Top 10 Cities with Navigable Waterways

For transport or leisure, from harbours to rivers, our top 10 this week is all about the best cities in the world with eminently navigable waterways.

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Budapest is the pillar city of Danube cruise tourism but visitors need not shuttle between the likes of Vienna and Belgrade to get a taste. The capital of Hungary is awash with river tours by glorious day or starry night.

Where to stay: Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest

Budapest City Guide


The capital of the state of Amazonas is at the confluence of the Negro and Solimões rivers and is home to half of the population of the Amazon. Manaus, then, is the unequivocal gateway to the peerless swath of wilderness and the hub of Amazon River tourism.

Where to stay: Sleep Inn Manaus

Manaus City Guide


A city on stilts, a city unlike any other in history, Venice is the venerable Serenissima. From peppy vaporetti and gondolas to more indulgent waterway transport, the UNESCO World Heritage city has it all.

Where to stay: Antiche Figure Hotel Venice

Venice City Guide


The most handsome “Venice of the East” is a relatively new city for India. As the final capital of the Mewar kingdom in 1559, Udaipur is positively infantile by subcontinent standards. Still, this “Lake City” in Rajasthan has oodles of watery charm, most notably in the form of Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake, Udai Sagar and Swaroop Sagar.

Where to stay: The Leela Palace Udaipur Hotel

Udaipur City Guide

New York City

Despite the fact that Manhattan is, first and foremost, a big island, many think of New York City as a mass of concrete and skyscrapers. To debunk that myth, take the (free!) Staten Island Ferry for superlative views.

Where to stay: The Chatwal New York Hotel

New York City Guide


Shanghai’s lifeblood was – and still is, in some small measure – the Yangtze River Delta. Indeed, the inherent drama and awe of the Pudong skyline is completely lost without the formidable waterway’s Huangpu tributary. A cruise on the river is a poignant bridge between China’s past and future.

Where to stay: Les Suites Orient Bund Shanghai Hotel

Shanghai City Guide


In Cairo, it is all about the Nile. The legendary, singular Nile. Hop on to Luxor or Aswan, or simply to Giza, and on to the linchpin wonders of the world.

Where to stay: Kempinski Nile Hotel Garden City Cairo

Cairo City Guide


Toss up between Paris and London but we prefer the leisurely Seine to the testy Thames. It must be the way the river winds past some of the most iconic landmarks on the planet, from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame.

Where to stay: Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere Paris

Paris City Guide

Hong Kong

Harbour city par excellence, Hong Kong is no stranger to landless transport. Star Ferry is just one of many operators to ply the waters of the metropolis but still the most famous by far.

Where to stay: Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong

Hong Kong City Guide


Sydney’s entire raison d’être is, of course, Port Jackson and Sydney Harbour. This priceless natural gift has made the New South Wales capital one of the foremost alpha urban hubs in the world. From the Sydney to Hobart yacht race to more leisurely trips past the UNESCO World Heritage Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Sydney is a waterway gem.

Where to stay: Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour

Sydney City Guide

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