From quaint neighbourhoods, to expansive green spaces, to the scenic harbour area, to the island entertainment complex of Île Sainte Hélène, Montreal is a veritable tourist playground that is sure to please visitors of all ages. A few days here simply won't be enough time. A week may not even be sufficient, and before long you'll find yourself wanting to book another flight to Montreal. Experiencing the European flavour of this very French city — yes, bring your phrasebook along, because you'll have plenty of opportunity to parlez Français — is something that shouldn't be rushed.
In between your sightseeing excursions to fascinating places like Old Montreal, Mile End, and Mount Royal, or the trendy shops of Rue Ste. Catherine, allow yourself the pleasure of lingering over a glass of wine in the afternoon, or a five-course French dinner in the evening. Savour every Montreal experience so that you can truly enjoy and embrace the culture that is the heart of Montreal.
Montreal is a main hub for both Air Canada and WestJet, and the city is also served by many major North American, European, South American, and Asian airlines, including British Airways, Delta Airlines, and Northwest Airlines, among others.
It's generally not a problem to book cheap flights to Montreal, because there are so many flights arriving and departing daily, but plan ahead when travelling in the summer, which is when the city hosts many festivals and events with hot tickets such as the Montreal Jazz Festival causing Montreal flights and hotels to sell out. It's wise to book well in advance. The same applies to holiday periods such as Easter, Christmas, and Spring Break.
Montreal has four seasons, and they're as distinct at they can get. Winter temperatures are typically well below freezing, and there's always plenty of snow. This can cause Montreal flights to be delayed more often than other times of year. Surprisingly, summer tends to be the rainiest season, and is humid and warm, with daytime highs often hitting 24-26°C, and occasionally even 30°C. Spring and fall are both generally quite mild, but fall is typically the warmer of these two seasons, and it's not unusual for the occasional fall heat wave to blow in.
There's simply no debate about this. Summer is absolutely the best time to visit Montreal, and yes, this is the city's peak tourist season. The weather is gorgeous, and the streets, parks, and sidewalk cafés are filled with throngs of people. Sure, it's busy and maybe even a little crowded in the super-popular tourist spots, but that makes it all the more exciting. If you really can't stand crowds, book flights to Montreal in late spring and early fall, which are also very nice.
When flying to Montreal, your flight will land at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) , which is located 25 kilometres west of the city centre. From the airport you will have several options for travelling to the city centre:
Public Transit: An express bus, route 747, operates between the airport and downtown. This is run by Société de transport de Montréal (STM), takes about 35 minutes and costs about $8 per ticket. The route goes straight from the airport to the bus terminal at Berri-UQAM metro station, stopping only at Lionel Groulx metro station and a handful of major intersections along Boulevard René-Lévesque. You can buy tickets for the bus at the International Currency Exchange counter on the international arrivals level. Many downtown hotels have free shuttle service between the hotel and the Berri-UQAM metro station.
Hotel Shuttle: If you are staying at an airport hotel in Montreal, the hotel may provide a complimentary shuttle to pick you up from the airport (as well as drop-off when you leave). Check with the hotel when you book your room.
Taxi: Taxis are easy to find at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. Simply walk up to the dispatcher near the central exit on the arrivals level, who will assist you to the first available cab. The average fare from the airport to downtown Montreal is approximately $38 CAD, and takes about 30 to 40 minutes.
Car Rental: Car rentals are available at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. All of the major car rental companies are on-site, and have desks on the arrivals level of the YUL terminal that are mere steps away once your flight to Montreal lands.
City Shuttle: L'Aerobus operates a luxury coach service between the airport and downtown. A one-way adult ticket is about $16 CAD or $26 return. The downtown terminal is located at the Berri-UQAM metro station.
Train: A free shuttle bus is offered to cover the short distance to the VIA Rail station in Dorval where you can catch trains running along the Quebec City, or Montreal-Ottawa-Kingston-Toronto rail corridors.
Other: Limos are also available from the taxi dispatcher, and the fare to downtown starts at about $50. Shuttle service from the airport to Mont-Tremblant is available through Skyport. Both Orleans Express and Greyhound have regional buses which depart from the airport and will take you to destinations such as Trois-Riviéres, Ste-Foy, and Gatineau.