3 Days in Montreal – Itinerary, restaurants and more!
May was such a busy month for me but I’m glad I was able to escape to Canada and spend 3 beautiful days in Montreal with HI Montreal, which is part of Hostelling International Canada, with more than 50 hostels in Canada! So today I’m sharing our itinerary and my experience staying at the hostel! I also saved the whole trip on my instagram highlights, so feel free to check it out HERE (@marthasachser). So let’s get started:
How to get there from New York
The flight is not long, it was just about 1 hour and 20 minutes and I flew with Air Canada. In low season, you can get tickets in advance for less than U$200. If you feel like driving, from New York the trip is about 6 to 7 hours long. You can also go by bus or train.
Language Spoken in Montreal
Montreal’s official language is French, but most people are bilingual, so they can easily switch to English if you can’t speak French. And you will find signs as well as menus in both languages.
Where I stayed
I stayed at HI Montreal, part of HI Canada Hostels chain, a great way to save money but make the best of your trip, with super clean accommodations, free breakfast, free guided tours, etc… I stayed in a private room, with a private restroom, a desk, queen size bed and even a TV – but you can save even more money by staying in a shared dorm (female, male or mixed) with different numbers of beds, there are smaller rooms and larger ones. I always stay at Hostelling International Hostels when I travel with my mom or when I’m traveling alone and always have the best time and this time wasn’t different.
Where is the hostel located?
HI Montreal is located on a quiet street in Downtown Montreal, which is super convenient, you can walk to most places. The hostel is located one block away from the metro station, near major attractions, popular streets and even Old Montreal.
I’m a permanent resident in the US (with a green card) so all I had to was pay for the ETA, which is U$7 and you can apply online HERE. Find out if you need a visa for Canada HERE! For the ETA you can easily apply online, make a payment and you receive an e-mail right after, you don’t need to print a copy, but make sure you can access your e-mail IF necessary when you are boarding as proof that you paid for it and it was approved.
How many days to stay in Montreal
If you are only staying in the city of Montreal, 2-4 days are enough to cover the main spots, depending on your speed. In case you wanna explore all the main museums, then I recommend at least 3. But that’s why planning is very important, some people come for the weekend only, but I recommend planning well in advance.
Montreal is a “small big city”, so even though there is a subway system – very nice by the way- you will be getting to many places by foot. The metro fare is $3,25 per ticket/ $10 a day (unlimited)/or $19 for 3 days. You can also use it on the bus. Of course there is also Uber, but we didn’t need it.
What to do in Montreal
All of our tours were organized by HI Montreal and are actually the real tours that guests go on everyday. They are walking tours but you will find yourself using the subway and even a bike if you want to see the real Montreal!But in case you find yourself planing a trip to Montreal without an itinerary in hand, here is what we did there:
On our first day with HI Montreal we explored some of the coolest neighborhoods of the city: Mile End, Plateau Mont-Royal and Little Italy.
Our first stop was Jean Talon Market, one of the largest open public markets in North America. If you are shopping for maple everything, fruits, veggies, flowers and delicious food, that’s the place. It is usually very busy on weekends and summer.
From there we continued our journey exploring the streets of Little Italy and stopped to try some of the cannolis from Alati Caseria, they sell all kinds of traditional sweets and pastries, but cannoli are the most popular, super fresh and yummy! There was some seating available outside. There weren’t vegan options.
From there we continued to Mile End, the coolest/hipster part of the city, with cool stores, art galleries, coffee shops, etc. Take your time and enjoy the local vibe. We had a nice coffee break at the iconic Café Olimpico!
For lunch we decided to have a picnic at Laurier Park, a classic spot in Montreal, you will find locals walking their dogs, reading, hanging out, etc. For lunch we had the traditional Montreal bagel, smoked meat from Schwartz and poutine (vegan for me, of course!).
From there it was time to explore Saint Laurent Boulevard,famous for graffiti and urban art. It is a very busy street and you will find art everywhere.
From there, it was thrift shop time and we got to spend sometime at EVA-B, the most famous and probably largest thrift shop in Montreal! There is even a cafe on the first floor, serving pastries and many of them, vegan. Ah! And free lemonade! The place is full of treasures, I could spend hours there!
We also decided to take a peak inside the public library, super modern and pretty big . From there another quick stop at the Gay Village for a cool picture! Also, the streets of Montreal are charming, I snapped so many photos of strangers homes haha
We had a long day so we headed back to the hostel to shower and left for dinner later on.
We started our day by grabbing coffee at the CREW, an iconic and elegant cofee shop inside the former Royal Bank of Canada. There is also a night club on the lower level and it is overall a busy place with meeting rooms and a lounge to relax and grab a bite to eat with friends or by yourself. After that, we headed to Old Montreal to rent our bikes for the the day. HI Montreal guests have a discounted price for all day rental ($25)
We biked along the Lachine canal, discovered new neighborhoods and famous sights such as Habitat 67, Parc de Dieppe viewpoint and even a beer garden!
We had lunch at Atwater Market, famous flower market where you can find a nice food court in the back, I had a vietnamese noodle bowl and it was delicious!
After we returned the bikes we explored Old Montreal, where will you also find Notre Dame Basilica, City Hall, the Old Port and countless shops and restaurants on Rue Saint Paul, Rue Bonsecours, Place d’Youville and Place Jacques-Cartier. You can easily spend an afternoon there.
A trip to Montreal is not complete without a visit to Mont Royal Park and its beautiful view! I’ve been there in the winter and now in the spring and both times were so worth it!
To get there you can take a bus and walk to the viewpoint or if you like hiking, you can do that instead. The final steps are steep and challenging but the view is so worth it!
I almost forgot, before that we went to the Saint Joseph Oratory, a nice surprise I must say. The view from there is also very pretty but the place is so much more than this. It was built in honor of Saint Joseph and it is believed that many miracles took place inside the oratory and to this day millions of people come pay their respect to Brother Andre Bessette, who people believed possessed healing powers through his faith to St Joseph and an oil ointment that believers were able to receive form him. His heart and dumb are inside the Oratory.
From there we headed to Lloydie’s for lunch, a Barbados cuisine restaurant in the middle of downtown and really close to the hostel. After that I decided to explored the neighborhood a bit more so I walked on Saint Catherine, one of my favorite streets in Montreal and stopped by Indigo, a really nice bookstore with books in English and French, as well as a few shopping malls that are also connected via the underground city in Montreal….
Where we ate in Montreal
All the restaurants and cafes we were lucky to go were handpicked by HI Montreal so we could have the best time in the city. And they were truly really good. So here they are:
Fairmount Bagel: 74 Avenue Fairmount O, Montréal, QC H2T 2M2
Café Olympico: 124 Rue Saint Viateur O, Montréal, QC H2T 2L1
Chez Schwartz: 3895 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal, QC H2W 1X9
Café Pigeon: 1392 Boulevard de Maisonneuve O, Montréal, QC H3G 2E4
Crew: 360 St Jacques St, Montreal, QC H2Y 2N1
Marche Atwater: 138 Atwater Ave, Montreal, QC H4C 2H6
LOV: 464, rue McGill, Montréal, H2Y 2Y2 OR 1232, rue de la Montagne, Montréal, H3G 1Z1
Satay Brothers: 3721 Notre-Dame St W, Montreal, QC H4C 1P8
Escondito: 1206 Union Ave, Montreal, QC H3B 3A7
HI Montreal made my experience the best possible! If you are going to Montreal by yourself or with someone else, I highly recommend staying there for all the obvious reasons (location, price, cleanliness, free breakfast, free tours, etc) Oh! And because they have the best staff ever! The hostel is located at: 1030 Mackay St, Montreal, QC H3G 2H1. If you wanna keep up with the hostel activities and learn more, their instagram is @himontreal
- I was invited to experience Montreal as a paid collaboration with HI Montreal but all opnions are mine