In the minds of many who live here, one of Montréal’s greatest attributes is its proximity to the sheer physical beauty of the surrounding countryside. From downtown Montréal you can head in pretty well any direction and within an hour or so, you’ll be, if not in the wilderness, then at least in the thick of cottage country. The three most popular side-trip destinations from Montréal are the Laurentians, the Eastern Townships, and the Outaouais—each possessing its own distinct characteristics and flavor.
Most people traveling to this region do so by car, making it easy to spend as much or as little time in any given area as desired. However, Québec has created the Route Verte (Green Route), a 5,000-km (3,100-mile) network of bike trails in the southern part of the province. Many of the trails are currently open for access.