This picturesque city mixes old and new, with modern high-rises looming over the historic port. The comparisons between Montreal and Paris are warranted, but Quebec's largest city has its own personality and a more outdoorsy edge than you find in the City of Light. Large cruise ships and St. Lawrence River cruises alike dock right near the historic Old Port.
What We Love
The Metro: Montreal has one of the cleanest, easiest-to-navigate subway systems in the world. Use it to quickly zoom around the city, and avoid sitting in traffic.
Biosphere: Buckminster Fuller designed this iconic geodesic dome for Expo '67, and today it houses a nature center focused on sustainability. It's located on St. Helen's Island, which is also home to a 19th-century fort and the Montreal Casino.
Best Known For
Vieux-Port: Montreal's Old Port is full of charm, with centuries-old buildings lining cobblestone streets. The port itself — with the science center, a skating rink, and a beach — is increasingly becoming a tourist attraction.
Mount Royal: Take an urban hike up to Montreal's highest point, starting downtown and ending at a 470-acre park with ponds, playgrounds, and breathtaking views.
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Who It's Best For
Families: If you're cruising with kids, you'll find this city easy to get around, with many activities grouped together.
Foodies: Montreal's rich history can be experienced through the food, with Jewish delis, Chinese dim sum, and modern takes on Québecois classics, including meat pies and poutine, an unforgettable dish of french fries topped with rich gravy and melting cheese curds.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
French Pride Prevails: The province is officially bilingual, but French is preferred by residents. Brush up on the basics before you leave home.
It's Hilly: The Old Port is essentially the lowest point in town, and it's all uphill from there. Wear sturdy shoes and be prepared to huff and puff your way through the day. Or save the effort and take the Metro.
Danielle Contray is the Brooklyn-based managing editor of ShermansCruise.