5 Easy Day Trips From Montreal

I often tell people that from Montreal, it’s more expensive and longer for me to go to Vancouver than to go to London. Let that sink in for a bit.

Canada definitely isn’t the kind of place where you can just go somewhere on a whim, because there’s a fairly good chance that somewhere is six hours away. However, Montreal is quite particular, in the sense that it is doable to visit other places on a day trip and not spend the entire day in transit. Whether you opt for a log cabin, an exciting city escape, or an indulgent weekend getaway, here are options you should look into for your next day trip from Montreal.

Day Trips From Montreal: A Few Ideas

Ottawa: 2 hours

Day Trips From Montreal Ottawa

While most Canadians have been to the capital on a field trip as a kid, somehow I never did, despite the fact that Ottawa is very close to Montreal. In fact, I was only there briefly a few years ago when I had an appointment at the British consulate to get my UK visa approved. From what I gather, the city made huge efforts to evolve past its boring dormant-office-city status into a vibrant capital with a strong focus on green travel, architecture and food with flower festivals, bustling markets, and outdoor music events.

Quebec City: 3 hours

Day Trips From Montreal

Quebec City: probably the most popular day trip from Montreal and the vicinity! Everyone I know has been to Quebec City at least as kids once on holiday with their parents, and some even go back a few years later for a romantic getaway. I always recommend spending one night in the city in order to fully let the “walled city” atmosphere sink in after nightfall, but it can technically be visited as a day trip from Montreal. If you prefer to go independently, you can always get bus tickets with Orleans Express and do your thing.

Toronto: 6 hours

Day Trips From Montreal Toronto

Confession time: I’m not that big a fan of T-Dot, as I am fairly partial to my hometown. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit: shop on West Queen West, take in the height of the CN Tower, bike along the waterfront trails on the Toronto Islands, visit the historic Distillery District. There are plenty of things to do in Canada’s largest city! The easiest way to get there on a day trip is by train with VIA Rail.

Laurentides / Eastern Townships: 2 hours

Day Trips From Montreal laurentides

Montreal being an island, it’s quite easy to get away from it all and get to the countryside in just under two hours. There are basically two options: the Laurentides or the Eastern Townships, in opposite directions. The former will guarantee a true Canadiana vacation, log-cabin style, in the woods, while the latter will offer a relaxing lakeside holiday with a bit of history, a lot of wineries, and plenty of lavish English-looking manors as a backdrop.

23 Comments on 5 Easy Day Trips From Montreal

  1. Cheryl
    June 26, 2012 at 10:27 pm (5 years ago)

    Awww, this makes me miss Canada and miss it a lot! I’ve been to all of these spots and of course, I want to re-visit them again sometime in my life. For now, my heart belongs in Europe.

    Reply
    • Marie
      June 27, 2012 at 7:45 pm (5 years ago)

      I understand. Me too. I do miss Montreal every once in a while but I feel right being in Europe right now.

      Reply
  2. Jeff
    June 26, 2012 at 11:27 pm (5 years ago)

    Good timing on the post. I have visions of hitting up Montreal next summer (wish it could be sooner). I was wondering what else I could access in the area. Would love to see a Part 2 of this post focusing only on more Canadian destinations.

    Reply
    • Marie
      June 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm (5 years ago)

      Ohh blog post idea. Will work on that in time for your trip next summer ;)

      Reply
      • Jeff
        June 27, 2012 at 10:18 pm (5 years ago)

        lol. You better! ;) Thanks. Look forward to it.

  3. Monika @ Kanada Reisen
    June 27, 2012 at 5:19 pm (5 years ago)

    You are definitely right about Ottawa being a foodie destination. I was there last year and discovered some amazing restaurants, my favourite one being the “Zen Kitchen”.

    Reply
    • Marie
      June 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm (5 years ago)

      Good to know, I’ll keep that in mind.

      Reply
  4. jade
    June 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm (5 years ago)

    Great post- I’d love to visit Montreal and a day trip would be fun too!

    Reply
    • Marie
      June 28, 2012 at 10:24 pm (5 years ago)

      Definitely – so many options nearby!

      Reply
  5. Christy @ Technosyncratic
    June 28, 2012 at 1:54 am (5 years ago)

    I never really thought about it, but one of the downsides of having such a large country is that you can’t travel out as easily! Oh, to be a small country in Europe. ;)

    Reply
  6. Laurence
    June 28, 2012 at 9:35 am (5 years ago)

    Man, I knew Canada was big but I had no idea it was that big!

    Reply
  7. Chrystal McKay
    June 28, 2012 at 6:05 pm (5 years ago)

    Montreal is pretty well connected. The only problem is you have to have your own car to get to most of these places in the allotted time. Taking the bus takes FAR longer. But – STILL within reasonable distance in North American terms! Horrah!

    Reply
  8. Turtle
    July 21, 2012 at 8:00 am (5 years ago)

    It seems like a perfect place to spend a bit of time and base yourself for some great side trips. Although 6 hours to New York might be pushing it. Does immigration take long when you go over a land border?

    Reply
    • Marie
      July 30, 2012 at 4:50 pm (5 years ago)

      Not the Lacolle border, no. It’s quite quick. But if you go by bus it can take a bit longer depending on the other travelers.

      Reply
  9. fab
    May 15, 2013 at 1:42 am (4 years ago)

    new york cant be 6 hours for the very same reasons above…getting into the island is a nightmare!

    Reply
  10. Ayda Alameh
    July 21, 2014 at 6:29 pm (3 years ago)

    What do you recommend as a romantic getaway? Quebec city or Ottawa.

    Reply
    • Marie
      July 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm (3 years ago)

      Quebec City is way more romantic than Ottawa. A safe bet!

      Reply
  11. Luis
    January 23, 2017 at 8:22 pm (2 months ago)

    I’m from Mexico and I’m visiting Canada for the first time, I’m taking an 8 day trip to 4 cities, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City in mid March, I’ve read many of your articles and gathering tips about places to visit since time in each city will be sorta limited, I think I’ve figured out the time I’ll spend in each one of the cities but I was wondering if there is any stop you would recommend on the road between those cities? Congratulations for your blog, the articles are great and have been very helpful for planning my trip.

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      January 24, 2017 at 12:07 pm (2 months ago)

      Wow, that’s a busy schedule you have there! That doesn’t leave you a lot of time in each city. I would say two days in Toronto, two days in Montreal, two days in Quebec City and one day in Ottawa, keeping in mind that you will have to include travel time between each city. Enjoy Canada!

      Reply
      • Luis
        January 25, 2017 at 2:38 pm (2 months ago)

        Hello Marie, thank you very much for your kind advice, I’ve figured out the schedule and the time I’ll spend in each city considering the transit times between each cities as well and it’s very similar about what you suggest, except, I’m just one day in Quebec City :S, but my question was more related to the countryside, Canada is a beautiful country with scenic roads everywhere so I was wondering if there is a small town, village or even just scenic point you would recommend traveling by car between all those cities. Thank you again for your tips and great blog.

      • Marie-Eve
        January 27, 2017 at 11:14 am (2 months ago)

        Not that you will have any time for, I’m afraid. There is nothing close to the main highway, villages tend to be a little further out in the country.

  12. LUIS
    January 27, 2017 at 12:02 pm (2 months ago)

    Yes I’m thinking also time would be limited for an extra stop, thank you for tips Marie, your website and book have been very helpful for planning the visit to Canada. Thanks again

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      January 27, 2017 at 1:00 pm (2 months ago)

      Happy to help Luis!

      Reply

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