Montreal is the second-most populated city in Canada (after Toronto) and the largest francophone city outside of Paris. This cultural capital has enough French influence to make you feel like you're traveling in Europe rather than in North America, and it's only 372 miles (599 kilometers) from New York City. Montreal is a short hour-and-a-half flight from the Big Apple, but you can also travel by bus, train, or car.
|Bus||8 hours, 30 minutes||from $65||Minding a budget|
|Train||11 hours||from $70||Taking the scenic route|
|Plane||1 hour, 30 minutes||from $120||Arriving on a time crunch|
|Car||6 hours||372 miles (599 kilometers)||Exploring more of Quebec|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From New York City to Montreal?
The cheapest way to travel to Montreal from New York City is by bus. Trailways and Greyhound offer trips daily, and sometimes for as little as $65 a pop. The bus departs from Port Authority and arrives in Gare d'autocars de Montréal after eight and a half to nine and a half hours.
Upon reaching the Canadian border, all bus passengers will need to get off the bus and pick up their belongings and luggage, which may be inspected by Canadian officials (unclaimed bags will be removed). You’ll be asked what the reason is for your trip. Once the process is finished, you'll return your bags to the bus and continue on your journey. Make sure you have reviewed the immigration and customs information to ensure you carry the proper documents.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From New York City
The quickest way to get to Montreal is by flying. Most major airlines serve Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) from any of New York City's three airports, John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia Airport, and Newark International. There are roughly 12 airlines that fly this route direct, including Delta, American, British Airways, and—the most popular—Air Canada. Between them, there are more than 700 flights per week. The flight takes about an hour and a half and costs between $120 and $150 for a one-way ticket.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
An island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, Montreal is a one-hour drive north of the Vermont-New York border and five hours east of Toronto. Quebec City is almost three hours away. Canada’s capital, Ottawa, is two hours away. Having a car to hop in and explore the area is ideal, but not many people who live in New York City have cars, and it costs $30 per day minimum to rent one. If you're willing to front the cost, the drive will take you through scenic parts of Upstate New York, right alongside Lake Champlain, for about six hours. You will cross the border on the Adirondack Northway. Make sure you have all the necessary documents with you.
How Long Is the Train Ride?
Amtrak operates a daily, 11-hour train service called The Adirondack from New York’s Penn Station to Montreal Central Station. It follows the Hudson River and Lake Champlain, so although it's the slowest mode of transportation, it offers the best scenery. Tickets start at $70. When crossing the U.S.-Canada border by train, officials may ask for documentation. You must provide certain details, including your date of birth, gender, and country of citizenship, upon booking. It's important that the name you have on your ticket matches your passport and ID.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Montreal?
Unless you like the idea of frigid temperatures (we're talking lows of -11 degrees Celsius (11 Fahrenheit) during the month of February), then summer is the best time to visit Montreal. The peak tourist season runs from June through August, so your best bet for smaller crowds and decent room rates is probably May or September when hotels have more vacancies and the weather is mild enough to be outside.
What’s the Most Scenic Route to Montreal?
Amtrak's Adirondack route winds through the Hudson Valley wine country, skirting along Lake Champlain, passing by the historic towns of Saratoga Springs and Ticonderoga, before crossing into Canada. It is repeatedly named one of the most scenic train rides in North America (and sometimes even in the world). You can stop at any of the 16 stations for a glass of wine, an overnight stay, or the like. It's particularly beautiful when the leaves change during the fall.
Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Montreal?
U.S. citizens may stay in Canada for up to six months a year without a visa.
Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?
The 747 Express Aeroport Bus runs from Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport to the city center—and to the intercity bus station centrally located above the Berri-UQAM Metro station—via a number of downtown hotels. Tickets are $10 one way.
The 204 Cardinal bus line, operated by the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), picks up from departures every half hour and goes to the Dorval train station. From Dorval, you can transfer to line 211 to the Lionel-Groulx Metro station or to a commuter train that will take you to the downtown Windsor station or the Vendome Metro. This costs about $4.
Alternatively, it costs a fixed rate of $40 for a cab ride to downtown. Depending on traffic, the trip will take between 40 minutes and an hour. If your French is limited, it’s best to write down the name of your destination. For non-downtown destinations, cab fares are determined by meter with a minimum charge of $17.
What Is There to Do in Montreal?
Montreal is a great entry point to broader Canada travels (Quebec City, Toronto, Niagara Falls, etc.), but there's a lot to do right in the city, such as visiting the ornate Notre-Dame Basilica, a Gothic Revival church in the historic district of Old Montreal, or exploring the Montreal Botanical Garden, comprising 75 hectares. Similarly, the Montreal Biodome, located at Olympic Park, replicates four American ecosystems, all indoors. Even when it's cold, you can get around via The Underground City, an underground network that connects downtown landmarks and buildings via a corridor of shops and restaurants. When it's nice outside, you can get a good vantage point from the top of Mount Royal.