A weekend in Canada: Niagara Falls

Yes, you read it right! A weekend in Canada! There was a sale (or pricing error maybe?) posted on one of the cheap-flights portals. I could not quite believe that I could go from Liverpool to Toronto for less than £200 and that was the temptation I could not resist! As I did not have many holidays left I decided to make it only a long weekend trip. I left Dublin on Thursday noon and got back on Tuesday morning. The flights were with WoW Airline – a low-cost intercontinental carrier from Iceland. As you have guessed it right the flights had a short stopover in Reykjavik. The whole trip was on narrow body planes. Squeeze!!!

2. Iceland - off to Canada

The low price was somehow justified by extra charges one had to bear for the in-flight meals and luggage and no in-flight entertainment. I did not need either so I guess the airline lost money on me!!! 🙂 Jokes apart – WoW Airline seems to be a decent airline with all flights being on time. I even got a free extra legroom space upgrade (yeah… I was cheeky enough to ask for it when checking-in and the lady over the check-in desk was super friendly and all that!). As mentioned earlier the flights had a short stopover in Iceland. For those unaware, this is one of the most expensive place to do your shopping. And I do not mean any luxury shopping. I mean regular souvenir or even food shopping. I would even say that buying the food on the plane is cheaper than eating at the Keflavik airport! So be prepared if you ever visit or stop there. After a short stopover I continued my journey on. I was lucky enough to sit by the window and admire the countryside below including the magnificent Greenland with the snow cover and melting ice. Astonishing!

5. Hello Greenland

5. Hello Greenland 2

I got to the Toronto’s Pearson Airport on Thursday evening. No issues at the border (except for a quite long queue) and in about 1.5h I was on the bus to the nearest metro station and few moments later on the train/subway to the city.  Mind the difference in time, that was a long day and I desperately needed a bed. I had to rest a bit before the adventure that awaited me on Friday. A trip to Niagara Falls! 🙂 I knew I did not have much time in general and wanted to squeeze in as much as possible. The public transport although in existence, wasn’t the best suited for any rush. So the best option was to go with an organized group. Like many times before I had a look at viator.com and found couple of day trips from downtown Toronto. I bought one of them and… what a trip!

12. Toronto Skyscrapers and CN Tower reflections

It does not take long to reach Niagara Falls from Toronto. After about 1.5h we reached the famous Niagara on the Lake vineyards where we had a taste of delicious ice wine. The sweet taste comes from the sugar trapped inside frozen grapes. This place is one of the finest on Earth for such kind of produce. The micro-climate around Lake Ontario allows for warmth and healthy growth of the grapes in summer followed by sometimes sudden icing temperatures in winter. The combination of both is basically the recipe for amazingly tasty ice wine!

18. Ice wine tasting

16. Ice wine tasting

After we have left the vineyard and almost got to Niagara Falls our guide presented a special once-in-a-lifetime offer they had for their customer. I was a bit weary of such marketing statements as they were there to make money and I bet they didn’t give a dongle about what people needed and liked. But I carried on listening and… fell for the trap! But oh man what a trap it was! A helicopter flight over Niagara Falls for “only” $89! To be honest it’s a lot in itself but at the same time is it really? And lifetime memories guaranteed because how many times do you get to fly over a place so beautiful? Definitely one of the highlights of the trip and I would recommend this “trap” to anyone! (by the way the regular price for the 10-minute flight was $129 but we got a discount from the tour company 🙂 )

22. Niagara Falls' flight

 

25. Niagara Falls

28. Niagara Falls

27. Niagara Falls pilot

30. Niagara Falls Hornblower

31. Niagara Falls

That was such an exciting and breathtaking flight! I was still shaking when we touched the ground! It was good to see the falls from above and roughly about 15 minutes later see them right from the ground. And I can say they look magnificent from that perspective as well… Especially if you are lucky and visit in the afternoon when the weather is nice and the sun is setting. Why? What does come out when you match spraying water and sunshine? A Rainbow! or Two! No wonder that Niagara Falls has been one the most popular places for honeymoons! Imagine waking up to a view like that…:

34. Niagara Falls Rainbow 2

34. Niagara Falls Rainbow 6

34. Niagara Falls Rainbow 10jpg

34. Niagara Falls Rainbow Treasure

Part of the trip package was an all-you-can-eat buffet at Sheraton – a  restaurant located at the top floor of one of the nearby hotels. That was yet another view at the falls. Niagara Falls actually consist of 3 separate falls going from the left on the below picture: The American Falls, The Bridal Veil Falls and the Horseshoe Falls. Also the river is officially a border between the USA and Canada. Basically the elevated area from where the water falls is the USA. The foreground of this picture is Canada.

35. Niagara Falls from Sheraton 2

As I mentioned earlier Niagara Falls is a popular honeymoon destination.  The numerous hotels built by the falls are filled lovers! Arguably the Canadian side is considered a better side to see the falls in full glory due to the panoramic view hence this side being more built up.

35. Niagara Falls from Sheraton 4

After a very filling lunch/dinner we were invited to the last part of the trip – an awesome cruise on board Hornblower to the bottom of the Horseshoe Falls! Luckily the nice weather continued and no one was scared to get wet. And it was close to impossible not to get wet due to the humidity and water particles flying everywhere! I was happy my camera was water resistant and I could take close-up pictures right there in the middle of the horseshoe! Such a powerful place…! We first started by cruising next to the American Falls:

40. American Falls From the boat

40. American Falls From the boat 6

40. American Falls From the boat 5

And then we moved to the middle of the Horseshoe. Water was everywhere but primarily in front of the lens making it almost impossible to take any nice and crisp pictures…

40. Niagara Falls From the boat 5

40. Niagara Falls From the boat 6

40. Niagara Falls From the boat 8

40. Niagara Falls From the boat 13

That’s almost the end of this exciting day! I got proper wet but it was all well worth it! But it wouldn’t be a grand finale without… fireworks! Yes, for those who are again lucky to visit Niagara Falls on Friday are granted a free firework display. Add colourful illumination of the falls to the mix and you are again guaranteed amazing lifetime memories. If you ever planned a trip to Toronto or the western part of New York State you must visit Niagara Falls, period! Especially as the waterfall will not last forever. The erosion process is in place and in few generations from now people will most likely not have a chance to admire this wonder. So hurry up, pack your bags and get wet!

41. Niagara Falls additional 11

41. Niagara Falls additional 10

41. Niagara Falls additional 17

41. Niagara Falls additional 18

41. Niagara Falls additional 15

44. Niagara Falls Fireworks

Hope you have enjoyed this short trip to Niagara Falls with me. Please stay tuned for another post from Toronto.

Thanks and have a look into the gallery below!

 

 


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