1. Arriving by air

All international and domestic passengers arrive at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport YUL (or YMQ - all Montreal airports), normally just called Montreal-Trudeau or PET or by its former name, Dorval, which is also the name of the suburb where it is located about 20 km from downtown.

For general info, see the airport's Access and Parking page.

>> Taxi/ limousine

You can catch a taxi or a limousine near the central exit on the Arrivals level.

Taxi rates are fixed at $40 to downtown, and meter to other destinations with a minimum charge of $17. It is customary to tip the driver anywhere from 10% to 20%, with 15% being the average. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are often, although not always, accepted, and most drivers accept American dollars as a courtesy. Although there are some mini-van taxis, most are mid-sized cars that can legally fit up to 4 passengers (3 in the back, 1 in the front); however with luggage and especially if the taxi is a small car, the practical limit from the airport is probably 3.  For more on taxis in Montréal, see TA's Taxi and Rental Cars page or the taxi fares to downtown (in French, and is posted on the window of every taxi). 

Limos that you catch without a reservation from the airport have fixed fares, costing $55 for the downtown core, and various amounts for other destinations around Montréal or the province. Again, a tip is customary. (This .pdf document 1.4MB in French, has a map of fares for Montréal on page 10, of the suburbs on page 13, and various towns across Québec in the appendix. For non-listed destinations, the fare should first discussed with the limo driver prior to embarking; the cost should be in line with similar distances to other destinations. Note that limousines you reserve yourself beforehand can quote their own prices.)

>> 747 express bus

For $10 the 747 express (pdf) will take you to downtown officially in 45 minutes but likely more and sometimes less depending on traffic; the bus is equipped with WiFi and has tourist/transit maps available. The fare gives you a 24h pass good for the métro (subway) and on-island busses run by the STM, Montéal's transit authority; off-island busses and trains are run by other transit authorities and have separate fare structures. You can buy the pass at the international arrivals level STM ticket machine which accepts cash, debit, and credit cards although some report that their American cards do not work; you can buy a ticket on the bus itself with exact change in coins only (no bills). The bus stops at the Lionel-Groulx métro station and a few stops downtown, including one close to the Gare centrale (central train station) and ends at the Gare d'autocars (bus station) located above Berri-UQAM, the main métro stop on the eastern edge of downtown. The 747 bus also accepts a variety of passes, such as 3-day or weekend although these cannot be purchased on the bus itself, but are available from the machine. 

>> Regular bus (public transit)

For a regular fare of $3 (coin only, no bills on the bus), you can get downtown by regular public transit, although it's more difficult and time-consuming, especially with luggage since it involves transfers, some walking, and a bus that runs only every 1/2 hour. Catch the 204 Cardinal direction est to the Dorval Terminus; if it drops you at the train side, simply take the tunnel underneath the tracks to get to the bus side. Then catch the 211 Bord-du-Lac direction est to the Lionel-Groulx métro station where you can take the green or orange line to downtown. See TA's   public transportation page for more on Montreal's excellent transit system.

>> Car

The main highway 20 normally takes 15-20 driving minutes to downtown, but rush hour traffic or road construction can make the trip take twice as long if not more. If traffic is particularly bad, smart drivers choose the 520 and then the 13, but it's quite a detour and both can get as congested. For a nicer but slower route that is a lot more scenic: from the airport exit follow the "av. Dorval" (Dorval Avenue) signs, then continue to Lakeshore Road (Bord-du-Lac). Take a left and enjoy the ride and the sights to downtown following the shore of Lac Saint-Louis passing through historic Lachine, Ville St-Pierre or the west end of Montreal.

Renting a car at the airport can be more expensive so it may cost less to pay a taxi to the airport but rent a car from a dealership in town. Or may not, so do some research. Keep in mind that a car may not be necessary at all for your stay in Montreal since it is a fairly compact, walkable city with an efficient, safe, and clean transit system.

>> Train

The airport is not well served by train, with an infrequent schedule based more on commuters or inter-city travel, and no direct connection to the train station. There are two train services (with different train stations): the AMT commuter train requires that you first take the  204 Cardinal direction est for $3 to the Dorval commuter train station, and then the Vaudreuil/Hudson-to-Montreal train to downtown for $7; see the  schedule. Via Rail has a free shuttle to the Via Dorval train station, although a single ticket to downtown is $20 + tax; if you are already travelling by train to Montréal to catch a plane, make sure to choose Dorval as your destination.

 

2. Arriving by train

The train station -- Gare centrale or Central Station -- is located downtown and is connected through the underground tunnels to both the Bonaventure métro (subway) station on the orange line and, a little further, McGill métro on the green line. Note that there is quite a bit of walking through tunnels and with escalators and a few short flights of steps so if you're loaded with luggage, a cab ride to your destination will be less strenuous. Signage at the station can be confusing and is not always clear if you are a visitor to the city. If you are not sure most people will help point you in the right direction. If you don't speak French this is not a porblem as people will switch to English if need be. Should you get to street level Bonaventure metro is not easy to find if you are new to the city as it is tucked under an office block and is not that well signposted. If you have large luggage that will not fit through the revolving doors into the Bonaventure métro, there is a swing door beside them; push the unmarked square button and wait about 10 seconds for a long tone to indicate that the door is unlocked. The train station is also the terminus for the Montreal-Deux Montagnes and the Montreal-Mont Saint Hilaire commuter train lines, and the tunnels also lead to the 1000 de la Gauchetière bus terminal that serves the south shore suburbs and to the Gare Lucien-l'Allier for other commuter trains serving the north, west, and south shore suburbs. See TA's  public  transportation page more info on public transit; for useful maps see the  STM's map page or this  métro map that includes the street grid above the stations, or check out this  comprehensive fan website that includes the history of the métro, list the works of art in the different stations, and even gives a subjective rating for how nice each station is architecturally. 

 

3. Arriving by bus

The Bus Terminal (Gare d'autocars de Montréal or Montreal Bus Station) is located at 1717 Berri, between de Maisonneuve and Ontario streets right by the Berri-UQAM métro station. There are normally taxis available outside the main doors on Berri, or you can hail one from the sidewalk if there are none. The bus station has recently moved its entrance and had a few name changes so locals may refer to it as Station centrale or even Terminus Voyageur after the old bus company's name; the bus station is not to be confused with the train station which is called the Gare centrale or Central Station, located downtown close to the Bonaventure métro station.

 

4. Arriving by car from the USA

To cross into Canada from New England, most people take US Interstate 89 from Vermont through to the Canadian border or the I-87 from upstate New York. Citizens of many countries -- particularly the U.S., European, and commonwealth countries -- do not require visas, but others do;  see  this list. U.S. citizens must have a valid U.S. Passport or Passport Card to re-enter the U.S.; these are recommended for children under age 16, but an official birth certificate with a raised seal is accepted. Children who are travelling without their parents/legal guardians must have written parental consent including phone numbers and addresses and which should, if possible, indicate the length of stay in Canada and the name and address of the person they will be staying with in Canada.

>>Customs

You must declare all weapons, firearms or explosives at the border, as well as any plant or animal products. Each adult is allowed to bring up to 1.5 liters (53 imperial ounces) of wine, up to 40 ounces of spirits, up to 8.5 liters of beer or ale, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 7 ounces of manufactured tobacco and 200 tobacco sticks. You are allowed to bring gifts that you are leaving with persons in Canada, but you must declare the value of all gifts. You can bring money into Canada for your own use, but if you bring $10,000 or more in cash or monetary instruments you must declare it.

Further information is available in  Information for Visitors to Canada.

>>Crossing the St. Lawrence: Champlain Bridge

It is about one hour from the border to Montreal. Consult your map or your GPS for specific directions to your end destination. The Champlain Bridge is now under a several-year reconstruction plan which can cause substantial delays, and during rush hour there are reserved bus lanes so it is best to time your arrival before or after. If traffic is horrendous, there are other bridges -- the Mercier, Victoria, Jacques Cartier, and the Hippolyte-Fontaine tunnel that you can take, although it increases your time and of course they may be no better.