Picture yourself sailing along a canal on a colorful gondola . . . where are you? Are you eating gelato as the Italian language dances through your ears? You’re most likely envisioning Venice, a popular tourist city that’s home to over 175 canals. While Venice is known for its plethora of winding canals, there are tons of other cities worldwide that offer scenic “instagrammable” canals! From France and the Netherlands to the United States and China, the globe is full of canals just waiting to be discovered! Check out our top picks below and let us know your favorite canal city in the comments!
This city is located in the Indian state of Kerala and is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and tranquil canals. The water here flows along, under modern bridges, with paddy fields and coconut trees lining either side. If you’re visiting in August, be sure to check out the Nehru Trophy Boat Race. The race takes place in the Punnamada Lake which is near Alappuzha.
From Herengracht and Prinsengracht to Keizersgracht and Singel, Amsterdam is home to some of the world’s prettiest canals. In fact, Amsterdam has been increasingly referred to as “the new Venice,” with more and more folks flocking to this hip city. While a stroll or bike ride along the canals is always a great option, this city is best seen by boat. Hop on one of the city’s many gondolas, water taxis, pedalos, or boats and take in the gorgeous scenery.
The capital of China is not only home to over 20 million folks, but did you know that it’s also home to the largest and oldest canal in the world? Constructed in the 6th Century, the Grand Canal, also known as the Beijing–Hangzhou Grand Canal, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, the total length of the Grand Canal spans over 1,100 miles! The canal was once home to China’s flourishing trade economy; now, it’s a great place to take a scenic boat ride and spot fishermen leisurely enjoying the scenery.
Brittany is France’s northwesternmost region and is home to nearly 375 miles worth of gorgeous canals. From the Nantes-Brest Canal to the Canal d’Ille-et-Rance, these lovely waterways are less crowded and touristy than those found in Venice, Italy. You can choose to discover Brittany’s beautiful canals by bike, foot, boat, or even by horseback! While you’re in the Brittany region, check out The Pink Granite Coast which is famous for its blush-hued sand and rocks.
While you may think of chocolate rivers at the mention of Belgium, this country is also home to some of the world’s most beautiful canals! Many tourists flock to the country’s capital of Brussels but the small city of Bruges is somewhat of a hidden gem that offers an array of activities and picture-perfect scenery. The most insta-worthy canals in Bruges include Groenerei, Minnewater, and Rozenhoedkaai. While you may not be able to pronounce their names, you can enjoy a boat ride along one of these canals, winding through medieval buildings and under stunning bridges.
Cape Coral, Florida
When most folks think of canal cities, spots in Europe or Asia come to mind. But, did you know that the United States is actually home to one of the largest canal systems in the world? That’s right! The 400-mile-long man-made combined canals of Cape Coral were created back in the 1970s and can be spotted all the way from the International Space Station. From boating and fishing to sightseeing, the canals make for some great photo-ops.
Panama, Central America
Of course, no “canal city list” would be complete without mentioning the legendary Panama Canal. This canal, which opened in 1914, links Central and South America and has seen over one million vessels pass through its waters. Now, visitors can enjoy tours and cruises along the Panama Canal as they learn more about the rich history behind it. Not to mention, Panama City offers a variety of fun casinos and nightclubs to enjoy if you’re in the area!
Beautiful in all seasons, Stockholm’s canals are truly picture-perfect. Whether they’re frozen in the winter or glimmering in the summer sun, these canals are lined with beautiful buildings and stunning flora. Take a walk or bike ride along the city’s canals, or opt for an “under bridges” tour for the best view of Stockholm. Visiting in the colder months? Folks can even go skating on the smaller canals when they freeze over! Next time you’re itching for an adventure, don’t overlook this Swedish city.
Of course, there are many more spots in the world that offer canals other than the ones listed above. Even Australia is said to have a few canals – though they are rare Down Under! Do you have a favorite canal that you’ve visited? Let us know!