Suez Canal

Travel tips you can trust


Why the
Suez Canal
is special

The 160 kilometer (99 mile) long Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea with the vast waters of Asia (via the Red Sea). Without it, a cargo ship sailing from Italy to Singapore would have to go around the southern tip of Africa, doubling the travel time and distance.

Suez Canal
tips and insights

Odd sight

Travelers marvel at the unusual sight of an endless parade of super-tankers, container ships, and other large ocean-going vessels taking a shortcut through the barren desert.

Sightseeing tip

Stand back far enough from the canal banks so you see the moving boats but not the canal's water. The giant ships appear to be sliding through the dry desert sands in the middle of nowhere.

Earlier canals

The Suez Canal is not the first water link between the Mediterranean and Red Sea.


The Persians built a sophisticated canal system around 500 BC.

Romans and Arabs

Later, the Romans did the same, as did the Sixth century Arabs.

Those routings cut an appreciably different path through the desert than the current canal does.

Today's route

In the 1700s, Napoleon vaguely conceived the current Suez Canal route but the waterway wasn't built until nearly a century later (by a joint British and French venture).

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