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Waterways are a key focal point for travelers, whether it is just a way to get from A to B or to take in the scenery along a river or around a lake or to enjoy activities such as boating and sailing.



Inland waterways can be a good theme to base a holiday around. For example visiting castles in the Loire Valley, the Rhine valley or taking a cruise to interesting cities on the Danube or boating along the Erie Canal. They also define routes for popular hiking and cycling trails.

Lakes, as well as often offering beautiful scenery, provide opportunities for sailing and other water sports.

The seas offer possibilities for the more adventurous sailors and for diving and surfing or to relax on a cruise ship. While the coastline can be the focal point for coastal hiking trails or other beach activities.


Map of Waterways

Rivers and canals of Europe

View of the Loire River from the Château de Montsoreau-Museum of Contemporary Art
  • 1 Göta kanal (Sweden). Used to be the country's most important transportation route. It is still popular with leisure boats. Göta Canal (Q431863) on Wikidata Göta Canal on Wikipedia
  • 2 Kiel canal (Northern Germany). One of the world's busiest waterways. Kiel Canal (Q144825) on Wikidata Kiel Canal on Wikipedia
  • 3 Saimaa Canal (VyborgLappeenranta). Connecting the Finnish Lakeland to the seas, by a short visa-free visit to Russia, the canal is important both for the industry of the Lakeland and for tourists taking a cruise or going to explore the inland archipelagos by own yacht. Saimaa Canal (Q1129324) on Wikidata Saimaa Canal on Wikipedia

Loire Valley


The Loire Valley, between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes, is listed World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The Loire, the longest and the last wild river in France, goes through 2 French regions and is one of the main tourist destinations in France. Three villages are listed as "most beautiful villages of France".


  • 4 Main-Danube Canal. The two great rivers of the Rhine and Danube, which have influenced many events throughout history and the development of many cities, are connected via a canal between the Daube and the Main River, a major tributary of the Rhine. This makes it possible to travel by boat or cruise ship between the North Sea and the Black Sea. The route also provides an ideal landscape for hiking and cycling trails. Rhine-Main-Danube Canal (Q153085) on Wikidata Rhine–Main–Danube Canal on Wikipedia
  • Hiking trails : Rheinsteig, Rheinburgenweg, Rheinhöhenweg, Rheintaler Höhenweg, Donausteig, Sultans Trail.
  • Cycling trails: EV15 The Rhine Cycle Route, the Danube Cycleway

UK Canals

Llangollen Canal
See also: Inland waterways in the United Kingdom

Hiring a narrow boat and travelling part of the extensive canals of England, Scotland and Wales is a great way to see the British country side and discover hidden gems in the towns and cities.

Rivers and Canals of North America


The New York State Canal System


Over 500 miles of waterways, the Hudson river and the Erie Canal allowing you to travel from New York City to the Great Lakes .

Mississippi River


North South connection with canals connecting the Mississippi River with the Great Lakes as well as the Missouri and Ohio Rivers.



Rivers and Canals of South America


Rivers and Canals of Africa


Rivers and Canals of Asia


Lakes of Europe


Finnish lakes

Main article: Boating in Finland#The Finnish lakes
See also: Finnish Lakeland

Finland is called the land of a thousand lakes, which is a gross understatement. While there are lakes everywhere, the inland of southern Finland is covered by labyrinthine waterways, with a myriad of interconnected lakes, with hundreds of islands. The Saimaa waterways – Saimaa itself the fifth largest lake of Europe – are connected to the sea by the Saimaa Canal. Other significant lakes include Inarinjärvi (by Inari, in Lapland), Päijänne (by Jyväskylä, in Central Finland), Kallavesi (by Kuopio, in Savonia, connected to Saimaa), Pielinen (by Lieksa and Koli, in North Karelia, connected to Saimaa), Oulujärvi (by Kajaani, in Kainuu) and Längelmävesi and Näsijärvi (by Tampere, in Pirkanmaa). All of these lakes are good boating and canoeing destinations, and cruises are arranged at least on Saimaa, Päijänne and Näsijärvi.

  • 11 Saimaa. A labyrinthine lake in south-east Finland, Europe's fifth largest. Accessible from the sea by the Saimaa Canal. Saimaa (Q192770) on Wikidata Saimaa on Wikipedia

Lakes of North America


The open seas and coastlines


See also

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