Let’s get the obvious out of the way first – Niagara Falls is an epic sight. The natural phenomenon is awe inspiring.
You don’t get bored of watching 85,000 cubic feet of water falling over them… every second!
Yes, Iguaçu Falls are bigger and more dramatic and I’ve yet to get to the Victoria Falls but, as someone who has wanted to see the Niagara Falls since I was little, they do not disappoint.
We only saw them from the Canadian side which, to be honest, it is definitely the best side. The Canadian side gives you full view of the American, Bridal Veil (the little bit right next to the American) and the famous Horse Shoe Falls all in one shot. On the US side, they’re kind of underneath you.
You can walk along the whole side of the valley and just pick the spots which get you the best pictures of the Falls.
To get a closer look, we took a trip on one of the Niagara Cruise boats that sails right up to the Horse Shoe Falls (https://www.niagaracruises.com/boat-tours/). It cost us $25.95 CAD each (plus TAX) which was OK. You just about get 20 minutes of cruise which gets you close to each of the Falls but also ‘rewards’ you with 5 minutes of total soaking next to the Horse Shoe Falls. They do give you a poncho though 😜 It’s not great for pictures because of the mist created by the Falls but it does give you a sense of the power of the Falls.
Other than that, there’s not a lot that you will want to do around the Falls. There are a few visitor centres and some tacky touristy things. A friend of ours described it as a seedy Las Vegas (If you ever been to Las Vegas, you’ll know how damning that is) but it’s about right.
Even the Skylon Tower looks dated with a tacky tourist area and a very lonely and dated arcade in the basement.
That said, lets talk about Niagara-on-the-Lake…
So, Niagara is only about the Falls right? That’s what we thought until we were persuaded to spend a night at Niagara-on-the-Lake.
As a summary, it’s a quaint little town about a 30 minute drive from the Falls. It’s steeped in history as it was the site of Fort George – Where the British Army retreated to after having to leave the US after the Revolutionary War, and the site of some further battles.
The best bit of Niagara-on-the-Lake though is it’s winery’s.
We hired a couple of bicycles from Zoom (https://www.zoomleisure.com/) and did a self-guided tour ($49 CAD each but the book that they give you gives you free wine tasting in 4-5 winery’s and the Oast House brewery). The tour takes about 3-4 hours depending on how fast you cycle and how long to savour the booze.
It’s a great way of seeing the place as it takes you past the main historic places too and you finish up in the main town which is pergfect for a post ride lunch/dinner.
Just quickly on the wine (which was very good!), Niagara-on-the-Lake is famous for it’s “Ice Wine” that is made from the vineyards waiting until they get at least 3 consecutive nights of -5C and then pressing the grapes whilst they’re still frozen. The result is a very sweet (think dessert wine) but very nice wine. It’s like drinking nectar.
Our overnight stay was at the Orchid Inn (http://www.orchidinn.ca/orchid/) which is a famil run B&B. Not only are Cindy and her family super friendly, you really should eat in their restaurant too. The food is epic!