Montreal is often noted for its European charm and character, and with its population of slightly more than 4 million, it’s the most populous city in the Canadian province of Quebec and the second largest in Canada.
Often referred to as The City of Mary, it’s named after the iconic tri-peaked hill located near the city’s center.
For those visitors looking to experience breathtaking natural beauty, amazing history, and all the attractions you’d expect from such a cosmopolitan city, spending a few days in Montreal would be a wise choice.
Below are 15 of the best tours in and around Montreal.
1. Walking Tour in Old Montreal’s West Side
Montreal’s West Side is easily explored on foot, and with plenty of French heritage and architecture, it’s a great place to start your exploration of the city.
This 1½-hour tour includes some of the city’s most historic neighborhoods, and you may be surprised to learn that Montreal is one of North America’s oldest continually inhabited urban areas.
The tour includes a local guide and admission to Notre Dame Basilica, one of the city’s most iconic sites.
You’ll also have some free time to check out a few chic boutiques and stroll Saint-Jacques Street, once known as the Wall Street of Canada.
2. 5-Course Dinner Cruise
Not surprisingly for such a trendy and cosmopolitan city, Montreal’s food and fine dining scene is second to none.
This evening dinner cruise along the scenic St. Lawrence River departs from the city’s Old Port at 7:00 PM, and you’ll share the evening with hundreds of other guests from around the world while enjoying unique views and food that’ll take your breath away.
The ship’s dining area is glass from floor to ceiling, and there’s a bar with plenty of mood music to create the perfect ambiance for a night you won’t likely forget.
This tour is a great way to cap an already wonderful day.
3. Full-Day Tour to Quebec City & Montmorency Falls
The history of the French in Canada dates back nearly 400 years, and you’ll find the telltale influences in the region’s food, language and architecture.
This 12-hour tour will take you to Montmorency Falls, which are significantly larger than Niagara Falls, and from there you’ll experience the old-world charm of Quebec City, scenically located along the majestic St. Lawrence River.
You’ll have free time to meander the city’s narrow streets, grab a bite to eat or a cup of coffee, and see a few historical sites including Place Royale.
This tour is great value and an excellent way to spend a day.
4. Private Tour with a Local Guide
Sometimes visiting a foreign city with a language you don’t speak can be a bit overwhelming, and if that sounds like you then this guided tour with a local, English-speaking guide would be a great way to let someone else worry about the details.
You’ll get a unique perspective of Montreal from the ground level, while exploring the history, culture, food and drinks of one of North America’s most European cities.
This tour is customizable, so you can choose how long you’d like to spend and what you’d like to see, ensuring that you’re not wasting time seeing things that aren’t of interest to you and your companions.
The guide’s fee is included in the price of the tour, but food and drinks aren’t.
5. 20 or 30-Minute Helicopter Tour
Flying over Montreal and the surrounding country under the whirling blades of a helicopter is one of the most exhilarating ways to view the region.
You’ll soar to nearly 2,000 feet and see some amazing sites such as the Olympic Stadium, downtown, Victoria Bridge and the Old Port.
The tour is offered in 20 and 30-minute packages, and if you choose the latter you’ll also get a better look at the St. Lawrence River, Jacques Cartier Bridge and an adjacent national park.
Seating is limited and the tour tends to fill up quickly, so book well in advance if at all possible.
6. Traditional Ghost Walk of Old Montreal
No matter where you go, walking ghost tours are among the favorite activities of visitors who like to stray off the well-worn path and see the spooky side of the city they’re visiting.
Your tour guide will be an expert storyteller and local history buff, so his or her knowledge and enthusiasm will create a unique and intimate experience that may just be one of the highlights of your trip.
The tour includes three stops that are said to be the haunts of the restless souls of some of the city’s long-dead. Whether you see them or not, you’ll spend most of the night peering over your shoulder.
7. Old Montreal’s East Side Walking Tour
Montreal’s East Side is located in the city’s Old Quarter, and is full of shops, galleries and traditional and trendy eating and drinking spots too.
This tour includes stops at the world-famous Notre Dame Basilica, St. Paul Street and the Champ de Mars.
Your guide will be an expert in the area’s history and architecture, which is some of the most amazing to be found anywhere in the city.
The tour usually ends at Bonsecours Market, which is a silver-domed masterpiece of design and architecture that served as the city’s main market for decades, beginning in the mid-19th century.
8. Small Group Sightseeing Tour
With so much culture, history and unique heritage, Montreal is a city that really deserves to be seen as part of a small, intimate group.
This tour is only available to groups of 14 or smaller, and on the tour’s 6-hour journey you’ll hit the Old Port, Notre Dame Basilica and the swank Place Jacques-Cartier.
Door-to-door transportation from your Montreal hotel is included, and you’ll spend time in the downtown area, which is known for its underground maze of stores, eateries and offices that is quite unique, and a great way to beat the cold if you’re there in winter.
9. Burlesque Walking Tour
Despite its cultured and refined nature, the city of Montreal is known for its fair share of glitz and flamboyance too.
This 1½-hour walking tour will take you into the city’s entertainment center, of which part is the former Red Light District that was chock full of brothels, bars, cabarets and dance halls that were a world unto themselves, back in the day.
Once you’ve heard racy tales from the past, you’ll understand why Montreal is often referred to as Sin City and North America’s Paris.
On this brief tour you’ll probably find a few places you’d like to explore on your own later.
10. 3-Hour Scooter Sightseeing Tour
Scooters are great ways to explore a new city. They’re safe, inexpensive and enable you to cover lots of ground without exerting much energy.
This 3-hour tour winds its way through many of the city’s unique neighborhoods, each of which has its own history, charm and claim to fame.
You’ll visit the famous Jean-Talon market and take a bit of time to explore its labyrinth of vendors. For art lovers there are plenty of nearby galleries that are worth a look, even if you just want to do a bit of window-shopping.
This tour is a great value, as you’ll experience quite a bit in a short amount of time.
11. St. Lawrence River Cruise for either 60 or 90 minutes
Montreal’s St. Lawrence River is in many ways the city’s heart. In ages past it was one of the city’s major modes of transportation, and its fish-rich waters provided jobs and food to many city residents.
On this tour you’ll get a unique perspective of the city, and will see such sites as the Old Port and Olympic Stadium.
Your professional guide will give you a narrative account of the city’s history as you cruise the scenic river, and you may discover there are things you’ve learned along the way that you’ll want to explore a bit more on your own.
12. Guided Snowmobile Tour
The nearby Maurice region of Québec is known as a winter wonderland that’s full of amazing outdoor activities and stunning natural beauty.
This snowmobile tour is available in the morning or afternoon, and after a crash course in the safe handling of your powerful machine, you’ll blast off across the frozen countryside in search of the most beautiful vistas you’re ever likely to see.
You’ll stop along the way to snap a few photos, take a breather and enjoy a warm drink.
The tour includes all the safety equipment and training you’ll need, but remember to dress warmly as the conditions can be extremely cold.
13. Montreal Wine Country Tour
You might be surprised to learn that in addition to its rich history, natural beauty and diverse culture, Montreal and Quebec are home to an amazing wine producing region too.
The tour comes in half and full-day options, and includes a professional guide who’ll lead you through the area’s byways as you discover scenic wineries that produce some of North America’s most sought-after and celebrated wines.
You’ll get to sample many of their offerings, and a few will even include hard ciders that are surprisingly tasty and intoxicating.
Tour size is limited, so plan accordingly and book in advance.
14. The Original Montreal Beer Tour
Billed as Montreal’s original beer tour, this excursion from Montreal will give guests the opportunity to visit a few breweries, bars and pubs, and sample nearly 20 beer varieties with diverse flavor profiles.
Lunch is included, and it’s been specifically paired with the beers you’ll be enjoying to ensure that each compliments the other.
You’ll learn the basics of pairing beer and food as well, and since round-trip transportation is included in the tour’s cost, you can gulp, swig and chug until your heart is content.
For beer lovers, this tour deserves a coveted spot on your Montreal itinerary.
15. Underground Montreal Tour
Many visitors don’t know that Montreal is home to an underground city that spreads below ground in a maze that’s full of markets, shops, businesses and cafes, and is something you should definitely check out.
This tour includes a local guide and utilizes the city’s public transportation system to convey guests to all the sites that the tour includes.
This tour is a great crash course in the history and culture of the city, and will give you an introduction to many sites and neighborhoods that you’ll want to check out on your own once the tour is over.
Gratuities, food and drink aren’t included.