What is the Most Beautiful Canal City in Europe?

European canal city

Picturesque canal networks pierce many European cities, adding a magical touch to their landscapes. They are ideal for summer walks and relaxing with a tasty drink at a waterfront restaurant. Here is a list of Europe's ten most beautiful canal cities.

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10 of the Most Beautiful Canal Cities in Europe

10. Aveiro, Portugal

Established in Roman times, Aveiro lies on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, a two-and-a-half-hour drive north of Lisbon. Its Old Town has Art Nouveau and Romanesque architecture. Aveiro, known as the Venice of Portugal, is crisscrossed by waterways, along which brightly colored boats, moliceiros, glide. In the 19th century, these boats served to harvest macroalgae used as agricultural fertilizer; nowadays, the city uses them for tourism.

9. Annecy, France

Annecy is a picturesque city on the northernmost coast of Lake Annecy in southeastern France. The Thiou, the lake's outflow river, runs through Annecy, supplying water to the city's three canals. Orange, yellow, and terracotta buildings line the canals, and the nearby Alps serve as a backdrop. Due to its extensive waterways and mountainous setting, this town is famous as the "Venice of the Alps."

8. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is Denmark's capital city. It lies on the eastern shore of Zealand, partly on Amager, and on several isles between the two islands. While biking through charming neighborhoods and walking along scenic promenades are both enjoyable ways to explore the city, nothing beats cruising its historic canals. When in Copenhagen, don't miss taking a canal cruise through the city: you'll see many old and new iconic landmarks along the waterways and experience the city's past and present.

7. Birmingham, England

Birmingham is the second-largest city in England and the United Kingdom. It has more than 50 km (30 mi) of canals, a reminder of the city's unique industrial history. Construction of these waterways took place in the 18th century to transport materials for the growing industries. Today, they create Birmingham's picturesque landscape. Wandering along the towpaths, sitting in a bar and taking in the scenery, or sailing a boat to enjoy the open water are all fantastic ways to experience the city's canals.

6. Stockholm, Sweden

The Swedish capital, Stockholm, lies where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea. Fourteen islands make up the city, and its bridges over the waterways provide an excellent view of the beautiful areas. Don't miss a canal tour in Stockholm, where you can sail through picturesque islands and admire numerous of the city's iconic landmarks, like the Royal Palace, Parliament House, Gröna Lund amusement park, Vasa Museum, and Stockholm City Hall.

5. Ghent, Belgium

Ghent is the third largest city in northwest Belgium at the Leie and Scheldt rivers' confluence. Its Old Town is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Flemish Béguinages and the Belfry of Ghent, as well as traditional Flemish architecture, with its distinctive rooflines and gorgeous façades. Ghent's canals are no less beautiful than those of its neighbor, Bruges. From the water, you can see the city in all its splendor. If you are in Ghent on a city break or a weekend getaway, take a boat ride to see stunning places you can not reach by foot or by car.

4. Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is the sixth-largest city in Belgium, located in the country's northwest. Its historical center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Venice of the North is how some describe it. Through the medieval city, canals run like veins, lined with elegant façades, churches, bridges, and cafes. If you visit Bruges, you should take a boat ride along its waterways. Bruges' romantic canals are at the top of many visitors' bucket lists, and no better way to experience this fascinating city than by boat.

3. Colmar, France

Located in France's Alsace region, Colmar is a fairytale-like city with a charming blend of Germanic and French architecture. It is well-known for its half-timbered houses, fine food, and wine. Because of the peaceful "canal" (Lauch River) lined with brightly colored houses, one of Colmar's neighborhoods is known as Little Venice. Enjoy this magical corner of Colmar by taking a boat ride. Strolling through the canals or sitting in a riverside cafe is another excellent option to take in the scenery.

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Amsterdam is the Dutch capital. The city is not only known for its red-light district and coffee houses. Amsterdam has even 165 canals, which is why it is called the "Venice of the North": you can easily spend a whole day wandering along the city's beautiful waterways and taking a boat ride. In addition to the 17th-century canals, many narrow houses with gabled façades lining them are also of that age.

1. Venice, Italy

Venice is the Veneto region's capital in northeastern Italy. It has remained virtually unchanged for 600 years, built on many small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. While there are numerous walkways, its atmospheric waterways captivate visitors from all over the world the most. When in Venice, don't miss the opportunity to meander beneath bridges and along quiet, peaceful stretches in a gondola, a traditional Venetian rowing boat.

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