You always wish for more time on a trip, but if you can’t squeeze more days into your itinerary that doesn’t mean you have to miss out. We wanted to experience as much of the Montréal area as possible without being completely exhausted and I think the best way to do that is to just take a small sample of each area. In the end, I think Ginger and I can agree that our trip was a good mix of seeing both the historical and hipster sides of Montréal. If you only have three days in this city, here is what we recommend:
Day 1: Walking Tour of Old Montréal
Discovering a city on foot has become my favorite way to acclimate myself when I first arrive. There are plenty of tours both free and paid for to be found out there, but I try to go for free first. In Montréal, there are some free tours available here but we didn’t schedule ours in time. Something I learned in Paris, though, is that doing a walking tour yourself can be convenient because you can go at your own pace.
Just be sure that you have the information about each stop available because it makes it more meaningful. For our trip we followed Frommer’s walking tour of Vieux-Montréal. It hits some of the most beautiful and historically significant buildings in the area including the Basilique Notre-Dame (where Celine Dion was married), the Chateau Ramazay and the Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours among many others.
Day 2: Day trip to Quebec City
We went back and forth on whether this was worth a full day of our time and I am happy to say that going to Quebec City was a highlight of our trip. Just look at it, if the six year old in you doesn’t just want to run around these streets singing the opening song from Beauty and the Beast then I don’t know what is wrong with you.
You could take a train from Montréal to Quebec City and then do your own walking tour once you get there, but we decided since it would be an all day adventure to splurge for one of Viator’s tours that took us from Montréal to Quebec City by bus. Our guide was fantastic and we had three hours of free time to explore the city.
We skipped the river boat ride and I actually recommend doing just that because the boat ride takes up all of your free afternoon time. Instead we were able to explore more of the city ourselves.
Day 3: Mile End & High Plateau Neighborhoods
Bagels, furniture stores and record shops, what’s not to love? This is also the prime spot to go if you want to see some of the staircases that Montréal is known for.
We didn’t have a particular plan for where to go once we got to this area but that worked out because we fell in love with all the random shops that we stepped in to.
While Old Montréal is beautiful and a must see, the wonderful thing about this part of the city is that it feels less touristy. Ginger and I both agreed that if we were to live in Montréal, this would be the place.