How to Get to Montreal, Canada: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

The night life of Montreal city
naibank / Getty Images

Montreal, Canada's second-most populated city after Toronto, is a wonderful place to visit. This cultural capital has a heavy French influence, so you'll feel as if you're in Europe rather than North America. Whether you're taking a car, airplane, train, or bus to Montreal, getting to this sophisticated, historic city is well worth the effort.

Montreal by Bus

If you'd like to take a bus to Montreal, Trailways and Greyhound have daily trips from major U.S. and Canadian cities, including New York and Chicago. Consult the company's website for fares. In general, these fares are less than $100 for a one-way ticket.

Sample travel times are: 

Greyhound information about the border crossing indicates that when you reach the Canadian border, all passengers will need to get off the bus and pick up their belongings and luggage, which may be inspected by Canadian officials. Unclaimed baggage will be removed by Canadian officials. You’ll be asked what the reason is for your trip. Once that process is finished, you'll return your bags to the bus and continue on into Canada. Make sure you have reviewed the immigration and customs information before you leave so you will have the correct documents.

Montreal by Car

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. Since you will cross the border, the immigration and customs information for Canada will be important to review. Note that, depending on the age of children with you, you may need additional documentation.

Montreal by Air

Most major airlines serve Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL). You will be going through immigration and customs when you land. Air Canada's customs and immigration information will help you prepare. Note that documents required for the outbound portion of your travel may differ from those required for the return.

Montreal Airport Transportation

The 747 Express Aeroport Bus runs to the city center (777 Rue de la Gauchetiere, at University) and to the city's intercity bus station centrally located above the Berri-UQAM Metro (subway) station via a number of downtown hotels. Tickets are $10 one way.

It’s a fixed rate charge of $40 for a cab ride to downtown. Depending on traffic, the trip will take between 40 minutes to an hour. If your French is limited, it’s best to write down the name of your destination. Cab fares are determined by the meter to other destinations with a minimum charge of $17.

Public Bus 204 east leaves from outside departures (ground level) every half hour to the Dorval train station. From Dorval, transfer to the express bus 211 to the Lionel-Groulx Metro station or a commuter train to the downtown Windsor station and the Vendome Metro.

Montreal by Train

Amtrak operates a scenic, 11-hour train service from New York’s Penn Station that follows the Hudson River and Lake Champlain.

Via Rail offers service all over Canada. Sample routes and times are:

  • Toronto to Montreal: Five hours
  • Montreal to Ottawa: Two hours
  • Montreal to Quebec City: Three hours

When crossing the U.S./Canada border by train, officials may ask for documentation. When making a reservation for services crossing the US-Canadian border, you must provide certain information, including your date of birth, gender, country of citizenship, and detailed information regarding the form of ID that you will carry with you on your trip. It is important that the name you have on your ticket matches your passport and ID information.