It’s funny how most European cities are designed pretty much the same. All of the big ones seem to have some sort of canal – or canals – running through them. From London to Venice, there are loads of different cities where you can enjoy the wonders of a canal. Typically, these waterways are one of the highlights of your trip to a city, so what are some things you can do while you’re visiting?

Well, here’s one thing you shouldn’t do: swim. Never go swimming in a canal, even if it claims to be safe. Most of the time, they are pretty mucky, so your best bet is to stay above the water at all times. With that in mind, here are three things you can do in any city with canals:

Enjoy a boat trip

Depending on where you are, there will be some form of transport that can take you around the wonderful canals. This is a fantastic way of getting around the city and seeing some of the main tourist attractions from a new vantage point. Also, some places have specific transport that’s famous for the area. In Cambridge, you have romantic punting, while in Venice you have the iconic gondolas. Getting on any type of boat and touring a city’s canals will always be a brilliant idea if you’re looking for something to do to kill time and see loads of attractions. Of course, make sure the weather is kind to you when you do this!

Visit all the bridges

Where there are canals, there will be bridges! What’s more, these bridges tend to be key tourist attractions in the city. They’re famous points where tourists congregate to get amazing views of the canals. Again, and we’re only revisiting this place because it’s the king of canals, Venice has a huge bridge over the Grand Canal that’s a famous photo-taking location. Try visiting all the bridges along a canal – or as many as you physically can in one day – and it’s another way to help you explore more of the city. 

Go species spotting

Finally, where there is water, there will be life! Canals and other waterways are perfect places for lots of different species to inhabit. You’ve got underwater critters and many other animals that could be lurking around the banks of a canal. One of the best things to do is have a look to see how many different things you can spot roaming around. In the UK, you can spot some seriously endangered species – like the water vole. There are also things like herons, dragonflies, newts and so much more around the different canals in UK cities. Naturally, if you’re in a city that’s in Central Europe or further East, you’ve got even more species to try and spot. Some places will have little cards you can buy with all the animals on, and you can make a game out of trying to tick off as many as you can while you’re there. 

The bottom line is that there are plenty of things to do in a city with canals! They are usually a big attraction of some cities, so you may as well make the most of them while you’re there.