Across Lake Ontario and separated by about 80 miles (128 kilometers) of highway, Niagara Falls is a short ride away from Toronto either by car, train, or bus. The waterfall sits on the American-Canadian border and is actually made up of three waterfalls: American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls, which is the largest and most iconic. The Canadian side is agreed by many to have the best views of the falls, so traveling to Niagara from Toronto can save you a trip across the border.
|Train||2 hours||from $17 USD||Convenience|
|Bus||2 hours||from $7 USD||Budget travel|
|Car||1 hour, 30 minutes||80 miles (128 kilometers)||Fastest route|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Toronto to Niagara Falls?
The bus, which takes about two hours, is the most affordable way to get to Niagara Falls. Lines like Megabus offer the cheapest tickets for just $7 each way and in addition to having the best price, their buses are quite comfortable and offer free Wi-Fi.
Another option is to take public transportation using GO Transit, the metro system that services the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. This requires taking the train to Burlington and transferring to a bus that travels the rest of the way to Niagara. The public transit route takes longer, about three hours, and the fare will end up costing about $9 if you don't already have a transit package.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Toronto to Niagara Falls?
If you have your own car, or if you decide to rent one, driving is the quickest way to get from downtown Toronto to Niagara Falls. Without traffic, the trip should only take you about 90 minutes. From Toronto, you can get on Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) and drive south towards Niagara Falls for about 78 miles (126 kilometers). Follow signs for Niagara Falls until you can take Exit ON-420, which will bring you into town.
How Long Is the Train Ride?
Canada'a VIA Rail offers direct service from Toronto's Union Station to Niagara Falls that takes two hours, without transfers. Tickets start at $17 USD each way for basic economy class. This route is offered once per day in each direction. You can take the train from Toronto at 8:20 a.m., but if you want to be back on the same day, you'll have to catch the train back from Niagara at 6:45. If you miss this train, you can always travel by public transit, but it will take longer. Overall, the train is a convenient option, since you don't have to worry about parking or getting stuck in traffic.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Niagara Falls?
Because they are so close to each other, Toronto and Niagara Falls experience much of the same weather. Summers in Niagara Falls can be very hot and humid, but that doesn't stop the many visitors who come to cool off in the refreshing mist.
Fall is also a nice time to see the surrounding foliage, but a winter visit is a unique opportunity to see the icicles that form around the falls when temperatures drop below freezing. The waterfalls never totally freeze, but when it gets really cold, much of the flow is obscured by the ice.
What's the Most Scenic Route to Niagara Falls?
It's a short trip, but if you have the time there are a couple of places you can see along the way from Toronto to Niagara Falls. Less than an hour from Toronto along the QEW, Burlington is home to the Royal Botanical Gardens, a designated national historic site, and right next door, you can stop in at Hamilton's Dundurn Castle or the Warplane Heritage Museum.
Once you pass Hamilton, you can get off the QEW either at Fifty Road or Casablanca Boulevard and take Highway 81 through the Niagara Wine Region. Make sure to stop in the town of Jordan to try the latest vintages at Cave Springs, one of the most popular wineries.
Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Niagara Falls?
If at any point you want to cross over to the American side of the border, it's easy to do so via the Rainbow Bridge. While American and Canadian citizens do not require any special visas to travel between countries, they will need to show either a passport or a NEXUS card. If you are neither a Canadian or American citizen, you won't need a visa to enter the U.S. if your home country is included in the United State's Visa Waiver Program.
What Is There to Do in Niagara Falls?
To get the best view of the Niagara Falls from below, book a ticket ahead of time for a seat on the Hornblower Boat Tour, formerly known as the Maid of the Mist. Once you've got your fill of waterfalls for the day, you can enjoy the fine restaurants, hotels, and casinos in town. Or, if you'd like to spend more time in nature, you could also go fishing, golfing, or rent a bike and ride around on some of the area's extensive bike trails. To get a new perspective, you could head up to the top of Skylon Tower, ride the Whirlpool Aero Car over the Niagara Gorge, or take a helicopter tour.