Five beautiful canal cities to visit for a long weekend holiday

21 June 2018

When it comes to canal cities, Venice usually stands at the top of the list. 118 small islands separated by stunning waterways create one of the most popular and atmospheric tourist destinations in the world.

But if a canal break is something that you desire and you’re looking for something different to Venice, why not try one of these five alternatives for a long weekend holiday getaway with a twist?

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

‘Venice of the North’ is a term that has been widely used for many cities in Northern Europe. But none exemplify its definition more than Amsterdam.

With more than 100 kilometres of canals, there is no shortage of water-based activities to enjoy on a break in the Dutch capital. Enjoy a catalogue of cruises that sail the city’s waters daily, and enjoy a system that has been around since the 17th century and features on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

And make sure you don’t miss out on the raft of world-class museums that Amsterdam has. See what a big Dutch brewer does best at the Heineken Experience, explore Amsterdam’s history through art at the Rijksmuseum or take a look inside the infamous house of Anne Frank.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is a fairytale city. From kings, queens, princes and princesses to the famous Little Mermaid statue, it is hard not to be enchanted by the Danish capital. With a strong maritime past, it is surrounded by water and charming canals.

Take a traditional canal tour boat and view the city from a unique perspective, get in the mood on a romantic gondola ride, be adventurous on a Kayak or enjoy lunch at one of Copenhagen’s favourite waterside spots – Nyhavn.

Bruges, Belgium

A small city which is usually overshadowed by its bigger Belgian neighbour Brussels, Bruges is a historic place that deserves more attention.

Couples often flock to Bruges to sample the astonishing beauty of its canals, and the bridges which span its banks are an attraction themselves with some completely covered in flora, while others hark back to medical times.

The compact and lively city centre means that everything feels like a stone’s throw away, and it’s a great place to indulge in the Belgian Holy Trinity of chocolate, waffles and beer.

Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg is the third biggest port in Europe and largest in Germany, so it is no stranger to water and watercraft. With more bridges than both Venice and Amsterdam combined, it is easily explorable on foot.

The wonderfully constructed Alster canals run in straight lines between old and new architecture, and a Hamburg boat tour gives a real flavour of this Hanseatic city. Don’t forget to check out one of Europe’s most beautiful districts – Speicherstadt – where beautiful red brick warehouses stand either side of the canal network, providing beautiful views and amazing photo opportunities.

Annecy, France

Also known as the “Venice of the Alps,” Annecy in France combines serene beauty with a soothing atmosphere to create an attractive tourist destination. The medieval Annecy is built around the former castle of Lord Annecy, which forms the centrepiece of the Thiou Canal.

Travel through time and venture on winding pathways running adjacent to the canals and explore the Old Town with secret streets and colourful buildings galore!

Share this:


Travel Counsellors help thousands of people create personal travel experiences they’ll never forget. Start your journey today.
Find your Travel Counsellor
Back To Top