Many of the popular cities in Europe are based around impressive river and canal systems. All of which provide the city with a certain charm and intrigue.
These rivers and canal systems are almost the bloodlines of these cities. They also provide a great opportunity to explore them in a new and exciting way. We have put together a list of just a few of the best canal tours in Europe.
Utrecht Canal Tour, Netherlands
From the calm waters of the Utrecht canals, you can view the ancient wharves and canal houses. The canal system offers a unique and mesmerizing way of discovering the city. And many hidden historic gems such as tableaux as well as many amazing restaurants.
Take to the canal on an authentic Venetian gondola. You will find out just why the city has been labelled as the Venice of the North. You can sip Prosecco as you float along, meandering through the city.
If you are looking to travel along the most picturesque area of the canal system, then hopping on board the De Ster (The Star) will get you there. The tours take place between May and August and last around 1.5 hours but it will certainly impress you in every possible way.
However, if a river tour is for you then take a tour along the River Vecht. Take in the 17th-century mansions at a leisurely pace while stopping at the gardens of “De Haar” castle. This will certainly make you appreciate this wonderful city.
Bruges Canal Tour, Belgium
One of the most interesting ways to see Bruges is from the water. The canals will offer you an exclusive insight into the intricate workings of the city from one of the old boats available to you.
The tours will take you past many of the landmarks that cannot be accessed from the streets. These include the Jan Van Eyckplein and even bridges such as St Bonifacius Bridge. These are often sites that go unseen so head to the popular spots such as the spot just off Burg Square. Here you can hop onto a boat and begin your tour.
The best way to view the surrounding areas of Bruges, away from the old town is by taking a riverboat tour that runs between the town and nearby Damme. You will take in stunning windmills and medieval buildings. All while you can take in the impressive town of Damme, which is draped in charm. Discover more things to do in Bruges while in this fairy-tale city.
Copenhagen Canal Tour, Denmark
There is no better way of seeing Copenhagen in all its glory than from the canals of this wonderful city. There are many tours that offer you the opportunity to view the city from a different perspective. All while providing you with memories you can cherish forever.
You can trundle along the peaceful harbours and canals where you can view landmarks, such as the Copenhagen Opera House, Amalienborg Palace, Christiansborg Palace, the Black Diamond Library and the world-famous Little Mermaid.
The tours can vary in length and some can take you beyond the Little Mermaid, and into the Oeresund Channel. You will also get to the island of Trekroner, which is a sea fort at the entrance to Copenhagen’s harbour. During the summer months, if music is your thing, then you could even try a 90-minute Jazz cruise. Live music can help you to relax and enjoy this magnificent city and its waterways.
Danube River Cruise in Vienna, Austria
Why not experience the second longest river in Europe – The Danube, and see the wonders of Vienna at the same time. You can take tours that will enable you to see the old and new areas of Vienna in ways that you cannot see by foot. From the North Eastern side of the city, you can travel along the river and view the modern United Nations Building or the Hundertwasser’s Kunsthaus as well as Danube Island and the Prater woodlands.
You can take private trips across the river. During the summer months, you can even lounge on a sofa while floating across the Old Danube. This is a great way to relax and let the world pass you by.
Taking a canal tour, you have the option of sailing upstream to the famous and historical Nußdorf lock. You will be amazed by the views of the ring tower, Rossauer military barracks, and the Observatory Urania. It is no doubt a perfect way to travel around a city that offers so much. Find out more about Vienna, The Imperial City.
Hamburg Canal Tour, Germany
You probably thought that the city of Hamburg could not give you anymore. But, the Alster Canals and River tours on offer will give you plenty to keep you occupied.
Take a tour through the beautiful green Alster canals, providing you with a new perspective on the city. Take in the Hanseatic routes on an Alster steamer and take in the canals in all their glory. If you are someone who prefers the romance of dusk, then a romantic twilight tour will certainly make you feel complete.
You will be able to see the city in a new light while you travel across the inner Alster and along the small canals in the city. On the right day with the right tide, you can even take a tour through the cleverly illuminated Speicherstadt.
If the port of Hamburg is something that fascinates you, hop on board a modern harbour barge and take in this amazing international port. Travel along the centre waterways and canals and through two locks to the oldest bridges in the city.
Seine River Cruise in Paris, France
The River Seine is one of the most famous rivers in the world, but it can also give you a glimpse into the heart of one of the most famous cities in the world.
From the river, you can stare at the beautiful Parisian buildings, architecture and stunning bridges, providing a whole new view of the city. You will pass many of the sights that have given and continue to give Paris a unique feeling.
A one-hour cruise along the Seine will give you the ability to take in the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame, two of the most famous landmarks in the world. However, we all know that Paris is the city of romance so why not take a tour of the city by river at night! The spectacular sights on a lamp-lit river cruise will provide you with an experience that will stay with you forever.
Discover more things to do in Paris.
Stockholm Canal Tour, Sweden
Sweden and Stockholm in particular, is a city of amazing beauty and grandeur with the best views enjoyed from the river. Take a pleasure boat tour for 1 hour around Stockholm and be amazed by the many waterways and islands on offer. You will be given the chance to experience the sights on offer and take in many of the beautifully designed bridges. You can cruise through the centre of the city to the Royal Island of Djurgarden.
If the greener area of the city is calling, then take a canal boat cruise for 50 minutes along the Djurgarden Canal. This cruise departs from the heart of the city. An informative audio guide will provide you with all the information you need but the historic sights will leave you wanting more.
Perhaps an archipelago tour is more your thing? If so, take a trip on a classic archipelago ship and cruise the waterways of Stockholm for 2.5 hours where you will see the untouched beauty of the unique archipelago.
Cambridge Punting and River Tours, United Kingdom
Whether you take a chauffeured punt or a river tour of the River Cam, you will have the chance to take in this wonderfully, historic English City. You will have the chance to view the University College buildings, the famous College Bridges including the Bridge of Sighs at St John’s and the Mathematical Bridge at Queens’ College.
If leisurely living is your thing, then a leisurely cruise along the River Cam on a Narrowboat is for you. These traditional style vessels will give you the chance to go on a journey past the College Boat Houses and out to the city of Ely, where you can view the famous Ely Cathedral.
If a riverboat is more your thing then you can head along the same stretch of river. But you have the option of private hire which means you can even turn your tour into a disco!
River Cruise in Strasbourg, France
Viewing the City of Strasbourg from a different vantage point is the only way to see it in all its glory. You can take a river tour, which lasts for just over an hour and will take you on a journey along the River Ill and around the Grand Ile, which sits at the heart of Strasbourg.
River tours will take you through the vibrant La Petite France area as well as two locks but you will have the opportunity to view stunning architecture such as houses, churches, buildings, and park as you circle the island. The Imperial District has many monumental buildings dating back to the late 19th century while the tour can take you onwards to the Rhine.
Navigli River Tours in Milan, Italy
When you thought that Milan could not be any more beautiful, it goes and gives you the stunning Navigli Canals. These were perfected by Leonardo Da Vinci in the 16th Century to help transport goods and water, but they now serve as one of the most popular attractions in the city.
A tour will give you the opportunity to take in the historical beauty and landscapes not to mention the architectural grandeur. Tours will give you access to views of the stunning villas of Robecco Sul Naviglio as well as the medieval village of Boffalora Sopra Ticino.
For those of you who want to explore the Milanese waterways in a more subtle and laidback way, a Gondola will enable you to float along the Navigli while the world buzzes around you.