Walking is one of the best ways to get to know a city, because you get to experience the on-the-ground and in-person side of a city center. Faced and interacting with real people, you find places you never would have seen in a bus or car. As a traveler, it’s also far easier to get around cities with good pedestrian areas, since you can forgo renting a car altogether. Walking is free, environmentally friendly, and allows you to really take in the ambience and character of a destination. Read on to take a closer look at some of the world’s most-walkable cities: places you can experience almost wholly by foot!
Venice is one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the world due to its enormous network of pedestrian streets that are totally free of cars. Most of Venice is car-free, and you have to either walk or take a water taxi to get around. Despite its dense infrastructure and the abundance of canals and bridges, the city is beautiful and flat, making for excellent walking.
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Denmark’s capital city has a medieval street grid and plenty to see, and its main street was converted into a pedestrian walkway. As a result, you can get most places in the city without a car, from Rosenberg Castle to the tidy markets in the city center. It’s a beautiful place to experience urban life on the water, and you can always take a water taxi if your feet need a break!
America’s Pacific northwest metropolis is a model of North American walkability due to the local government’s regulations on parking spaces and pedestrian infrastructure. The iconic Pike Place Market is a great example of this type of active urban planning, and you can see and do most things on foot or by renting readily available bicycles.
With its gorgeous riverside quays, narrow little streets and glamorous, old-world boulevards, Paris is certainly one of the most romantic places to aimlessly walk. Whether you go as a couple or solo, spend time just wandering through the centuries-old streets of the world’s most-visited city. You’ll discover things you never would have, otherwise.
Read related: Is Buying the Paris Pass Worth the Expense?
One of the most famously anti-car cities in the world is the unassuming Dutch town of Houten. The entire inner urban area of Houten is for bikes and pedestrians only, and the city’s cars are served by an external ring road only. Inside the ring is a network of 80 miles of paths for cyclists and foot traffic. 66% of traffic in Houten is pedestrians and cyclists.
Southwest France’s UNESCO World Heritage site is a magnificent 18th-century city with one of the best pedestrian walking areas in the world. Pedestrian streets offer clear views of local restaurants and shops on either side of the walkway, and you can get to most places in the city by foot. The Rue Sainte-Catherine, vibrant shopping hub, is said to be the longest pedestrian street in Europe and at all times of day these pedestrian hubs are teeming with life and energy. For all these reasons, Bordeaux is a city that walking lovers adore.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Marrakesh is a labyrinth of vendors selling woven goods, spices, and their famous babouches. You can walk from street markets to the historic Koutoubia Mosque and see the ruins of the 16th century El Badi Palace. Marrakech is unique and stunning in its variety and history.
Our Bottom Line?
These cities are truly modern wonders for their accessibility and ecologically sound infrastructure, not to mention their endlessly fascinating streets. If you enjoy exploring quiet lanes and bustling high streets alike, we recommend adding them to your short-list of destinations– and travel where your feet can take you!