Are you a Venetian soul homesick for some canals and gondolas even when you're on holiday somewhere else? Holland comes to the rescue with its fluid history of canals. This is the land of liquid roads–Amsterdam is known to have the best among the rest. The Amsterdam Canal District, also known as the ‘Venice of the North’, has made it to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Nicknamed 'Discover Holland', Amsterdam displays the country from a perspective which is different and worth remembering, while travellers cruise through the canals and take in the beauty of these flowing underways.
When in Amsterdam, tour its canals like the Amsterdammers do! The city strives its best to maintain and nurture the illustrious canals. Your trip to this place is incomplete without paying a visit to these channels which hold great symbolic value and history. In 2010, the World Heritage Committee decided to submit the 17th-century canal ring area to the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Here are some of the waterways which you definitely should not miss:
Canals of Utrecht
A 50-minute drive from Amsterdam, this canal takes you through the historic sights of wharf-side houses, sculpted tableaux, and all kinds of flora - trees as old as over 200 years - lined along the canals. In the second half of the 12th century, Utrecht’s inhabitants decided to dig tunnels from the dock to the canal-side houses. This resulted in the double docks in the city. Utrecht's canals are second to none and are lined with multiple dock cellars. With a thread of restaurants, quaint little cafes with waterside terraces, these dock cellars are nothing but inviting, providing its hospitality and great food to hungry travellers after a long day of exploration!
Around two kilometres long, the Oudegracht is the most famous canal here which you must visit.
Canals of Leiden
A drive of around 45 minutes from Amsterdam, the canals of Leiden have an interesting history. Incorporated in the city plan in the 17th century, the outer canal was dug out to protect the city and moats were built as fortifications. Moats, intended as a defence against attack, are significant to Leiden because these are some of the biggest city fortifications in Europe with an intact structure. The canals run through the city and are lined by docks to anchor boats. There are various canal tours offered by the city, for you to experience Leiden's extravagance to the fullest- passing through bridges of Visbrug and Koornbrug, row away to the beauty of this picturesque canal.
Canals of Delft
A one-hour drive from Amsterdam, the canals of Delft were a part of the initial and original city plan. The name Delft, derived from the word 'delven' or 'to dig', also served as a defence technique to protect the borders of the city, delivering goods and supplies too. The oldest canal, called the Old Delft is the one around which the city of Delft is said to have expanded over the past 750 years. Boats are a mainstay of Dutch life and touring Delft by boat is a way to understand the natives. Exploring the city by foot is one way to go about experiencing the culture of the Dutch, but sailing through the canals on canal taxi boats will give you the feels that you've been searching for and make it feel like a part of your dream.
Other must-dos are:
The Golden Bend: Visit this canal from ‘Leidsestraat’ to ‘Vijzelstraat’. It has a magnificent stretch of canal houses in Amsterdam.
One view, 15 bridges: This bridge on the corner of ‘Reguliersgracht’ and ‘Herengracht’ has a unique view of over 15 bridges.
MagereBrug: The ‘MagereBrug’ (Skinny Bridge) is one of the most picturesque bridges of Amsterdam. At night, the bridge is romantically illuminated and keeps you swaying to the tune of the olden days of black and white.
Canal tour: Enjoy the beautiful canals and canal houses with one of Amsterdam’s many canal tours.