Road trip > plane ticket.
A vacation to Europe is a dream trip, with thoughts of making memories lounging on Greek islands, sipping wine in French vineyards and admiring stone buildings along cobblestone streets. Alas, a trip to Europe also comes with quite the price tag.
We're lucky to live in the province of Ontario with so much hidden beauty. You can find historic small towns and picturesque views that can mimic almost any European getaway and make for a fabulous road trip with friends. Here are some places in Ontario you have to stop if you have wanderlust for a vacation to Europe.
Vineyards in Prince Edward County
Address: 629 Closson Rd., Hillier, ON
Why You Need To Go: The blue water views over Lake Ontario, golden beach patios and picturesque wine country, Prince Edward County is an Ontario destination that will transport you overseas. There are many different wineries with lush vineyards as far as the eye can see and historic farm-style buildings to enjoy a tasting. One such winery is Closson Chase Vineyards, boasting 30 acres of vineyards and an iconic purple barn, making you feel like you're sipping wine in France.
Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa
Address: 1 Langdon Dr., Cambridge, ON
Why You Need To Go: If you've ever wanted to spend the night in an English country home, Langdon Hall in Cambridge is an idyllic manor stay. The gardens feel like you're wandering through the English countryside, and you can even play croquet. Inside you'll find grand rooms with historic fireplaces and antique decor, not to mention the onsite spa where you can soak away all of your worries.
Merrickville Mill Street
Address: Mill Street, Merrickville, ON
Why You Need To Go: Walk along the main street of Merrickville, Ontario and you'll feel as though you've been transported to the United Kingdom. There is an authentic red phone booth outside of a local pub, with vines that grow around the building. Wander toward the Rideau River to enjoy the view of the canal locks, surrounded by historic buildings and bright green grass, it feels like you're looking at Caen Hill locks in England. The English countryside adventure continues when you spot the nearby Merrickville Ruins.
The Grotto in Tobermory
Price: $8.50 per person
Address: P1, Bruce Trail, Tobermory, ON
Why You Need To Go: Looking out over the clear blue and turquoise waters, with rocky cliffs and shores, hidden swimming holes and stone beaches, you won't believe you're in Ontario. The crisp beauty and endless views will give you no trouble imagining that you're standing on the edge of the Meditteranean in Greece. Work up a sweat hiking along the Bruce Trail and cool off in the refreshing waters.
Canadian Tulip Festival
When: May 13 - 23, 2022
Address: Major Hill's Park & Commissioners Park, Ottawa, ON
Why You Need To Go: Each spring, Ottawa hosts the Canadian Tulip Festival, commemorating the gift of tulips and Canada's role in the liberation of the Netherlands during World War II. The festival takes place in Commissioners Park, but you'll find blossoming tulips throughout the city. You'll often spot bikers riding along the Rideau Canal, and with the backdrop of tulip fields, it's easy to imagine you're in Amsterdam.
West Montrose Covered Bridge
Address: 1 Covered Bridge Dr., West Montrose, ON
Why You Need To Go: This red covered bridge was built in the 1800s, quite historic for Canada, and romantically called the 'Kissing Bridge' due to the privacy it provided. Passing over a quiet river, surrounded by green fields, it is the last covered bridge standing in the province of Ontario. The history and beauty behind this structure will have you enchanted, feeling like you're walking across a historic bridge in Germany or Switzerland.
Elora Mill Hotel & Spa
Address: 77 Mill St. W., Elora, ON
Why You Need To Go: This 19th century stone mill is situated in the quaint small town of Elora, on the banks of a river, surrounded by nature. The town itself feels like you're wandering through a little European village, with more historic buildings and stone structures around the mill. The gorge has a picturesque stone-arched bridge, surrounded by greenery. From the indoor fireplaces to terrace balconies, a stay in Elora Mill won't feel like you're in Canada.
Bayfield Main Street
Address: Bayfield Main St. N, Bayfield, ON
Why You Need To Go: The village of Bayfield feels like you've stepped back in time, admiring quiet streets, quaint buildings and historic plaques the way you would in a hidden European town. The church-looking town hall, quirky shop signs and stone brick pubs, remind you of city centre squares throughout Europe. The town even has a secret beach that you'll find down a flight of wooden stairs. It opens to the vast blue waters of Lake Huron and feels like a wonderful secret.
The Sandwich Windmill
Address: Mill Park, Mill St., Windsor, ON
Why You Need To Go: In the 1700s, grist mills stood in Windsor along the shores of the Detroit River, which were used during the War of 1812. This current standing windmill is a reconstruction in honour of this time period and will give you a serious feeling of being in the Netherlands or Germany. The area of Old Sandwich Town is one of the oldest settlements in Ontario with a lot of history you can feel as you walk around Sandwich Street.
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