Canals are man-made rivers; many of them were built as a method of carrying either heavy goods. Nowadays, they are still used for this purpose, but because many of them link extremely beautiful parts of one country, they are used for recreation as well. Some canals were built during a long period of time and enormous economic and human resources were used. Many of them are engineering masterpieces and deserve to be visited only to see how they work.
Hope we convinced you to read below the Top 10 Canal Trips.
1The Panama Canal, Panama
The Panama Canal was opened in 1914 and was built during a period of 10 years. This canal is one of the most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken; it links the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans has 80 kilometers long and thousands of big and small ships use it every year. It allows ships to save about 12,875 kilometers from a journey around the southern tip of South America, Cape Horn. A complete transit takes one day but if you don’t want to transit it entirely you have the option to transit it partially. In both cases you will have the great opportunity to sail next to giant cargo ships and the little tugs which guide them from one sea to another through three sets of double locks.
2New York State Canals, New York
The New York State Canal System was built at the middle of XIX century and consists of 843 kilometers of waterways which connect the Hudson River with Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake, and Lake Erie via the Niagara River. The system is composed of four canals and five lakes and passes through 25 counties and close to 200 villages, hamlets and towns. The most popular canal is Erie Canal which was originally built as a means for commercial traffic, but it has transformed into a recreational dream for boaters; it crosses the Rochester connecting Hudson River to Lake Erie. The best way to enjoy the beauty of Erie Canal is to rent a boat and slowly sail it yourself or hire a crew.
3White Sea - Baltic Canal, Russia
White Sea is an extension of Arctic Ocean on the North-West coast of Russia. It is connected to Baltic Sea through a system of canals of 225 kilometers long near St. Petersburg. The White Sea Canal was built during 1931-1933 by prisoners who used spades and picks as work tools. Along the White Sea - Baltic Canal, a lot of memorials and several museums were set in the modern days to commemorate the memory of those who lost their lives during the Canal construction. It was designed to allow ships a more direct access to the Baltic Sea rather than having to go around Scandinavia. If you want to see how beautiful Karelia is in summer, you must transit this canal. Along its banks you will see wooden churches, chapels and traditional Russian villages.
The Danish capital is criss-crossed by a lot of canals. The most popular one is Nyhavn; it is said that Hans Christian Andersen had spent long periods of time in a house located on its shores. Every Copenhagen travel guide will advise you to start with a canal boat tour. You can travel around Denmark on water buses that ply its many canals. Some routes offer spectacular views of the Amalienborg Palace, Christiansborg Palace, Tivoli Gardens and Little Mermaid statue. The water buses are open during summers and glass-roofed during winters. There are also organized boat tours with guides which will allow you to see the major attractions that Copenhagen has to offer, with pauses to experience the Changing of the Royal Guards or a photo stop at the Little Mermaid.
A wide system of canals has been part of Amsterdam landscape since XIV century. Almost 25 percent of the city's surface consists of navigable waterways of which 65 miles of ancient canals. This fact makes Amsterdam the most watery city in the world. Canals are the best way to travel around the city. There is a canal-bus system travels three different routes throughout the city, allowing visitors to travel from one attraction to the other on the water. Nearly 1,280 bridges, trees leaning over the water and old wide houses border the Amsterdam canals. An interesting way to spend your evenings is to take a dinner cruise, or better - you can accommodate yourself in a houseboat hotel making canals your base. Also you can rent a boat and sail it by yourself or rent a pedal boat which you can hire at one mooring and drop off at another.
6Danube –Black Sea Canal, Romania
Danube – Black Sea Canal was finished in 1984 and is 64 kilometers long; it links the Cernavoda and Constanta ports. The constructions lasted 35 years and were invested approximately $ 2 billion. The canal was built by political prisoners who filled the forced labor camps set up along the length of the planned canal. It is part of the important waterway which runs from Black to North Sea. Danube-Black Sea Canal crosses the rich unique ecosystem of the Danube Delta region– home to pelicans, herons, egrets, and up to 300 other species of birds; the large number of fish is also notable, with species of both high economic and ecological value.
7Gota Canal, Sweden
Gota Canal links several lakes, allowing the ships to transit almost all the way across Sweden, from the Vanern Lake, near Gothenberg, to the Baltic Sea. There are 58 locks along the way; to better see the crew open them and maneuver the ship through you must climb on the deck. The canal is surrounded by different boats of all sizes and types; the cruises may last from several hours to one week. For a memorable experience rent a canoe or a kayak and sail along the canal. Beautiful countryside, easy navigation and a relaxed atmosphere is what you will meet here. You will have plenty of time to explore beautiful sight such as Lyrestad, Töreboda, Vassbacken, the breathtaking Lake Viken, Forsvik with its unique industrial heritage and the town of Karlsborg with its incredible castle which is a real family adventure.
8Brandenburg Canals, Germany
Between Berlin and Baltic Sea there is a series of lakes linked by canals which cross a spectacular landscape, sprinkled with castles and old towns. The exceptional flora and fauna and undisturbed wildlife make it a paradise for naturalists. You will have the great occasion to spot herons silently waiting in the shallows for a meal and gulls plunging down to the water's surface to snatch squid or small fish. When the weather is fine, many fishermen line the banks then sell their catch including eel, pike, carp, zander in the local restaurants.
9English Channel to Mediterranean, France
A system of canals of 8,050 kilometers long crosses France from north to south offering you the possibility to stop anywhere and explore France’s beautiful landscape and major attractions. To the south, the Midi Canal passes through a rich region with vineyards, sprinkled with walled cities, located right on its banks. Anchor the boat near a small town, and start tasting the local dishes and wine. There are many traditional restaurants with nice service and tasty food. Traditional weekly fairs take place in almost every town; here you will find traditional food and drinks, handicrafts and souvenirs.
10Shropshire Union Canal, England
The north part of the Shropshire Union Canal from the West High-lands region, menders through a hilly landscape. On the south of Nantwich, the canal passes hills and valleys through deep gorges and amazing bridges. With stretches where there are no towns for miles, it is a great place to get close to nature. The canal is a real monument of the Industrial Revolution beginnings. It was completed in 1979 and is 105 kilometers long. The narrow boats, painted in brightly colors, seem to come from another era. Boats go at walking speed so that their wakes don’t erode the banks.