European Cities on the Water, Where to See the Sea
Family Travel

European Cities on the Water

European Cities on the Water

Cities that seem to rise up out of the water are enchanting and alluring for adults, so its understandable that cities that could one day be underwater seem like the coolest places in the world to children. All over the world people have looked to hard to reach places on the water to build cities, recognizing the strategic location and protection the water offered. In many cases, the city was not entirely cut off from the mainlands to which they sat near, at least not for the entire day.

If you are looking for a fun and historically rich vacation destination to take your children, these cities on the water offer the chance to live life in an entirely different way.


Venice is one of the most famous cities on the water, and its colorful history makes it a great destination with kids. Over one hundred islands are connected by hundreds of bridges of all sizes and a series of canals that make it easy to get from one place to another. Kids love the mazelike quality that Venice has, and really, even when you’re lost, you aren’t that lost because there is always a canal with a canalman that is ready to take you back to where you started.

Getting lost is actually the best way to see as much of the city as possible, but make sure you head to the Piazza San Marco, take a Grand Canal ride and throw open the balcony doors to listen to and watch daily life pass by. Boots are required when the high tides flood lower lying areas of the city.


Mont Saint-Michel is a popular day trip destination for tourists, but families with children can get a better sense of life in this city when you book a night stay in any one of the small inns that line the street leading up to the Abbey. Cut off by the tidal flow and ebb of the bay, Mont Saint- Michel has always been a strategic point where armies have cut themselves off from attacking forces.

Even though the main attraction here is the Abbey, kids will love exploring the medieval town where about 4 dozen residents still live and cater to the millions of tourists that pass through, much in the same way villagers did for pilgrims visiting the abbey from the time it was built. Take the time to follow the route up the mount via the fortification walls, where remnants of the cities defense still reside.


Across the English Channel sits St. Michael’s Mount, also cut off from the mainland by the tidal waters that leave a navigable sandbar exposed when low. St. Michael’s Mount is not a city of its own, but a parish of Marazion, the rest of which is part of on the other end of the sandbar. Meant to be a sister city, of sorts, to Mont Saint-Michel, the Mount was developed in much the same way.

The castle and fortress are still in operation, though open to the public, and living history events are often planned that allow children to step back in time and learn about different periods in the history of the Mount. Overnight stays cannot be arranged here, but it is easy to reach during the days if you book accommodations at nearby seaside resorts.


The story of The Little Dutch Boy, while not true, has cemented the Netherlands and its dams into the mind of every child. This small fishing village grew into the capital of the country and one of the most powerful shipping centers in the world. Its historic canals give the city a romantic vibe and can help you put together a vacation with the waterways as your inspiration.

Canal trips take you past brightly colored canal houses, many of which are open to the public for gallery viewings, run as living history museums or the site of theater and concerts for children. The Artis city zoo and Vondelpark are two popular family destinations that are a must see.

We hope you have enjoyed this look at European cities on the water.

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19 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. Sigh … this post makes me want to go so badly! Italy would be my first choice – my husband and I have always wanted to go there. Amsterdam would be an adventure, to say the least! Anywhere in Europe would be a dream come true! Thank you – I feel like I got a virtual tour.

  2. Visiting Venice would definitely be a dream come true! I absolutely must take a traditional gondola ride through the canals.

  3. I have always wanted to visit Italy and Amsterdam. There is something to calming about the water. And it makes these cities so beautifully unique!

  4. I LOVE Venice. It’s absolutely gorgeous. I’d love to see it one day. I’d love to see all of these cities, actually.

  5. Claudia Krusch

    I lve the water so all of these places would be so fun to visit. I have always wanted to go explore Amsterdam.

  6. Amsterdam is definitely on my bucket list. So many great cities to choose from in this post. I guess it would be selfish to say I’d love to visit them all!

  7. I’d love to visit any and all of these places! I’ve always thought Amsterdam would be an amazing place to live. I just love the thought of the canals and the friendliness of the place!

  8. Venice and Amsterdam are on my bucket list. The other three places also sound amazing. I would also love to see them.

  9. Karlyn Cruz

    I’ve always wanted to visit in Venice, Italy. It is my number one place in my dream place to travel. It is so wonderful place to me .

  10. Venice has always been on my list. It’s definitely a dream come true to be able to see it in person. Although with global warming, I heard that it’s been sinking little by little. I hope we get to save that lovely city.

  11. Rebecca Swenor

    These are all great family travel spots on the water in Europe. Any of these spots sound amazing to travel to for the whole family. I have always wanted to visit Venice Italy because of my heritage and hopefully one day we will get there.

  12. These places look so dreamy! I would love to travel more – and see them all!

  13. Italy is on my bf’s bucketlist and we are saving for a trip! All of these places look incredible though

  14. You are making me have wanderlust. I’ve never been to any European cities and I’d love to one day and see every single one of these.

  15. I’ve always been intrigued by cities like this. I have never visited one before, but maybe one day.

  16. Oh man, my travel lust is at an all time high and then, I see this! I want to visit Europe and the UK so badly!

  17. E H

    All of these cities are on a short list to visit when I am able to travel to Europe. I have never traveled in Europe, and can’t wait to experience this beauty on the water!

  18. Adaleta

    All of these places are so beautiful and being on the water is just so magical.

  19. Pingback: Visitors Guide to Zurich Switzerland Chocolate Swiss Alps

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