Europe has a wide range of gorgeous and romantic canals cities! Nothing beats a night walk where the water reflects the buildings and the lanterns seem to dance.
We named Utrecht as the number one most beautiful canal cities in Europe. Although Venice is by far the city of the most popular canal, it is hectic and touristy in summer. For those looking for fewer tourist destinations, check out our list of the top cities with impressive waterways.
The Utrecht canals have something different from any other city centre channel in the world: the building sites. These are flat areas at the canal level where the boats can moor and unload their cargo. The wharves lead to traditional wineries that are usually transform to serve as homes, shops and restaurants.
In summer, the terraces on the water greet you while sipping a beer in the sun. The canals offer beautiful views of the streets, but the view is spectacular from the water itself, canoeing, boating or on a pedal boat trip. In autumn, you float quietly along the Oudegracht, while the late afternoon sun filters through green and red leaves, and you will see why we have chosen Utrecht as the most beautiful canal city in Europe.
Annecy, which can also be referred to Venice of the Alps, surpasses the Italian namesake in many respects. The main tourist attractions are the serene beauty and soothing atmosphere of the city. The medieval Annecy is built around the former castle of Lord Annecy, which forms the Thiou canal centre.
Along the canals, you will find many small winding paths that will take you through the old centre and the many waterways. The colour of the houses adorning the canal’s docks is reflected in the crystal clear water.
Bruges is a small historic town in Belgium and a popular destination for couples who often come for the amazing beauty of the canals. Some bridges became void and have not been repaired for so long, others are covered with plants. The canals of Bruges are called “Reien” and together they surround the city to form the “Brugse Reien”.
The compact, charming and lively city centre, as well as the friendliness of the people, will make you feel at home. As you walk through the many narrow streets and bridges, you will be amazed by the city like many others before you. It is no coincidence that the entire city is on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.
Hamburg is Germany’s largest port, with more bridges than Venice and Amsterdam together. It’s not just the quantity, but the always simple charm of these bridges and canals that have won Hamburg.
The canals form straight lines between a mix of old and new German architecture and create beautifully symmetrical walkways connected by water.
St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg fills itself with boats as soon as the sun shines through the clouds and the temperature rises, the canals. The water offers a perfect opportunity to experience the city from a different perspective, either during an organized cruise or travelling to another city via a public ferry.
You can sail past fine arts masterpieces from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, contrasting brightly coloured buildings and a large range of various bridges. The parks, palaces, museums, churches, theatres and gardens make passing St. Petersburg a miracle to behold.