select - Canal cities
Written by Brian Johnston
There's much to be said for cities built on grids of canals: easy orientation, shimmering reflections, and the chance to take to the water. Here are four top canal experiences.
Stockholm – Venice of the north
Stockholm sits on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges and bisected by canals: a city of glimmering reflections, salty air, shrieking seagulls, and invigorating, cloud-scudded skies. All of Stockholm is a park-filled, water-loving city that comfortably adapts to its natural surrounds: teenage boys jump from bridges into canals for a swim, and boats sail past the train station. In winter, smaller canals become skating rinks. On long summer evenings, Stockholmers take to rowing boats, walk their canal-side promenades, and gaze over this cool, Nordic beauty of a city between sea and sky.
Distance: 4,585 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 50 minutes
Night owls should take the 2am vaporetto (public ferry) that circles a darkened Venice as water gurgles and Gothic mansions loom out of the dark. Magic.
Distance: 4,142 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 35 minutes
Head to Thon Buri, where small boats drift past, laden with fruit and other goods. Floating kitchens offer crispy fried noodles, or rice and coconut wrapped up in banana-leaf parcels.
Distance: 5,268 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 15 minutes
Frequency: 4 flights a day
The best way to enjoy India's southern state of Kerala at leisure is to rent a wooden houseboat, which can take you all the way from canal-crossed Alappuzha to Kochi, floating past shimmering rice paddies.