We are flying in to Quebec city for a few days and then on to Montreal for a couple of days. Any advice as to whether it would be better to rent a car to travel from Quebec City to Montreal or to go by train. Also would it be prudent to have a rental car in either city or to depend on public transportation. The Airbnb's that we have rented are supposed to be in active areas of the cities, but wondering if the public transportation will be enough.
It's less of a hassle to just take the train. No need for a car in either city if sticking to typical tourist activities.
We did the train about 2 years ago. Not expensive, nice scenery, I'd do it again. Someone comes along now and again selling stuff from a cart. I'm not fond of cars in big cities. If your accommodations are anywhere near the train station, why go to the trouble to do a car?
If you buy far enough ahead, and can benefit from Senior (over 60) prices, you can splurge for first class car which includes a meal and free booze. Seats are more lush, fewer seats per car and I think better wifi. Also, a waiting lounge and priority boarding.
If you are staying in or near Old Quebec you don’t need a car.
I only rented a car for side trips outside of the walled city of Quebec (it was definitely worth renting the car just for the day to see some of those places because I had enough time for everything). If you're just seeing the two cities, a car won't be necessary. Quebec City is compact and walkable, and Montreal has a nice transit system. I would take the train so you can easily go from city center to city center.
Sounds great! We are looking forward to visiting our northern neighbor. Thanks for the input!
hey hey pat
you will love quebec city. when are you planning this trip? we rented a car one day in quebec city and drove out to ile de orleans.
drive to the island crossed bridge and the away we went. with it being their holiday lots of places were closed and enjoying time off. we stopped at chocolate store, bought some goodies. next stop a deli shop, bought baguette cheese meats dessert and wine and had our own picnic at a closed cheese shop with picnic table. lots of farms abundant with fruit, vegetables, farm animals, water views, hundred year old homes. an absoulte gorgeous place.
drove to sainte anne's basilica up the road it's huge and stunning. walked thru church, lit candles for my parents and brother in law, after that drove to canyon sainte anne with it's deep gorges, suspension bridges, watrefalls, photo ops everywhere.
we were there first part of october which they celebrate canada thanksgiving. everywhere was decorated for fall, (some looked like halloween my favorite). the colors and atmosphere was fabulous
quebec is a walking town, take the funicular up- or down, walk along the river, ate yummy crepes at le billig creperie, poutines in a bistro, happy hour at chateau frontenac, hard cider at a pub/bar.
we had so much fun and enjoyed the city before we hopped on a fall color cruise to New York City.
We did this exact trip two years ago. Flew into QC, took the train to Montreal. Did not rent a car in either city and would not have wanted one. In Montreal we stayed in the Mount Royal neighborhood and use the subway, no problems at all. Have a great trip.
We are planning on the middle of August. It sounds like you had a great time Princess! From what I am hearing here, it doesn't sound like we will need to rent a car, but an excursion like you described sounds like a great idea!
hey hey pat
It was worth the day rental and feel you would enjoy it, the island shops will be open then.
Interesting story, couple overheard us making plans in hotel lobby for the day, didn’t know them, wanted to share cost and enjoy day. Sure, met next morning got rental and off we went. They were from Charleston SC, owned a seafood restaurant, on a fall cruise with princess. They loved the day and us, went to Charleston had brunch at their 16 acre retreat on johns island, best fried green tomatoes at hyman’s seafood restaurant, still friends today. Great things happen when we have traveled.
While the train is great, it only runs a few times a day, and prices go up if you don't book in advance. If you want or need to go at other times, or want a cheaper option, note that buses run between Montreal and Quebec City every hour, from early in the morning to the evening.
Another reason not to rent a car to get to Montreal is that every access road into the city from whichever direction, is under construction, and that includes bridges. The detour signs are difficult to understand, as well, and in French only. For instance, "Detour Facultatif" is not a phrase I had ever come across before and I suspect a stranger would be flummoxed, too.
I assumed that you double-checked the exact location of your Airbnb bookings on Google maps, and have seen the nearest STM and RTC public transit options?
When you say “the Airbnb that we have rented are supposed to be in active areas of the cities”, you do mean in the center, correct, not in the outlying suburbs? Can you give us the street names?
As Norma mentioned, August is still very much roadworks season. Parking is also a huge issue, adding both a hassle factor and expense.
The bus is also a great option to the train between both cities, with revamped central modern stations at both ends.
Norma's right (even with that brand new Montreal bridge, I'll bet). And when you get through the horrendous traffic into the city core, parking is a major expenditure and hassle, especially in the older areas of both those cities. A car is useful to get out into the countryside but get rid of as soon as you can.
Take the train
We flew into Montreal and spent a few days there then took the bus to Quebec City. We did the bus cause if I remember there were restrictions on luggage that the bus did not have. We were on a 3 week trip and each had a large 24” suitcase. The bus was fine. If the train works - go for that. We rented a car after leaving QC to tour quebec/New Brunswick/Nova Scotia. You don't need a car in either city. If public transportation doesn’t work for you - use uber.
I live in Montreal, and would suggest taking the train if you will just be in Montreal for a few days.
I imagine you will be spending most of your time in the downtown and old Montreal area, if you just have a few days. Driving a car in those areas aren't necessary. The metro (subway) is very easy to get around with. It is nice to visit our many neighborhoods and all they have to offer as well.
Last summer we had visitors from Europe and we took the "hop on hop off " to visit the city, with them. I think that is a great way to see major attractions and get around from spot to the other. They also just a couple of days.
Enjoy our city. You could check out the website "Eater" for places to eat.