Most Walkable Cities in the World for Explorers
Have you ever felt the thrill of discovering a new city on foot? The excitement of wandering through the winding streets, stumbling upon hidden gems, and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere?
There's something truly special about exploring a city on foot, but not all cities are created equal. Some are a joy to walk around, with wide pavements, pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, and a safe and welcoming atmosphere. Others are a nightmare, with crowded streets, dangerous crossings, and hostile environments.
In this article, we've scoured the globe to bring you the top 10 most walkable cities in the world. These cities are the epitome of urban living, offering a unique blend of culture, history, and modernity, all within easy walking distance.
After reading this, get ready to put on your comfiest shoes, take a deep breath, and get ready to fall in love with these incredible cities!
Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by ttinu - stock.adobe.com
Copenhagen, the beautiful capital city of Denmark, is a true walker's paradise. As you step onto its charming cobblestoned streets, you'll be greeted with a sense of tranquillity and peacefulness that's hard to find in many other cities.
The city is truly alive with a unique blend of history, modernity, and culture that's just waiting to be explored.
The heart of Copenhagen's walkability is its iconic shopping street, Strøget. This impressive pedestrian area stretches over 3,500 feet and is lined with beautiful mediaeval buildings, designer boutiques, coffee shops, and restaurants.
Another best place to start your walking tour of Copenhagen is the iconic Nyhavn waterfront.
This picturesque area is home to brightly coloured houses and a bustling harbour that dates back to the 17th century. Take a stroll along the waterfront and enjoy the stunning views of the city's canals and historic buildings. From there, you can head to the Amalienborg Palace, the official residence of the Danish Royal Family.
Beautiful gardens surround the palace. Thus, it is a wonderful place to take a leisurely walk. If you're lucky, you might even catch the Changing of the Guard ceremony, which takes place daily at noon. If you're interested in art and history, make sure to visit the National Museum of Denmark.
This fascinating museum features exhibits that explore the country's rich cultural heritage, from the Vikings to modern times. It's a great place to spend a few hours and learn more about Danish history.
Amsterdam's picturesque plaza in the morning. Photo by rh2010 - stock.adobe.com
With speed limits of just 30 km/h, Amsterdam prioritises people and active transport, making it one of the most walkable cities in the world.
It is a city that has long been synonymous with cycling and also has its fair share of hidden gems that can be explored on foot.
Sure, biking around town might give you an adrenaline rush, but walking allows you to discover parts of the city that you might have missed otherwise.
Start your walk at the Vondelpark, a serene green oasis that's just a stone's throw away from the bustling Canal Belt. The park is perfect for a leisurely stroll to enjoy the peaceful side paths or play with furry friends.
Walking through Vondelpark is like taking a break from the busy city and getting a glimpse of the real Amsterdam.
Another must-see on your walking tour of Amsterdam is the Brouwersgracht, often voted the most beautiful canal in the city. This short walk is a feast for the eyes, with its colourful houseboats and centuries-old bridges that create a stunning postcard-like view.
Lastly, let's not forget about Maastricht, another highly walkable city in the Netherlands that's worth exploring. It's a place where you can wander around without a guidebook, discovering hidden gems and enjoying the local culture.
The view of the Eiffel Tower from the Mirabeau Bridge over the River. Photo by Ekaterina Pokrovsky - stock.adobe.com
Paris is a city where walking is not just a mode of transportation. It's an experience. The city's compactness makes it ideal for exploring on foot, and tourists can easily cover all the major attractions on a leisurely stroll.
The city's mayor, Anne Hidalgo, is committed to making Paris more pedestrian-friendly, with plans to pedestrianise some of the city's most famous areas, including the Champs Elysées and the Champs de Mars.
Walking through the streets of Paris is like stepping back in time, as the city is steeped in history and culture. From the Seine banks to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre, every step you take is filled with wonder and amazement.
One of the best places to start your walk is on Île de la Cité, the historic cradle of Paris. Here, you'll find some of the city's most beautiful landmarks, including Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, and the Conciergerie.
But don't just stop at the famous cathedral. Take some time to wander around the rest of the small island and admire its historic grandeur and old mansions. You may be surprised at the hidden treasures you'll discover!
And if you're looking for a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, look no further than Île Saint-Louis. This exclusive neighbourhood is one of Paris's most expensive, but it's also one of its most serene.
With no metro station and only two bus stops, it's a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Stroll along its little lanes, and you'll find plenty of artsy boutiques, gourmet food shops, and wonderful patisseries.
And, of course, no visit to Paris would be complete without a walk through the Jardin des Tuileries. These stunning formal gardens, which link the Place de la Concorde and the Louvre, were landscaped by the famous André Le Nôtre, who also created the gardens at Versailles.
Narita-san Shinsho-ji Pagoda - a Japanese Temple. Photo by topntp - stock.adobe.com
Tokyo is a city that may seem overwhelming at first, but with each step you take, you'll discover something new and exciting. It's a journey that you'll never forget, filled with unforgettable memories and experiences that will stay with you forever.
One of the best areas for walking in Tokyo is the historic district of Asakusa. This area is home to the famous Senso-ji temple, as well as narrow streets filled with traditional shops and restaurants. The nearby Ueno Park is also a great place for a leisurely stroll, with its cherry blossom trees, museums, and zoo.
Next, make a stop at Asakusa Engei Hall, a hidden gem that has been the home of traditional Japanese comedic storytelling for generations. Admire the colourful flags and lanterns that adorn its exterior, and appreciate the artistry that has gone into nurturing some of Japan's most famous comic stories.
Another popular destination for walkers is the trendy Shibuya neighbourhood. Here, visitors can cross the famous Shibuya Crossing, known as the busiest intersection in the world. The nearby Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park are also worth a visit.
And finally, reach the magnificent Tokyo Skytree, the tallest free-standing radio tower in the world. As you stand in awe of its towering height and modern architecture, you'll realise that this walk has taken you on a journey through time, from the ancient traditions of Asakusa to the cutting-edge technology of Tokyo Skytree.
New York City, USA
Towers of Manhattan's Midtown East New York. Photo by Francois Roux - Stock.adobe.com
New York City, the city that never sleeps, is an absolute must-visit for anyone who loves to explore on foot. This is a city that offers endless possibilities for walking and discovering hidden gems around every corner.
First destination: Brooklyn Bridge. As you walk across its length, the city skyline opens up before you, revealing a breathtaking view that never fails to leave anyone in awe. It's a National Historic Landmark, and rightly so - the history and significance of this bridge are perceptible at every step.
Another spot that you may love to wander through is Central Park. Amidst the towering skyscrapers and bustling streets, this sprawling oasis is a haven of greenery and tranquillity. Walking along the southern edge of the park, with the shimmering pond on one side and the soaring buildings on the other, is an experience that fills one’s soul with peace and wonder.
When it comes to trendy and chic neighbourhoods, SoHo is hard to beat. The cobblestone streets and stylish boutiques are a feast for the eyes, and everyone would love strolling along Greene and Wooster Streets, taking in the sights and sounds of this bustling area. And, of course, no trip to SoHo is complete without a stop at Sadelle's for a bagel and some salmon salad - a quintessential New York experience.
Overhead landscape of Barcelona's Placa d'Espanya. Photo by marco rubino - Stock.adobe.com
Barcelona, the vibrant city of Spain, beckons to be explored on foot. It is a highly walkable city, with many of its most famous attractions and neighbourhoods easily explored on foot. The city's pedestrian-friendly streets, wide pavements, and abundance of public spaces make it an ideal destination for visitors looking to explore on foot.
The Passeig de Gràcia is a magnificent street that should be on every urban walker's list. The grandeur of the buildings that line this 1.3-kilometre street is simply awe-inspiring, from the colourful and whimsical Casa Batlló to the modernist masterpiece La Pedrera. As you stroll up one pavement and down the other, you'll be surrounded by the beauty of Barcelona's architecture on both sides.
For those who prefer a bit of nature with their urban walks, the Carretera de les Aigües is an excellent option. This popular hiking trail offers the best of both worlds - the tranquillity of the great outdoors and breathtaking panoramic views of the city and sea. The flat nine-kilometre trail runs along Tibidabo Mountain and is a must-see for anyone who loves hiking.
Another fantastic walking spot is Montjuïc Castle, perched atop Montjuïc Hill. This historic castle has been standing in various forms since the Early Middle Ages and offers sweeping views of the port and airport.
The journey to the castle may be a bit of a climb, but the breathtaking views make it all worthwhile. And if you're lucky enough to time your visit with the opening hours of La Caseta del Migdia, you can enjoy a refreshing drink with a stunning view.
Vienna's historic Belvedere. Photo by ilolab - stock.adobe.com
Vienna, the "city of strolling" and "green spaces," is a dream for pedestrians. The government has created 11 city hiking paths, inviting residents and tourists alike to discover the city's hidden gems. With over 50% of Vienna's land devoted to parks and gardens, there's no shortage of stunning natural spaces to explore.
If you take a walk along the Danube Canal in Vienna, you'll enjoy a serene and laid-back atmosphere, especially during the warmer months. The canal runs for a total of 17 kilometres and is a great spot for walking or cycling, with plenty of street art to admire along the way.
If you turn towards the city centre while walking along the canal at street level, you'll reach Vienna's Ringstraße. This stretch of approximately 5 kilometres is separated into nine sections, including Schottenring and the Universitätsring, and features one magnificent building after another.
For a more nature-oriented experience, the Green Prater is a perfect option. This area, which includes the Prater Fairground and the Prater Hauptallee, features trees, spacious meadows, and numerous corners to escape the crowds.
Or else, consider visiting the Vienna Central Cemetery. Despite what you might think, it's not a morbid or creepy place, and many people come to enjoy the nature and wildlife in the 2.5 km² area. You'll discover the imposing Lueger Church, the presidential tomb, and many graves in honour of famous personalities such as Falco, Udo Jürgens, and Beethoven.
Skyline view of Vancouver. Photo by demerzel21 - stock.adobe.com
Vancouver is a city that was made for walking. It's a place where you can explore the city's heart and soul and all the sights and sounds it has to offer, all while being surrounded by natural beauty.
One of the most iconic walks in Vancouver is the Stanley Park Seawall. This 9-kilometre path circles the park's perimeter, offering stunning views of the city skyline and the ocean beyond. Walking along the Seawall, you'll pass by beaches, parks, and even a few totem poles. Whether taking a solo walk or enjoying a romantic stroll with a loved one, the Stanley Park Seawall will impress.
If you're in the mood for a more tranquil walk, head to Queen Elizabeth Park. Here you'll find the VanDusen Botanical Gardens, a stunning collection of flora from around the world. This is a peaceful spot that is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a little while.
Of course, the Stanley Park Seawall Loop is a must-try if you're looking for a challenging walk that will test your endurance. This 22-kilometre walk will take you around the entire park, offering stunning views of both the city and the ocean. It's a long walk, but the scenery is worth it, and you'll feel a great sense of accomplishment when you complete it.
Melbourne's historic Flinders Street building. Photo by Leonid Andronov - Stock.adobe.com
Melbourne may be known for its towering buildings and concrete, but don't let that fool you. This city is bursting with beautiful walks where you can escape the hustle and bustle and reconnect with nature. Whether you're after a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, Melbourne has something to offer.
Take a walk along St Kilda to Port Melbourne and witness the cutest little penguins at the end of the St. Kilda Pier after sundown. It's moments like this that make you feel alive and connected to nature. And if that's not enough, The Tan Track is a must-do, offering breathtaking views of the city skyline and the Botanical Gardens.
The Yarra Trail is another gem, allowing you to start and finish wherever you like, and the route is filled with interesting attractions and historical landmarks.
Take the time to stop and admire Our Magic Hour, a stunning rainbow sculpture that will leave you in awe. Or check out the Collingwood Children's Farm for a taste of rural life in the city.
And let's not forget about the Yarra River Sports Walk, perfect for those who love to explore and get active. The possibilities are endless here, from playing sports to relaxing on a picnic or even going shopping. This walk will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.
Stunning Singapore city skyline architecture. Photo by siraphol - stock.adobe.com
Singapore may be a bustling metropolis, but it's also a city that embraces nature and the beauty of the outdoors. With a variety of parks and walking trails, there are plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs and reconnect with nature in this vibrant city-state.
One of the best places to start your walk in Singapore is at Fort Canning Park, located in the heart of the city. It's a popular spot for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and there are many scenic walking trails that lead you through lush greenery and historic landmarks.
For someone who is looking for something more breathtaking, head over to the MacRitchie Reservoir Park, one of the most popular parks in Singapore. With its serene reservoir and lush greenery, it's easy to forget that you're still in the heart of the city. Take a stroll along the water's edge, or explore the treetop walk for a bird's-eye view of the forest canopy.
Otherwise, you can always immerse yourself in Singapore's rich biodiversity, the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. This ASEAN Heritage Park boasts an impressive array of flora and fauna, including mangroves, mudflats, ponds, and forests.
In there, you can also hone your photography skills while observing the native inhabitants, such as water snakes, birds, and spiders.
Lastly, for a peaceful respite from the city, head over to the Southern Ridges, a 10-kilometre trail that connects several parks and nature reserves in the southern part of Singapore. The trail offers panoramic views of the city skyline and lush greenery, making it a great spot for a relaxing walk or a challenging hike.
Arno River in Florence, Italy. Photo by waku - Stock.adobe.com
Living in Florence is like living in a dream, a world-famous open-air museum with breathtaking beauty around every corner. The city is a perfect blend of historic architecture and modern-day amenities. And what's more, this marvel is entirely walkable!
As you step out of the central train station, the splendour of the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella greets you with its mesmerising white marble and green “serpentine” from Prato. Within a few steps lies the Basilica of San Lorenzo, the cathedral's awe-inspiring architecture will leave you in absolute wonder.
Next, a walk through Via dei Calzaiuoli will lead you to Piazza della Signoria, where the Palazzo Vecchio, a 14th-century building, stands tall. The Loggia dei Lanzi in front of the building is home to some of the world's most famous sculptures, including Perseus of Cellini and Rape of the Sabines.
Walking down the riverside from the Uffizi, you will be amazed by the famous Ponte Vecchio, known for its sparkling shops and exquisite gold smithing. The bridge is surmounted by the equally famous Vasari Corridor, which connects the Uffizi to Palazzo Pitti.
In conclusion, from the ancient alleys of Paris to the dynamic neighbourhoods of Tokyo, the top 10 most walkable cities should help you decide which nation to visit and which streets to explore.
Whether you're a tourist exploring a new city or a local resident going about your day, walking is an excellent way to experience a place. So let's lace up our shoes, hit the pavement, and enjoy the benefits of walking in these amazing cities.
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