Walking is good for you. And as someone who ruptured his Achilles a couple months ago, I look forward to doing it again soon. But for those bipeds who aren’t slowed by injury, walking is not only healthy and environmentally responsible, it’s the best way to really and truly investigate a place you’re visiting. When you’re walking, you pick up the vibe of a place and can get lost (in a good way) in little out of the way nooks and crannies.
So, with that in mind, let’s start talking about walking. Here are seven of the most walkable cities outside the United States:
- London, England. This summer’s busiest destination is great for pedestrians. With the Queen’s jubilee celebration and the upcoming Olympic Games, London is on everyone’s mind this summer. London has a website – WalkLondon.org – to help you pick “strategic routes” for your stroll through the City. Travelers going for the Games will want to try the Jubilee Greenway.
- Sydney, Australia. The fact that the weather is glorious most of the time helps, but a stroll around Sydney can take you on a loop from the famous Harbour through the Botanical Gardens to the Rocks. Or you can walk along the eastern shoreline from Bondi Beach to Bronte.
- Melbourne, Australia. Staying Down Under, Melbourne is a place rich in culture criss-crossed with biking and walking paths. Go for a two-mile walk along “The Tan” – The Royal Botanical Gardens.
- Munich, Germany. The center of Munich is very pedestrian-friendly and features plenty to look at on a sightseeing tour – spectacular architecture, huge parks and great shopping. If you take a stroll through the English Garden, just beware of nude sunbathers.
- Edinburgh, Scotland. This city actually dates back to the Bronze Age – we’re talking cavemen stuff. But the city infrastructure goes back to medieval times, when what is now called Old Town Edinburgh was built. Predictably, with 800-year-old streets, everything is pretty close together and quite walkable. And New Town, dating back to the 1800s, is also very walkable and features more modern architecture. Walkers will want to travel the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Place featuring great pubs, bistros and cafes.
- Paris, France. There’s plenty to see in Paris ( as you may have heard) and what better way to see it all then walking? Strolling along the Seine River and crossing its many bridges is a must-do for any tourist. And there are plenty of gardens and parks that make for a great stroll through the City of Lights.
- Venice, Italy. Obviously, Venice is known for its canals, but you don’t need a gondola to get around. And in fact, the lack of cars is a major attraction for pedestrians – no chance of getting halfway across a boulevard and having to scamper for your life. Getting around the main areas of Venice is pretty straightforward – here’s one walking tour that will give you a big dollop of history.
There are dozens of other cities around the word that are often best toured on foot. Just remember to bring some decent walking shoes.
Photo by markdrasutis.