Sara Thopson - Mar 12, 2018

Artificial canals have always drawn the attention of many travelers. The engineering masterworks, beautiful scenery, interesting history – all this persuade many holidaymakers to make a detour from their route and explore one of these marvels. presents the top five man made canals around the world that every year lure thousands of tourists as well as cruise passengers. 

The Suez Canal (opened in 1872)

Located in Egypt, between Africa and Asia, one of the most famous man made canals connects the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. It is estimated that 8% of international trade uses this 193-kilometer long structure, which is also connected to the Indian Ocean. Around 50 vessels traverse through the canal every day. Four lakes are part of the route: Manzala, Timsah, Great Bitter, and Small Bitter. In 2016, the Suez Canal Authority opened a new side channel located at the northern side of the east extension of the Suez Canal. The desert landscape around inspires traveling routes and attractive cruises as those organized by the Royal Caribbean International. Aboard the luxury ship Rhapsody of the Seas, one can sail through the canal with stops in Israel, Greece, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Corinth Canal (opened in 1893)

Carved into the rock of the Isthmus of Corinth, a natural corridor between two land strips, the 6 kilometer long canal is filled up by the blue waters of the gulfs of Corinth and Saronic. Those who go through it end up surrounded by cliffs 40 meters high. Since it separates the region of the Peloponnese from the mainland Greece – a 400-kilometer shortcut – it was often used in the Second World War. Crossing the canal on a boat takes around 40 minutes and offers stunning views of the scenery. The most adventurous visitors can cross it with jet skis or go bungee jumping on the bridges that connect both banks.

Kiel Canal (opened in 1895)

Kiel Canal is an artificial freshwater canal located in Germany stretching 98 kilometres. It connects the North Sea to the Baltic Sea, close to the city of Kiel-Holtenau. The canal's construction represented a 519-kilometer shortcut. Before its edification, the ships passed through the Jutland peninsula, having to endure harsh sea storms. It is estimated that Kiel Canal is the most widely-used canal in the world. In 2007, more than 43.000 ships crossed it. It is one of the city's most famous attractions. Those who don't have a boat can use a car, go on foot or by bike, taking the 99 km of roads that are close to the bank.

The Panama Canal (opened in 1914)

One of the best known man made canal, the Panama Canal, a 77 km long waterway, is one of the most incredible engineering feats of mankind. For 103 years the crossing between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans has been crucial for international trade and tourism. The tour of the Panama Canal is attractive not only because of its historic significance but also due to its beauty. Visitors can enjoy three locks (small canals) where they can watch boats and ships crossing the Atlantic to the Pacific. The most famous lock is Miraflores, where a visitor center can be found. Travelers can learn here about the canal's history and explore a small museum.

Rhine–Main–Danube Canal (opened in 1992)

This German canal connects the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea. To cross the 171 kilometer long canal, the so called Europa Canal, travelers need to sail over a bridge. There is a passage, in the mountainous region of Solarberg (Germany), in which the beds of the Danube and Main rivers are artificially linked to the Rhine. All this to ensure that the North Sea navigation is possible up to the Black Sea, in Romania. The heights of the different places vary immensely. The vessels overcome the differences by a sequential system of 16 locks with lifting heights of up to 25 meters. Besides the locks and beautiful scenery, the canal is attractive to many visitors also thanks to the annual Challenge Roth triathlon, which includes a 3.8-kilometre swim in the canal at Hilpoltstein.

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