canada Things to Do St. Joseph's Oratory

Saint Joseph's Oratory Arrow

The majestic Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal, one of the world’s great Catholic basilicas, was founded by Saint Brother André, who is credited with thousands of miraculous healings. More than 2 million people visit the pilgrimage site each year (both religious and non-religious), and its dome is the third-largest of its kind in the world after the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro in Côte d'Ivoire and Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome . It's without question one of Montreal's most impressive architectural jewels.

Beyond the Bagel Tour  Museum of Jewish Montreal

Beyond the Bagel Tour – Museum of Jewish Montreal Arrow

Jewish food historian Kat Romanow knows her bagels, bialys, and rugelachs. Her Beyond the Bagel walking food tour, offered through the Museum of Jewish Montreal, is a highly informative, well-organized romp. The Plateau and Mile End might be known today for their posh hipsters and nightlife hotspots, but this tour pulls back the curtain on the layers of history found in this part of the city. It's a much more fulfilling dive into Montreal cuisine than just grabbing a bagel or smoked meat sandwich on your own. As much of the excursion is outdoors, just note that this one is not generally offered between November and March.

Lachine Canal Montreal

Lachine Canal Arrow

The Lachine Canal flows from the historic buildings of Old Montreal, past the gentrified glass condo buildings of Griffintown, and through the hipster neighborhood of St. Henri before flowing into the industrial areas of Angrignon and Lasalle. Because it cuts through so many residential neighborhoods, you'll get a real glimpse of how Montrealers spend their downtime. On warm summer days, there isn't a better place to go for a jog or walk in the city.

Montreal Quebec Canada Things to Do Guidatour  Old Montréal Walking Tour

Guidatour's Old Montréal Walking Tour Arrow

Guidatour's professional guides have earned their excellent reputations, and the company's Old Montréal East and Old Montréal West itineraries both stop off at the must-see Notre-Dame Basilica , including an interior visit at no additional charge. Both tours last 90 minutes, and they're best for those looking for a crash course in the history of Montreal. You'll be amazed at how many hidden treasures you stumble upon in such a short time span. As much of Guidatour’s offerings are held outdoors, scheduled tours are generally on hold for the colder months. If you can brave the cold, however, feel free to reach out directly through their website to inquire about setting up a private tour.

Les TamTams du Mont Royal Montreal

Les Tam-Tams du Mont Royal Arrow

Since the mid 1960s, the informal, yet institutionalized, phenomenon known as Tam Tams has been one of the city's quirkiest and most beloved traditions, coming to Mont Royal Park every Sunday during the warmer months. At the base of the George-Étienne Cartier Monument obelisk, groups of friends, strangers, and percussionists from all walks of life gather to form communal drum circles, artisans and craftspeople sell their wares and LARPers (that's, Live Action Role Players) have lightsaber fights and medieval jousting matches.

Montreal Quebec Canada Things to Do Cité Mémoire

Cité Mémoire Arrow

Cité Mémoire, the largest outdoor video-projection installation in the world, features 25 tableaux composed of images projected on alley walls, trees and the ground throughout Old Montréal accompanied by narration, and music. The work as a whole tells stories of famous and not-so-famous Montrealers; and they put forward themes and values central to the city's identity. You'll learn about Marguerite Bourgeoys, the French founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal, as well as sports icons Jackie Robinson (whose season with the Montreal Royals was important in his breaking of baseball's color barrier) and Maurice Richard. There are also tableaux about The Jewish Children’s Transport train (the orphans who survived Nazi concentration camps and were adopted by Montrealers); the burning of the Parliament in Montreal in 1849; Montreal’s fabled Sin City era (set to the rhythm of Montrealer and jazz icon Oscar Peterson’s piano).

Montreal Quebec Canada Restaurant Poutine La Banquise

La Banquise Arrow

If you go to just one poutine joint in Montréal, make it la Banquise in the Plateau district a 1968 institution that's known far and wide for its classic and comprehensive poutine menu. You'll find something for everybody here, from meat gravy to vegan sauce. Late night, be prepared for long queues of hungry club-goers.

Cabaret Mado Montreal

Cabaret Mado Arrow

Like much of Montreal's Gay Village, Cabaret Mado, a cabaret drag bar, is a little gritty, a little sparkly, and utterly fabulous. Mado, an icon in Quebec's vibrant gay scene who has performed for more than 30 years, often oversees the nightly festivities herself by hosting live drag shows most nights of the week. It's a pretty intimate space, so there isn't a bad seat in the house. Just be warned: Those seated in the front row are most vulnerable to be corralled into the show (willingly or unwillingly).

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Le Westin Montreal

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Home » Travel Guides » Canada » 15 Best Montreal Tours

15 Best Montreal Tours

Montreal is often noted for its European charm and character, and with its population of slightly more than 4 million, it’s the most populous city in the Canadian province of Quebec and the second largest in Canada.

Often referred to as The City of Mary, it’s named after the iconic tri-peaked hill located near the city’s center.

For those visitors looking to experience breathtaking natural beauty, amazing history, and all the attractions you’d expect from such a cosmopolitan city, spending a few days in Montreal would be a wise choice.

Below are 15 of the best tours in and around Montreal.

1. Walking Tour in Old Montreal’s West Side

Old Montreal's West Side

Montreal’s West Side is easily explored on foot, and with plenty of French heritage and architecture, it’s a great place to start your exploration of the city.

This 1½-hour tour includes some of the city’s most historic neighborhoods, and you may be surprised to learn that Montreal is one of North America’s oldest continually inhabited urban areas.

The tour includes a local guide and admission to Notre Dame Basilica, one of the city’s most iconic sites.

You’ll also have some free time to check out a few chic boutiques and stroll Saint-Jacques Street, once known as the Wall Street of Canada.

2. 5-Course Dinner Cruise

AML Cavalier Maxim

Not surprisingly for such a trendy and cosmopolitan city, Montreal’s food and fine dining scene is second to none.

This evening dinner cruise along the scenic St. Lawrence River departs from the city’s Old Port at 7:00 PM, and you’ll share the evening with hundreds of other guests from around the world while enjoying unique views and food that’ll take your breath away.

The ship’s dining area is glass from floor to ceiling, and there’s a bar with plenty of mood music to create the perfect ambiance for a night you won’t likely forget.

This tour is a great way to cap an already wonderful day.

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3. Full-Day Tour to Quebec City & Montmorency Falls

Montmorency Falls

The history of the French in Canada dates back nearly 400 years, and you’ll find the telltale influences in the region’s food, language and architecture.

This 12-hour tour will take you to Montmorency Falls, which are significantly larger than Niagara Falls, and from there you’ll experience the old-world charm of Quebec City, scenically located along the majestic St. Lawrence River.

You’ll have free time to meander the city’s narrow streets, grab a bite to eat or a cup of coffee, and see a few historical sites including Place Royale.

This tour is great value and an excellent way to spend a day.

4. Private Tour with a Local Guide

Old City Montreal

Sometimes visiting a foreign city with a language you don’t speak can be a bit overwhelming, and if that sounds like you then this guided tour with a local, English-speaking guide would be a great way to let someone else worry about the details.

You’ll get a unique perspective of Montreal from the ground level, while exploring the history, culture, food and drinks of one of North America’s most European cities.

This tour is customizable, so you can choose how long you’d like to spend and what you’d like to see, ensuring that you’re not wasting time seeing things that aren’t of interest to you and your companions.

The guide’s fee is included in the price of the tour, but food and drinks aren’t.

5. 20 or 30-Minute Helicopter Tour

Montreal Helicopter Tour

Flying over Montreal and the surrounding country under the whirling blades of a helicopter is one of the most exhilarating ways to view the region.

You’ll soar to nearly 2,000 feet and see some amazing sites such as the Olympic Stadium, downtown, Victoria Bridge and the Old Port.

The tour is offered in 20 and 30-minute packages, and if you choose the latter you’ll also get a better look at the St. Lawrence River, Jacques Cartier Bridge and an adjacent national park.

Seating is limited and the tour tends to fill up quickly, so book well in advance if at all possible.

6. Traditional Ghost Walk of Old Montreal

Old Montreal Ghost Walk

No matter where you go, walking ghost tours are among the favorite activities of visitors who like to stray off the well-worn path and see the spooky side of the city they’re visiting.

Your tour guide will be an expert storyteller and local history buff, so his or her knowledge and enthusiasm will create a unique and intimate experience that may just be one of the highlights of your trip.

The tour includes three stops that are said to be the haunts of the restless souls of some of the city’s long-dead. Whether you see them or not, you’ll spend most of the night peering over your shoulder.

7. Old Montreal’s East Side Walking Tour

Old Montreal’s East Side Walking Tour

Montreal’s East Side is located in the city’s Old Quarter, and is full of shops, galleries and traditional and trendy eating and drinking spots too.

This tour includes stops at the world-famous Notre Dame Basilica, St. Paul Street and the Champ de Mars.

Your guide will be an expert in the area’s history and architecture, which is some of the most amazing to be found anywhere in the city.

The tour usually ends at Bonsecours Market, which is a silver-domed masterpiece of design and architecture that served as the city’s main market for decades, beginning in the mid-19th century.

8. Small Group Sightseeing Tour

Small Group Sightseeing Tour

With so much culture, history and unique heritage, Montreal is a city that really deserves to be seen as part of a small, intimate group.

This tour is only available to groups of 14 or smaller, and on the tour’s 6-hour journey you’ll hit the Old Port, Notre Dame Basilica and the swank Place Jacques-Cartier.

Door-to-door transportation from your Montreal hotel is included, and you’ll spend time in the downtown area, which is known for its underground maze of stores, eateries and offices that is quite unique, and a great way to beat the cold if you’re there in winter.

9. Burlesque Walking Tour

Burlesque Walking Tour

Despite its cultured and refined nature, the city of Montreal is known for its fair share of glitz and flamboyance too.

This 1½-hour walking tour will take you into the city’s entertainment center, of which part is the former Red Light District that was chock full of brothels, bars, cabarets and dance halls that were a world unto themselves, back in the day.

Once you’ve heard racy tales from the past, you’ll understand why Montreal is often referred to as Sin City and North America’s Paris.

On this brief tour you’ll probably find a few places you’d like to explore on your own later.

10. 3-Hour Scooter Sightseeing Tour

3-Hour Scooter Sightseeing In Montreal

Scooters are great ways to explore a new city. They’re safe, inexpensive and enable you to cover lots of ground without exerting much energy.

This 3-hour tour winds its way through many of the city’s unique neighborhoods, each of which has its own history, charm and claim to fame.

You’ll visit the famous Jean-Talon market and take a bit of time to explore its labyrinth of vendors. For art lovers there are plenty of nearby galleries that are worth a look, even if you just want to do a bit of window-shopping.

This tour is a great value, as you’ll experience quite a bit in a short amount of time.

11. St. Lawrence River Cruise for either 60 or 90 minutes

St. Lawrence River Montreal

Montreal’s St. Lawrence River is in many ways the city’s heart. In ages past it was one of the city’s major modes of transportation, and its fish-rich waters provided jobs and food to many city residents.

On this tour you’ll get a unique perspective of the city, and will see such sites as the Old Port and Olympic Stadium.

Your professional guide will give you a narrative account of the city’s history as you cruise the scenic river, and you may discover there are things you’ve learned along the way that you’ll want to explore a bit more on your own.

12. Guided Snowmobile Tour

Snowmobile Tour from Montreal

The nearby Maurice region of Québec is known as a winter wonderland that’s full of amazing outdoor activities and stunning natural beauty.

This snowmobile tour is available in the morning or afternoon, and after a crash course in the safe handling of your powerful machine, you’ll blast off across the frozen countryside in search of the most beautiful vistas you’re ever likely to see.

You’ll stop along the way to snap a few photos, take a breather and enjoy a warm drink.

The tour includes all the safety equipment and training you’ll need, but remember to dress warmly as the conditions can be extremely cold.

13. Montreal Wine Country Tour

Ice Wine Tour From Montreal

You might be surprised to learn that in addition to its rich history, natural beauty and diverse culture, Montreal and Quebec are home to an amazing wine producing region too.

The tour comes in half and full-day options, and includes a professional guide who’ll lead you through the area’s byways as you discover scenic wineries that produce some of North America’s most sought-after and celebrated wines.

You’ll get to sample many of their offerings, and a few will even include hard ciders that are surprisingly tasty and intoxicating.

Tour size is limited, so plan accordingly and book in advance.

14. The Original Montreal Beer Tour

MTL Brew Tour

Billed as Montreal’s original beer tour, this excursion from Montreal will give guests the opportunity to visit a few breweries, bars and pubs, and sample nearly 20 beer varieties with diverse flavor profiles.

Lunch is included, and it’s been specifically paired with the beers you’ll be enjoying to ensure that each compliments the other.

You’ll learn the basics of pairing beer and food as well, and since round-trip transportation is included in the tour’s cost, you can gulp, swig and chug until your heart is content.

For beer lovers, this tour deserves a coveted spot on your Montreal itinerary.

15. Underground Montreal Tour

Underground City Indoor Tour

Many visitors don’t know that Montreal is home to an underground city that spreads below ground in a maze that’s full of markets, shops, businesses and cafes, and is something you should definitely check out.

This tour includes a local guide and utilizes the city’s public transportation system to convey guests to all the sites that the tour includes.

This tour is a great crash course in the history and culture of the city, and will give you an introduction to many sites and neighborhoods that you’ll want to check out on your own once the tour is over.

Gratuities, food and drink aren’t included.

15 Best Montreal Tours:

  • Walking Tour in Old Montreal's West Side
  • 5-Course Dinner Cruise
  • Full-Day Tour to Quebec City & Montmorency Falls
  • Private Tour with a Local Guide
  • 20 or 30-Minute Helicopter Tour
  • Traditional Ghost Walk of Old Montreal
  • Old Montreal’s East Side Walking Tour
  • Small Group Sightseeing Tour
  • Burlesque Walking Tour
  • 3-Hour Scooter Sightseeing Tour
  • St. Lawrence River Cruise for either 60 or 90 minutes
  • Guided Snowmobile Tour
  • Montreal Wine Country Tour
  • The Original Montreal Beer Tour
  • Underground Montreal Tour

12 things to know before you go to Montréal

Joel  Balsam

Sep 18, 2023 • 6 min read

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Montréal offers a wide range of experiences for the traveler – here's what you need to know before you go Justin Bisson-Beck / Getty Images

I grew up in Ottawa but my dad was raised in Montréal and still had a lot of friends there, so we’d visit all the time while I was growing up. I can still feel the excitement that tingled in my body every time we went. Montréal was, and is, so thrilling, from the language locals speak (French with a distinct Québécois accent) to the roads (the drivers are super aggressive and you can’t turn right on a red) to the overall fun-loving vibe. So as soon as I could, I moved to Montréal at age 17 to attend Concordia University and I’ve spent much of the last 15 years there.

While construction can make Montréal tough to navigate and rhetoric battles between native French and English speakers persist (I am bilingual so I hear it from both sides), I love this city so much – it’s one of my favorite places in the world. 

That said, there are plenty of rules about living in Montréal that took me years to understand. So even if French is your native language,  here’s a little cheat sheet of 13 things to know before you visit, including whether you can get by in English (you can) and how cold it gets (really cold, but not always).

People walk through a park underneath autumnal foliage in Montreal

1. Plan at least three days to visit

If you’re splitting your time between Montréal and Québec City, leave more time for Montréal. There’s much more to see and eat, and some of the city's best moments involve hanging out on a terrasse or in a public park watching the world go by.

2. Go in early summer or fall to escape the cold

Yes, Montréal gets really cold. In January and February, temperatures can drop to -40°C/F with the wind chill, and the city is blanketed in snow and slippery ice. Locals survive by layering up and popping into heated cafes and other venues. And no, locals don’t spend all winter in underground tunnels as some might lead you to believe, but there are some that connect malls downtown.

Montréal isn’t always frigid, though. In June, July and August, the mercury can shoot up to the 30°C (86°F) range and everyone gets particularly excited about the warmth after a long, harsh winter. September and October are great, too, as you’ll get to see tree leaves transform into majestic yellows and reds. 

November and March can be rainy and gray, and there isn’t much to do but complain about how long winter is in Montréal.

3. Bike or metro around

I’ve driven in plenty of countries around the world, and I’d have to say driving in Montréal is one of the worst experiences behind the wheel. Drivers will cut you off without notice and if roads aren’t blocked by dozens of infamous (and highly meme-able) orange construction cones, they’re closed for pedestrians in summer. Plus, parking involves a PhD in physics – check all the signs carefully and park where the arrows are not pointing. 

So, ditch the car and get around on foot or by bike. Montréal has an excellent, affordable bikeshare program called Bixi , which has both regular and electric-assisted bikes available for one-way trips or with a cheap monthly pass. You can also take the metro (subway) to get a feel for life as a Montrealer.

If you do drive, note that you cannot turn right on a red light on the island of Montréal.

Public bikes sit in their racks at sunset in Montreal

4. Don’t spend all your time downtown

Montréal is designed to stuff all the tourists into the Old Port and Downtown, but so much of the city’s magic is in its neighborhoods like Le Plateau, Mile End and St-Henri. Be sure you leave time to explore outside the city core.

5. Make restaurant reservations and prepare to line up

One thing that surprised me when I started living in Montréal is that there are always lineups outside restaurants, regardless of the weather and especially at food institutions like Schwartz’s Deli (smoked meat) and La Banquise (poutine). Leave time to wait in line for establishments that don’t take reservations, and book ahead at those that do. Some restaurants, like Joe Beef , require reservations months in advance.

6. Montréal has its own definition of east and west

Montréal streets are often marked ‘est’ (east) or ‘ouest’ (west), indicating where the road is in relation to Blvd St Laurent aka The Main – hence Rue Sherbooke O and Sherbrooke E. However, if you look at a map, these streets aren’t really east or west. They’re actually northeast and southwest due to the angle of the island. Don’t ask questions and just go with the local lingo. 

7. You aren’t required to speak French (but it’s appreciated)

French is Montréal’s official language, but you can get by in English as a visitor without a problem. After all, nobody can expect you to know every language of all places you visit. That said, it’s friendly to sprinkle in a bonjour or a merci where you can, or to practice any other French vocabulary you may have. Don’t be surprised, however, if Montrealers switch to English – they’re not being mean, they’re just trying to make your life easier.

A group of friends enjoy dinner together at a restaurant in Montreal

8. You need to tip

You should tip at least 15% on your total bill after tax unless the service was atrocious. Servers are paid less than the minimum wage because tips are expected, so they rely on your generosity. Is it a screwed up system? Absolutely, but it’s the way it is and your personal tip boycott won’t fix anything.

9. The drinking age is 18, for cannabis it’s 21

Montréal has the lowest drinking age in Canada at 18 years old. You may be asked to show your ID (a driver’s license is fine) to prove your age when buying alcohol at the dépanneur, aka "the dep," a convenience store that sells snacks, beer and cheap wine. Same goes for the SAQ (government liquor and wine store).

Cannabis is legal in Montréal for those over age 21 and can only be purchased at an SQDC government store. Smoking weed in any public spaces, including parks and on the street, is illegal.

10. Have a boozy park picnic

Want a quintessential Montréal experience? Buy a bottle of wine and share it with friends or family in a lovely public park like Parc La Fontaine or Parc Jarry. But note that you can only legally drink alcohol at a picnic table and while eating a meal (ie. a baguette and brie cheese, not simply a bag of chips) or else you could be fined.

11. Cheer for the Habs

Montrealers go crazy for their local National Hockey League team, the Montréal Canadiens – aka the Habs – and the atmosphere at Centre Bell games and sports bars across the city is electric. If cheering for the opposition, prepare for light-hearted bickering and plenty of taunts, especially if your team is the rival Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs. In fact, if you’re a Bruins or Leafs fan, just stay home (joking, sort of).

12. Montréal is safe, but healthcare isn’t free

Montréal is safe to walk around, but it’s always a good idea to walk in pairs at night no matter where you are. 

If you need to go to the hospital, make sure you have travel insurance – Quebec healthcare is only free for RAMQ card holders and prices will be extremely high if you need to pay out of pocket.

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Montreal   Travel Guide

Courtesy of © Stéphan Poulin - Tourisme Montréal |

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14 Best Things to Do in Montreal, Canada

Montréal's many museums and art galleries, historical landmarks, legendary shopping districts and trendy nightclubs provide plenty of entertainment for visitors. For a taste of historic Montréal, spend a day exploring the 18th-century buildings

  • All Things To Do
  • 1-Day Itinerary
  • 2-Day Itinerary
  • 3-Day Itinerary

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Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal) Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal) free

As the site of the original city of Montréal, Vieux-Montréal (accessible from the Orange Line's Place-d'Armes and Champ-de-Mars métro stations) is the hub of the city's history.

The beautiful limestone-clad 18th- and 19th-century buildings have been rescued from demolition and restored despite the city's rapid urbanization. Horse-drawn carriages traverse cobblestone streets and trot past such notable sites as Notre-Dame Basilica , Montréal City Hall, built in 1878, and the monumental Bonsecours Market, a restored heritage building that houses art, design and craft stores.

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Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal) Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal)

Adorned with intricate statues, colorful stained-glass windows and the famous 12-ton Jean-Baptiste bell, Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal is one of the city's most visited sites. In addition to welcoming tourists and worshippers, it also hosts an evening light and sound show that serves to highlight its spectacular architecture.

Canada’s first Gothic Revival church was constructed in 1829, designated a basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1982 and declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1989. The site of many state funerals including, former Prime Minister Pierre-Elliott Trudeau, notable weddings like that of Celine Dion, and memorable musical performances, such as those by Luciano Pavarotti, the basilica is much more than a church. Among the church's highlights are a 7,000-pipe Casavant organ, its stained-glass windows, which were designed by Québec artist Jean-Baptiste Lagacé and tell the story of Montréal's history, and the interior decor, which is carved, painted and adorned with gold leaf.

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Parc du Mont-Royal (Mount Royal Park) Parc du Mont-Royal (Mount Royal Park) free

This 761-foot hill from which Montréal got its name is the highest point in the city. Towering over central Montréal, Parc du Mont-Royal (Mount Royal Park) is frequented by joggers, picnickers, dog walkers and bicyclists throughout the year, and it's one of Montréal's largest green spaces. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (who's also the credited architect of NYC's Central Park ).

During the warmer months, you can rent rowboats on the park's Lac aux Castors (Beaver Lake), while the Chalet du Mont-Royal offers breathtaking park and city views any time of year. You can also take a stroll through one of the park's three cemeteries (one English, one Jewish and one French).

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Popular Tours

The Montreal Craft Beer Tour / Brewpub Experience

The Montreal Craft Beer Tour / Brewpub Experience

(40 reviews)

from $ 60.66

Full-Day Quebec City and Cruise Tour

Full-Day Quebec City and Cruise Tour

(479 reviews)

from $ 119.03

Quebec City and Montmorency Falls Day Trip from Montreal

Quebec City and Montmorency Falls Day Trip from Montreal

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Montreal Botanical Garden (Jardin Botanique Montreal) Montreal Botanical Garden (Jardin Botanique Montreal)

U.S. News Insider Tip: There is a free electric shuttle to take you around the garden grounds during the summer months. – Debra Smith

Thanks to 10 large greenhouses – each tailored to a specific theme – this 190-acre botanical garden offers a scenic year-round respite from the metropolis' downtown core and a seasonal home to more than 20,000 species of flora.

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Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts) Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts)

Montréal's most prestigious museum has been building its collection of fine arts for more than 150 years. Visitors will find its more than 45,000 paintings, sculptures, graphic artworks, photographs, multimedia installations and decorative art objects divided among six sections and spread across the museum's five pavilions.

In addition to an impressive collection by Canadian and Quebec artists, there are four floors containing works by such renowned artists as Rembrandt, El Greco, Renoir, Cézanne and Picasso. The museum's noteworthy decorative art collection includes pieces from 1400 to 1900, including jewelry, ceramics, glass, and textiles by international artists as well as several pieces of furniture designed by Frank Gehry. The state-of-the-art Cinéma du Musée presents independent and international films with English subtitles, and lectures and performances are presented regularly at Bourgie Hall.

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St. Joseph's Oratory (Oratoire Saint-Joseph) St. Joseph's Oratory (Oratoire Saint-Joseph) free

Sitting on the eastern edge of the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery in Mont-Royal is St. Joseph's Oratory, the largest shrine in the world dedicated to St. Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father and Canada’s patron saint. It welcomes several million visitors each year. Even if you don't consider yourself religious, past visitors said it's worth adding to your Montréal itinerary for its timeless beauty and the incredible views that can be seen from its perch above the bustling city.

St. Joseph's Oratory was designed in an Italian-Renaissance style with a copper dome rising 318 feet high. There are many areas of the oratory to explore, including a museum of religious art and artifacts. The Crypt Church below the basilica is decorated with intricately-carved murals, and thousands of candles Illuminate the art deco-style Votive Chapel.

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Jean-Talon Market Jean-Talon Market free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Always greet a shopkeeper with a cheery hello or "bonjour" upon entering a shop or store. It’s appreciated and considered good manners. – Debra Smith

In a world dominated by overly refrigerated, fluorescently lit supermarkets, the Jean-Talon Market brings a breath of fresh air to your shopping experience. It’s one of the largest public markets in North America and one of the oldest, (established in 1933) with a flavor all its own.

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Montreal Biodome (Biodôme de Montreal) Montreal Biodome (Biodôme de Montreal)

U.S. News Insider Tip: If you purchased a Montréal Museums Card , you can use it at all five of the Espace pour la vie Montreal locations. – Debra Smith

Not to be confused with the Biosphere on Île Sainte-Hélène, the Biodôme is located in the Olympic District and is part of a complex that includes the insectarium, planetarium, and Montreal Botanical Garden . A favorite for families, the Biodôme features five distinct ecosystems that house plants and animals. With the way each of the ecosystems are set up, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy a more immersive experience with the animals compared to a conventional zoo.

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Montreal Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours

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Full-Day small-group Montreal tour with Pickup and a Local Taste

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Montreal City Hop-on Hop-off Tour

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Museum of Archaeology and History (Pointe-à-Callière Museum) Museum of Archaeology and History (Pointe-à-Callière Museum)

Many say that this museum is the best place to go to begin exploring Montréal. While the modern architecture may not be typical of a history museum, the real reason to come here is to hop in the elevator and head underground. Here, visitors can look through a glass floor that sits on top of the remains of Fort Ville-Marie unearthed during archaeological digs overseen by the museum from 2002 to 2015. 

You can also follow the development of Montréal from its days as a fledgling colony and on up through the present day with a 17-minute multimedia program called "Generations MTL" that’s projected onto the archeological site and narrated by six historical characters .

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Jean-Drapeau Park (Parc Jean-Drapeau) Jean-Drapeau Park (Parc Jean-Drapeau) free

Two islands in the St. Lawrence River make up Parc Jean-Drapeau, a sports, culture and entertainment mecca for locals and visitors alike. Located just five minutes from downtown Montréal via the Jean-Drapeau metro stop (Yellow line), the former site of Expo 67 and the 1976 Summer Olympics now boasts several attractions that are sure to appeal to a variety of different interests.

Culture hounds will appreciate the collection of public art that's sprinkled throughout the park as well as the Biosphère, a museum dedicated to the environment housed in the iconic Buckminster Fuller-designed geodesic dome. There are also miles of hiking trails and the Floralies Gardens for outdoors lovers. Meanwhile, families will be delighted by La Ronde amusement park on Île Sainte-Hélène, the Aquatic Complex – specifically the outdoor pool, which has a cushioned rubber bottom – and Jean-Doré Beach. Though the park's outdoor pursuits are most popular in the summer, it’s a wonderful place to visit in early spring too, when the park’s bistro converts to an urban sugar shack.

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Cap-Saint Jacques Nature Park (Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques) Cap-Saint Jacques Nature Park (Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques) free

Montréal’s largest park, Parc-nature du Cap Saint-Jacques sprawls across more than 800 acres and sits between Lac des Deux Montagnes and Rivière des Prairies on the southwest tip of the island of Montréal. It offers year-round activities, sandy beaches and water views.

In the winter, make use of snowshoe paths, cross-country ski trails and a sliding hill, and in the summer, explore the miles of hiking and biking trails before cooling off at the beaches that line the shores of Lac des Deux Montagnes. There’s also a small organic farm, two welcome centers and free all-terrain wheelchairs and sit-skis that can be reserved in advance.

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St-Viateur Bagel St-Viateur Bagel

A Montréal institution for more than 65 years, St.-Viateur Bagel is flourishing under the watchful eye of Joe Morena and his three sons. There are now four bagel cafes under the St.-Viateur banner, but for the original experience you must visit "La Maison du Bagel," or "Home of the Bagel," at 263 Rue Saint Viateur in Mile End.

Follow the delicious aroma of bagels simmered in honey water and baked on a hardwood plank in a wood-burning oven and join the line that forms day or night. Hand-rolled bagels come in classic sesame or poppy seed, all dressed with onion and garlic, or on the sweet side with cinnamon raisin or blueberry. While you’re waiting, check out the photographs of famous customers, from hockey greats to prime ministers, that line the walls.

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La Grande Roue de Montréal La Grande Roue de Montréal

Enjoy a thrilling view of Old Montréal , the city center and the St. Lawrence River on the highest Ferris wheel in Canada, La Grande Roue de Montréal. Forty-two climate-controlled cabins gently lift riders up nearly 200 feet and go through three revolutions on this 20-minute ride. Choose from cabins that seat up to eight, or splurge on a spacious VIP cabin, which is equipped with a glass floor and Italian leather seating for four riders. The view through the tempered glass windows is perfect for photographs during the day. At night, the wheel lights up as well as the giant cross on the top of Mount Royal and the Jacques Cartier Bridge bringing additional romance to the ride.  

Visitors recommend a ride at sunset and consider it a must-do while in Montréal that’s worth the splurge. They report that wait times are usually short and the ride is long enough to enjoy all the sights.

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Explore Old Montreal Walking Tour by MTL Detours

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Toronto & Niagara Falls 3 Days Tour

Toronto & Niagara Falls 3 Days Tour

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Montreal: Guided Electric Boat Cruise with Onboard Drinks

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Lachine Canal National Historic Site Lachine Canal National Historic Site free

A watery wonderland in the heart of Montréal, the Lachine Canal National Historic Site runs for nearly 9 miles from the entrance at Lock No. 1 in the Old Port to Lock No. 5 at Lake Saint Louis in Lachine. The canal originally opened in 1824 to provide a source of hydraulic power and contributed to Montréal's industrial and commercial development as a major trade port. Today, it's a popular spot for a stroll and a picnic (stop at the nearby Atwater Market to pick up provisions before your visit to the canal).

From mid-May to mid-October, rentals of all kinds are available, including stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, canoes and small electric boats to swan-shaped pedal boats. Fishers can toss a line to catch six different fish species including perch, pike and carp, which cyclists can ride from one end of the well-maintained canal trail to the other in about an hour.

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Montreal Travel Guide

Last Updated: August 30, 2023

a view of Montreal from Mont Royal during the fall with red leaves changing in the foreground

Montreal is Canada’s “European” city. It’s one of the five largest French-speaking cities in the world, and at one point it was even the capital of the country. The second-largest city in the country, it’s charming, historic, and unlike Canada’s other large cities.

Personally, I think it’s one of the best cities in Canada. The city’s Old Town looks like something straight out of medieval France and the French-inspired cuisine and eclectic nightlife (especially the jazz clubs) leave little to dislike. For outdoor explorers, there are a lot of incredible bike paths and nearby mountains to hike to.

I first came here when I was 18 because it was the closest place to where I lived that allowed me to drink (the legal drinking age is 18). Subsequent visits as an adult have only made me appreciate the city on a deeper level and it remains one of my favorites in North America.

It’s also noticeably cheaper than Canada’s other large cities (I’m looking at you Toronto and Vancouver ), so there’s good reason to stay awhile and soak up the unique culture.

This travel guide to Montreal can help you plan your trip, save money, and make the most out of your time in this incredible city.

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Montreal

Top 5 Things to See and Do in Montreal

A view of Montreal from Mont Royal during the summer with lush green leaves in the foreground

1. Walk around Old Montreal

Old Montreal is easily the most attractive part of the city. Its cobblestone streets and historic greystone buildings date back to the 1700s. When people think of Montreal, this is the part of the city they picture. Some of the city’s finest museums and art galleries are here too, including the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History (admission is 25 CAD). You can also take a Ghost Tour with Get Your Guide for 21.50 CAD.

2. Visit the Place des Armes

This is one of three main squares in Old Montreal dating back to the end of the 17th century. Originally used for military events and markets, today it’s a beautiful piece of preserved history. Nearby is the Vieux Séminaire de St-Sulpice, Montreal’s oldest seminary and building (built between 1684-1687) for the Catholic Order of Sulpicians. You’ll also find the majestic Notre-Dame Basilica cathedral here, lauded for being one of the most beautiful churches in North America. Lastly, there is the Bank of Montreal’s founding building, and also the New York Life Insurance skyscraper, constructed in 1888. The plaza is a wonderful place to people-watch and take in the local pace of life.

3. Relax on Mont Royal

This beautiful park is one of the highlights of the city and a symbol of the city’s heritage (Montreal comes from ‘Mont Royal’). With 200 acres of lush vegetation, it’s a great place to stroll around or walk up the “mountain” (it’s just a large hill) for fantastic views over the city skyline. On Sundays in the summer, the park comes alive with picnickers and the “Tam-Tams” — an eclectic drum circle that draws huge numbers. The park is open all year round and attracts a broad range of sporting enthusiasts for jogging, skiing, skating, boating, biking, sledding, and more. With so many activities, it’s a great place to spend a sunny day.

4. See the Biodome

The biodome features four distinct ecosystems. You can visit the Tropical Forest, see otters and lynx in the Laurentian Maple Forest, visit the puffins on the Labrador Coast, and explore the volcanic landscape of the Sub-Antarctic Islands. There are over 200 species of animals here and some 750 different species of plants. Admission is 21.50 CAD. It’s especially fun and educational for kids.

5. Tour the Museum of Fine Arts

This enormous museum has over 43,000 works of art, with many temporary exhibits on rotation as well. There are five intersecting pavilions but the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion is especially worth seeing for its collection of Quebec and Canadian art, including Inuit art. The museum is famous for its community and education collaboration to create unique art experiences as part of its art therapy initiatives. Admission is 24 CAD.

Other Things to See and Do in Montreal

1. take a free walking tour.

Whenever I visit a new destination, one of the first things I do is take a free walking tour. It’s the best way to see the main sights and connect with a local guide who can answer all your questions. Free Montreal Tours has a comprehensive two-hour tour that covers all the main highlights. Just be sure to tip your guide at the end!

2. See the Jardin Botanique

Montreal is home to the second-largest botanical garden in the world. Spanning 185 acres and opened in 1931, it showcases ten indoor greenhouses including a Chinese garden, a Japanese garden, a lily garden, and a rose garden. There’s also a tranquil First Nations Garden designed to represent the natural environment of Quebec’s First Nations, including plants from the Nordic Zone. Admission is 22 CAD. Combined tickets offering discounted rates are available if you also want to visit the Biodome or one of the other museums in the Espace Pour La Vie (Space for Life) natural museum complex. On Thursdays, Planetarium tickets are only 8 CAD after 5pm.

3. Wander the Jean-Talon Market

The city’s largest market hosts hundreds of stalls in the middle of Little Italy. Shops and small specialized grocers surround the square, so be on the lookout for Quebecois delicacies like pure maple syrup or ice wine. One of the oldest markets in the city, it’s a great place to have lunch or grab fresh food for later. There are often events like workshops and culinary demonstrations here too, so you never know what you might stumble upon.

4. Take a half-day bike tour

On a three-hour guided bike tour with Fitz & Follwell, you’ll visit some of Montreal’s key sites including Old Montreal, Mile-End, Mont Royal, and the Plateau. They also offer themed tours to certain neighborhoods, like the North End, where you’ll explore open-air markets and street art. Bikes and helmets are provided, and the 16-kilometer (10-mile) route has an easy-going pace, making this tour accessible for anyone who can ride a bike. Three-hour tours start at 70 CAD. Ça Roule Montreal on Wheels has four-hour tours for 32 CAD or a full-day rental for 40 CAD (helmet and lock included).

5. Relax in Parc La Fontaine

Whether you want to play beach volleyball, tennis, or just have a picnic, Parc La Fontaine is a relaxing spot to kick back and enjoy. This former farm became a public park in the 19th century and has been a beloved community greenspace ever since. In the summer, there are free performances at the outdoor Théâtre de Verdure, while in the winter you can skate on the pond or go cross-country skiing.

6. Walk around Le Plateau

This popular neighborhood combines shady residential streets, colorful old Victorian homes, boutique shopping, and trendy restaurants. Walk around and admire the architecture, pop into some antique shops, and keep an eye out for colorful street murals. In the summer, the Ave. du Mont-Royal even transforms into a huge street fair!

7. Take a boat ride

Montreal is on an island and there are 234 islands in its vicinity. To explore, you can take different boat tours of the harbor from the Old Town, as well as longer tours of the Lachine Canal and the nearby Boucherville Islands. Along the way, your guide can tell you all about the area’s maritime history. Some tours are limited to 30 passengers, which means you’re never competing for the best view. La Petit Navire offers tours starting at 23.50 CAD for the Old Town tour and 34 CAD for Lachine Canal.

8. See the St. Joseph Oratory

Standing nearly as tall as St. Peter’s in Rome (97 meters/318 feet), this basilica towers over the city skyline. It is one of the most visited shrines in the world, also housing a chapel and a crypt. Canada’s largest church, it’s the final resting spot for Brother André, a simple porter turned miracle worker from the early 1900s who supposedly had healing powers. The architecture is interesting as well, with a Renaissance Revival facade and Art Deco interior. Entry is free and guided tours cost 5 CAD (tours are currently suspended due to COVID-19). The Oratory Museum displaying art and heritage is 3 CAD open daily 10am-4:30pm. You can even stay at the Oratory overnight (55 CAD for a twin room, with breakfast included).

9. Visit the Notre Dame Basilica

This 17th-century Gothic Revival basilica started as a tiny stone church. Now, it’s a testament to the importance of religion and art in the city’s history (Catholicism is the dominant religion in Quebec). Its dual towers are reminiscent of the cathedral in Paris, and its interior is a stunning display of religious paintings, colorful stained-glass windows, and gold-leaf decorations. There’s also a 7,000-pipe organ inside. You can visit and do a 60-minute self-guided tour for 14 CAD. The award-winning Aura multi-media luminous experience (a light and projection show inside the church) is 34 CAD and has attracted over half a million people from all over the world.

10. See the Cabaret Mado

This entertaining drag cabaret is hosted by Mado Lamotte, an iconic diva from the city’s Gay Village. It’s been going on for 30 years and makes for a wild night of music, comedy, costume, and dancing, with guest performers each night. Don’t sit too close to the stage or else you’ll get roasted! Tickets start at 30 CAD.

11. Explore Parc Jean-Drapeau

Made up of two islands, Parc Jean-Drapeau covers 662 acres of green space and contains a racetrack, museums, and even the La Ronde amusement park. The park was the site of the 1967 World’s Fair and today it remains an important event space. Most of the city’s major festivals are held here, including Osheaga, the Canadian Grand Prix, and the Fête des Neiges (a free winter carnival). If you visit during the summer, check out Piknic Électronik, a weekly electronic music festival held each Sunday typically from May to the end of October. Everyone brings a picnic and a bottle of wine! Tickets are 20 CAD.

12. Take a food tour

Montreal is Canada’s food capital. Local Montréal Food Tours has several different food tours around town on which you’ll sample Montreal classics like Montreal bagels as well as poutine, a purely Canadian dish of fries, a gravy-like sauce, and cheese curds. They also have a brewpub tour if you find yourself extra thirsty as you explore. Prices start from 52 CAD for a two-hour tour.

  For more information on other cities in Canada, check out these guides:

  • Calgary Travel Guide
  • Nova Scotia Travel Guide
  • Ottawa Travel Guide
  • Quebec City Travel Guide
  • Toronto Travel Guide
  • Vancouver Travel Guide
  • Vancouver Island Travel Guide

Montreal Travel Costs

The iconic Cartier bridge in Montreal, Canada lit up at night

Hostel prices – A bed in a 4-8-bed dorm costs 35-45 CAD per night while a dorm with 10 beds or more costs 30-35 CAD. A standard private room starts at 75 CAD per night for two people but averages closer to 150 CAD. Free Wi-Fi is standard and most hostels have self-catering facilities. A couple of hostels also include free breakfast.

For those traveling with a tent, camping is available outside the city for around 25 CAD per night. This gets you a basic plot without electricity for two people.

Budget hotel prices – Budget hotels start at 110-125 CAD in the center of town. Expect basic amenities like free Wi-Fi, TV, AC, and a coffee/tea maker.

Airbnb is available everywhere in Montreal, with private rooms starting around 45 CAD per night. An entire home/apartment starts at around 90 CAD per night. Expect prices to double if you don’t book early.

Food – The food in Montreal is a collage of dishes from other cultures, owing to the country’s diverse history of immigration. In Montreal, you’ll want to make sure you try poutine (it has the best poutine in the country), smoked meat, and Montreal bagels, as well as more general Canadian staples like beaver tails (fried dough with maple syrup), Canadian bacon, and the oddly tasty ketchup chips.

For budget travelers, Montreal has an endless selection of fast-food joints and takeaway spots. You can find poutine for under 10 CAD, or burgers and small pizzas for around 10-12 CAD each. A smoked meat sandwich can cost around 20 CAD with fries and coleslaw, while a hearty bagel sandwich costs about 10-12 CAD. Fast food (think McDonald’s) is around 13 CAD for a combo meal.

A meal at a casual restaurant is around 20 CAD. A beer to go with it is about 6-8 CAD. If you want to splash out, a meal at a high-end restaurant costs about 45 CAD for an entree without a drink.

If you cook for yourself, expect to spend around 50-60 CAD per week on groceries. This gets you basic staples like rice, pasta, produce, and some meat.

Some of my favorite restaurants in Montreal include Fairmount Bagels, Damas, Wilensky’s, Le Serpent (for something upscale), La Chilenita, Olive et Gourmando, Main Deli, Sushi Momo, and Drogheria.

Backpacking Montreal Suggested Budgets

If you’re backpacking Montreal, expect to spend at least 60 CAD per day. This assumes you’re staying in a hostel, cooking all your meals, limiting your drinking, walking everywhere or taking public transportation, and doing mostly free activities like hanging out on Mont-Royal and doing free walking tours. If you plan on drinking, add 10-20 CAD to your daily budget.

On a mid-range budget of 150 CAD per day, you can stay in a private Airbnb, eat out for a few meals, take the occasional taxi, enjoy a couple of drinks, and visit some museums or do a food tour.

On a “luxury” budget of 265 CAD or more per day, you can stay in a hotel, eat out for all your meals, drink more, take more taxis or rent a car, and do whatever tours or activities you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!

You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages — some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in CAD.

Montreal Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Montreal isn’t one of the cheapest destinations on the world but there are a lot of ways to cut your spending when you vist, especially if you stick to the free activities. Here are some ways to save money when you visit Montreal:

  • Stay with a local – If you plan ahead, you can usually find a Couchsurfing host in Montreal. This way, you not only have a free place to stay but you can connect with a local who can share their insider tips.
  • Take a free walking tour – Walking tours are a great way to get familiar with a city and its culture. Free Montreal Tours offers one that covers all the main highlights. Just remember to tip your guide at the end!
  • Get the museum pass – A Montréal Museum Pass provides access to over 40 different museums around Montreal. A three-day pass is 75 CAD, while a three-day pass with unlimited transportation is 80 CAD.
  • Apportez-votre vin – Many restaurants in Montreal have a sign displayed out front that says “Apportez-votre vin” (bring your own wine). You can pick up a cheap bottle of wine at the supermarket and bring it to dinner with you!
  • Look for free events – Montreal has tons of free events year-round, but especially during the summer. Many of the major music festivals (like the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the largest jazz festival in the world) have free concerts or shows in the streets. There are also free art shows, theatrical performances, and even stand-up comedy (the annual Just For Laughs comedy festival is the largest comedy festival in the world). lists all events!
  • Check out Montreal Sweet Deals – also has a selection of “Sweet Deals,” where if you book a room with one of the partner hotels directly, you’ll get special perks like late departure, breakfast included, or a discounted room rate (sometimes up to 30% off).
  • Eat at Montreal’s Food Markets – Head to Jean-Talon market in Little Italy, the largest open-air market in North America for a unique experience and stock up on fresh food items. There are also many eateries and places to get a snack or a full meal whether you’re in the mood for tacos, mozzarella sticks, crepes, ice cream, or oysters.
  • Pick up a Passeport MTL – Much like the museum pass above, the official city pass, Passeport MTL, lets you choose admission to five attractions from a list of over 28 attractions when you buy a card. The card also includes discounted offers to other attractions too. It’s 95 CAD.
  • Bring a water bottle – The tap water here is safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle to save money. LifeStraw makes a reusable bottle with a built-in filter to ensure your water is always safe and clean.

Where to Stay in Montreal

Montreal has lots of hostels that are fun, social, and affordable. Here are some of my suggested places to stay:

  • HI Montreal Hostel
  • Alexandrie-Montréal
  • Samesun Montreal Central

How to Get Around Montreal

Colorful leaves on a quiet street in Montreal, Canada

Public transportation – Montreal’s bus service covers the entire city center and the outskirts of town, including the airport. It’s 3.50 CAD for one ride or 6.50 CAD for a return trip. An unlimited day pass is 11 CAD, which is your best option. You can use your tickets on the subway as well, which is the best way to get around the city.

If you’d like to be able to top up your transit card, purchase an OPUS card for 6 CAD.

You can take bus 747 to and from the airport for 11 CAD each way.

Taxi – Taxis are not cheap here. Their base rate is 4.05 CAD and it’s an additional 1.75 CAD per kilometer afterward. Skip the taxis if you can as prices add up fast!

Ridesharing – Uber is available in Montreal and is a bit cheaper than taxis, however, it’s still much more expensive than public transportation and likely not much faster if you’re downtown. Bicycle – Montreal is very bike-city friendly and there are plenty of bicycle rental businesses around town. The public bike rental system is Bixi Bike. It costs 50 cents to unlock a bike, and then 10 cents/per minute for a regular bike or 12 cents/per minute for an e-bike. With over 8,000 bikes available at 700 stations across the city, you can easily hop around the city by bike. If you purchase an OPUS transit pass, you can link it to Bixi Bike to easily tap and rent a bike, as well as receive 10% off fares.

When to Go to Montreal

Montreal is at its busiest in the summer, especially when all the outdoor patios are open and there’s a festival practically every week. July and August are the hottest months, with temperatures hovering around 25°C (78°F). Just note that accommodation prices increase and tourist attractions can get crowded during this time so you may want to book early.

Both early fall and late spring are excellent times to visit as the weather is warm, you can do all the outdoor exploration you want, and there aren’t many tourists around. It’s stunning from late September to the end of October when the leaves start turning color.

Winters in Montreal are bitterly cold, with temperatures averaging around -7°C (19°F) in January though it can get much colder. Expect lots of snow too. In short, I wouldn’t suggest visiting in the winter unless you’re heading further afield to ski and enjoy the snow.

How to Stay Safe in Montreal

Montreal is very safe and you’re unlikely to experience any violent crime here. Your greatest risk is petty crime, like pickpocketing, but even that is rare. Pickpocketing is most likely to occur in busy restaurants and cafes or on public transportation, so keep an eye on your valuables when you’re out and about just to be safe.

Solo female travelers should generally feel safe in the country, however, the standard precautions apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone intoxicated, etc.). For more information, check out one of the many solo female travel blogs on the city.

Avoid neighborhoods like Notre Dame Ouest and Wellington Street after dark as sometimes gangs frequent the area.

If visiting in the winter, dress warmly. The temperature can get extremely cold (to the point where people have died).

Scams here are in the city. If you’re worried about them though, you can read about the common travel scams to avoid here.

The number for emergency services is 911.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past.

Montreal Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!

Montreal Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling Canada and continue planning your trip:

The 6 Best Hotels in Toronto

The 6 Best Hotels in Toronto

Where to Stay in Quebec City: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

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History of Tourisme Montréal

Tourisme Montréal is a private, non-profit organization, founded in 1919 and incorporated in 1924. It comprises more than 750 members and partners from Montreal’s tourism industry, who share the common goal of promoting the city as a premier travel destination to non-local markets.

In 1998, the organization officially known as the Greater Montréal Convention and Tourism Bureau Inc. adopted the shorter and more user-friendly marketing name of Tourisme Montréal.


Tourisme Montréal receives funding from three levels of government, but is a privately run enterprise with its own board of directors.

Its members and industry partners also contribute financially through membership dues and fees for promotional and advertising campaigns targeting markets outside of Québec.

The City of Montréal accommodation tax represents its main source of revenue.


Tourisme Montréal is committed to the sound management of its funds, allocating approximately 70% of its total budget to marketing, promotional and advertising activities targeting primary and secondary markets.

Less than 30% of its budget goes to salaries, payroll taxes and other operating costs, comparing very favourably with the spending allocations of Destination Marketing International (formerly the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus) which, on average, devotes 52.1% of its budget to promotional activities and 47.9 % to operating costs.


  • Assume leadership of the regional effort to promote our hospitality industry by positioning Montréal as a premier destination for business and leisure travel
  • Create business opportunities for our members and partners, and economic benefits for the entire region
  • Steer Montréal’s tourism market development to keep pace with constantly evolving economic realities

In fully assuming its role as leader, Tourisme Montréal mobilizes members and partners around activities to promote and develop, among others, the Canadian and U.S. markets to attract meetings and conventions to Montréal and to persuade leisure travellers to choose our city.


Tourisme Montréal is committed to ensuring that all visitors receive a warm welcome. To this end, it sees that provincial hospitality standards are respected, promotes awareness and dialogue among industry players on the importance of excellence in hospitality, and supports initiatives to develop appropriate services for the Montréal region, which include producing and distributing travel literature and establishing tourism information centres. Tourisme Montréal also offers unsurpassed logistical support to meeting and convention planners, as well as specialized foreign press.


The primary goal of the development strategies implemented by Tourisme Montréal is to enhance  Montréal’s appeal  as a year-round destination, while highlighting its distinct character.

Tourisme Montréal’s actions centre around two key objectives:

  • steering urban tourism development and encouraging new investments in sectors which need it
  • ensuring that the various development stakeholders integrate tourism-related issues into their planning

tourism company montreal

Trudeau airport boosts Indigenous tourism and culture with new display

  • Duration 1:39

Aéroports de Montréal, the company that runs Montreal's Trudeau airport, says it hopes the display of Indigenous names, imagery and artifacts leads to a larger Indigenous presence that could include boutiques or even a restaurant.

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How to Spend a Long Weekend in Montreal

M ontreal is a city touched by art, culture and history. This exhilarating metropolis has touches of French life intertwined with Canadian history and culture, and offers a European experience, but without the transatlantic travel for those coming from the U.S. With it just being a short one-and-a-half hour flight away from New York City, Montreal is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway.

Due to the expansive layout of the city, Montreal is best explored on foot, with assistance from the public transportation system, the Société de transport de Montréal. Almost everything is accessible by bus or train. Downtown Montreal and Old Montreal are two of the most popular destinations within the Canadian city, with an array of unique hotels, restaurants, shops and activities. Here’s our guide on how to make the most of a weekend excursion to Montreal. 

The Ultimate Montreal Weekend Guide

Le mount stephen, vogue hotel montreal downtown, curio collection by hilton, hotel gault, montreal museum of fine arts, bell centre, notre-dame basilica of montreal (basilique notre-dame de montréal), eaton center of montreal, the underground city (réso), bonsecours market, maison boulud, bouillon bilk, where to stay.

  • 1440 Drummond St, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1V9, Canada

Le Mount Stephen is a hotel steeped in Canadian history. Located in Downtown Montreal’s Golden Square Mile neighborhood in an elegant Neo-Renaissance building with a sleek modern tower, this 19th century boutique hotel is a historic landmark, with roots tracing back to Lord George Stephen and his exclusive Mount Stephen Club. At this luxury spot, guests can dine at Bar George, which is inspired by Lord Stephen’s British and Canadian ancestry, and relax in their renowned spa, Mbiospa Prestige. Once you step outside the classic stone entrance way, you’re within walking distance of some of Montreal’s most popular destinations, including McGill University, the Montreal Fine Arts Museum and Dorchester Square.

  • 1425 Rue de la Montagne, Montréal, QC H3G 1Z3, Canada

The Vogue Hotel sits right across the street from some of the city’s most famous designer stores. This classic downtown hotel is known for its unique style—a lobby with no corners, velvet accent pieces and lavish chandeliers. The Vogue, which debuted the glamorous results of a renovation in 2023, also boasts a fitness center, brand-new spa and some of the largest guest rooms in the area. For dining, this space spares no expense. Yama Bar & Restaurant, which features a Japanese-American fusion menu, is headed by Canadian celebrity chef Antonio Park.

  • 449 Ste Helene, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2Y 2K9

On the other side of the city, in the historic district of Old Montreal, Hotel Gault occupies a corner building that dates back to 1871, when it was constructed by businessman Andrew F. Gault. In contrast to its 19th century past, the inside of the hotel is decked out in modern designer furniture, with art from local photographer Valerie Jodoin Keaton displayed in the lobby. This space is located steps from Notre Dame Cathedral, the Montreal Archeology Museum and the marina, where you can walk along the piers.

  • 1380 Sherbrooke Street West Montreal, Quebec H3G 1J5

Visitors of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts can find an immersive collection of over 47,000 installations spread across multiple buildings. The museum’s collection is made up of a mix of Quebec and Canadian heritage, Indigenous art and international art pieces. If you find yourself hungry or tired during your exhibition visits, take a break at Beaux-Arts Bistro, the on-site restaurant. Don’t forget to explore the area, either—the museum is located within the famed Museum District, which features an array of boutiques and private galleries.

  • 1909 Av. des Canadiens-de-Montréal, Montréal, QC H3B 5E8, Canada

Hockey, Canada’s national winter sport, is a key part of Montreal culture. The Montreal Canadiens have been their home team since the 1920s, and have been playing at the Bell Centre arena since 1996. This arena is one of the most famous in North America, and has a dedicated tour for those who want to learn more about the Original Six NHL hockey team and the venue. On the tour, guests visit the Alumni Lounge, press box, conference room, team locker room and store.

  • 110 R. Notre Dame O, Montréal, QC H2Y 1T1, Canada

Although the Parish of Notre Dame was founded in 1678, the basilica you can visit today was constructed in 1982, following renovations, expansions and a destructive fire. It is a designated national historic site and is one of the largest Catholic places of worship in North America. Although it is still used for important religious events, it is mostly known for being a tourist hotspot, and has been used for exhibitions, concerts and shows such as The AURA Experience, Luciano Pavarotti’s Christmas Concert and the Montréal Symphony Orchestra.

Where to Shop

  • 705 Rue Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, QC H3B 4G5, Canada

Located in the heart of Downtown Montreal, Eaton Center is an iconic part of the city’s shopping experience. With over 125 store fronts spread out amongst the five floors, you can spend all day wandering through its expansive halls.

Visited by over a quarter of a million people every day, Montreal’s Underground City, also known as RÉSO, is found below the busy streets of Downtown Montreal, and contains restaurants, bars, hotels, shops, a movie theater and even a library. Through the underground city, one can access many of Montreal’s malls, event centers and transportation hubs. It is also a great way to escape the cold and unpredictable Canadian weather.

  • 350 Rue Saint-Paul E, Montréal, QC H2Y 1H2, Canada

For more than a hundred years, Bonsecours Market has been a center for the people of Québec to sell local products. This neoclassical heritage building in Old Montreal is also the headquarters of the Québec Crafts Council, which houses 15 boutiques centered around the sale of Canadian and Native arts, jewelry and furniture. This is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the First Nations culture of Montreal.

Where to Eat

  • Ritz-Carlton Montreal, 1228 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest Montreal, Québec, H3G 1H6, Canada

Located in the Ritz-Carlton, Daniel Boulud’s Maison Boulud is a vibrant part of the Montreal food scene. This restaurant, bar and lounge serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a twist on traditional French food.

  • 275 R. Notre Dame O, Montréal, QC H2Y 1T8, Canada

Chez Delmo, a classic in Old Montreal, is an elegant space that serves French seafood. When it first opened in the 1930s, it was not the luxurious dining experience it is now—the original owners built it as a combination restaurant-game room-brothel. These days, their menu includes lobster Thermidor, Dover sole and Sturgeon caviar. Chef Sébastien Gagné stays true to traditional cooking methods and impeccable quality products, which has been instilled in the foundation of Chez Delmo since it reopened in its current form in 1964. Don’t forget, reservations are required.  

  • 1595 Boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2X 2S9, Canada

If you are in search of a chic, sophisticated French Canadian meal, Bouillon Bilk is the Montreal dining experience for you. With its thoughtfully selected wine menu and late night service, this minimalistic restaurant is refined and polished. Chef François Nadon utilizes a semi-open kitchen and simple ingredients to provide a culinary presentation like no other.

  • 9 Fairmount Ave E , Montréal QC H2T 1C7

For a more casual meal, check out Larrys, the brainchild of the minds behind Montreal staples Lawrence and Boucherie Lawrence. Since its opening in 2016, Larrys has functioned as a classic English breakfast spot until the evening, when they bring out their renowned wine list and dinner menu, with dishes such as albacore ceviche and beef tartare. They don’t accept reservations, so check their virtual walk-up list before heading over.

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How to Spend a Long Weekend in Montreal originally appeared on Observer

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Bank of montreal and two more tsx dividend stocks to consider.

As the U.S. presidential campaign stirs discussions on key economic issues such as government debt and trade policies, investors might seek stability in dividend-paying stocks amidst potential market fluctuations. In this context, companies like the Bank of Montreal that offer regular dividends could be considered by those looking to add a measure of predictability and income to their portfolios during uncertain times.

Top 10 Dividend Stocks In Canada

Click here to see the full list of 34 stocks from our Top TSX Dividend Stocks screener.

Here's a peek at a few of the choices from the screener.

Bank of Montreal

Simply Wall St Dividend Rating: ★★★★★☆

Overview: Bank of Montreal offers a range of financial services mainly in North America, with a market capitalization of approximately CA$86.12 billion.

Operations: Bank of Montreal generates revenue through various segments, including BMO Capital Markets at CA$6.38 billion, BMO Wealth Management at CA$7.68 billion, U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking at CA$9.04 billion, and Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking at CA$10.14 billion.

Dividend Yield: 5.2%

Bank of Montreal's recent fixed-income offerings and preferred share activities demonstrate a robust capital management strategy, enhancing its appeal to dividend investors. Despite a dividend yield of 5.23%, which is below the top quartile in the Canadian market, BMO has consistently increased dividends over the past decade. The dividends are well-covered by earnings with a current payout ratio of 71.6% and are projected to remain sustainable with an anticipated payout ratio of 52.5% in three years, underpinning future reliability. However, BMO's valuation suggests it trades at a significant discount (39.6% below fair value), potentially indicating undervaluation or investor caution regarding its financial health metrics like its low allowance for bad loans at 76%.

Navigate through the intricacies of Bank of Montreal with our comprehensive dividend report here.

Our comprehensive valuation report raises the possibility that Bank of Montreal is priced higher than what may be justified by its financials.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Overview: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (TSX:CM) is a diversified financial institution offering a range of financial products and services to various clients in Canada, the U.S., and globally, with a market capitalization of CA$63.17 billion.

Operations: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce generates revenue through Canadian Personal and Business Banking (CA$8.53 billion), Capital Markets and Financial Services (CA$5.66 billion), U.S. Commercial Banking and Wealth Management (CA$1.75 billion), and Canadian Commercial Banking and Wealth Management (CA$5.37 billion).

Dividend Yield: 5.3%

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) has been active in the capital markets, recently completing several fixed-income offerings, including significant issuances of senior unsecured notes. These moves demonstrate CIBC's focus on maintaining a robust capital structure. Financially, CIBC reported a solid increase in net income and earnings per share in its latest quarterly results, reflecting operational strength. While its dividend yield of 5.28% is below the top quartile for Canadian dividend payers, the dividends appear sustainable with a current payout ratio of 53.9%, which is projected to remain covered by earnings over the next three years at 51.1%. This suggests reliability in its dividend payments amidst a backdrop of consistent financial performance and strategic capital management activities.

Click here and access our complete dividend analysis report to understand the dynamics of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Our valuation report here indicates Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce may be undervalued.

Hemisphere Energy

Simply Wall St Dividend Rating: ★★★★☆☆

Overview: Hemisphere Energy Corporation, operating in Canada, focuses on the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of petroleum and natural gas interests with a market capitalization of approximately CA$178.04 million.

Operations: Hemisphere Energy Corporation generates its revenue primarily from petroleum and natural gas interests, totaling CA$69.30 million.

Dividend Yield: 7.3%

Hemisphere Energy's recent share repurchase program and special dividend announcement underscore its commitment to returning value to shareholders. While the company has a relatively short history of dividend payments, with regular and special dividends announced recently, its dividends are supported by solid earnings coverage and cash flows. However, it's worth noting the forecasted decline in earnings over the next three years could impact future dividend sustainability. The company's proactive financial management is evidenced by renewing a CA$35 million credit facility and maintaining a low payout ratio, which supports ongoing dividend payments amidst operational challenges.

Click here to discover the nuances of Hemisphere Energy with our detailed analytical dividend report.

According our valuation report, there's an indication that Hemisphere Energy's share price might be on the expensive side.

Turning Ideas Into Actions

Dive into all 34 of the Top TSX Dividend Stocks we have identified here.

Are any of these part of your asset mix? Tap into the analytical power of Simply Wall St's portfolio to get a 360-degree view on how they're shaping up.

Maximize your investment potential with Simply Wall St, the comprehensive app that offers global market insights for free.

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Explore high-performing small cap companies that haven't yet garnered significant analyst attention.

Fuel your portfolio with companies showing strong growth potential, backed by optimistic outlooks both from analysts and management .

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Companies discussed in this article include TSX:BMOTSX:CM and TSXV:HME.

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Apollo Acquires The Travel Corporation in Bet on Group Tours

Jesse Chase-Lubitz , Skift

July 16th, 2024 at 9:44 AM EDT

Apollo Global Management is set to acquire The Travel Corporation's (TTC) portfolio with an expected closure in Q4 2024, pending regulatory approvals.

Jesse Chase-Lubitz

Apollo Global Management, an asset management company and private equity firm, and The Travel Corporation (TTC), a private travel company that owns 18 travel brands, announced an agreement for Apollo-managed funds to acquire TTC.

TTC is one of the largest privately held travel companies in the world and it has been family-owned for a century. TTC was founded in South Africa in 1920 by Solomon Tollman and has stayed in the family since.

The acquisition includes TTC tour brands such as Trafalgar, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, Contiki, and Insight Vacations.

Apollo had managed around $671 billion in assets as of March this year.

The agreement between the two companies, which is still subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Certain brands, notably The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, will remain under the Tollman family. Financial terms were not disclosed.

In an interview with Skift last week, TTC’s CEO in Asia, Nick Lim, spoke about the rising demand for group tours among younger generations. 

“Previously, group tours were popular among retirees. Now, we see younger travelers, particularly on our Contiki tours which are exclusively for 18 to 35, and even on our luxury brands like Insight Vacations, attracting those in their mid-30s to 45.”

Earlier this year, TTC announced intentions to reduce the impact of tourism on the environment and it teamed up with a new communications firm in the UK. In its latest annual report, it showed strong post-Covid recovery and growth across its brands. Some of its brands, including Insight Vacations and Contiki, have been experiencing steady growth.

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Tags: apollo , Apollo Global Management , deals , the travel corporation

Photo credit: Travel Corporation CEO Brett Tollman (R), addressing the crowd at the Skift Global Forum in New York City, Sept. 27, 2016. Skift

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  29. South African Tourism Is Seeing Strong Growth, Minister Says

    South African tourism grew by 9.7% to about 3.8 million arrivals between January and May, compared with a year ago, Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille said.. The increase contributed to a 27.5% ...

  30. Risk of Illinois dam breach is under control after once-in-a-century

    After water overtopped a reservoir dam and forced residents of a small Illinois city to evacuate Tuesday morning amid fears the structure could rupture, local officials now say the situation is ...