Situated on an island in the St. Lawrence River, Montreal is the second largest city in Canada, and the eighth largest in North America. It is named after Mount Royal (Monté Real), the triple peaked hill in the heart of the city. It is also the second largest French-speaking nation (as mother tongue) next to Paris, and one of the most bilingual cities in Quebec and in Canada with 56% of the population speaking both English and French. The city has a population of almost 1.8 million in the city centre, and a little less than four million in the whole, including other municipalities surrounding the city and in the Island of Montreal.
Apart from this, Montreal was named a UNESCO City of Design due to its beautiful establishments and architecture. This was primarily due to the heavy European influences in the country, apart from the talent of the people in it. Moreover, Montreal is also famous for its festivals and its ranking in the education sector. In 2012, QS World University Rankings placed Montreal as the 10th best place in the world to be a university student.
Various activities and vistas await visitors of Montreal. Delve on its culture, coastlines, and cuisine and be amazed with its wonders.
Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal – The Notre-Dame Basilica was built on the site of an older and smaller church. It is now a famous landmark of the city, with its impressive symphony of carved wood, paintings, stained-glass windows, and sculptures. It is also the site of the biggest bell in North America, the Gros Bourdon, and the famous Casavant Organ. At the back of the main altar, the smaller Sacred Heart Chapel can be found – a popular place to tie the knot. It features a floor to ceiling bronze altarpiece, crowning the chapel front and centre.
Montreal's Little Italy and Jean Talon Market – To further enjoy what Montreal has to offer, go for a food escapade in Montreal's Little Italy. This is the city's food mecca, a place where people can savour various cuisines from Canada and from other countries as well. Check out the lamb dishes, and other delicacies. Meanwhile, the Jean Talon Market offers the freshest ingredients for your menus. It also has speciality food shops nearby, if you're craving for something different.
Old Montreal – Visit the Old Montreal area to see the history and the tradition of Montreal back in the day. The area has a vast majority of historical buildings and museums, dating from the 17th to 19th century. Old Montreal is also a sight to behold at night because the buildings are beautifully lit up.
Other areas to visit are the Biosphere, Olympic Stadium, Insectarium, Jardin Botanique, and Bio Dome.
How to get around within Montreal
The best way to go around the city is by foot. Montreal is a beautiful city to travel on while walking. Aside from being pedestrian friendly, the streets are full of street art, and the architectural exhibitions of the buildings are best appreciated on the ground. If going for long distances or if saving up on travel time, there are many other modes of transportation. Railways and tramways are available, as well as buses and taxis. Just make sure that you know a little conversational French so that you can easily look for the stations and stops. Major roads also have dedicated bike lanes, so if you're into cycling, then you can go for a little spin around the city using your bike. Riding horse-drawn carriages may be beautiful considering the cobblestone pathways scattered around the city, but it is highly discouraged.
How to get there
Nothing beats air transport when it comes to travelling to the beautiful city of Montreal. Catch flights going to the city through various airlines like Air Canada, Air France, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, KLM, Lufthansa, and the like. Cheap flights can be booked using Skyscanner. Skyscanner is the most reliable online source of cheap flights from 600 airline companies.