Shh – Montreal is one of the coolest spots in Canada. Still something of a hidden gem, this city on the isles that fragment over the Saint Lawrence River is a charming mix of old and new. Between the crooked cobbles and stoop French-style taverns of Old Montreal, you’ll now find unabashed hipster watering holes gushing with craft brews and vintage threads. Art galleries showcase edgy photography while the nearby pubs scent the cold, crisp, Quebecois air with the smells of gravy-topped poutine fries. In the summer, Montreal is abuzz with cultural fests, with jazz and street theatre all in the mix. By winter, skiers make for the close-by pistes and travelers retreat to fire-warmed cafés to get all cozy. Ready to explore?
It’s estimated that Airbnb has a whopping 9,700 listings in the city of Montreal. That means you won’t be limited on choice when you come to pick your pad in this immersive Canadian hotspot. Oh, and there’s plenty of different types of stays to get you excited, ranging from humble little home dwellings on the outskirts to refurbished condos with views of the historic center.
There’s no need to panic – Airbnb is totally legal in the whole province of Quebec. That covers the city of Montreal and its surroundings. Hosts who want to use the uber-popular platform will have to stick to some rules, though. First off, landlords need to register any property that’s not their primary place of residence. Second, they need to pay certain taxes for each person who stays.
You shouldn’t have to worry about any that too much as a guest. All your fees will be collected online (though some duties might be sorted on arrival). What’s more, you don’t have to jump through any legal hoops. It’s as simple as browsing and booking, then packing your bags for a great time in enticing Montreal!
Where should I stay in Montreal Airbnb?
Downtown(1) Montreal is the core of the city, where most of the major businesses and banks have their base, but it’s also a pretty lively district with good gastronomy and nightlife. From there, Plateau Mont-Royal(2) spreads to the north and west, offering tree-lined avenues that can be both bumping with bars and relaxed with neighborhood cafés. Old Montreal(3) is nearer the river. Head there if you’re into history and sightseeing. Gay Village(4) is better for those seeking nightlife and the rambunctious days of Montreal Pride. Further out, districts like Saint-Henri(5) and Villeray(6) are more suburban, although the first is becoming something of hipster hub. Finally, you’ve got Mile End(7) – perfect for foodies.
Very metropolitan feel
Underground City – a network of urban tunnels that’s pretty cool!
Lots of traffic
Can lack a little character
Downtown is the very heart of Montreal. It’s where the traffic and the big business offices are, but also where you’ll find the widest array of chain eateries and bars. It oozes metropolitan vibes, what with shimmering skyscrapers of steel and mirror-like glass towering overhead, fountain-gurgling plazas, and large shopping malls. Some say the Downtown is a little soulless compared to other quarters, but we love the unusual Underground City (a network of subterranean tunnels that links it all during the cold months) and the abundance of retail therapy.
The Plateau Mont-Royal encompasses a whole host of areas that drift north and north-west of the Downtown. Together, they form an upscale enclave with an arty vibe. The streets are threaded with handsome redbrick rowhouses, while the sidewalks sprout plane trees and firs. You can really get in the spirit here by searching for an Airbnb near Rue Saint-Denis, which is brimming with cafés and cake shops that would look right at home in Paris. The parks are also stunning – La Fontaine is our favorite, where a squiggle of lake water weaves through flowery arboretums.
If in doubt, try to bag an Airbnb in Old Montreal. We say that because this is unquestionably the most historic and happening part of the city today. Its roots go all the way back to the middle of the 1600s (yep – that’s 1600s!). That’s when it was settled by French explorers. Fast forward more than four centuries and you’ve got a patchwork of weathered cobbled streets and narrow alleyways where you’ll be able to smell the poutine and bouillabaisse from the taverns. Classy B&Bs and chic eateries abound, and so do grand landmarks like the Notre-Dame Basilica.
Sandwiched between the Saint Lawrence River and the leafy walks of Mont-Royal, Gay Village is arguably the most bold and boisterous part of Montreal. Just as the name implies, it’s the hub of the LGBTQ scene. Head in for August to catch the Montreal Pride Festival and you’ll get to enjoy a fun-filled shindig of parades and dancing. But you don’t have to be around then. Gay Village has loads of friendly bars and cabaret joints where it’s possible to dance and drink the night away at any time of the year.
Saint-Henri was once a workaday suburb of Montreal. Things have changed in recent decades and there’s now talk of it being the town’s veritable hipster hub. Mexicana taquerias, Vietnamese pho kitchens, and authentic Jewish bakeries combine on Notre-Dame St W to offer an eclectic mix of dining. There are sleek cafés flaunting single-origin beans for brews, and neighborhood pubs with a more local vibe than in the downtown. Airbnbs in Saint-Henri might be tricky to come by, but they should be a tad cheaper than in other parts of the city.
It’s hard not to fall in love with Mile End. At once old and gritty, but also elegant and refined, this corner of the Mont-Royal hill has loads to keep you busy. Brunch time is heralded by the ubiquitous bagel shops – there’s one on just about every corner in these parts! After a long lunch on the town’s best baked goods, you can head for some outdoor art exhibits at the Marché des Possibles creative space. Oh, and Mile End is also the perfect place to be for exploring big Mount Royal Park and all the lookout points that abound there.
If you don’t mind cruising a little out of town to crank up the peace and quiet, Villeray is certainly worth considering. The Airbnb scene here is still growing, but you should be able to home in on some chilled family spaces with decks and gardens. Slowly gentrifying, Villeray seems to have a new delicatessen deli and workspace café every month. Rue Villeray is really where the action is focused. The streets around that are sleepy and leafy; great spots to holiday with the little ones in tow.
This charming little flat in the Downtown part of Montreal is what Airbnb is all about – lived-in spaces for travelers. It’s a condo, but feels more like a cottage, with a cute double bedroom and bijou kitchen space. On top of the rental itself, you get access to a communal gym, spa (complete with sauna) and swimming pool.
Prepare to be wowed by this charm-oozing townhouse. It sits on the lower fringes of Mont Royal Park, within walking distance to the metro station at Guy-Concordia and the Downtown of Montreal. From the outside, it looks like something plucked straight from The Adams Family, with big bay windows and carved entranceways. Inside keeps the vibe going, with rich mahogany floors and original fireplaces.
Squeezed into the happening blocks between Old Montreal, the southern end of Mont Royal, and buzzy Gay Village, this quirky accommodation could hardly have a better location for family travelers. But, more than that, it’s a downright sleek space. The bedrooms come adorned with exposed-brick walls and the dining room has a large, real-wood table with seats for all. You can then throw in a fully fitted kitchen and a lounge with a flat-screen TV on top.
Spreading over the second and third floors of a building in the vibrant Latin Quarter of Montreal, this penthouse boasts space enough for as many as 12 guests at any one time. It’s certainly got the style side sorted, with rough timber floorboards mingling with clay brick walls and moody lounge lighting. It’s also got its own large kitchen and a dedicated dining space for those nights in cooking and eating all together.
This two-person Airbnb in Montreal has been specifically designed with couples in mind. It sits on the edge of the charming district of Old Montreal (the oldest part of the city) and has just one double bed in a calm, cozy setting. Big windows ensure the space is always bright and breezy. Good proximity to some of the town’s most acclaimed restaurants and jazz bars is perhaps the top selling point.
That really depends on what sort of Airbnb in Montreal you’re after. However, generally speaking, these sorts of stays are a tad easier on the travel budget than classic hotels. You can also sometimes save loads on the cost of eating out by choosing pads with self-catering facilities and their own dining rooms (like in many of the options listed above). There are also extra reductions to be had if you’re coming to Montreal for a week or more – discounts of around 50% are common on long-term Airbnb rentals!
Of course, Airbnb is more about scoring a place to call your own. It’s about cranking up the privacy. The result? You won’t be pampered and waited on like you would in a hotel. If you’re after the height of luxury and service, consider somewhere like the Hotel Gault. Really close to the riverside and the heritage-rich district of Old Montreal, it’s got uber-cool retro lobby spaces and boutique suites with designer interiors.
Montreal is a magical city. In winter, it’s a fairy tale in the snow, sprouting Gothic cathedrals close to icy alleys fringed with pubs. In summer, you’ll find loads of lovely parks and vibrant streets laced with bagel shops and hipster bars. Where will you stay when you come to explore?