Right near New York, Toronto, and the US-Canada border, both the Niagara Peninsula, a top wine producing region on Lake Ontario’s shore, and handsome, heritage town Niagara-on-the-Lake, are easy to tour on bikes. And there’s plenty to see, do, eat, and drink.
Before you start, consult the Niagara Cycling Tourism Centre for information and maps, then check out some of the routes, stops, and suggestions below.
Niagara and Greenbelt loops
Looking for farms and orchards, cute villages and vineyards, all with verdant rolling hills in between? You'll find them in the Niagara Region, idyllic for cycle-touring in summer and fall. For a long ride that gives a good overview, tackle the 140-kilometre paved Greater Niagara Circle Route, also part of the Great Trail. You’ll often be pedaling by the waterfront, with plenty of chances to go for a city tour, stop for a swim on the beach, or take a stroll through the village and stop for lunch. Another option? The Greenbelt Route hits Lincoln and St. Catharines, wineries, and fruit stands, plus historical Niagara-On-The-Lake with over 475 accessible kilometres.
After stopping in at a vineyard, like Southbrook Vineyards, spend time in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a charming 19th century village. Walk the tree-lined avenues, visit the boutiques, and research the sophisticated, locavore-driven dining scene. Then pedal to the nearby orchards and wineries for u-pick berries, peaches, and lavender, as well as tours and tastings. If you’re a theatre fan, time your visit with the internationally acclaimed Shaw Festival, which runs from April to November. Take in one of the many productions, from avant-garde to classic.
Niagara Wine Route
In a relatively compact area, you’ll find nearly 100 wineries — like Di Profio Wines, Small Talk Vineyards, and critics’ darling Five Rows Craft Winery — whose products you can often only buy in Canada. The Niagara Wine Route takes you past most of them, and includes the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, and the town of Niagara-On-The-Lake. Cycle the route and tour, taste, and dine along the way. Looking for more? Take a workshop, have a picnic, or join a winemaker’s dinner.
Go with a guide
If you’d rather not deal with the planning and gear, let the cycle-touring experts lead you around Niagara. Ontario By Bike leads small-group weekend tours around the province, including the Niagara area. Cycle Canada runs a one-week Niagara Vineyards ride with stays in B&Bs, sightseeing to the Falls, a Shaw Festival matinee, plus winery and produce stops. Then there’s Zoom Leisure, which rents wheels to self-guided riders and also leads anything from afternoon winery tours to vineyard picnics. Grape Escapes Wine Tours is another service that can take you all over the Niagara Peninsula — bicycles and gear included.
Niagara is the undisputed world leader in Icewine. If you want to learn more about it, arrange a custom tour or cycle yourself between Icewine specialists. The #1 stop is Inniskillin, the area’s original pioneer. At this spot, you can take a tour, taste your fill of Icewine, or book a private event, such as a Canadian cuisine cooking class or wine luncheon. Also sample the intense, golden-hued wine made from frozen grapes at Peller Estates, a lovely spot for an elegant lunch. Family-run Pillitteri Estates Winery is also worth a visit, especially to try their Icewine tasting flights. The Ice House Winery is popular for its Icewine cocktails and slushies. If you're cycling in the colder months, come prepared with layers!