Montréal vs Québec City

Équipe édito
Editorial Team
Updated on September 12, 2023
From the Louise Basin, view of the illuminated Old Port, the sailboats and the Séminaire de Québec, in the early evening.
Jeff Frenette Photography

Planning a trip to Montréal? Find out why you should also visit Québec City, a UNESCO World Heritage city only 2.5 hours from Montréal.

Wondering if you should visit Montréal or Québec City? They are both worth a visit!

Should I Visit Montréal or Québec City

Vue aérienne sur le Vieux-Québec en automne
Mélanie Jean

The vibe of Montréal and of Québec City are both different and complementary. While Montréal is big and cosmopolitan, Québec City is cozy and very welcoming. A trip to Montréal and Québec City is a trip into the heart and soul of French Canada. Choosing btween the two is a matter of personal preference.

    Tourist Attractions in Montréal vs Québec City

    Here are the main differences between Québec City and Montréal:

    On a warm summer evening, visitors stroll along Saint-Jean Street, near Saint-Jean Gate.
    Jeff Frenette Photography

    Heritage and architecture in Québec City vs Montréal

    Québec City is renowned for its well-preserved historic old town, known as Old Québec, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most intact fortified cities in North America, with its original city walls and gates still standing. Montréal is known for its unique combination of European and North American architecture. Neighbourhoods such as the Plateau, Old Montréal, and downtown Montréal each have their own special character.

    Jeff Frenette Photography

    Culture in Québec City vs Montréal

    Québec City has a distinctly European vibe with a noticeable French influence. The festivals, street markets, and narrow streets make the city feel friendly and welcoming. It’s the perfect place to experience authentic French Canadian culture. Montréal is more about cultural diversity and the vibrant arts, music, and food scenes.

    Language in Québec City vs Montréal

    Québec is a very francophone city, which means that visitors get the chance to have an authentic immersion and eventually discover the language or practice their French. Even if the first language of most of the locals is French, you’ll find service in English in all places related to tourism. Montréal is bilingual as well, but more of the people there have English as a first language.

    Size of Québec City vs Montréal

    Québec is a smaller, more intimate city and is known for being very clean and safe, so it’s easy for visitors to explore the different neighbourhoods on foot. Montréal is much more spread out. Most people use public transit to travel between neighbourhoods, since they’re farther apart.

    Kayaks dans la vallée de la Jacques-Cartier
    Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier, Mathieu Dupuis

    Nature and landscape in Québec City vs Montréal

    Québec City has the magnificent St. Lawrence as a backdrop, so there’s a lot of gorgeous scenery, with tons of parks and outdoor activities nearby. Montréal also has parks and green spaces, but the colourful neighbourhoods and urban vibe are the biggest draws.

    Dining in Québec City vs Montréal

    Both cities have exciting food scenes. As the birthplace of French Canadian culture, Québec City is the ideal destination to discover the flavours and traditions of Québécois cuisine. Montréal’s culinary scene is known for its variety, including the street food and international fare.

    Travel cost in Québec City vs Montréal

    Tight budget: Québec City can be a better option for those travelling on a tight budget. The historic attractions and affordable restaurants can make for a more enriching experience without the excess spending.

    Moderate or big budget: Montréal can be a better option for travellers with a bigger budget. With so many options for food, culture, and entertainment, travellers can tailor the experience to their preferences and budget.

    Famille qui entre dans l'Hôtel de Glace

    Family trip in Québec City vs Montréal

    Québec City is a great choice for families on vacation. Kids love the cobblestone streets and attractions in Old Québec, the street performers, and the multitude of family activities. Montréal also has a variety of kid-friendly attractions and events.

    Vacation in Montréal and Québec City 

    Thinking about vacationing in Montréal and Québec City? Get ready for a memorable experience! To help you plan your trip in these two Canadian cities, here’s a sample one-week itinerary:

    Day 1 - Arrival in Québec City 

    Day 2 - Québec City 

    Day 3 - Excursions near Québec City 

    Day 4 - Outdoor Adventure 

    Day 5 - Departure for Montréal 

    • Depart for Montréal in the morning via Chemin du Roy, a scenic route showcasing the richness of New France's heritage and history. 
    • Check-in at the hotel and free time to explore the surroundings. 
    • Afternoon dedicated to exploring Old Montréal: visit Notre-Dame Basilica and stroll along the Old Port. 

    Day 6 - Montréal 

    • Visit the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts or the Montréal History Museum. 
    • Lunch in the Quartier des Spectacles. 
    • Afternoon at the Biodome or Montréal Botanical Garden. 
    • Evening in Plateau Mont-Royal or Quartier Latin to enjoy restaurants and bars. 

    Day 7 - Departure 

    • Visit Mont-Royal lookout or the Underground City. 
    • Depart back home. 

    How to Get from Montréal to Québec City?

    The distance between Montréal and Québec City is about 250 km (155 miles). Here are the best ways to travel between Montréal and Québec City:

    Montréal to Québec City by car

    The most popular, and fastest, driving route between Montréal and Québec City is highway 20. The journey, depending on traffic, can take between 2h45 and 3 hours.

    Montréal to Québec City by bus

    Travelling with Orléans Express bus lines between Montréal and Québec City is the best way to travel between the two cities if you are on a budget. The buses are comfortable, with Wi-Fi and electric outlets onboard. The journey takes about 3 hours and tickets start at around $25 one-way. Buses leave downtown Montréal every hour, from 06:00 to 23:00 and arrive at Gare du Palais in downtown Québec City.

    Montréal to Québec City by train

    Travelling by train from Montréal to Québec City with VIA Rail is another great way to travel. Seats are comfortable and Wi-Fi is available onboard. The trip takes between 3h15 and 3h45, departing from Montréal Central Station and arriving at Gare du Palais in downtown Québec City. Fares start at $30 one-way for the economy class.

    Équipe édito
    Editorial Team

    As proud ambassadors of our beloved city, we’re delighted to be sharing the things and places we love most in the Québec City area. What a joy for us to help you discover everything this vibrant and welcoming city has to offer!

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