Each year, thousands of people come to Montréal to participate in conventions and meetings. A large portion of these visitors also decide to incorporate a bit of leisure into a professional trip. Because, really, who says business and pleasure can’t be mixed?
Between the award-winning restaurants, stylish citizens and the charming cobblestone streets, it’s easy to feel like Montréal is a large-scale movie set for a sassy yet heart-warming independent film. This is why people like to arrive early or stay later in Montréal.
However, for those who want to cover even more territory (without booking an extra flight), here are four delightful day trips from Montréal.
The Eastern Townships is an agricultural region located an hour southeast of Montréal. A popular destination for both wine aficionados and visiting locavores, the picture-perfect rolling landscape is a patchwork of verdant cornfields, fruit orchards and dairy farms. Go for an afternoon to take in the official wine route, a cheese tour or an orchard hop (autumn is apple season!). For a slower-paced getaway, reserve a night (or two) in one of the area’s renowned inns that dot the handsome towns, including Hovey Manor in North Hatley, Maplewood Manor in Waterloo, Ripplecove Lakefront Hotel and Spa in Ayer’s Cliff, or Auberge & Spa West Brome.
Directly north of the city, the Laurentians encompass a vast area that include rugged mountains, thick forests and swimmable lakes. In the autumn months, the trees are the big attraction with maples leaves changing into ruby reds and sunshine yellows. In the winter, the popular ski hills and ice fishing attract a snow-hungry international crowd. The summertime provides opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, canoeing and more. The area is famous for its Nordic spas, many of which are attached to hotels, like the Scandinave Spa Mont-Tremblant, the Manoir Saint-Sauveur and the Estérel Resort Amerispa.
The nation’s capital makes for a perfect daytrip. A mere two hours west of Montréal by car, visitors are able to explore some of Canada’s most significant attractions: Parliament Hill, the National Gallery, the National Arts Centre, the Canadian Museum of History, and the Royal Canadian Mint. Ottawa also offers an impressive fine-dining scene with restaurants like Atelier, Union Local 613 and Supply and Demand winning accolades for the use of fresh local ingredients and sustainable menu items. Fit two great meals and a museum into a day trip, or stay for a couple of days: hotel options include storied properties like the Fairmont Château Laurier and the Lord Elgin, or the more modern Metcalfe.
The historic epicentre of the province, Québec City is perched high on a hill that overlooks the magnificent Saint Lawrence River. The old city is notable for its charming narrow streets and age-old buildings (hello Instagram likes!). But outside of the old quarter, you’ll find a modernized metropolis with historic museumsand exciting contemporary art spaces (check out L’Œil de Poisson and VU Photo). No visit is complete without a visit to the Musée National des beaux-arts du Québec. Notable hotels include the iconic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in the centre of town and the modern Hôtel 71.