It’s a well-established fact that the best way to explore a city is on foot. It’s the perfect way for a traveller to enjoy the magical combination of sights, sounds, and smells that make a place unique. Whether it’s feeling the cobblestones under your feet in Rome, the sound of the waves crashing on Bondi Beach in Sydney, or the scents at a food market in Bangkok, you can’t experience these things from the windows of a bus or a car. That being said, here’s a look at some of the most walkable cities in Europe.
The effort required to navigate Lisbon’s winding streets on foot is well worth it. The old Alfama neighbourhood is a maze of twisting lanes packed with residences and cafes painted in soft pastel hues. People congregate to view breathtaking sunsets over the city and the Tagus river beyond at the Miradouro de Santa Luzia or the Miradouro das Portas do Sol. In the evening, take a stroll through the winding alleyways and keep an ear out for the melodic fado music coming from nearby eateries.
The compact island city of Venice is the ideal size for a quick walkthrough. Furthermore, several of its most well-known attractions are adjacent to one another. Several of the city’s most recognisable structures are located close to St. Mark’s Square, Venice’s magnificent piazza. The 900-year-old Basilica of St. Mark, surrounded by beautiful gold mosaics, faces the plaza. After a short distance, you will find yourself beneath the Campanile, a bell tower that offers breathtaking views of the city’s dispersed red roofs. Visit the Jewish Ghetto for an evening stroll to gaze into the windows of independent galleries and kosher bakeries.
Although you might become a little out of breath, walking through Edinburgh’s small historic centre is rewarding. Start in the Grassmarket, an open space with landmark pubs and a view of Edinburgh Castle below. After there, make your way along Victoria Street, which is dotted with brightly coloured 19th-century structures that house shops. To truly experience medieval Edinburgh, meander along the Royal Mile and veer off into the shadowy side alleyways.
Wandering through Seville’s historic district is a terrific way to discover Baroque churches looming over tiny tapas cafes. After becoming lost in the winding lanes, head toward Seville’s imposing Gothic Cathedral. You may also get to the Plaza de Espaa, a space crowned by a vast semicircular pavilion covered in vibrantly coloured tiles.
You can see why Budapest is known as the “Paris of the East” by taking a stroll about the city. Wide, tree-lined lanes are bordered by magnificent Art Nouveau structures adorned in whirling floral and plant patterns. Walking is the only way to have enough time to appreciate all the lavish ornamentation on the facades. When you are done with the opulent structures, walk to Buda’s hills on the western bank of the river.