When you hear the word “canals”, it’s likely that the first city that came to mind was Venice. There are, however, plenty of other famous cities known for their equally beautiful canals, that would all make excellent tourist destinations.
1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Built in the 17th century to help the city cope with the influx of immigration, the Amsterdam canal network (known colloquially as the “Venice of the north”) is of incredible size, at over 60 miles in total length. Within the network, there are three main canals: Prisengracht (prince’s canal), Herengracht (Lord’s canal) and Keizersgracht (emperor’s canal).
Although not technically a city, the Panamanian canal system is one of the most important bodies of water in the world. With over 14,000 ships passing through every year, there are few areas of the planet more important to the global economy. The idea behind the canal was to connect the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, easing the trade flow from the American continent to Asia.
3. Stockholm, Sweden
If you’ve never been to Sweden, you may be shocked to find out that the city is actually spread across 14 islands. Because of the difficulty in travel across Stockholm, the canals (which take up an incredible 30% of the land area) were created to allow tourists and locals alike to traverse the watery landscape.
4. Beijing-Hangzhou, China
At over 2400 years old, the canal linking Beijing to the city of Hangzhou holds two remarkable records as both the oldest and longest canal in the world. The Grand Canal, as it is known locally, stretches from the north to south of China, is approximately 1,100 miles long. To give you an idea of just how big that really is, the entire United Kingdom sub-continent could fit inside of the canal and still leave over 100 miles spare.
5. Alappuzha, India
Home to the world-famous Snake Boat Race, the Alappuzha canal is one of the most enticing for the tourist looking for an exciting way to see India. Although it is a major tourist attraction, the canal is historically important as it was the very first location of a coir (coconut husk) mat factory.
6. Bruges, Belgium
After being rebuilt during the 12th century AD, the canals of Bruges lead to a new golden age in Belgium, establishing it as one of the trade capitals of the world. They’ve played a large part in the history of the modern world; lending their hand to the German U-boats in the first World War, and culminating in Bruges being named the European Capital of Culture in 2002.
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