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Niagara Falls

The Niagara Falls are the most famous and largest waterfalls in North America. They are located on the border of the US state of New York and the Canadian province of Ontario on the Niagara River. Both Ontario and New York are located on a city called Niagara Falls (Niagara Falls (New York) and Niagara Falls (Ontario)). To enjoy the falls from the front, you have to go to the Canadian side.

It is best to visit the falls on a working day. On weekends, especially on the typical travel weekends around one of the many American holidays, the rush of tourists is dramatic. A visit in winter (especially January + February) is also extremely attractive, when it has been very cold in the region for months and meter-high grotesque icebergs pile up below the falls. Tourists only come here a few times and you can rent a luxurious hotel room (possibly with a jacuzzi or fireplace) cheaply. However, Niagara Falls have the most water at the time of the snowmelt in spring.

Background [edit]

The cases

The Niagara River, which flows from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, is split in half by an island (Goat Island) immediately above the falls, so that at this point two Waterfalls arise: they are on the American side American Falls and on the Canadian side the Horseshoe Falls. The American Falls have a width of 363 m and a drop height of 21-34 m. The height difference between the upper edge of the American Falls and the Niagara River is 57 m. The horseshoe-shaped Horseshoe Falls have an edge length of 792 m and fall freely over a height from 52 m in depth.

The water flow of the Niagara River is subject to strong seasonal fluctuations, it is between 2,832 and 5,720 m³ / s, an average of 4,200 m³ / s. Of these water masses, however, no more than half, and at some times of the day only a quarter, take the spectacular route through Niagara Falls. Most of this water is diverted through turbines to generate electricity.

  • Rainbow Bridge and American Falls.

  • American Falls in winter.

  • Horseshoe Falls (detail).

  • Horseshoe Falls in winter.

  • Satellite image of the Niagara Falls.

History [edit]

Landscape [edit]

Climate [edit]

Arrival [edit]

By plane

The closest airport is the Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG), but only from the small charter airline Myrtle Beach Direct Air is approached.

The one on the outskirts of Buffalo offers better connections Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF), which is served daily from many major American airports (e.g. New York City, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix).

On the Canadian side, the closest international airport is in Hamilton. If you are not afraid of a 1½ hour drive after arrival, you can also use the Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ) or fly into Toronto City Airport.

By train

The American railroad companies Amtrak and VIA Rail operate a train station in both Canadian and American Niagara Falls. Over the lines Empire service and Maple Leaf there are direct connections to New York City and Toronto. Additional regional connections to Toronto are offered on weekends and public holidays.

By bus

The American bus company Greyhound has a station on both sides of the river. A one-way trip to / from New York costs around USD 75.

On the street [edit]

From the Canadian side, i.e. H. from Hamilton, Niagara Falls, ON is accessible via the Queen Elizabeth Way.

If you are coming from New York City, the fastest way (approx. 7½ hours) is via Binghamton and Syracuse. Connoisseurs take more time and take some of the many attractions along the way with them. See the thematic article From New York City to Niagara Falls for details.

Border crossing [edit]

To enter Canada from the USA and vice versa, you need a valid passport. Green card holders should also have these ready. US residents, when traveling to Canada in their own car, need a special insurance certificate, which the insurance company issues free of charge.

European foreigners who have the Rainbow Bridge Entering Canada from the USA are routinely asked at the Canadian checkpoint (where Americans and Canadians do not need to leave their car) to get out of the car with the whole family and to present their passports in person at a counter in the immediately adjacent office building . This is a bit cumbersome, but inevitable, and as a tourist from a German-speaking country you hardly need to expect any complications when crossing the border.

Conversely, when entering the United States from Canada, you can usually stay in your car at passport control.

Note the import regulations of the country into which you are traveling.

Except on typical travel weekends with a high volume of traffic, you do not need to expect long waiting times to cross the border.

Fees / permits [edit]

Mobility [edit]

The main attractions at Horseshoe Falls are within walking distance. For comfort-oriented visitors there is a bus network that connects all attractions.

Parking [edit]

Parking directly at the visitor center costs CAD 20 for a full day. The ticket does not expire when you exit, so you can come back on the same day. Alternatively, you can try to find a parking space in downtown Niagara Falls (ON) and take a bus to the falls.

Sights [edit]

Visitor Center (Canadian Side)

Entry to the visitor center and the viewing terrace is free. From here you can see the Horseshoefalls up close.

Maid of the Mist

If you want to take a boat trip with the Maid of the Mist right in front of Niagara Falls, you should start on the American side, as the queues there are not as long as on the more touristy Canadian side. The typical blue rain ponchos are included in the price of the boat trip and make a nice souvenir.

Journey behind the Falls

Here, too, you have the opportunity to view the Horseshoefalls from below. The entrance is at the visitor center.

White Water Walk

The White Water Walk is located on the rapids of the Niagara Gorge about two kilometers below the falls.

Whirlpool Aerocar

Whirlpool Aero Car, also known as the Spanish Aero Car, is a cable car that crosses the almost circular whirlpool of the Whirlpool Rapids in the Niagara River about four kilometers downstream from Niagara Falls.

Skylon Tower

The Skylon Tower stands around 200 meters from the bank of the Niagara River at the height of Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, Canada. From the observation deck of the tower you have an overview of the entire Niagara Falls. When visibility is good, the shores of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie can be seen.

Activities [edit]

There is a "helicopter tour" with which you can fly directly over the waterfalls.

Shopping [edit]

Kitchen [edit]

In the visitor center there are various fast food restaurants where you can get burgers, pizza etc. at the usual prices and of course Tim Hortons has a branch here too. Any food you have brought with you can be consumed on the viewing terrace. For higher demands you should look around in the big hotels of the city.

Accommodation [edit]

Bed capacities are impressive in both Niagara Falls (New York) and Niagara Falls (Ontario). When in doubt, it is best to stay on the Canadian side, because the waterfalls are easier to access from there and because there is more to see on the Canadian side.

Security [edit]

Excursions [edit]

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Literature [edit]

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