Hello sunshine! How have you been doing lately? We tried to plan our vacations for the summer, but the uncertainty right now prevents us from planning a full week vacation we will be able to stick to. Therefore, we decided to postpone our vacations to an unknown period and to stick to short getaways for now. As a result, I am in full mode research to scout the best weekend getaway from Montreal, and I thought you could beneficiate my investigations as well!
I need to place a disclaimer here; I haven’t ridden a bike for the past 14 years. So we can basically say that I don’t really know how to ride a bike. On the other hand, we are well aware that our typical vacations won’t be possible. Therefore, we thought it would be great to plan short getaways where we can explore what we usually don’t, and maybe plan a bike ride during those getaways. (if I learn how to turn right)
Best weekend getaways from Montreal
First and foremost, this is not our first rodeo! We have been mastering the art of getaways for the past 6-7 years. We both love to drive and explore, make sure it’s something you actually enjoy, because, during weekend getaways, it’s something you’ll end up doing for the best part of it. As such, although we enjoy driving, we also love getting to the final destination. For this reason, we are looking at destinations one can reach within a 4-hours drive, not necessarily a day trip, but not a full day drive either.
As I like to plan my weekend getaways extensively, I took the liberty of dividing this post in a series of three.
I have talked about Mont Tremblant in my recent Canada East Coast Road trips; however, Mont Tremblant is not very beginner-friendly regarding biking, as the name speaks for itself, it’s a mountain. Ste-Adèle, on the other hand, about one hour closer to Montreal, is one of the best locations for a weekend getaway. Ste-Adèle used to be a very trendy place for tourism, due to ski and the hotels nearby. Since Mont Tremblant has been developed, Ste-Adèle has been neglected by tourists and hotels are now a bit dated, but still offer a lot of comfort and cachet.
Where to stay
If you plan to enjoy a relaxing massage or treat those sore muscles to a Nordic spa, look no further than this place. Auberge Beaux Rêves is an absolute delight, with cosy rooms. All built with wood, the warmth offered by this site is like no other. Take note though that there is no TV in the rooms.
Breakfast is offered on-site, you also order a light lunch, but there is no dinner whatsoever.
This hotel used to be the jewel of Ste-Adèle. Known for its restaurant, Le Chanteclerc is undergoing major renovations as the overall look was kind of dated. It was once an independent hotel, but it’s now part of the Le Gouverneur hotels.
Another spot to get one of the best getaways from Montreal is the Hotel Spa Château Ste-Adèle. I honestly don’t know where its got his name from, because it doesn’t look like a castle, in my opinion. However, you will find somewhat modern amenities, an indoor pool and some “individual whirlpool baths” outside.
In my opinion, Beaux Rêves has the best layout and the most friendly staff, but the two others are solid choices as well.
Where to eat
This one is one of my top restaurant ever. It competes with restaurants we experienced in Paris, to give you an idea. It is a French bistro, owned by a French Chef, where you will find French cuisine classic, as well as some modern experiments and unexpected twists. The full 3-courses meal is on the pricier side, but it is so well worth it!
This restaurant might not be your first choice if you’re are going during the summer, but it is a delight during fall or winter. Offering cheese and Chinese fondue, it is the perfect atmosphere and meal after a day outside, moreover if you had brisk weather.
Crêperie Le Tournesol
This place is just amazing. You can have the best breakfast ever, choosing from their countless choices of crêpes bretonnes, or feel free to stop for dinner. The restaurant is super cosy, the staff is friendly, and who said one couldn’t have crêpes for dinner? Take note that the onion soup is to die for, and makes a meal by itself.
What to do
Assuming you will enjoy at least one spa day, we all need to relax, after all, the Laurentians have amongst the best spas, coupled with astonishing views pretty much everywhere. Ste-Adèle and the surroundings offer a lot for a weekend getaway from Montreal.
Don’t hesitate to rent a kayak or a canoe to explore the river. You can rent the equipment in Val-David, a nearby village. The best time to do nautical sports on the river is in May-June and the beginning of fall. Fall foliage is absolutely gorgeous, kayaking on the river mid-September is likely a stunning show.
Feeling like Claire in Outlander? You can satisfy your taste for adventure with a horseback riding excursion. For 45$/hour/person, this is certainly an activity to make this weekend getaway memorable.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, the goal for this year would be to have a more active vacation, and seriously, a weekend getaway from Montreal in the Laurentians is definitely the place to do so. The P’tit train du Nord trail is the perfect place to be bike/walk, although biking is preferable since the path is close to infinite (232 km). Also, take note that the “worst part” for elevation is around Ste-Adèle, so you might want to keep that in mind.
As stated in the first portion of this Laurentians getaways review, Mont Tremblant is not very beginner-friendly regarding biking, however, if you are a mountain bike die-hard, be my guest, you will have a blast racing down the mountain! Mont Tremblant is a high-end ski station in Quebec, highly commercial, it is polished and perfect, just as you expect from a trendy destination. Nevertheless, you can find some breathtaking views, and there are a few activities that can make Tremblant a great destination for a weekend getaway from Montreal.
Where to stay
Because of the largely developed ski village, you can expect a lot of choice on Air B&B. From luxury condos right in the middle of the ski resort to cabins on the lake, there is a lot to choose from.
If cooking your own meals during a vacation is far from relaxing and you would instead go for the traditional hotel, fear not, Tremblant has your comfort in mind. The Fairmont hotels are widely recognized for their high-end installations, and Tremblant’s is not on the sideline. Overlooking the mountain, sitting right above the ski village, the hotel promises a spectacular view. You will find all you need for a relaxing vacation with a spa and restaurant on-site.
For a more budget-conscious hotel, the Auberge Sauvignon is a solid choice. Although the less you pay, the further you get from the action, it is sometimes a reasonable compromise so that you can splurge on restaurants or spa treatments! For more intimacy, the Auberge Sauvignon also offers cabins you can rent. You also have the possibility to book a reservation, including a free continental breakfast, which is a win in my opinion.
Where to eat
Restaurant C’est la Vie
French-style restaurant, make sure to order anything sizzling if you happen to go there. Your meat will be served on a hot volcanic stone, making the whole thing “sizzling”. If you are a foie gras enthusiast, the appetizer offers a nice variation around foie gras.
Grill la forge
For a true steakhouse experience, look no further than La Forge grill. Grilled on an open fire, the meat doesn’t get more tasty than that! However, it might not be the best place to take your vegan friend…
La Diable – Microbrewery
For a more relaxed meal, pub ambience and crafted beer, La Diable microbrewery is the place to go. I am a French fries expert. I love good French fries, and let me tell you, this place knows how to do it! If it’s your first time in Quebec, feel free to try the poutine, it’s a decent place to have it.
What to do
Although Mont Tremblant is well known for winter weekend getaways from Montreal because of the ski station, you can definitely have a good time during warmer seasons. One of the romantic activity one could enjoy would be to explore the ski village, which is opened all year round. You can even take a funicular to help you with the climb.
Whoever says mountain, also says mountain bike and hiking. Two activities the outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate. However, if you are more on a mellow pace, there is the bike path le P’tit train du nord and La villageoise that are more beginner-friendly.
Finally, fishing is permitted in the region and excursions are available, so your weekend getaway from Montreal can contribute to filling your fridge.
Have you any additional spots for a great weekend getaway from Montreal in the Laurentians? The Laurentians are a beautiful region I truly enjoy, I might have a drink and stay for a while! 😉