Despite what many travel magazines would have you believe, there’s more to Florence than the Duomo, and Paris isn’t all about the Eiffel tower. It’s easy to focus on these ‘main attractions’ and lose touch with the secrets buried in the sprawl of the surrounding streets. Walking through a city is the best way to experience it like a local and to find the hidden treasures not published in guidebooks. Here are my five favourite cities to explore on foot.
Florence is easily among my favourite cities, and also one of the most walkable. Hugging the bank of the beautiful Arno river, Florence offers a glimpse into the art and architecture of Italy’s Renaissance period. While it’s more famous attractions such as the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery may draw you into the city, it’s the cobbled back streets and town squares that make you fall in love with the Tuscan capital.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An is scenic, peaceful and for the most part, flat, making it the perfect destination to explore on foot. Hoi An sits on the Thu Bõn River – once a major port and rich with history and culture. Decorated with vibrant colours and traditional lanterns, it’s been named a world heritage site and offers a glimpse into a more traditional Vietnamese life. Teeming with temples, fabric and fresh produce markets, and famous for its textile and garment industry, Hoi An will intrigue and delight you from the moment you first visit.
Almost 18 million tourists visited Paris in 2018. This city is home to the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and, of course, the Eiffel Tower, yet it may be the boulevards and back streets that you’ll remember most. The city is large but surprisingly walkable and easy to navigate, so take a step off the well-beaten tourist track and see how the Parisians live. I recommend admiring the parks and architecture with a croissant in hand.
If history and culture are a big determinant when choosing travel destinations, this city is surely high on your list. Historic Jerusalem was made to be walked through, with sites such as the Western Wall, City of David National Park, and Hezekiah’s Tunnels only accessible on foot. Explore the Jewish Quarter or wander along the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City and enjoy the view of the ancient streets below.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
After a friend described Buenos Aires as “the most relaxed big city” he’d ever seen, I’ve been itching to go. With all the vibrance and passion of a Latin city laid over the grandeur of European architecture, this city is made to be explored on foot. Big, bold and beautiful, Buenos Aires is known for its music and nightlife, so keep your walking shoes on after the sun goes down, there’s always more to be discovered.
Would you explore these cities on foot? Have we missed any of the most walkable cities?
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