Are you ready to step up your vacation plans? Experienced travelers know that walking through the streets of a city is one of the best ways to learn about both its past and its present. It's also one of the most economical options for exploring a new cultural landscape. A number of major cities around the world are particularly well-suited for hosting heavy pedestrian and tourist traffic, and many even provide free guided or self-guided walking tours. The world awaits, so stretch your muscles, grab your best walking shoes, and try out your new cane for traveling. Here are five top pedestrian-friendly cities that you can experience by putting one foot in front of the other.
Founded in 421 AD, Venice is the perfect destination for pedestrians. In fact, cars aren't even welcome; Venice is considered a largely vehicle-free city. Instead of major roads, it has a system of narrow canals, which makes your visit a unique and romantic adventure that is far better spent on foot. Be sure to visit must-see Venice sites such as St. Mark's Basilica, Burano Island and Rialto Market. Explore the narrow city streets with gusto. As any veteran traveler will tell you, getting lost in Venice should be a top item on your bucket list.
Venice Free Walking Tours
Free morning and afternoon guided walking tours of Venice help you make the most of your time and allow you to explore the city's charming canals, squares and historic architecture at a slower pace. Free nighttime tours are also available. Perhaps, you will spot a cane made in Italy on your adventure.
Copenhagen is another perfect destination for pedestrians. What was once a small fishing town is now a booming cultural powerhouse and an ideal place for tourists to enjoy great food, shopping and the atmosphere that contributes to Danes being considered the happiest people in the world.
The Round Tower, Christiansborg palace and the Royal Palace Amalienborg are must-see attractions. Copenhagen is also home to Stroget, a high-profile shopping street and the longest pedestrian thoroughfare in Europe. When traffic reached a peak in the 1960s, the Copenhagen City Council decided to make it a car-free zone.
Copenhagen Free Walking Tours
A number of friendly, relaxed and educational free walking tours are available in the city. With so much history and culture to cover, you may want to take more than one. You can even book private tours, or enjoy a nighttime pub crawl with free drinks and discounts. Maybe go a little rustic while walking this amazing location.
Seattle is purposefully organized and engineered to be safe and convenient for pedestrians, and the Emerald City is a destination that you don't want to miss. Visit historic sites like Pioneer Square, see the famous Gum Wall, or relax and feed a seagull along the city's beautiful waterfront. Prepare for the best coffee you've ever had, and be sure to bring an umbrella cane.
Seattle Free Walking Tours
Free Seattle walking tours can optimize your experience by letting you see historic sites up close and providing a wealth of knowledge about the area's best restaurants, attractions, and activities. Space is limited on some tours, so be sure to make a reservation.
You haven't seen France until you've taken a walk in Paris. The vibrant, romantic city offers architectural landmarks like the Notre Dame Cathedral and the iconic Eiffel Tower, the most amazing art museums in the world, and beautiful sites like the Latin Quarter, the Seine and Luxembourg Gardens. It's a great place to walk now, but plans are in place to make the city even more pedestrian-friendly in the near future.
Paris Walking Tours
A free walking tour of Paris can show you the secret gems and off-the-map attractions that you might otherwise miss. Visit Paris landmarks at a leisurely pace that allows you to take plenty of pictures. Specialty or themed tours can introduce you to the city's best food and wine, the Montmartre art district and more. You could also try a more extravagant tour and take a well-deserved Paris vacation.
The most populous city in Tuscany, Florence is home to some of the greatest treasures of Italian art and history. Even its churches are art galleries in themselves. You'll never run out of things to do. Must-see highlights include Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, where you can view Michelangelo's David, Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore and Basilica San Miniato al Monte. If you need a break from the jaw-dropping monuments and Renaissance architecture, the Boboli Gardens is a peaceful, natural oasis that will leave you feeling energized and centered. The cobblestone streets of Florence are too narrow for cars, so it's a pedestrian's paradise.
Self-guided Itinerary Routes
If you're ready to explore the streets of Florence, it's easy to on do your own by using a self-guided itinerary route. It's best to tackle one geographical area at a time. Start by exploring the Centro Storico, which is the historic district near the Duomo. The Oltrarno route will lead you to Arno River. If you're feeling energetic, take a hike to San Miniato for an amazing view of the city.
Get the Most From Your Walking Tours
Before you set forth on your foot-powered adventure, be sure to prepare carefully. Bring along comfortable walking shoes, clothing that you can wear in layers, sunscreen, water, personal protection, emergency hygiene and medical items and a route plan. If you're in a city where people speak an unfamiliar language, bring along a reference guide, or download a translation app for your smartphone. Don't forget your identification and emergency contact numbers. Most importantly, prepare to have the time of your life. After experiencing a well-planned walking tour, you may never want to explore the world in any other way.