Niagara-on-the-Lake, known as “The Loveliest Town in Canada,” spectacularly lives up to its given designation. One of the most historic and picturesque locations in Ontario, the town and its surrounding environs offer travelers the serenity of a quiet and quaint village, along with plenty of exciting tourist attractions. Romantic flower-lined streets host historic hotels and inns, original eighteenth century homes and churches, shops, and fresh markets. Niagara-on-the-Lake is also a great jumping off point to the nearby Ontario wine country and Niagara Falls.
Niagara-on-the-Lake sits directly across the Niagara Lake from Toronto, at the mouth of the Niagara River. Its location puts it in the convenient vicinity of three international airports. The closest is Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, about 45 minutes away. The largest airport in the region, however, is Toronto-Pearson International Airport, a one-and-a-half hour drive. Another option is the John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Ontario. Upon arrival, you have the option to either rent a car from a major car rental company or take advantage of Niagara Air Bus, a local enterprise providing regional transportation to several popular destinations, including Niagara-on-the-Lake. Coming from the UK, Air Transat offers several non-stop flights to Toronto.
The beautiful Niagara vineyards sprawl through the surrounding countryside of rolling hills and waterfront vistas. This area boasts some of the best reds cultivated in North America, as well as the region’s celebrated ice wines. Home to nearly 30 wineries, your only dilemma will be deciding on which ones to visit and what method of travel appeals to you.
The area is filled with different sized vineyards, from large-scale production enterprises to small family-owned orchards, all of them boasting unique philosophies and techniques, and their own special vintages. Several very reputable companies offer basic and customized tours, by bicycle, coach, trolley, or luxury sedan. On the other hand, you can always just grab a map and go exploring on your own! There are also several gourmet restaurants in the area offering cellar tours, including tastings of the area’s best award-winning selections.
Local tour companies offer private and group expeditions around town and in the 20 surrounding wine-producing areas. They provide you with an intimate experience, including an expert guide who knows the region and the wine-making process. Many offer the option of either cycling with you through town and valley, or driving you to each destination in a van or luxury vehicle. Conveniently located downtown, their offices are just a short walk from the best hotels in town.
However, one of the best things about holiday is doing things on your own time, with no predetermined schedule or reservations. There are many options here when it comes to vineyard tours, and you can easily create your own agenda catered to your personal interests. First of all, you should familiarize yourself with the “Official Guide to the Wineries of Ontario”. It is an all-encompassing guide to over 100 wineries, not only in the immediate vicinity of Niagara-on-the-Lake, but also including the surrounding Niagara wine country, which covers around 50 km. You can easily acquire it at www.winesofontario.ca, or grab a hard copy at most of the local wineries.