Exploring a new city puts you amid local culture and the natural pace of life, and the following 15 most walkable ones in the world are stunning places to discover.
Enjoy the charms of sidewalk cafes, the splendor of boutique shops, and the elegance of grand architecture as you stroll around capital cities, colorful neighborhoods, and historic districts. From the ancient ruins of Rome to the marble monuments of Athens, bustling bazaars of Marrakech and gilded temples of Kyoto, these walkable cities offer plenty to see and do.
Take in the sights, sounds, and aromas that stretch across the globe with this list.
The Old Quarter of Hanoi is one of the best places in the world to explore. As one of the oldest sections of the capital city, it embodies the heritage of Vietnam, with French colonial architecture lining the streets and elements of historical Chinese occupation on display.
Culture comes to life with cyclists peddling fresh flowers on the roadside or inside the Water Puppet Theater, where the country's traditional folktales are shared. With more than a millennium of vibrant life coursing through the Old Quarter, the best time to wander through the streets is early in the morning, before the heat of the day sets in.
Locals take to the walkways along the banks of Hoan Kiem Lake to exercise, Dong Xuan Market fills with intense aromas of chili pepper and noodle soup, and the sunlight washes over the historic tiers of Bach Ma Temple and St. Joseph’s Cathedral.
The beauty of Sydney is legendary, with iconic landmarks like the Harbour Bridge and Opera House towering over the glinting Pacific waters. Besides the golden sands of Bondi Beach and the 19th-century architecture of the Central Business District, Sydney has a charismatic pedestrian thoroughfare that winds along the waterfront. Warm, sunny days are common in the seaside city and outdoor activities are a part of daily life.
Strolling through the Royal Botanic Gardens amid ferns and flying foxes provides excellent views, with a hint of the British colonial history of the city. The pathways lead easily to the Rocks, the oldest European settlement in Australia, which overlooks the crashing waves of Sydney Harbour.
A wander around Sydney can take you from the boats and ferries along Circular Quay, around the Opera House, and across Harbour Bridge. You can also wander along the waterfront between Manly to Spit Bridge, which takes you on a series of marked walkways with sensational views of beaches, bays, and cafes known mainly to locals.
Images of Buenos Aires, once referred to as the “Paris of South America”, often consist of tango, red wine, rowdy soccer games, and delicious steaks.
The sophisticated architecture of the city evolved into a series of diverse neighborhoods, each possessing its own culture, displayed in gorgeous theaters and opera houses, fantastic art galleries, and a unique combination of French, Italian, and Spanish influences that all contribute to the distinct personalities of each barrio.
Walking through the districts introduces you to the elegant tree-lined streets of Recoleta, home to the cemetery where Eva Peron is buried, while the cafes and restaurants of Palermo are known for people watching. Artists and dancers fill the streets of La Boca, where colorful houses rise above the bustling sidewalks, while the antique markets in San Telmo draw enthusiastic crowds.
Whether window shopping at the boutiques lining Avenida Florida or sightseeing at the Plaza de Mayo in front of the rosy façade of the presidential mansion, Buenos Aires offers an authentic experience in which you can discover everything from restaurants to cafes, museums, and bookstores.
Windhoek is the capital of Namibia and a respite from the greater desert that shapes the expansive countryside. It also offers a touch of familiar “Western” ambiance in the form of Neo-Baroque cathedral spires, German castles, and high rises constructed with glass and steel.
Amidst the distinctive atmosphere of the often-overlooked city is its unique pedestrian-friendly attitude, with walkways leading past buildings with pastel-colored facades and picturesque houses with traditional German aesthetics. You can wander through the shadow of Christuskirche, the German Lutheran church with the most recognizable features in the city, and venture to the luxury hotel and restaurant in the Heinitzburg Castle.
The juxtaposition of European features in the African nation adds to the allure of the city, highlighted by the intersection of Independence and Fidel Castro avenues beside the rare greenery of Zoo Park.
Learn more: Namibia Safaris
Fascinating Marrakech enchants, dazzles, and embraces you, with an immersive experience for all your senses inside the thriving historic medina and along the winding lanes of the contemporary French colonial neighborhood of Ville Nouvelle.
The walkable city impresses visitors with the sounds of prayer and storytellers sharing folktales in the bustling central space of Djemaa el Fna Square. Vendors fill the plaza with the aromas of roasting meats, while rooftop cafes entice with sweet mint tea.
You can wander through the souk in search of brass lights adorned with colorful glass or uncover the rainbow hues and captivating aromas of exotic spices. Rug weavers, glitzy shoes, and the grandeur of the 16th-century El Badi Palace capture the complex history and culture of the city, while the serene ambiance of the Menara Gardens highlights the splendor best enjoyed on a stroll.
Dubrovnik instills a sense of awe in visitors when they first set eyes on the orange rooftop tiles of Old Town and turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea. When you walk through the city, the limestone streets and Baroque architecture swiftly whisk you into a fairytale accentuated by narrow lanes, the azure sea, and the opulence of ancient empires.
Not only can you walk in the shade cast by homes in the labyrinth of historic streets, calling to mind the medieval world showcased in Game of Thrones capital Kings Landing (which was filmed in Dubrovnik), you can also walk along the dramatic city walls, its foundations dating back to the 9th century, for spectacular views of the skyline and surrounding waters.
The Old Port has an idyllic ambiance, with boats bobbing on the water and restaurants filling the air with the aromas of calamari on the grill. Walking through the city reveals fascinating history, jewel-like sands, the striking hills of Velia I Mala Petka, and the 16th-century Sponza Palace.
As the former capital of the Incan Empire, Cusco, high in the Andes Mountains, remains a remarkable city that reflects the former prestige of the Incas and Spanish. Once you acclimate to the elevation, the city’s architectural riches showcase historic temples and palaces, fortresses and churches, all set beneath the looming walls of the epic Sacsayhuaman ruins on the hilltop overlooking the valley.
The cobbled lanes and narrow stairways weave through different tiers of a city thriving with cosmopolitan allure. Art galleries, the central market, and the occasional Andean woman feeding pet llamas add to the culture of boutique shops selling alpaca-knit sweaters and the dramatic façade of the Cusco Cathedral towering over the Plaza de Armas.
When you walk through Cusco, you wander through a remainder of Incan heritage mixed with Spanish colonial history, from the temple ruins of Qorikancha to restaurants serving traditional Andean cuisine on the fringes of the trendy neighborhood of San Blas.
The Ancient Roman Empire comes to life in historic districts that preserve ruins and remnants of the former civilization. Gathering around the clear waters of Trevi Fountain, you can begin a walk through time to Roman landmarks.
The Spanish Steps climb a slope to the church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti, wide cobbled lanes lead to the towering columns of the Pantheon, and tree-lined paths guide guests to the former fighting ground of gladiators, the Colosseum.
You can also cross over to the smallest country in the world, Vatican City, where the ruins of Ancient Rome and Italy’s spiritual history collide. The massive museums and religious sites in the Vatican are a dream to wander around.
Renaissance treasures can be found within the checkered hallways of museums, the masterwork of Michelangelo can be seen in the Sistine Chapel, and the Ancient Roman architecture of Castel Sant'Angelo is arresting, all within walking distance of Saint Peter's Square.
Home to royal palaces, ancient districts with timeless restaurants, lush gardens, and contemporary museums, a walk around Paris reveals the many sides of the “City of Light”. You can wander freely along the Seine River to discover the hidden secrets of the famous French city down narrow streets that veer off the beaten path.
You can also navigate the river to the tiny island of le de la Cité to walk between the Gothic walls of Notre Dame, gaze upon the towering stained glass windows of Sainte Chapelle, and cross the oldest bridge in Paris, Pont Neuf.
The Grands Boulevards area, with its chic cafés and historic playhouses, is a glamorous place for an afternoon walk, the Arc de Triomphe is a phenomenal site to stroll to, and views of the Eiffel Tower from the cobblestone streets of the Latin Quarter will guide you deeper into the heart of Paris.
At night the “City of Light” displays the reason for its nickname. Award-winning restaurants and trendy boutiques that line Canal Saint-Martin twinkle, beautiful boulevards glow against the cityscape, and the Louvre is a luminous beacon under the veil of the night sky.
The best walks in Athens showcase the history of the former capital of Ancient Greece, reveal the beauty of the Athenian Coast, and invite travelers to explore the wilderness that surrounds the hilly Mediterranean jewel.
Scenic strolls from central Athens guide you along pedestrian streets and up the slopes of the rocky outcrop on which the Acropolis rests. Walking from the Sacred Rock to crumbling ruins that share insight into the architecture and mythology of Ancient Greece, you can admire sweeping views over the cityscape that stretch to where the sea meets the horizon.
After exploring the Acropolis and ancient ruins of the Parthenon, you can return to Athens and wander the riviera to get your feet wet in the boundless blue waters of the Saronic Gulf, discovering secret bays with glamorous cafés.
Pockets of greenery juxtapose the ancient architecture and modern buildings that rise above ancient neighborhoods such as Plaka. These visions of emerald in and amongst the colors of the cityscape will invite you to walk through landscaped gardens, up hillsides for panoramic views, and down the quieter streets of Athens’s charming districts and historic quarters.
The “City of Eternal Spring”, high in the mountains of Antioquia, is a breathtaking place to visit, one in which visitors are encouraged to walk to immerse themselves in Colombian culture. The city itself is an exceptional place to walk and Medellin is also a gateway to the region’s flourishing wilderness, enchanting rural towns, and ancient Colombian coffee plantations.
In the city you can stroll Carabobo avenue to the bustling markets of El Hueco, wander the administrative streets of La Alpujarra, and browse the historic landmarks that circle the Parque Berrío plaza. From the historic Antioquia Museum to the modern Biblioteca España, the colorful Botanical Gardens, and classy boulevards of El Poblado, there is plenty to discover as you meander Medellin.
Just beyond the city center you can hike in jungles, visit coffee plantations, and traverse forest trails on tours that conclude with a trip to the city center for a Colombian lunch or dinner along bustling pedestrian thoroughfares.
There are few better ways to explore London than on foot. The underground has its perks of getting to places quickly, but most of the best things to see and do in London are accessible as you navigate the winding streets between tube stations.
Summer strolls down Oxford Street invite you to browse boutiques, shopping theaters, and Michelin-starred restaurants between Marble Arch and Tottenham Court Road. Walks along the iconic Thames River can lead you beneath shady trees to the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and so much more.
There is plenty to enjoy as you amble from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the Greenwich Peninsula along The Line, a phenomenal contemporary art walk complete with remarkable installations and evocative sculptures.
Unique, colorful, and overflowing with Spanish culture, the historic city of Seville is a wonderful Andalusian place to discover on walking tours. Remarkable architecture fringes the city streets, a vibrant atmosphere envelops the lively neighborhoods, and flamenco dancers twirl outside gorgeous restaurants as visitors walk by.
You can wander from the architecturally diverse Plaza de España, where Baroque, Renaissance, and Moorish styles blend beautifully behind the twinkling canal. The walk can take you to the gilded Royal Alcázar of Seville, where Christian and Muslim design collides.
As you cross the Guadalquivir river banks to the Torre del Oro, you can further explore Spain’s Middle Ages’ history en route to the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla, an emblematic and beautifully designed bullring. Strolls to the Catedral de Sevilla and La Giralda invite you to explore Spain’s spiritual routes before you embrace the colorful culture of Barrio Santa Cruz.
The city of Kyoto combines ancient Japanese heritage with modern culture, encouraging travelers to trace the region’s fascinating history on walks that include museum, temple, and garden visits.
Time your trip right and you will walk beneath the vibrant pink cherry blossoms as you make your way down forested pathways to the golden Kinkaku-ji Temple and the silver Ginkaku-ji Temple. Tours to other important spiritual sites, such as the Nanzen-ji Temple, show off Kyoto’s lush gardens and towering bamboo forests.
In the heart of the city you can discover fascinating districts as you meander around town. Uncover the history of the Geishas as you walk between trendy bars and colorful heritage sites in Gion and take the Tetsugaku No Michi, known as the Philosopher’s Path, along the canal lined with cherry blossoms. Combining forest temples, evocative town museums, ancient wooden neighborhoods, and bustling culinary markets, walks through Kyoto reveal the stunning nature of Japanese culture.
Istanbul, a major city in Turkey overlooking the Bosphorus Strait, is a treasure trove of history and culture to discover on walks in and around its ancient districts and modern neighborhoods. The Old City is home to many of Istanbul’s iconic landmarks, including the historic Walls of Theodosius that protect local gems in quaint towns and the treasures of Balat and Fener, two fascinating districts within the ancient fortress town.
A walk to the breathtaking grounds of Hagia Sophia, strolls amongst the golden empirical carvings and incredibly curated rooms of Topkapı Palace, and meanders to the unforgettable Blue Mosque are essential.
You can also amble along the city streets on a guided walk through Istanbul’s sensational cisterns that weave an intricate web of architectural charm below the cityscape. Be sure to peruse Sultanahmet Square, view the collections of the Istanbul Archaeological Museums, and let the colorful stalls of the Grand Bazaar guide you through the culture.
The 15 most walkable cities in the world offer endless opportunities to explore diverse cultures, fascinating landmarks, and breathtaking cityscapes. Tours on foot that weave through their historic districts and modern neighborhoods share insight into local heritage, while affording plenty of cinematic moments to capture.
As you consider strolls through the ancient citadel overlooking Athens or walks within the cultural epicenter of Medellin, let our Travelers' Top Destinations further inspire your vacation.