18 Most Beautiful Canal cities in the world that aren’t Venice!

by Jane Sophia
Most Beautiful Canal cities in the world

This is not Venice, mate; it is Hamburg, Germany. Yes, this is the second-largest city in Germany that has canals like Venice. There are beautiful towns where the streets are made of water in the world, let us visit 18 Most Beautiful Canal cities in the world that aren’t Venice in this blog post

There are 25 such cities, towns, and villages in the world where roads are made of water. The intracity canals are either backwaters, rivers, or part of freshwater lakes.

In this Beautiful Canal cities in the world list, I have not included Venice, and Amsterdam because, they are already popular in this category.

Cochin and Alleppey in India have roads made of water canals that carry water from large lakes.

In this beautiful canal cities in the world post, you will come to know 25 places in the world that are known for inland, navigable canals that act as pollution free waterways.

Venice is the prime example.

18 Most Beautiful Canal cities in the world that aren’t Venice!

Come; let us sail through the water-roads.

  1. Giethoorn

Giethoorn, Dutch canal city

Giethoorn should be ranked number one in the list of places in the world with inland canal system because, there are literally no roads in this Dutch village.

Venice has roads, apart from waterways. So too are Amsterdam, or Cochin. But in Giethoorn village, the only means of moving around is by boats. If you care to look up a video of it, you will be mesmerized by the tranquil beauty of it.

Don’t you feel like spending the rest of your life in one of the cute houses that adorn the shores of the canal?

From Amsterdam, you can hire a cab and reach Giethoorn in about two hours.

The distance to be covered is 120 km. Train travel is the alternative mode of transport to Giethoorn from Amsterdam.

As one of the top most tourist attractions, the village by the waterway is always crowded.

Every house has to have a boat. Everyone should be able to either row or paddle a small vessel.

There are bridges to reach houses on the opposite banks of the canals.

The serenity of Giethoorn is surreal.

  1. Alleppey

Its native name is Alappuzha. It is a small town located on the banks of canals fed by the backwaters of a lake.Alleppey

Kerala’s infinite greens cape gave it the fond name, “God’s own country”. This Indian state on the west coast of the peninsula is green as far as your eyes can see.

The canal city is one of the top tourist destinations in Kerala, India. Apart from serving as a waterway to reach different parts of the town, it serves as a tourist spot. Boathouses can be seen plying in the canals.

You can rent a boathouse for a day to enjoy a cruise, eat on board, and sleep for some time before returning to the boathouse terminal.

The canals were artificially constructed by the Ditch people for the movement of spices. They are the outcome of lakes, and rivers that are interconnected.

Please note that as backwater canals; the water doesn’t flow but stagnant like a lagoon.

The network of brackish water canals that spread into several villages run for a big 900 km in length!

As many as 38 rivers feed the canals in Alappuzha.


I request you to have a look at the title image of this article. Additionally, here is one more image of this German city that is known for inland canals, like Venice.

Several rivers and small streams make up the intracity canals. As many as 2500 bridges are constructed across these canals.

Three major rivers that feed the waterways need special mention, they are:

  • Elbe
  • Bille
  • Alster

There are several boat tours through the city canal system. In fact, the city’s boat tour is hop-on, and hop-off type.

Moreover, you can go on an exclusive 2 hour long boat tour of the harbor.

In addition, an exclusive cruise is available in River Elbe.

Apart from several organized boat tours, you can rent a kayak and paddle in Lake Alster. Stand-up paddling is also available.

Boats that are moved by pedaling is another option in Hamburg.

You can see numerous tourist landmarks in Hamburg during your boat ride in the city’s canal network.

  1. Cochin (Kochi)

Six interlinking canals flow through the coastal city of Kochi, in Kerala.

There are resorts, bungalows, and apartments on the banks of the canals.

A slow cruise in an open boat or in a houseboat through the waterways is scenic.

These backwater and brackish water canals flow through nearby towns that include Vembanad, Kollam, and Kuttanad.

  1. Suzhou


I think you guessed it right! This small canal town Suzhou is a Chinese town.

It is part of East Chinese province called Jiangsu.

These canals were man made in as early as 5th century BC! A total of 15 canals connect different parts of Suzhou.

They all end up merging with the Grand Canal, the world’s longest canal measuring a whopping 1900 km! This Grand Canal in China is also made by the hardworking Chinese.

Suzhou is now a big city and is known for its innovatively landscaped 20 gardens that are recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage sites.


One of the gardens.

  1. Bruges

Bruges is a canal city in Belgium. The canals were man-made, and they were developed 1000 years ago. That’s why the whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The city’s canals are fed by River Reie. A boat ride in the city’s waterways makes an excellent tout of the city, revealing stunning churches, residential mansions, and beautiful gardens.

Seek the assistance from your hotel for a boat ride up to Rosary Quay, where two of the city’s canals meet. The quay is one of the most beautiful places in Bruges.

The final destination of the canals in Bruges is the North Sea.

  1. Annecy


This is France. This canal town has an enviable location near the Alps, close to the Swiss border in Southeast France.

River Thiou passes through the small town situated amidst scenic mountains. The river feeds three canals that crisscross Annecy. The waterways were man-made.

The local market is said to attract citizens from nearby cities, and the French Riviera. They buy high-quality cheese, and fine wines.

The canals flow through the oldest part of Annecy. It is locally called, “Vieille Ville”.

This town appears serene and not very crowded in spite of its picturesque location. Annecy certainly deserves a place in the list of canal towns where roads are made of water.

  1. Port Grimoud

It’s one more city of waterways in southern France. It is located 20 km west of St. Tropez, one of the top tourist cities in the French Riviera.

As a matter of fact, you can reach St. Tropez by a boat through the canals of Port Grimoud.

The city’s quaint looks are best seen by taking a boat ride in the canals.

The city offers several water sports such as wake boarding, water skiing, tubing, and paddle boarding.

Look at the number of boats parked on the city’s canals that merge with the Mediterranean Sea.

  1. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg was the former capital of Tsar Russia. At that time, it was called Petrograd.

It later became Leningrad, and now the present name. It is the second big city is Russia.

When the city was developed during the medieval ages, there were no canals. Only later, canals were developed around the city.

The canals were so designed that the city is transformed in to a complex of islands. A total of 40 islands were the outcome of constructing as many as 60 canals that are now useful waterways to access the different islands. Shall I say, they are intra-islands?

Out of the bridges numbering 500, many were creatively architectured and stand as beautiful tourist landmarks in St. Petersburg.

Do you know the source of water for these waterways? A total of 93 rivers including the River Neva, feed the artificial canals.

Boat cruises are possible but only in the summer. The water roads freeze during the winter. Boat tour of St. Petersburg is said to be spectacular and a not-to-be-missed experience among the things to do in this remarkable Russian city.

I read there is a cruise tour offered from St. Petersburg to Moscow. To make this possible, Neva River should join River Volga somewhere in the northern Russia.

Tourists go to various inland river islands in St. Petersburg, cruising through the canals. Surely, this large Russian city is one of the beautiful canal cities in the world!

  1. Bangkok

Everyone who has never seen Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is aware of the attractive, and numerous floating markets that are the ultimate tourist attractions there.

The city’s canals make the floating markets possible.

The beautiful Chao Phraya River is divided into various canals to flow through the city.

Not many of us are aware that the canals system in Bangkok is the largest in the world!

There are umpteen number of boat tours in Bangkok’s canals. Even as your boat slowly surges forward, you can shop from the shop on a boat that comes close to your boat.

The river was split into make way for nine canals. They are joined by two more rivers called Mae Klong, and Tha Chin, and they run through several parts of Thailand.

The final count of the canals stand at 1682! Put together, they flow for 2600 km!

It’s all fine, but these waterways stink because, in some canals, sewage is let into.

  1. Utrecht

This is the third city in Holland, where you can see water roads. The two others are Amsterdam, and Giethoorn.

The unique aspect of the Utrecht canals is, at some places in the city, you can witness two tier canals.

Actually, on the upper side of the canal, you can see roads with buildings. The lower side of the road is used as cellar to store and to sell not only wines but several other commodities that include cattle

The best thing to do in Utrecht is to dine in one of the restaurants located on the lower-tier. The curbside is watercurb!

Absolutely enchanting scene in Utrecht, one of the quaint canal cities in the world.

Vecht River feeds the city’s three canals.

  1. Empuriabrava, Spain


Brace yourself, buddy! Empuriabrava is not the name of a city in Spain, but only a small community that is developed along a waterway that is 24 km long!

This marina community as it is called is part of Girona province, Catalonia.

Catalonia is almost a country within the country of Spain. Yes, it has autonomous status.

Just a rent a kayak, and be on your way, exploring the beautiful residential marina.

I think a motorboat is also let out. That sounds good if you are able to handle it on your own.

  1. Gold Coast City

Gold Coast City lives up true to its name. It’s one of the breathtaking cities in Queensland, Australia. It sits bang on the shores of Pacific Ocean.

The city’s a very bog tourist destination. The coastal city is blessed with stunning beaches, tropical, green forests, numerous golf courses numbering 30, countless restaurants, and a great spot for several water sports.

It is known as one of the cities in the world where roads are made of water. Well, not all roads but several roads are actually canals.

All the 135 canals were constructed and not the outcome of any natural phenomenon. The network of canals is quite extensive, measuring a staggering 400 km.

That is 10 times more than the number of canals in Venice in terms of mileage. The design of the canals is awesome. They were very neatly, and conveniently, constructed surrounding the residential localities.

Surprisingly, the city’s waterways came into being only during the year 1950.

The water roads are fed by Nerang River, and a few lakes.

Opt for a dinner cruise which actually includes dinner. The cruise lasts two and a half hour.

I read on the web that the houses, and apartments facing the canals are mind-bogglingly priced at over $10 million.

  1. Birmingham

Yes, I mean the Birmingham in the U.K., the historical city, located 120 km northwest of London.

This is another city that has more waterways length than Venice. The total mileage of the waterways stands at 56 km.

These water roads were constructed during the 18th century.

Interesting Fact:

One of the canals in Birmingham is called the Grand Union Canal. You can cruise in it up to London! During the course, you can witness the real, verdant countryside of England.

  1. El Gouna

Can you believe a city that is surrounded by waterways in Egypt which itself has a cruel desert in its backyard?

Do you know that El Gouna is an ultra-modern city in Egypt? Yes, it was created by a businessman only during 1990!

The location of El Gouna is on the coast of Red Sea, which is not actually a full sea but only an inlet of the great Indian Ocean.

Can you see the inlet of the Indian Ocean that is seen at the far end?

There are numerous inland islands in El Gouna. The canals were made by men, letting the sea inside and turning them into lagoons.

These lagoons surround 20 artificial islands that host waterfront resorts, making El Gouna, one of the better tourist hotspots in Egypt as well as in East Africa. In fact, the whole of El Gouna is known as resort city where roads are made of water.

El Gouna is strikingly neat, and safe.

  1. Xochimilco

Oh, it is tough to pronounce this canal city in Mexico. Both the canals, and the man-made islands, are similar to El Gouna.

Similar to that Egyptian resort city, Xochimilco is considered as a full-time resort town in Mexico. The canals were fed by several lakes.

The network of fresh water canals run for 170 km. The canals, the islands they engulf, the tourists the town attract, attracted the authorities of UNESCO also that awarded a World Heritage site.

You can go for a ride on the canals in a grotesque vessel known as Trajinera.

Xichimilco is surprisingly located within the Mexico City. The Valley of Mexico, that too within the city is serviced by the canals of Xghimilco.

Then the canals must cover an extensive area. Yes, it comprises a huge 170 sq. km.

  1. Stockholm

Astonishing Fact:

Sweden comprises a staggering, 26,570 islands!

As a matter of fact, its capital city Stockholm itself is a network of islands numbering 14. Yes, the city of Stockholm is an archipelago, boss!

Lake Malaren flows through the city, encircling all the lake islands.

Here is a breathtaking video of the Stockholm city as an archipelago.

There is no other city in the world, like Stockholm.

The city’s water body carries freshwater into the Baltic Sea, on the east coast of Sweden.

As the entire city is full of waterways, the best way to tour the city is to join an organized hop-on, and hop-off boat tour.

Since the Malaren Lake meets the Baltic Sea, Stockholm is the most convenient city to go cruising to Denmark, Amsterdam, Berlin, Genoa, Bergen, and many more cities, and countries.

Plan your trip in July if you ever want to see the incredible city of Stockholm.

  1. Tigre

Tigre in Argentina is a unique canal city where roads are made of water. River Parana branches itself into numerous canals, creating inland islands.

The islands are where the city populace resides. Thousands of small islets make the city, a very attractive tourist destination for the Argentinians.

Tigre is accessible by 45-minitue train journey from Buenos Aires.

  1. Cape Coral

Cape Coral is one of the highly visited tourist destinations in Florida. The coastal city is known for its network of canals running for 650 km!

This Floridian city is situated on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.Some of the canals meet the Gulf of Mexico.

The majority of the residents own waterfront homes.

The canals were created by men, letting the sea water fill them. However, more canals carry fresh water, and some of them are filled with brackish water which is a mixture of sea water, and fresh water.

The video below reveals Cape Coral that is surrounded by the canals.

Cape Coral in Florida is a beautiful canal city.

  1. Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is the ultimate vacation destination in all of the U.S. It sits facing the Atlantic Ocean, on the east side of Florida.

The reason for its enviable popularity is its spectacular beaches.

In addition, it is a city of canals. The total length the water flows through the canals is 260 km!

The canals’ water is mixed with salt water, and fresh water. While sea inlets (itra-coastal waterways) are the salt water sources, river account for freshwater.

Some of the canals were outcome of sea inlets. Canals were dug for the New River water and they were in turn interconnected with the natural waterways.

Wow! You didn’t know there are so many Most Beautiful Canal cities in the world -right? My choice among these 18 cities where roads are made of water, include Giethoorn, and Cape Coral.

What about you?

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