10 Historic Canal Towns to Visit That Aren’t Venice

Venice might be the most famous town to feature picturesque waterways, but beautiful canals can be found all over the globe

Annecy is known as the Venice of Savoie, a region in France. (© Simon Harris/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis)

Bruges, Belgium

Just a short train ride away from Brussels, Belgium's capital city and the capital of the European Union, lies Bruges, a quaint canal town in Belgium's Flemish region. Settled in the 13th century as a stop in the areas's lucrative textile trade, Bruges appears like something out of a fairy-tale: small, cobblestone streets, picturesque bridges and beautiful gabled houses. With such a quaint feel, it might be hard to imagine that Bruges had a population of 200,000 in 1500—double that of London at the time. Bruges' canals, fed by the North Sea, host a festival every four years, which include performances by musicians and actors and lights that illuminate the canals. 


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