The 10 Most Famous Canals in the World

Canals are man-made artificial waterways, or channels, built with utility purposes in mind, like water supply or the transport of goods and people. The canals always brought growth, through commerce and development of a nation, so they were of very high importance.

Today, a lot of canals are left into oblivion, with no other use than to age and degrade, as most of them were built in the times of rising industry and urbanization. But there are some, a fraction of all that were built in the past, that are still used today. They preserve their initial role but they serve a different type of purpose as well, as a touristic attraction.

Those ones are so aesthetic that a lot of people appreciate them as true artworks. They tell stories of beautiful romantic times so they have become travel destinations, with some of them being well known all around the world.

Here we’ll take a look at the finest of them, The 10 Most Famous Canals in the World:

10. Stockholm

Stockholm

Stockholm is a wonderful city spread over 14 islands, strategically placed between Lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea and righteous called by its inhabitants “beauty on water”.

The public transport system is well developed and works smoothly everywhere, bridges connect most of the islands and the ferries and the metro link everything else. But the best way to see it is strolling its streets through medieval buildings, palaces and churches or the more modern side with its good design, beautiful humble coffee shops and minimalist modern buildings. Don’t forget to take a boat trip and pass under the picturesque canal bridges.

9. Alappuzha

Alappuzha

Alappuzha is a city in the Kerala region of southern India, and an important tourist destination in India, known as Venice of the East for its beautiful canals, backwaters, beaches and lagoons.

With so picturesque surroundings it’s no wonder it has developed such a huge attraction to tourists from all over the world. From floating around on houseboat cruises to visiting ancient temples, wandering around its small and chaotic centre or through its little world of villages on the water, a visit to Alappuzha will be a mesmerizing and unforgettable experience.

8. Bangkok

Bangkok Khlongs

The Bangkok khlongs – canals in Thai – were built from the beginnings to ease the transportation around the city, and even host its famous floating markets. You’ll find canals everywhere, small and large, with the Thonburi side having the larger ones or the Rachaburi province with the most important floating market.

But the most important, the Khlong Saen Saeb in the center of the city, created on the Chao Phraya River, is the main transport route throughout the city, on which you’ll find no less than six type of boats, depending on the purpose of your travel. If you’re in for some exploration of Bangkok’s secrets on the water, we advise you to get a guide since the routes are quite confusing.

7. Annecy

Annecy

Nestled right next to the turquoise waters of Lake Annecy, one of the cleanest lakes in the world, this wonderful little town is often called Venice of the Alps. But apart from its charming canals, Annecy also has snow capped mountains in the background, glitzy shops like Paris and a superb”sans souci” architecture.

The flower-bedecked Canal du Thiou is the main attraction among its waterways, while the swooping bridges, inviting walkways, fountains, little boats and swans, complete a picture-perfect setting. There are numerous chic restaurants and cafes along the canals, where French cuisine will get a new meaning when it’s complemented by the beauty of these crystal clear waters.

6. Suzhou

Suzhou

Located on the Yangze River and the shores of Lake Tai in the Jiangsu Province of Eastern China, Suzhou is the second largest city in the province, enriched by canals, stone bridges, pagodas and amazing gardens, placing it among the most attractive tourist destinations in the world.

The city is traversed by small rivers that are used to improve the transportation around it. The canals date more than 1,200 years ago. The architecture of Suzhou shows as well the city’s uniqueness and its long, long history.

5. Panama Canal

Panama Canal

Considered one of the largest and most complex engineering accomplishments of man, The Panama Canal was built to connect the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, thus improving the maritime trade.

Started in 1881 and officially opened in 1914, the Panama Canal has a length of 77.1 kilometers and it’s used by over 14,000 ships each year. Apart from that, you can as well cruise through it just for the fun of it. The American Society of Civil Engineers named it one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

4. Hoi An

Hoi An

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hoi An is a city situated on the South China Sea coast in Vietnam and dating from more then 2000 years ago. Its rich architecture and incredibly long history attracts a high number of tourists every year.

The main tourist landmarks are the Old Town with tailor shops, wooden houses, the Central Market and its well preserved 15th century port that brings together the influences of the surrounding countries. You can explore it by bicycle or motorbike but the best way to see its wonders is from a kayak or a motorboat on the Thu Bon River.

3. Bruges

Bruges

The best preserved medieval city in Europe, Bruges is one of the premier tourist attractions of Belgium. Apart from its wonderful Romanesque and Gothic architecture, it also has a network of canals on the Reide River used for trade and transport.

It used to be the most important commercial city in the world during the Middle Ages due to that, but today it stands out through its well preserved history, dreamy canals, amazing churches, superb market squares and an overall fairy tale atmosphere.

2. Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Another Venice, the one of the North is the title that sometimes Amsterdam wears. Situated on 90 islands separated by three main canals, Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht and united by 1500 bridges, Amsterdam is a mesmerizing place to visit.

With hundreds of monumental buildings rising above the historic canals, large or small, all of them forming the famous canal ring that’s now on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Amsterdam will leave you somewhere outside time itself. Because time stops there. Especially if you take a canal boat to wander around. We know it’s famous for bicycles, but do take a boat. It’s a must.

1. Venice

Venice

Venice. The city to which all other water cities are compared to, has a charm like no other with its grandiose architecture, amazing waterways, picturesque bridges and alluring narrow backstreets.

Comprised of no less than 118 small islands, Venice became one of the most important tourist destinations in the world and is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities around the globe, swarming with tourists who choose it for their perfect romantic getaway.

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