Montreal is Quebec's most populous city, its financial centre and a thriving, multicultural hub of life activity. Quebec City, 169 miles (270 kilometers) up the Saint Lawrence River, is the province's capital city and one of the most unique, historically important cities in North America.
These two French Canadian cities are on most Quebec travel itineraries so getting from one to the other in the most convenient / scenic /economic way is a question many visitors have.
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Flights between Montreal and Quebec City
The Montréal-Trudeau Airport (YMQ) is about a half hour drive from downtown Montreal.
The Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) is about 25 mins. from downtown Quebec City.
Expect to pay at least Cdn $300 - $500 for a return Montreal - Quebec City flight (as of 2017).
The flight between Montreal and Quebec City takes under an hour, but travellers should arrive at the airport 1.5 hours before their flight is scheduled for take-off.
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Buses that Travel between Montreal and Quebec City
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A guided tour may be a good idea if you have limited time and want to make the most of your trip and learn as much as you can during your travels.
This Quebec City and Montmorency Falls Day Trip from Montreal is a full-day sightseeing tour with a local licensed guide highlighting Quebec City's top attractions.
Another option that allows a bit more time in Quebec City, which is always a good thing, is a two-day guided tour of Quebec City and Tadoussac, leaving out of Montreal. Get a guided tour of historic Quebec City plus time to spend on your own. After the scenic drive to Tadoussac, hop on board a whale watching vessel and keep an eye out for the belugas, minkes, and humpbacks that dwell in the St. Lawrence waters.
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Driving from Montreal to Quebec City or from Quebec City to Montreal
The slightly quicker way is along Hwy 20 on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River; however this route is pretty dull and lacking in charm. One advantage of taking this route is that you can stop for yummy, authentic poutine at Fromagerie Lemaire just outside of Drummondville. Being a cheese making operation, the cheese curds are fresh and the french fries - of course - fresh cut.
The north shore route along Hwy 40 is slightly more scenic as it runs closer to the river shore and has more small towns with pretty double-spired churches.
Be aware that driving in Quebec in winter can be challenging, especially if inexperienced. Snow tires are mandatory for Quebec cars for a reason, so educate yourself on proper winter driving.
(Beyond Quebec City, the drive along the north... shore is a treat for both eyes and taste buds as you head into the glorious Charlevoix region, famous for its scenery and its fine, fresh regional fare.)Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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The train ride is not particularly scenic but it is comfortable, reliable and convenient.
Passengers may choose between economy and business class. Free WiFi is available on board.
The train trip between Montreal and Quebec City takes between 3 and 3½ hours.
A one-way economy ticket from Montreal to Quebec City costs about Cdn$60 plus tax (as of 2016). Keep an eye on VIA Express Deals to save up to 75% on fares.
Prices have actually come down as VIA Rail tries to be more competitive with other modes of transportation.
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It may not be the way that most people travel between Montreal and Quebec City, nevertheless, if you have a couple of days and a reliable bike, you may want to follow Michel Gagnon's detailed route itinerary (available in French and English) that takes you through Trois-Rivières, historic communities and waterside trails.