If you want to feel like you’re in Europe while still exploring North America, there’s no better place to host your trip than the province of Quebec. This province is home to two famous French-Canadian cities, Montreal and Quebec City. And while these two have distinct vibes, they complement each other well.
Montreal is what you’d expect a big and bustling cosmopolitan to be, but it’s so much more than that. Meanwhile, Quebec City is a cozier, more quaint city that truly feels like a European city.
Come for Montreal and Quebec City’s fascinating heritage, but stay for their other exciting allures. These two cities are well-visited by tourists from around the world, and they keep coming back for more. In this article, you’ll find out the many reasons why so many have fallen in love with them.
Cradled by rivers and built around a mountain, Montreal’s famed beauty attracts tourists from far and wide. Being a year-round natural playground is an expected allure of Montreal. But tourists fall in love with the city for many other reasons other than its scenic wonders.
What Makes Montreal Unique?
A Year-Round Paradise for Outdoor Lovers
The bustling city of Montreal strikes a balance of big-city comfort with sprawling lands of natural wonders. In and around the city, Montreal blinds you with natural oases that’ll give you a break from the concrete. From its well-maintained parks to the scenic lakes, to the mountain that looms over the city, it’s easy to feel one with nature here.
Plus, Montreal offers exciting outdoor excursions, no matter the season!
Come during the warmer months and see the flora in full bloom. These months are perfect for trying out a diverse range of outdoor recreation. And it allows you to take advantage of the city’s varied landscape!
Climb to the top of an emerald-clad mountain right in the middle of the city. This mountain, Mount Royal, is the green jewel of Montreal! Here, you can enjoy a picnic, go hiking or cycling, discover its wildlife, and more.
A summer trip to the city also allows you to take advantage of the rivers that surround the city. Montreal has glistening waters on all its sides. There’s the St. Lawrence River in the South, Lac des Deux Montagnes in the west, and Rivière des Prairies in the north.
St. Lawrence River has a unique draw, it allows you to go surfing in Canada! You can also go kayaking or canoeing for a calmer way to enjoy the water. Or you can take it to the extreme by rafting, jet boating, or enjoying the bouncy waters of the Lachine Rapids on a river boat!
Montreal is a famous winter wonderland though. And it’s no wonder that tourists still flock to the city despite the cold temperatures.
Visit during winter, and you’ll still find Montreal’s great outdoors buzzing with excitement. Go cross-country skiing or sledding at Mount Royal, right at the heart of the city. Or you can head to the world-famous Mount Tremblant for a diverse range of winter fun!
Get to Know Its Vibrant Artistic Side
A city that’s long been a well-known artistic hub, Montreal is one of Canada’s most artistic cities. From centuries-old art to boundary-breaking ones, Montreal celebrates art and all its forms. Art is everywhere in the city, from the many museums to unassuming spots, to even the plethora of festivals Montreal hosts!
At the forefront of Montreal’s art scene are, of course, the top-notch museums it has.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is famous for its impressive collection of artworks that span centuries. With a collection of over 40000 artworks, here, you can explore Ancient Egyptian art to paintings by Rembrandt.
If this museum doesn’t interest you, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art may be for you. It’s long been a premier destination for contemporary art. More than paintings, this museum also has permanent works that include sound, video, and digital art, as well as sculptures!
The art scene in Montreal isn’t just found in the obvious spaces. Art is something everyone can enjoy in the city whenever, wherever, and most of all, for free!
Explore an overpass or an underground walkway, and chances are, you’ll discover the city’s exciting street art scene. Montreal celebrates this scene to the fullest. And it goes as far as offering spots where local artists have the freedom for their creativity.
Some of the best spots to spot street art are Rue Saint-Laurent, Saint-Catherine Street, and Rue Saint-Cuthbert. But there are still loads of smaller murals scattered across the city. And discovering these hidden gems is one of the most exciting things to do in Montreal.
What’s more thrilling are the festivals that showcase Montreal’s vibrant culture. Whether it’s cinema, dance, art, or music, Montreal celebrates them all. And with a busy events calendar of over 90 festivals a year, there’s almost always something going on in the city!
One of the most awaited events in the city is the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the biggest one in the world. There’s also the Montreal World Film Festival, the Circus Festival, and the Graffiti Festival!
Explore Its Irresistible and Zinging Food Scene
Much like the natural surroundings of Montreal, exploring its food scene also offers a thrilling adventure. Tickle your taste buds and munch your way through Montreal’s famed culinary scene.
The city’s food scene runs the gamut from upscale and wildly creative eats to the tried-and-true classics. But the iconic and traditional dishes set Montreal’s thriving food scene.
Montreal is best known for three tasty delights: bagels, smoked meat, and poutine.
The city’s bagels are unique in that it has a sweet flavor, and that’s because it gets soaked in honey water as part of the baking process. Montreal-style smoked meat is like New York’s pastrami. But this brisket delight is softer, stringier, and more peppery.
The star dish of Montreal, poutine, is one of the top dishes to try. A delicious mix of fries, brown gravy, and cheese curds, this calorific treat is everywhere in the city. Every restaurant in the city has its creative take on poutine, so there’s always something new to try.
Adding to the excitement of tasting these iconic eats is the friendly rivalry between some restaurants. Ask a local to point you to the best bagel, poutine, or smoked meat place, and you’ll find that they can’t settle on one spot. So it’s up to you to settle this once and for all!
Schwartz’s may have been the top spot for smoked meat for a long time, but some may say that The Main is better. With poutine, it’s a battle between La Banquise and Chex Claudette. While the debate about the best bagel place in town boils down to Fairmount and Viateur.
Canada’s Legendary Nightlife City
Some cities may turn quiet at night, but the opposite happens to Montreal. After dark, the city comes alive with blinding lights, loud music, and a ton of merrymakers flooding the streets. Long renowned as Canada’s best party city, Montreal entices you to explore the city well into the night.
With nightclubs, pubs, and bars of all kinds, Montreal is a paradise for some drunken fun. Whether you want to dance to beats by famous DJs or chill in a glamorous lounge, there’s something for you here.
One of the liveliest nightlife spots in the city is Quartier Latin, a neighborhood with a youthful vibe. You can also enjoy the many bars and clubs at Crescent Street. Have a drink or two and then stroll around the street to admire its Victorian buildings.
Spend at least one night exploring the city’s microbrewery scene though. Montreal is full of these, offering artisanal blends and well-loved local beers. This scene is often overlooked, but it’s another way to taste the city’s flavor.
If drinking isn’t your thing, there are loads of late-night entertainment in the city.
Apart from its renowned nightlife, Montreal also has a legendary music scene. From heavy metal to jazz, there’s always a venue or a show nearby that specializes in your music taste. One of the top spots for live music here is MTELUS Montreal, which has hosted big-hitter bands like Radiohead, Prince, and Coldplay.
If you’re seeking a different kind of entertainment, you can always explore Montreal’s theater scene. The Rialto Theatre has long had a prominent presence in the city’s night scene. And today, you can watch concerts, plays, and musical comedies at the National Historic Site.
There’s no place like Quebec City in North America, a city where its unique culture gets celebrated to the fullest. From its food scene to its fun events, the city gives you a taste of its French and indigenous heritage. Throw in the gorgeous natural landscape that cradles the city, and Quebec is a city that doesn’t make you want to leave.
What Makes Quebec City Unique?
Get a Taste of Its Fascinating Culture
One of the most unique things about Quebec City is its culture, one that’s hard to find elsewhere. The locals here are proud of their indigenous roots and their francophone culture. You’ll feel the vibrancy of this interesting mix, as both are very much alive here in the city.
And to immerse yourself in Quebec City’s francophone culture, you’ll have tons of fun options.
To some, it all starts with tourist spots that preserve this culture. Some top-notch spots for Francophiles in the city include:
- Centre de valorisation du patrimoine vivant: Discover how Quebec came to be the vibrant city it is today. Whether it’s through music, storytelling, dance, and more, artists and artisans here are proud to share their traditions.
- Maison de la littérature: An exhibit where you can dive deep into the city’s literary heritage. More than its library, it also features a creative studio, a comic-strip shop, and more.
Immersing yourself in the francophone culture isn’t limited indoors though. Quebec City is full of “joie de vivre”, which means exuberant enjoyment of life. And in celebrating its French heritage, the city has tons of festivals and events each year!
The New France Festival is one of the biggest events in the city. Join in the fun as you discover the history of the city’s first European settlers with fun-filled activities in the streets! Or you can take part in the Festival Québec en toutes letters, a unique literary event.
Other than the city’s French heritage, dive into Quebec’s indigenous roots too.
The Huron-Wendat Museum is an integral part of the city’s aboriginal tourism. This museum is home to a rare and extensive collection that preserves the Huron-Wendat culture. With guided tours and cultural activities, this museum is an interactive way to get to know the First Nations people.
Continue your quest to immerse yourself in the Huron-Wendat culture at the Huron Traditional Site. Here, a guide in costume will join you on a trip to the reconstituted village!
Explore a gigantic teepee, drying huts, and a longhouse. Listen to the tribe’s tales and legends. Watch how canoes and snowshoes get made, and more!
Feel Like You’ve Stepped Into a European City
Wander through the cobblestone streets of Old Quebec, where you can get a taste of 400 years worth of history. Old Quebec is one of the top attractions in the city, whether you’re a history buff or not. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is picturesque and has a charm like no other.
With all its fascinating sites, you can spend an entire week here and still discover something new each time!
Old Quebec is the birthplace of French America. And it’s the site of the only fortified city on the continent above Mexico.
Head to the escarpment of Cap Diamant, which was once the wall of New France. This fortified wall once protected New France from enemies for hundreds of years!
Walks along the walls of Saint-Louis and Saint-Jen Gates as much as you like. But climb up the stairs in Artillery Park near Saint-Jean Gate, and you can walk on top of these fortified walls!
Old Quebec is home to the most photographed hotel in the world, Château Frontenac. A selfie with the hotel is a must, but taking a guided tour inside offers a more exciting experience. You can even eat at the hotel’s restaurants and stay overnight here to soak up its history!
Continue your tour to Canada’s most picturesque street, Petit-Champlain. This street exudes an irresistible European charm, one that makes you feel like you’re in a fairy tale. Visit Petit-Champlain in the winter, when the street sparkles with Christmas lights!
Place Royal, the site where the city was founded, is also in Old Quebec. You can expect the same cobblestone streets here that give off a European charm. Lining these are 17th- and 18th-century buildings that take you back in time, such as Saint-Pierre.
Discover Its Breathtaking Natural Beauty
Nicknamed “la belle province”, Quebec’s breathtaking natural beauty is its crowning glory. And the province’s capital city is no exception to this.
Quebec City may feel like a charming European city, but don’t forget that it’s in Canada. And the city is also a gateway to the country’s world-famous natural wonders.
Within Quebec City, you’ll find endless vast spaces of verdant urban parks.
Explore a lush garden filled with an impressive mix of thriving flora at Parc du Bois-de-Coulonge. Wander around shaded paths lined with centuries-old white pine, red oaks, and sugar maples at Parc Cartier-Roberval. Or cycle around the wooded area of Parc de la Plage Jacques Cartier!
Enjoying Quebec City’s great outdoors isn’t complete without a visit to Parc Chauveau. It’s the city’s biggest park. And it’s the best spot to feel like you’re in the true wilderness without venturing off to the outskirts!
Go on a stroll along the St. Charles river in the autumn, when you can walk through forests of multicolored trees. Get a dose of adrenaline at the zip line aerial park here called Abraska. In the winter, the park becomes a winter wonderland, a paradise for winter sports like skiing and snowshoeing.
If these urban parks don’t indulge the outdoor enthusiast in you, head out to Quebec City’s outskirts! See lakes, mountains, valleys, coastal cliffs, and more. With the varied landscape of Quebec, you’re never too far from a natural wonder here.
Montmorency Falls is the second most popular site in the city, next to Old Quebec. From the downtown area, you’re only 15 minutes away from towering waterfalls. Standing at 272 feet (83 m), these cascading waterfalls are taller than the famous Niagara!
Explore the easy yet scenic trails in the area. Take a gondola or zip line to the top of the falls. Or get on the suspension bridge and admire the views from above!
An Exciting Four-Season Destination
While some Canadian cities are best visited during the warmer months, Quebec City is a year-round destination. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, each season brings a new vibe to the city.
Step into a winter wonderland from November to December, and you’ll find the city covered in fluffy snow and twinkling lights.
True to its European influence, Quebec City hosts magical Christmas Markets during winter. Come January, and you’ll have many more fun things to do. Have fun at the Winter Carnival, go tubing at Village Vacances Valcartier, or ski across the Plains of Abraham!
One of the biggest in the city during winter is the Hotel du Glace, famously known as the Ice Hotel. Here, you can explore dozens of rooms made of snow right on the slopes of the Laurentian mountains. You can stay here overnight on an ice bed with a mattress on top. And starting at 9 PM, overnight guests can relax at the Nordic outdoor saunas and spas!
Come during spring and see the city pop with all colors of the rainbow.
Wander through beautiful gardens blossoming with flowers of all kinds. Spring is the time of the Quebec Exquis food festival. It’s when the city showcases its local food and the talent of its culinary masterminds.
But what’s more exciting is that spring is the city’s sugaring-off season! Locals and tourists alike head to a local sugar shack to grab a bite of tasty delights topped with maple syrup.
Visit Quebec during summer, and you’ll feel the electrifying vibe of its summer festivals.
If you love partying or want to be in the center of all the action, this is the best season to visit the city. Quebec City takes advantage of the warmer months by filling its calendar with fun events! Some festivals that you should experience are:
- Festival d’été de Québec: A festival that offers a whopping 300 shows across 11 days.
- Les Grands Feux Loto-Quebec: A fireworks festival that illuminated the city’s historic landmarks.
- Fêtes de La Nouvelle-France: A celebration of the city’s rich history by reliving the era of New France.
Explore the city in the fall, when Quebec City gets covered in heavenly fall colors. From rusty oranges to golden yellows, it’s the perfect season for nature lovers.
Autumn is when the city’s natural wonders are most scenic. Head to Montmorency Falls, explore the Plains of Abraham, or discover the many national parks that surround Quebec City!
A Top-Notch Foodie Destination
A trip to Quebec City is a treat for all your senses, especially when you go on a culinary journey here. With flavors from its French and indigenous roots, the city celebrates its heritage in more ways than one. And with the incredible bounty of its surroundings, you’ll get nothing but freshness in each plate here.
One of the best things about Quebec City’s food scene is that you’ll get encouraged to taste the local food. Familiar food chains, while there are some, are not the stars of this scene. So you’ll always have a restaurant here that you’ve never seen before, making Quebec more unique.
To get to know the city’s interesting heritage is to taste its traditional cuisine. The local’s comfort food of choice, these dishes do more than fill up your tummy. They also tell the tale of a city that has thrived since 1608.
Soak up centuries-old flavors with these hearty dishes:
- Sagamité: An indigenous dish that consists of root vegetables, hominy, and grease.
- Pouding chômeur: A sweet and spongy dessert made with flour, cream, and tons of syrup.
- Fèves au lard: A dish of baked beans that are seasoned with maple syrup.
- Tourtière: A simple yet delectable meat pie that consists of beef or minced pork. It’s usually eaten with ketchup.
Other than the must-try dishes, immerse yourself in Quebec City’s thriving agrotourism too. Local artisan producers have long been a part of not only the city’s history and culture but also its food scene.
Go on a culinary adventure at Grand Marché (public market). This is the beating heart of Quebec City’s culinary artisans. Here, you’ll find farmers and chefs working together to fuel the city’s culinary landscape.
Taste your way through the market, munching on fruits and sipping on some wine. Don’t forget to taste some Quebec terrior, like cured charcuteries and blackcurrant liquor. Taste the city’s finest cheese too, the award-winning Zacharie Cloutier cheese!
Which Is Better – Quebec City or Montreal?
There is no correct answer to this age-old question that has troubled tourists for the longest time. The better city between the two will depend on what you want out of your trip, or what you prefer to see or do.
In general, Montreal is a better city for you if you want a more varied experience. The city has a more urban feel and is brimming with top-notch restaurants and other big city attractions. Montreal is a city for those who love a livelier scene, a more robust nightlife, and those who thrive in the buzz of a major city.
Montreal strikes a balance between urban vibrancy, natural wonders, and historic sites. But Montreal is more of a tourist-focused destination, which some don’t prefer.
If you want a more authentic, intimate, and cultured experience, Quebec City is for you. It’s one of the most European-looking cities in Canada, maybe even in North America. Filled with French architecture, celebrated local restaurants, and more, it’s a better city for those who want a more relaxed trip.
Because Quebec City has a more distinct feel, it offers a more unforgettable experience.
If you have more time on your trip though, why not visit both? Montreal and Quebec City are only two to three hours apart! Stay a few days or go on a day trip, there are tons of ways to do this.
Quebec City vs. Montreal Tourism
The largest city in the province, Montreal has a stronger tourism scene than Quebec City. Montreal sees over 8 million tourists each year. Meanwhile, Quebec City welcomes only over 4 million tourists per year.
Known for their freezing cold winters, the busiest season in both cities is summer. From June to September, the temperatures in Montreal and Quebec are milder. This is the perfect season to explore the great outdoors and take advantage of the natural beauty!
But Montreal and Quebec City are especially crowded between the months of July and August. This is when both cities’ calendars are jam-packed with fun festivals and events!
If you don’t mind the colder weather, Montreal and Quebec City are year-round cities too. In fact, some may argue that winter is when these two cities truly come alive as both are famous winter wonderlands!
Winter is their season for winter sports, Christmas Markets, and magical decorative lights. Combine that with the stunning historic buildings of both cities, and you’ll feel like you’re in a fairy-tale land.
With this, anytime is a great time to visit both Montreal and Quebec City. But it will depend on your preferences and what you want to do!
Montreal or Quebec City in Summer?
Summer is the best time to visit either Montreal or Quebec City. This is when temperatures are warm and forgiving enough to spend a ton of time outdoors. And this is also when Montreal and Quebec City are full of festivals and events!
With this, you need to consider which festivals you want to see. Montreal’s famous summer events include the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Canadian Grand Prix, and loads of music fests. In Quebec City, you have the Festival d’été de Québec, Fêtes de La Nouvelle-France, and Quebec Capitales Games.
If you’re not a fan of festivals, don’t worry. The warmer months are the best times to explore historic Old Montreal and Old Quebec too!
Other than the events, you have to consider the weather conditions in both cities during summer.
Keep in mind that Montreal has one of the hottest summers in the country. Summers here easily reach temperatures of 80 F (27 C). Montreal is more humid than Quebec City, making it feel even hotter than it is.
Meanwhile, Quebec City has milder temperatures than Montreal. Summer days here stay at around 75 F (24 C). But it’s still quite humid here during summer.
Montreal or Quebec City in Winter?
For those who can brave negative temperatures, Montreal and Quebec City are spectacular even in the winter. Winter sports are aplenty during this season. Skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and more, are all fun things to do in either city.
Because of the freezing cold, Montreal and Quebec City don’t see as many visitors during winter. It’s a great time to visit the city if you don’t want the huge crowds that summer brings.
And because of this, you’ll also get cheaper accommodation rates in both cities! Still, Quebec City is a cheaper visit than Montreal.
Both cities share a ton of winter allures during this season. So it’s best to decide based on their winter events. Montreal and Quebec City each have their Christmas Markets, but there are other festivals to consider.
Montreal has the exciting Igloofest when thousands of people go out to enjoy electronic music in the cold outdoors. But this pales in comparison to what Quebec City offers.
Quebec City is home to one of the most iconic and beloved winter events in Canada, Carnaval de Quebec. One of its highlights is the Ice Hotel, a massive ice structure that you can visit or even sleep in!
Montreal vs. Quebec City for Christmas
Christmas is a magical time to visit either Montreal or Quebec City. Each has its set of winter events, and winter sports are possible practically everywhere in both cities. Plus, both Montreal and Quebec City have their Christmas Markets!
There is no denying that Montreal turns into such a beautiful winter wonderland during Christmas. But for a better Christmas experience, Quebec City is a better option.
For one, Quebec City gets plastered with Christmas lights and decor everywhere, from the upper to lower town. And being so full of historic buildings, the city just feels more magical than Montreal. Strolling around the snow-covered cobblestone streets of Old Quebec is enough to make you feel like you’re in Europe.
Plus, Quebec has a small-town feel that offers a more intimate and cozy experience, adding to its charm! Quebec City is not as busy as Montreal, so there’s more room for you to enjoy its winter allures. This is something that a bustling city like Montreal can’t replicate.
Once you’ve had a fun-filled day, you’ll have tons of Nordic spas to choose from in the city. Relax in a hot tub, enjoy the outdoor sauna, or treat yourself to a rejuvenating massage!
Tourist Attractions in Montreal vs. Quebec City
You’ll find no shortage of exciting tourist attractions in either city.
In Quebec City, there’s a seemingly endless list of historical sites to explore. This includes the world-famous 400-year-old Old Quebec, which is home to several other attractions. This includes Château Frontenac, Terrasse Dufferin, and Petit-Champlain.
Outside the old city, you’ll have a mix of natural, cultural, and historical attractions. This includes the Notre Dame de Quebec Basilica, the Museum of Civilization, and Montmorency Falls.
With Quebec City’s attractions, it’s a perfect destination for history buffs or a more low-key trip.
But when it comes to tourist spots, Montreal is the winner as it has a more diverse mix of attractions.
If you’re a historic buff, there’s the Old Port. If you’re a nature lover, there’s the Biodome and the many urban parks in the city. And for the daredevil in you, go on thrilling rides at La Ronde.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Montreal offers a wide range of outdoor recreation within city limits. Mount Royal alone is more than enough to indulge you. From snowboarding and sledding to hiking and cycling, it’s a four-season paradise. Water sports are aplenty here too thanks to the rivers that surround Montreal.
Old Montreal vs. Quebec City
Going to Old Montreal feels like you’re in an old European town film set. It is home to a fascinating mix of historic buildings from different time periods.
Old Montreal has buildings from the 1600s and 1700s and also has tons of Victorian-era warehouses. It’s also home to the Royal Bank building, which was once the British Empire’s tallest building. But this mishmash of buildings makes it look less cohesive than Quebec City’s cityscape.
Old Montreal may have a lot of things to see, but Quebec City is better in general. The city is bigger, has more historic buildings and monuments, and more.
Quebec City is the most European-looking city in the country. And it’s easy to explore the city on foot.
Other than this, Quebec City is home to Old Quebec, a bigger old town than Old Montreal. Within Old Quebec itself, there are tons of other historic landmarks that are worth seeing. This was once a fortress of the French, and today, its fortified walls remain intact.
Quebec City has 125-year-old Château Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world. It’s also home to Petit-Champlain, the prettiest pedestrian street in the city that has an enchanting European charm.
Montreal to Quebec City Distance
The straight line distance between Montreal and Quebec City is around 145 miles (233 km). This distance only applies to the airplane distance though. The driving distance between the two cities will give you a more accurate picture of how close they are.
The driving distance between Montreal and Quebec City depends on the route. The shortest one is via Trans-Canada Highway and Autoroute 20 East, which has a distance of 163 miles (262 km). The other route is through Autoroute 40 East, which has a distance of 172 miles (277 km).
Montreal to Quebec City
You have three transportation options when traveling from Montreal to Quebec City. You can either take a train, bus, or plane. If you want, you can also drive on your trip.
Taking the train allows you to enjoy the journey. Train tickets cost around 50 to 110 USD, and it takes around 3 hours and 33 minutes of travel time. Direct trains are available on this route, and around five trains make a trip daily.
If you’re traveling on a budget, taking the bus is the best option for you. A bus ticket costs around 30 to 55 USD. The travel time on a bus is around 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Direct buses also operate on this route daily, although there are only a few.
If you want to get to Quebec City right away, taking the plane is for you. A plane will take you from Montreal to Toronto in only under an hour. But plane tickets can cost around 100 to 300 USD.
If you want to explore some popular stops along the way, driving from Montreal to Quebec City is best. The driving time depends on your route, but it’s estimated to be around 3 hours.
Montreal to Quebec City by Boat
There used to be a hydrofoil that operates between Montreal and Quebec City daily. But this service is no longer available.
If you really want to travel from Montreal to Quebec City by water, you can go on a one-day cruise instead. Still, this isn’t a popular option as it only runs a few times a week, and it’s quite pricey.
With this, your best option when traveling from Montreal to Quebec City is still by land or by air.
Montreal to Quebec City by Train
A train ride from Montreal to Quebec City starts at Montreal Central Station and ends at Gare du Palais. You’ll be covering a distance of 167 miles (269 km) on this trip.
Usually, the train travel time on this route takes around 3 hours and 46 minutes. The shortest trip lasts for around 3 hours and 31 minutes.
Train ticket prices from Montreal to Quebec City range from 50 to 110 USD. But tickets can sell for as low as 30 USD.
If you want the cheapest tickets, plan your trip for February. During February, average train ticket prices cost around 38 USD. The most expensive month to travel via train on this route is August, as average ticket prices go up to 55 USD.
There are only around three to four trains traveling this route daily.
The earliest train departs at around 8 AM. The earliest afternoon train departs at around 1 PM, while the latest at 5 PM. Evening trains on this route leave at around 6 PM, and there is only one train that travels this route at night.
The busiest day for train travel on this route is Friday. While the least crowded day is Sunday.
Is the Train Ride From Montreal to Quebec City Scenic?
The train ride from Montreal to Quebec City is not one of the most scenic routes in the country. You’ll get views of beautiful lakes, verdant hillsides, and more. But these come and go, and you won’t get consistent, beautiful views during the length of your trip.
Montreal to Quebec City Train Cost
The cost of a train ticket from Montreal to Quebec City is around 50 to 110 USD. But plan your trip on the right month or book in advance and you may get tickets for as low as 30 USD.
Traveling between the two cities in February is best, as this is when ticket prices are the cheapest, at 38 USD on average. Meanwhile, August is the most expensive month for train travel between the two cities. The average price for train tickets for August goes up to 55 USD.
If you can’t travel in February or if you’re traveling in August, don’t worry as there are ways to get better deals on tickets. Make sure to plan your trip ahead of time and book your tickets in advance. By doing so, your train tickets may be around 50 USD cheaper than if you were to buy them close to your travel date.
Other than that, the train class of your choice also has a big impact on the ticket price. Go for economy class tickets, especially VIA Rail’s Escape Economy. These are the cheapest tickets as they are nonrefundable. But you’ll still have access to the train’s complimentary WiFi.
How Far Is Quebec City From Montreal by Train?
Quebec City is around 167 miles (269 km) away from Montreal by train.
Montreal to Quebec City Train Time
The average train travel time from Montreal to Quebec City is around 3 hours and 50 minutes. Even the fastest train services will take over 3 hours to complete this journey.
If you’re hoping to catch the first train of the day, the first one leaves Montreal for Quebec City at around 8 AM. If you miss this, don’t worry. A few more trains are traveling this route daily.
There are around two afternoon trains on this route each day. The earliest one leaves at around 1 PM, while the latest one leaves for Quebec City at around 5 PM.
If you want the cheapest tickets for the day, you can opt to travel by night. The last train of the day leaves Montreal at around 6 PM. Usually, there is only one night train on this route.
Keep in mind that train schedules change from time to time due to several factors, such as delays. So it’s still best to check for VIA Rail’s train schedules on this route before your travel time for a more accurate estimate.
Train From Montreal Airport to Quebec City
When taking the train from Montreal Airport to Quebec City, you need to go to the nearest train station first. Unfortunately, you won’t find a train station on Montreal Airport’s grounds. But the good news is that there are shuttle services between the airport and the nearest train station!
With VIA Rails shuttles, you can travel to the Dorval train station in just around 5 minutes! This service is free for train passengers too.
From Dorval train station, going to Quebec City by train is easy. You’ll cover a distance of around 154 miles (248 km) on your trip. And it will take around 3 to 4 hours of travel time to reach Quebec City on this journey.
Train ticket prices on this route start at around 50 USD. But you may score tickets for as low as 23 USD if you travel during the low season or if you book tickets in advance.
Usually, only three trains travel this route daily though. The first train leaves at around 8 AM, while the last one leaves at 5 PM.
Train travel on this route is busiest on Tuesdays. Meanwhile, the least crowded day to travel is on Sunday.
Bus From Montreal Airport to Quebec City
Traveling by bus from Montreal Airport to Quebec City starts easily as there is a bus station on the airport grounds. Only a few meters away from the exit at door 28, you’ll find the 747 shuttle service. Bus line 747 operates 24/7, but it only takes you to the city center of Montreal.
Unfortunately, there are no direct bus services from Montreal Airport to Quebec City. But once you’re in the city center, you’ll find direct buses that will take you to the city of Quebec!
There are tons of buses traveling this route daily, so you don’t have to worry about catching one. Bus tickets on this route can range from 30 to 60 USD.
The bus travel duration from Montreal to Quebec City takes a little over 3 hours. You’ll be covering a distance of around 145 miles (233 km) on this trip.
The earliest bus on this route leaves Montreal for Toronto at around 7 AM. While the last bus of the day departs at around 10 PM.
Buses on this route are most crowded on a Sunday. But if you want more room for yourself on the bus, you can travel on a Tuesday instead.
Montreal to Quebec City – Route 20 or 40?
Route 20 and Route 40 are two of the main driving routes on a trip from Montreal to Quebec City. Each has its pros and cons, one being faster than the other while the other being more scenic. With this, the better route to take on your journey will depend on your preferences.
Driving along Highway 20 takes you to the southern shore of the St. Lawrence River. Thus, this option offers a short, lakeside drive. This route is not the most scenic option, but it’s the faster one.
A must-visit stop on this route is Fromagerie Lemaire, which is outside of Drummondville. Here, you can grab a plate of authentic poutine! This restaurant makes its own cheese and uses fresh-cut potatoes for its fries.
The other option, Highway 40, takes you to the north shore area. This is the longer route, but it’s more scenic than Highway 20.
This is because this route offers a closer drive to the river’s shore. More than the lake, you’ll also pass by small towns with stunning architecture along the way. This includes Trois-Rivieres, which is halfway between Montreal and Quebec City.
Scenic Route From Montreal to Quebec City
For a scenic road trip from Montreal to Quebec City, don’t follow the usual Highway 20 or Highway 40 route.
Instead, take Autoroute 10 across the St. Lawrence river from Montreal. Once you’re in Brossard, take the Autoroute 30 NE, where you’ll pass by Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park.
Continue your drive until you reach Sorel-Tracy, then hop on Route 132. Keep driving until you pass by Saint Gregoire and Nicolet Bird Sanctuary. From there, hop on Autoroute 55 and head north.
This takes you back across the St. Lawrence River, And you’ll soon reach a point where the road turns into Route 155. Take the exit in Autoroute 40 and drive to Trois-Rivieres.
Keep driving until you exit Route 359, which is north of Champlain. Soon, you’ll take the exit on Route 352, and you’ll reach Saint Narcisse. Once there, hop on Route 361 and get back on Autoroute 40.
Continue your drive on Autoroute 40 and you’ll pass by The Devil’s Hole Cave. You’ll also go through several charming towns before reaching Quebec City.
Best Route From Montreal to Quebec City
The best route from Montreal to Quebec City will depend on what you want out of your trip.
If you want to get to Quebec City right away, drive through the fastest route, Highway 20. But if you want a bit more scenery along the way, take the slightly slower route, Highway 40.
Although Highway 40 is a bit more scenic than Highway 20, it’s not the best. So if beautiful views are your priority, consider the route that’s detailed in the previous question.
Driving From Montreal to Quebec City in Winter
Driving from Montreal to Quebec City can be challenging. Hundreds of people drive between the two cities in winter. But it’s only recommended for those with winter-driving experience.
You can take any of the two main route options, Highway 20 or Highway 40. Conditions are generally better on Highway 20. Blizzards or ice are still a concern with both routes.
The most important thing here is to plan your road trip right. Keep up with the news on weather, as this should tell you whether to proceed with your trip or not. If you do decide to hit the road, make sure to have your snow tires and pack your essentials with you.
Quebec City Day Trip From Montreal
Since Quebec City is only 2 to 3 hours away from Montreal, day tours between the two cities are popular!
If you have a car, or if you’re renting one, you can DIY your trip and plan your itinerary. With so many tourist attractions in Quebec City, you have to plan an itinerary that works best for your timeframe.
Or, you can join a group tour with a tour company instead. This way, you don’t have to think about your transportation. Lunch meals are often included in the tour package as well.
Bus Tour From Montreal to Quebec City
You’ll find a plethora of bus tours from Montreal to Quebec City. With this, you’re bound to find one that fits your interests.
You can go for a one-day trip, so you can soak in the European charm of Quebec City within a day. This takes you to all the top attractions of Quebec City, and some tours even take you to Montmorency Falls.
Some tour companies also offer multiple-day bus tours that include both Montreal and Quebec City. But you’ll also visit other nearby sights on your trip. This often includes Toronto, Ottawa, and even Niagara Falls.
Other tours have specialties, too, in case you’re looking for something more unique. Some will arrange a bus tour during Christmas, so you can experience both Montreal and Quebec City’s Christmas Markets. While other bus tours allow you to experience the craft brew scene of each city.
With loads of bus tours to choose from, you can tailor the tour to fit your interests best!
Quebec City Tour From Montreal
Being two of the most popular cities in the Quebec province, there’s always a tour from Montreal to Quebec City. Much like the bus tour, you also have tons of options for your tour.
From day trips to multiday tours, you’ll find the tour of the perfect length. Keep in mind that tour prices vary drastically depending on the duration, tour company, and more. Some companies also have a mandatory stay for a few nights in their partner hotels.
With this, make sure you read the terms and conditions of any tour carefully.