Finding the Best Canal Cities in Europe
If you love canals, but have already been to Venice and need a change then there are a number of other canal cities in Europe that offer great alternatives to that iconic Italian destination. From Amsterdam to Bruges, Europe is home to a number of other spectacular canal towns and cities that have the same romantic allure and must-see culture as Venice.
Check out these top five beautiful canal cities and get planning your next European canal cruise:
While the city may be notorious for its red-light district and coffee shops, Amsterdam has a lot more to offer than that. In 2010, Amsterdam’s canal ring, made up of 165 canals, was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built to stimulate trade and expand the city, the canals are the permanent centerpiece of Amsterdam’s beautiful historic center.
Take a canal bus, bike or taxi and see the sights of the city from the water. The city also offers a number of private canal cruises, which often include stops to some of the most interesting cultural locations along the bank.
Often referred to as “The Venice of the North,” Bruges, the capital of Belgium, is a historic city that is also a World Heritage Site. Thanks to its bustling port, the city has a tumultuous history as a commercial European port, and that history can be felt by taking a ride on its famous canal network.
The canals date back to the 12th century and are a great way to compliment your driving tour of the city’s historic center with a Bruges rental car. See the city from a different perspective on one of the city’s canal cruises or tours that follow its oval frame network of canals.
Take a canal cruise on the Göta or Dalsland Canals to experience the real heart of Stockholm. Göta Canal has 58 locks and 47 bridges, and starts at Söderköping on the Baltic Sea all the way to Sjötrop at Lake Vänern. This series of canals is part of “Sweden’s Blue Ribbon” that connects Stockholm and Gothenburg by water.
Take the canals out of the city and experience some of Sweden’s lush countryside and traditional towns and villages from a unique point of view.
This beautiful French town is set in the Alps region, and is referred to as the “Venice of the Alps”. The canals trace the historic old town of Annecy called Vieille Ville, with its series of tiny bridges, waterside cafes, and exquisite mountain scenery. The small town is perfectly navigable with a canal cruise or Annecy car rental; make sure you have time to stop off at one of the beautiful riverside restaurants.
Believe it or not, the water actually comes from one of Europe’s shortest rivers, the River Thiou, that connects with River Fier and Lake Annecy. As the river meanders around the town, the city is split into little islands that are linked with tiny bridges and each filled with narrow passageways.
Dating back to the 17th century, Copenhagen’s small scale network of canals are lined with old historic buildings and are very much a part of the culture in the city. Bringing a peaceful, relaxing vibe to the industrial city, the canals are a great place to eat, drink and chill out.
You can take a one-hour long canal cruise and see the city’s sights, such as the Opera House, the harbor, the Amalienborg Palace, the Royal Library and the National Museum, among many more. Pass through residential neighborhoods with a cruise or car rental in Copenhagen and hear stories about the history of Denmark’s capital city. Just make sure you watch your head on the low bridges!
Planning Your Trip to These Canal Towns in Europe
There’s a world of undiscovered destinations just waiting to be uncovered and these canal towns in Europe are only a small sample! Grant yourself the ability to travel at your own direction and without restrictions by making use of an affordable rental car to help you get wherever you’d like to go. Kemwel has some of the best travel deals available, too, so avoiding costly and crowded transportation is more realistic than you ever thought possible! Whether you want to rent a car in Amsterdam and tour world-renowned locales or get a taste for the quaint allure of Annecy, we’ve got your back with price’s that’ll make you think twice about what’s possible on your next holiday abroad. Check out your options with Kemwel online or call us, toll-free at 1-877-820-0668, to find out just how cheap your next trip can be!
One of Iceland’s star attractions is its waterfalls. With the perfect conditions for such stunning natural beauties, Iceland is home to some of the most unique waterfalls in the world. The best way to see these must-see sights is to rent a car in Iceland and take day trips from Reykjavik to get to each waterfall. This means you can set up base in the city, experience everything Reykjavik has to offer and still take in Iceland’s stunning natural landscape. With a car you will not only see the falls, but also the surrounding scenery of the countryside and wilderness on your drives. And don’t worry; while it may be called Iceland, summers can actually be quite comfortable and there is rarely any ice on the roads themselves!
Here are just some of the best waterfalls in Iceland, that are close enough to Reykjavik that you can take a day trip to see them:
Just an hour-a-half from Reykjavik, Gullfoss Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Iceland and one of the most famous. With a scenic drive to get there, the waterfall is located in the canyon of Hvita River in southwest Iceland. Gullfoss is also known as the “Golden Falls” for on a sunny day the water can look beautifully golden. Water plunges from a glacier down two steps and into a 32 meter-deep crevice, and is a spectacular sight to see.
The second tallest waterfall in Iceland and a just one-hour-and-50-minute drive from Reykjavik, the 122 m-tall waterfall stands next to another waterfall, known as Granni (or the neighbour). The ideal time to visit is when both waterfalls are in full flow and there is a little bit of sun, this is when you really notice the desolate Icelandic surroundings of the waterfalls, which only highlights the beauty of the falls. The drive to this waterfall can be a little bumpy, but it is well worth it. Take your time on the roads and stop as many times as you have to to take in the rugged landscape.
Skogafoss is a two-hour drive from Reykjavik but is well worth the adventure. A rival of Gullfoss as the best waterfall in Iceland, the waterfall is a classic rectangular shape that drops 60 m and has a width of 20 m. What’s so incredible about this waterfall is that its high volume of water gives off a loud thundering sound, and produces an incredible mist above its crashing waters. This waterfall is easy to access and you are able to get pretty close to the base, hence why it is so popular with tourists.
Just one hour away with your Reykjavik rental car, Glymur is said to be the tallest waterfall in Iceland, at 196 m tall (although this can change as new waterfalls are being created all the time). The drive to this waterfall is something to remember, as is the hike to the waterfall itself. You pass through caves and natural arches to get to the bottom of the falls, or you can take an alternative trail to reach the top of the waterfall. Whichever way you decide to view it, the result is stunning.
In Belgium, beer is serious business. The people in charge of such a serious task are Trappist monks, who create and brew some of the best beer in Belgium in ancient monastic breweries. Belgium is home to six Trappist breweries, with the five others in the world located in the United States, Italy, Holland, and Austria. Trappist beer is renowned for being very strong and only of the highest quality.
Originating in the Cistercian monastery of La Trappe in France, Monastic brew houses have existed throughout Europe since the Middle Ages, and after the French Revolution the practice spread to Belgium and where the monks set up their own Belgian Breweries. The beer was originally to feed the community (as the act of brewing beer sanitized the dirty water), but nowadays Trappist breweries mostly fund their works and charitable causes with the sales of the beer.
In order for a beer to be authentically Trappist it must be: brewed in a Trappist monastery, it must be of secondary importance within the monastery, and it must not be a profit-making exercise. The breweries are monitored to ensure they stick to the highest quality associated with Trappist beer.
Check these four authentic Monastic breweries in Belgium and try some of the best Trappist beer in Europe:
Located an hour and a half north of Brussels in Flanders, the Westmalle Monastery does not allow visitors inside the monastery, but it does allow guests into its cafe, the Trappisten. The monks brew beer in the monastery for themselves, called Extra, which can only be bought in the cafe, and doesn’t even have a label. The monks here also make their own cheese, which can be served up with a pint of draft.
Rochefort Trappist Brewery
Again, the monastery is not open to visitors, and this one doesn’t have a cafe to sample the beer. But you can drive into the grounds and witness the barley malt being pumped into a wooden chute on an old tractor. Rochefort beer can be bought throughout Belgium, and indeed the world. There are also a number of bars, including quaint cellar bars, that do sell the local Rochefort beer.
The smallest and most secret monastery in Belgium is located close to the battlefields of Ypres, and is a great stop for both a great beer and history tour. Here, you can buy the beer in bulk at the monastery door or in a few shops.
This complex of yellow buildings are open to visitors, with an exhibition inside the 18th-century cellar and a tour of the complex, you can really discover the ins and outs of meticulous Trappist beer making. The monastery even has a guesthouse for those interested and truly committed to learning and understanding the monastic way of life. The ruins of the 12th -century abbey still lie in the grounds, of which is surrounded by a beautiful forest. The brewery is famous for its delicious pale ale.
Sample all the Best Trappist Beer in Belgium with Kemwel
Regardless of when you plan to travel to Belgium, trust Kemwel to help you find the best prices on all car rentals in Belgium, and explore this magnificent country, stopping along the way to sample the best Belgian Trappist beers. Whether you need a car rental in Brussels or Brugge rental car, we offer the most affordable options with the best deals in the industry. Check out your options online or give Kemwel a call, toll-free at 1-877-820-0668, to speak with one of our travel experts and begin planning your tour of Belgium today!