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Scenery in Prince Edward County, one of the best wine regions in Ontario

Niagara or Prince Edward County: Which is the Best Ontario Wine Region?

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While I always recommend spending at least a week visiting either of these Ontario wine regions, the ideal time would be two weeks. But if you don’t have that kind of time, this Niagara versus Prince Edward County comparison will detail the differences between each wine region to help you choose which one to visit.

Niagara vs Prince Edward County: Which Ontario Wine Region Should You Visit?

Wine at the Terracello Winery, one of the Prince Edward County Winery restaurants
Wine at the Terracello Winery in Prince Edward County by Eric Sehr on Flickr

Let’s break down how these two Ontario wine regions compare by category.

Niagara vs Prince Edward County: Geography 

The Niagara region is spread across 1,850 square km of land and is the largest wine-producing region in Canada while Prince Edward County is just over half the size, covering 1,050 square km. 

The landscape in the Niagara region is diverse, filled with lakes, rivers, waterfalls while Prince Edward County has more rolling hills, dense forests and white sand beaches.

Because the Niagara region and Prince Edward County are both in southern Ontario, their climate and weather conditions are similar. Both have very cold winters and warm summers. 

Most visitors choose to visit these Ontario wine regions in the summertime when the weather is most favourable, but you should still come prepared with a light jacket in case it gets cool.

Niagara vs Prince Edward County: Atmosphere

Tourists in Niagara Falls
Tourists in Niagara Falls

The Niagara Region and Prince Edward County are both beautiful Ontario wine regions with their own pros and cons for visiting. 

Ultimately, it depends on your preferences and what style of vacation you are looking for.

The Niagara region is much more populated than Prince Edward County. In fact, Niagara has a whopping 448,000 residents, whereas Prince Edward County has only 25,000.

At the height of the summer season, the small towns in Prince Edward County are lovely to walk around and explore. They can get busy, but it’s nothing compared to the crowds in Niagara on the Lake. There, the downtown is swarming with groups of tourists. You’ll be lucky to find a parking spot, and it will take 30+ minutes to get a restaurant table.

Niagara on the Lake is a year-round destination, whereas Prince Edward County is much quieter, especially after summer ends. Niagara is an easy day trip from Toronto and is commonly frequented by day-trippers, casino goers and party animals. Prince Edward County on the other hand is further away from large cities and draws visitors who prefer the quiet life, beautiful beaches, and fine food. 

Niagara vs Prince Edward County: Getting Around

The closest international airport to the Niagara region is John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, roughly 60km away; the closest international airport to Prince Edward County is Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, at a distance of close to 200km. 

Both the Niagara region and Prince Edward County are easily accessible from the Greater Toronto Area. Prince Edward County is close to 2 hours from Toronto going east along the 401, while the Niagara region is about an hour and a half away in the other direction via the Queen Elizabeth Way.

While both of these Ontario wine regions are accessible via public transportation, it’s important to note that the wineries and attractions are spread across the region. If you’d prefer not to drive, I suggest booking a wine tour instead. 

Niagara vs Prince Edward County: Accommodations

Scenery in Prince Edward County, one of the best wine regions in Ontario
Spectacular scenery in Prince Edward County

Accommodations can get very pricey in both the Niagara region and Prince Edward County. Especially, if you want to stay in the ever famous Niagara on the Lake, or Prince Edward County’s historic Picton, Wellington or Bloomfield. Prices start at around 300 CAD per night during the summer and are usually booked months in advance.

If you’re on a budget in the Niagara region, cheaper accommodations can be found at campgrounds and in the city of St. Catherines. Less expensive options around Prince Edward County include camping at Sandbanks Provincial Park or the city of Belleville, which is north of the County in the Bay of Quinte region. 

Niagara vs Prince Edward County: Food

Prince Edward County and the Niagara region are known throughout Ontario for their local food and wine scenes. Even though the Niagara region has far more restaurants, both areas have some great options for fine dining and cheap eats. 

The Niagara region truly has something for everyone. In Niagara Falls, you’ll find a mecca of options. With romantic restaurants, kid-friendly eateries, and dining overlooking the falls, you won’t need to go far to find something to suit your needs. Named TripAdvisor’s top food and wine destination in Canada, Niagara on the Lake features gourmet restaurants, historic tearooms and many wineries that offer local dishes alongside award-winning wines. 

In Prince Edward County, restaurants are known for their farm to table experience. Whether you dine at a large iconic winery, a modern diner, or a gourmet street food vendor, chances are they use locally grown and locally made ingredients in their recipes. With everything from meats, vegetables, grains, cheeses, fish, eggs, mushrooms and herbs are grown nearby, it’s no wonder Prince Edward County was named ‘the Gastronomic Capital of Ontario’ by The Globe and Mail. These Prince Edward County winery restaurants are my personal favourites.

Niagara vs Prince Edward County: Highlights

Lake surfing at Sandbanks in Prince Edward County, one of the best Ontario wine regions
Lake surfing at Sandbanks

Both regions offer natural wonders and exciting sightseeing opportunities. Niagara is best known for its incredible waterfall while Prince Edward County is especially popular for its beautiful beaches. 

Highlights of the Niagara region:

  • Niagara Falls
  • Niagara on the Lake
  • Niagara Helicopter Tour
  • Bird Kingdom
  • The Botanical Gardens + Butterfly Conservatory
  • Whirlpool Aero Car
  • Niagara on the Lake Wine Tour
  • The Shaw Festival
  • South coast beaches
  • Welland Canal
  • National historic sights

Highlights of Prince Edward County:

  • Picton
  • Bloomfield
  • Wellington
  • Sandbanks Provincial Park
  • North Beach Provincial Park
  • Dunes Beach
  • Prince Edward County Wine Tour
  • Lake on a Mountain
  • Point Petre Wildlife Conservation Area
  • Breweries & Cideries
  • More things to do in Prince Edward County

Niagara vs Prince Edward County: Overall Prices 

When comparing costs, Prince Edward County is the cheaper alternative. In the Niagara region, not only does supply and demand raise the prices, but tourists are also often charged a tourism fee ranging from 5-13%.

Final Words

No matter which Ontario wine region you decide to visit, you’ll be in a beautiful area surrounded by vineyards. I guarantee that you will have a great time wherever you choose to go!

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