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Beyond Venice: 8 must-see canal cities

By: Josh Lew on Oct. 4, 2013, 2:36 p.m.
Giethoorn canal

Photo: bertknot/flickr

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The Netherlands are crisscrossed by canal networks, and some of the most charming can be found in Giethoorn in the eastern part of the country. Here, tourists will find canal landscapes of storybook legend. Narrow waterways flow past classic Dutch countryside homes and under wooden bridges. The canals connect a series of shallow lakes, and some people rent a boat or bike and simply wander around enjoying the garden-like landscapes and peaceful atmosphere. 

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of Giethoorn is that it is completely vehicle-free. Though there are bike paths that run through the area, motorized traffic is virtually nonexistent. Some of the homes sit on small islands in the middle of lakes and are accessible only by bridges or boats. Giethoorn is one of the best places to get a refreshing glimpse of a place that still embraces the pre-car era.