It’s impossible to go to Toronto and not visit the Niagara Falls! Actually the Niagara Falls are only two hours away by car from Toronto. Moreover, the Niagara Falls are probably the most famous waterfalls in the world, and we can see them from Canada or from the US, because they form a natural border between the two countries. Some people go see the Niagara Falls from New York, although it’s seven hours away by car. Since it’s only two hours away from Toronto, it was a no-brainer, I had to go see the Niagara Falls in Canada!
Niagara Falls City
Unlike what many people think, Niagara Falls is actually a city, and not just the waterfalls in the middle of nowhere. In fact, those are two twinned cities, Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada. But also just a few kilometers away Niagara Falls in New York, USA. And it’s possible to admire the waterfalls from one of those two cities. I’m giving all the details below but everyone agrees, the view of the Niagara Falls from Canada is a lot better!
So Niagara Falls, Canada is a city where close to 100000 inhabitants live! The city primarily lives off the waterfalls, since thousands of tourists go visit them everyday. What surprises me, and I didn’t expect it at all, is that Niagara Falls is actually like a funfair city. It’s a city where people spend a day or a weekend, a little bit like Las Vegas or Disneyland!
In the city, there are game booths all over the place, a ferris wheel, several museums, each one more original and eccentric than the next (like for instance the Guinness World Records museum). There’s also a minigolf and numerous hotels. I didn’t even mention all the casinos… Niagara Falls is a city where you go to have fun for a few days, like Vegas or Macau.
You’ll notice that no matter where you go, either in the city or close to the waterfalls, there’s a lot of noise, it’s always bustling and crowded. I was there during low season on a Monday and it was raining, however I found it too crowded. I can’t imagine what it’s like on a weekend during high season when the weather is nice… Inevitably, since it’s a very popular and touristic place, everything is expensive! Now you know! Anyway, enough with Niagara Falls city, let’s focus on the Niagara Falls now!
The Niagara Falls
The Niagara Falls are really impressive, and the photos don’t do justice to the beauty of the place. The height of the spray, the roar of the falls… It’s indescribable! In fact, Niagara Falls are made up of three waterfalls : Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side, and American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls on the American side. You can see and get close to the three falls from both sides.
I spent one day there, leaving Toronto early in the morning and going back there at the end of the day. I think it’s enough but some people decide to spend a night in Niagara Falls. It’s up to you! Wanna go see the Niagara Falls? Here’s all you need to know!
How to get to Niagara Falls from Toronto?
You have several options. If you want to, you can rent a car in Toronto. It’s an one hour and a half drive, and you’ll be completely free to do what you want to, get there and leave whenever you feel like it. Otherwise you can take the train. Viarail has trains going back and forth on a regular basis. It’s 45 Canadian dollars the round trip (about 30 euros). It’s two hours to get there, three hours to come back.
Finally, you can take the bus, that’s what I did. You can use Megabus or Greyhound. I used Greyhound and I paid 40 dollars (27 euros) the round trip. I had to go to the bus station. There’s another option, and they suggest doing it in almost every hotel in Toronto : you pay 80 dollars (54 euros), a bus will pick you up in front of your hotel in the morning, and will drop you off at your hotel in the evening. Not bad, but you’ll spend the day with a big group. Last option, they also suggest doing it at the hotel : you pay 120 dollars (80 euros), a bus will pick you up and drop you off, but you also have lunch and a boat ride included. You can buy your ticket here.
How to get around in Niagara Falls?
Everything is within walking distance but you need to know the area is vast and you can quickly end up losing time going from one place to another. I suggest you to take the Wego bus, there are stops everywhere in the city and close to the falls. A one-day ticket costs 8 dollars (5 euros).
How to best experience Niagara Falls?
The most popular attraction is the boat ride. You hop on a boat, and the boat gets very close to the waterfalls. You can buy your ticket at the counter there or you can buy it online so you can skip the line. A lot of people recommend doing, and I didn’t… The guys were way too pushy “You absolutely need to do this, otherwise you’re gonna miss something big!” I dug my heels in, and I didn’t do it. No regrets, I even think I made the right decision.
Basically the boats are full (I repeay myself, it was during low season), and you get close to the falls. People all stay on one side of the boat and are all crammed together, in order to get the best pictures. You get all wet because of the falls (it’s not that important, and they give raincoats), but above all it’s only a 15-minutes boat ride, and you have to pay 30 dollars (20 euros) for that! I contented myself with some pictures alongside the river, and I didn’t regret it. But you can do the boat ride if you wanna get close to the falls and take great pictures for instagram!
Another way to enjoy the Niagara Falls is to do the Journey Behind the Falls, where you go behind the falls to have another viewpoint. Apparently it’s impressive! Finally, if you pay about 100 euros, it’s possible to enjoy a ride on a helicopter, above the falls! Otherwise, you can just walk alongside the falls and enjoy the view from there!
From Niagara Falls city, it’s possible to admire the Niagara Falls from the Ferris wheel. It’s also possible to enjoy a panoramic view from the Skylon tower. It’s even possible to do a combo with the helicopter ride, the boat ride and a lunch on top of the tower!
Where to stay in Niagara Falls?
There are many options in Niagara Falls, check the hotels availability here. If you wanna see the Niagara Falls from your hotel, from what I heard Marriott Fallsview Hotel is the place to be. There’s also the Hilton Niagara Falls, the Embassy Suites and the Radisson Hotel offering nice views of the falls!
When is the best time to visit Niagara Falls?
Summer is probably the best time, but it’s also when the city is the most crowded. The prices are also higher at this time of the year. The weather is nice, around 20-25°C (70-80°F), so it’s not too hot. April-May and September-October are good months, the weather is still nice and it’s not too crowded. Admiring the Niagara Falls in winter can be impressive, with the frozen and snow-covered water. However it’s very cold and some activities like the boat ride are closed.