Think about a canal tour and it conjures up images of a magical, dreamy travel experience. Venice and Amsterdam are gorgeous and well known for their pretty canals – but there are also many picturesque cities you can also travel to for a leisurely canal tour and the charming atmosphere. Here are some of the prettiest travel destinations for you to visit:

Bruges, Belgium

Travel to Bruges for cobblestone squares, historic buildings, and plenty of music. Bruges is home to the Hospital Museum and many other unforgettable cultural experiences. Stop by one of the city’s many cafes or sit in on a free harp concert at Old Saint Jan’s Hospital. The canals are a big part of the wonder of Bruges with three different routes that are definitely worth a boat trip. Another special experience is the incredible antiquing opportunity. The city has over 18 different shops where you can find old books, clothes, priceless furniture, and more.

Bruges, Belgium

Photo: Wolfgang Staudt via Flickr

Bruges, Belgium

Photo: Raghavan Prabhu via Flickr

Nanxun, China

Once the richest of the six ancient towns in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang area, Nanxun is the perfect mix of Western and Chinese culture any travel enthusiast will love. With a canal running right through the center of the town, a covered boat ride is really a must when you visit. This town is full of historic sites including the One-Hundred Residential Houses of the Ming Dynasty, the famous Little Lotus Garden, and an old private library called Jia Ye Tang. Shopping and food can’t be scarce in a town known as “the land of fish and rice” and “silk market.”

Nanxun, China

Photo: Stefan Fussan via Flickr

Nanxun, China

Photo: Stefan Fussan via Flickr

Alappuzha (Alleppey), India

This little Indian town is known for its thousands of houseboats and miles interconnected waterways. With a busy city center, lots of authentic food and culture experiences, and nicknamed “Venice of the East,” this town is not all hustle and bustle. Step back from Alleppey’s hectic center and the town is surrounded by lush greenery, rice barges, and paddy fields. Floating along the outskirts of the city is said to be one of the most relaxing and peaceful experiences in all of Kerala. A favourite of all those who travel to India!

Alleppey, India

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Alleppey, India

Photo: Silver Blue via Flickr

Cape Coral, Florida

This canal city is geared more towards family fun than historic romance. With plenty of nature preserves and even a family waterpark, this is certainly a place for active travel. The sun soaked beaches are nothing to scoff at and the 400 miles of canals make water activities a must in Cape Coral. It is truly a gem on the Gulf Coast that is inviting for active families and adventurers alike.

Cape Coral, Florida

Photo: Roy Strutt via Flickr

Cape Coral, Florida

Photo: wegener1 via Pixabay

Tigre, Argentina

Tigre is a wonder of surprises on the water with a some of the most unique attractions in this list. The fruit market is a must for travel buffs with classic Argentinian goods, fresh food, and handmade crafts. A riverfront museum that reveals a unique Argentinian traditional tea is definitely an important experience here. Martin Garcia Island brings nature into the historic town while lavish rowing clubs show a bit of a western influence. Finally, a house on the river encased in a glass box was once the residence of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento known as “the father of the classroom” is a truly odd but fascinating piece of Argentine history. How’s that for a hidden gem for your travel list?

Tigre

Photo: Miguel Vieira via Flickr

Tigre, Argentina

Photo: Jonasde Carvalho via Flickr

El Gouna, Egypt

The most luxurious of the destinations on this list, El Gouna boasts fine sandy beaches and waterfront views from every angle. The network of islands and waterways is known for its world-class kitesurfing, one of the world’s largest wake parks, and some truly magnificent diving experiences. If you want a city that is all about watersports, beach days, and sun soaked eating experiences, this is definitely the place for you if you love adventure travel.

El Gouna, Egypt

Photo: greenacre8 via Flickr

El Gouna, Egypt

Photo: maecki via Flickr

Annecy, France

A hotbed of historic activity, travel to this little French Venice for activity and culture. The Palais de l’Ile, one of the most photographed monuments in France, is an old courthouse and prison that sits on the water in Annecy. It is a must visit along with the palace, churches, and cathedral between the 12th century and the mid 20th. There is also a public garden and beach that can be seen when you travel along the town’s 3.5km river and canals.

Annecy, France

Photo: Kosala Bandara via Flickr

Annecy, France

Photo: Navin75 via Flickr

Can Tho, Vietnam

A lively waterfront city full of sculpted gardens, narrow backstreets, and wide boulevards. Can Tho is a bustling metropolis as it is the transportation center for the Mekong Delta. With floating markets, restaurants, and bars, this destination is truly a canal city.

Can Tho

Photo: Kashif Pathan via Flickr

Can Tho, Vietnam

Photo: Jeremy Couture via Flickr

Birmingham, England

Birmingham is the one destination here that seems to have everything: a castle and sculpted gardens, history and art museums, historical sites and a royal ballet, and even a Cadbury factory with plenty of other childrens attractions. Visit Anne Hathaway’s cottage, take a stroll at the botanical gardens, or relax on a canal ride through the city center. There are also a ton of canal front restaurants and bars where you can moor up and have a delicious meal. But whatever you choose to do in Birmingham, be sure to stop by Aston Hall for a truly royal experience.

Birmingham, England

Photo: Vs0u10e0 via Flickr

Birmingham, England

Photo: Basti V. via Flickr

Utrecht, The Netherlands

The buildings are really hard to miss in this architecture mecca with everything from Gothic style cathedrals to a modular family home. But the real quintessential travel experience that is really a must in Utrecht is having a meal on a gondola or group boat. There’s really every different kind of boat imaginable here, even paddle boarding! But be sure to also climb the 465 steps in Dom Tower and don’t miss the amazing street markets either!

Utrecht, The Netherlands

Photo: Hans Dekker via Flickr

Utrecht, The Netherlands

Photo: Michael Cophlan via Flickr

Empuriabrava, Girona, Spain

With almost 24 kilometers of canals and over 5,000 private jets this destination is really a getaway for the rich and richer. Every home has a private dock and pools and beaches are really unavoidable. This is definitely more of a party destination than any of the others, Empuriabrava boasts an exciting nightlife with bars, discos, and plenty of familiar food. While not the most authentic of vacations this sun soaked canal town is definitely a luxurious place to relax if you plan to travel to it.

Girona, Spain

Photo: marsir86 via Pixabay

Empuriabrava, Spain

Photo: L. Balois via Flickr

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Check out our Travel Ideas section for more fun destinations and themes for your next vacation!