15 Most Walkable Cities in the World to Visit or Live In

15 Most Walkable Cities in the World to Visit or Live In

These cities are made for walking.

What does it mean to live in walkable cities? As someone who grew up on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, my first instinct is to rely on a car for my travel needs. The idea of being able to get to my destination on foot has always seemed impractical, and rather dangerous at times.

However, some cities in the world demand nothing more from you than a sturdy pair of walking shoes and a good sense of direction. Imagine a place where you can get groceries, visit your favourite cafe, stroll in a park, and check out local attractions, all within a single walking route.

Sounds too good to be true? We’ll show you otherwise. From Europe to Asia, here are the most walkable cities in the world that are monuments to great urban planning.

Looking to stay connected as you explore the world’s best cities on foot? Good news: You’ll only need a single eSIM for 50 countries with Jetpac Global, winner of the Best Global Roaming Service category in the 2023 TripZilla Excellence Awards! Exceptional data roaming can take you a long way on the road, whether you’re a digital nomad working on the move or a leisure traveller documenting your journey online. 

Also read: 12 Best Destinations for Solo Female Travellers

Most walkable cities in Europe

1. Amsterdam – Netherlands

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Amsterdam might be famous across the globe for its more “botanical-based” attractions (if you get my drift), but it’s also one of the most walkable cities in the world. On foot, you can traverse this urban paradise and catch most of its highlights in a day or two. At the heart of the city, you’ll find Dam Square, which is home to several attractions including the Royal Palace, Niewe Kerk (New Church), and a Ripley’s Believe or Not Exhibit

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From Dam Square, you can walk to the famous Amsterdam Canal Belt, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is a great spot to admire the city’s architecture and is also home to the Anne Frank House. If you need to do a little retail therapy, you can also walk to the Nine Streets shopping area from here.

You can also trek to Vondelpark, which is Amsterdam’s answer to New York’s Central Park. Other must-see sites within walking distance are the Museum Square, Leidse Square (a nightlife hub), and Rembrandt Square

Also read: 10 Stunning Airbnbs in Amsterdam That Deserve Your Attention

2. Barcelona – Spain

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 With a mild Mediterranean climate and superb architectural layout, Barcelona effortlessly reigns as one of the most walkable cities in the world. Start off your journey in Ciutat Vella, the city centre. Here, you’ll have easy access to the four sections of the city’s Old Town: the Gothic Quarter, El Raval, El Born, and La Barceloneta.

You can find plenty of historical buildings while exploring the medieval-style streets of the Gothic Quarter, including the Cathedral of Barcelona. Check out El Born for a good blend of trendy restaurants, bars, and shops. Don’t forget to also visit the Picasso Museum while you’re here.

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Another great walking street in Barcelona is Paseo de Gracia. As you trek down its 1.5-kilometre stretch, admiring luxury hotels and modernist architecture, stop by Casa Battlo. This unique building was designed in 1904 by the great Antoni Gaudí himself and is considered one of his masterpieces. You might also recognise one of Gaudí’s other works, La Sagrada Familia, which sits proudly in Barcelona’s Eixample District.

If you’re in the mood for a longer stroll, explore Avinguda Diagonal. This 11-kilometre avenue cuts the city of Barcelona in two and stretches until it reaches the sea. Here, there is an ample amount of restaurants for your tapas needs, and a ton of shops to check out.

Also read: 15 Stunning Airbnbs in Barcelona You’ll Want to Move Right Into

3. Copenhagen – Denmark

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Arguably one of the most walkable cities in Europe, Copenhagen is yet another city that is built with pedestrians in mind. There are absolutely no motor vehicles allowed in Strøget, the shopping district, which means you can quite literally shop until you drop. If you’re feeling peckish, take a break in the Nyhavn District for some great restaurants, bars, and cafes.

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Spice up your walk with an adrenaline rush at Tivoli Gardens, one of the world’s oldest amusement parks. Despite its age, you can still enjoy thrilling rides like the Demon and Fatamorgana.

After that, you let your feet take you to the food market of Reffen for an early dinner. When night falls, you can make your way to the Round Tower, which is Europe’s oldest observatory. Ascend the winding spiral staircase to the top, and you’ll be treated to a bird’s-eye view of Copenhagen.

Also read: 14 Best Airbnbs in Copenhagen to Explore the Vibrant City

4. Paris – France

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Not only is Paris one of the most walkable cities in the world, but it’s also one of the most romantic places you’ll ever come across. Despite the heavy traffic, travelling on foot is actually one of the better ways to explore the City of Light. Start off by admiring the grand architecture of the Eiffel Tower before walking off to explore the Champ de Mars (Field of Mars), one of the largest parks in Paris.

After that, you can enjoy a leisurely 30-minute stroll through the city, cross the Seine, and find yourself at the Arc du Triomphe. This iconic monument is a symbol of French identity, and took 30 years to build. From there, make your way down the Champ de Elysees avenue, which is a mecca of luxury shopping, gourmet restaurants, theatres, and much more.

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 Another great spot to explore on foot in Paris is Montmartre. In times past, this idyllic was home to famous artists such as Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh. While you’re here, you simply must visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, the Saint-Pierre Church, and of course, Moulin Rouge.

Also read: 16 Paris Airbnbs With Eiffel Tower Views for Every Budget

5. Zurich – Switzerland

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Zurich’s flat central districts, broad lanes, and pedestrian-friendly bridges over the Limmat River make it another one of the most walkable cities in the world. Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich’s main shopping avenue, is a great place to stroll down and do a little window shopping. After that, you can walk to the picturesque Augustinergrasse, which is a street that has existed in Zurich since medieval times.

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Lindenhof is another great place in Zurich that’s easily reachable via walking. Once home to a Roman castle, today Lindenhof serves as an open green to relax in. Zurich’s famous Grossmunster Church is another popular destination that you can walk to. Don’t forget to check out Sechseläutenplatz, which is Zurich’s largest town square, and home to the city’s opera house. 

Also read: 15 Best Airbnbs in Switzerland With the Most Amazing Views

6. Prague – Czech Republic

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 Ah, Prague. Definitely among one of the most walkable cities in Europe, you’ll want to bring your walking shoes to properly experience this baroque masterpiece. In the Old Town Square, you’ll be able to witness an entire array of historical landmarks such as the Tyn Church, with its Gothic spires piercing the sky, the baroque St. Nicholas Church, the Old Town Hall, and an astronomical clock. Every time this clock strikes the hour from 9am to 11pm, a mechanical clockwork procession of the Twelve Apostles ensues.

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The Charles Bridge is also one of Prague’s highlights and is a walkable distance from the Old Town Square. It was built in the 14th century under the commission of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, and is adorned with statues of 30 saints. Head there in the early morning hours or the evening for that perfect romantic Prague snapshot.

Don’t forget to check out Prague Castle, too. A seat of power in the days of old, this immense construction has a collection of individual sights to check out. These are the Golden Lane, St George’s Basilica, the South Gardens, and the St. Vitus Cathedral.

Also read: 10 Best Airbnbs in Prague That Deserve Your Attention

7. Florence – Italy

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To visit Florence is to immerse yourself in beauty and history. Yet another one of the most walkable cities in the world, a suitable word for Florence would be: compact. As soon you exit the Firenze Santa Maria Novella Station, you’ll find yourself in front of the Santa Maria Novella: the first great basilica to be built in the city. A few steps away lies the Basilica of San Lorenzo, housing the extraordinary Medici Chapels

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Also within walking distance is the Piazza San Giovanni. It houses the incredible Duomo Complex, one of Florence’s many architectural masterpieces from the Renaissance. Don’t forget to also walk to Palazzo Vecchio. Once a Florentine seat of power, it’s now a museum. There’s also the incredible Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundred), which sports panelled ceilings, large wall frescoes, and golden decorations — all of which will leave you breathless.

Looking for a couple more gems of Florence to stroll to? Visit the Uffizi Museum to see the works of legendary artists like Raphael, Botticelli, Caravaggio, and more. Cross the Arno River and let yourself marvel at the various shops before your feet take you to the Palazzo Pitti, once home to the influential Medici family. Here, you can also visit the Boboli Gardens, Florence’s very own green lung.

8. Berlin – Germany

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A capital with a chequered past, Berlin has risen from the dark ashes of its history to emerge as one of the most walkable cities in the world. Start with a visit to the monumental Brandenburg Gate. This is the only surviving historical city gate present and it has come to symbolise a reunified Germany after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

If you’re looking to reflect on the darker side of Berlin’s past, the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial is a must-visit destination. While not as famous as Auschwitz or Dachau, it serves as a solemn reminder of the horrors of war enacted during the reign of the Third Reich. After this visit, you’ll most likely need a breather. Walk over to Kreuzberg and find a spot to refuel amongst the many restaurants, cafes, and craft beer bars in the area.

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For a closer look at some of Berlin’s historical churches, you can walk to the Berlin Cathedral and Marienkirche (St Mary’s Church). These aren’t very far from one another, and each provides great opportunities to peek further into the city’s history. Otherwise, head to Alexanderplatz (Alexander Square) for some great shopping spots. 

Also read: 10 Best Airbnbs in Berlin to Soak Up the Sights of the City

9. Lisbon – Portugal

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Nicknamed the City of Seven Hills (an origin it shares with Rome), Lisbon is a city that will charm you with its rich culture and slow pace. Despite the aforementioned hilly terrain, this is also one of the most walkable cities in the world, thanks to a dense urban layout and handy network of trams. 

At the waterfront Praca do Comercio (Commerce Square), you’ll find plenty of restaurants, cafes, and wine cellars to fuel up before beginning your walking odyssey. Here, you can also check out the Arco de Rua Augusta, which commemorates the resurgence of Lisbon after the Great Earthquake of 1755. After that, you can walk to a unique nearby attraction, the Santa Justa Lift. This street lift was built in 1902, and a ride to the top offers spectacular views of the surrounding downtown Baxia neighbourhood.

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You can also walk to the Carmo Archeological Museum: a former convent that overlooks the Rossio Square and holds pieces from all periods of Portuguese history. Nearby this is the Church of Saint Roch, one of the most beautiful churches in all of Lisbon. If you need a place to put up your feet and take a break, head to the Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara for a beautiful view of the surrounding city.

 Also read: 10 Best European Countries That Won’t Break the Bank

Most walkable cities in North America

10. San Francisco – California

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For a big hilly city, San Francisco remains surprisingly walkable. One of its most pedestrian-friendly areas is Chinatown. This neighbourhood is full of historic buildings, pocket parks, and shops to explore. After that, you can walk over to the popular Fisherman’s Wharf neighbourhood. Here, you can check out the Aquarium of the Bay, go on a cruise from the pier, or just have a bite of some really great seafood.

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One more interesting place to explore on foot in San Francisco is Lombard Street. Famous for its crookedness, this street takes eight jagged turns across Russian Hill, resulting in a peculiar zig-zag path. If you’re willing to put in the work, you can actually walk from here to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge: the most photographed bridge in the world. Just make sure that you’re bundled up, because it tends to get a little chilly.

Also read: 17 Gorgeous Airbnbs in San Francisco — From Luxury Homes to Budget Stays

11. Montreal – Canada

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Montreal is a great city to walk around in, and chances are you’ll be able to see some of its most impressive attractions without ever needing a car. A good place to explore is the historic neighbourhood of Old Montreal, and you can begin at the Chapel of Our Lady of Good Help (Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours). This charming building was built in 1771 as a place of pilgrimage for sailors arriving at the Old Port of Montreal.

After that, you can walk to the historic Bonsecours Market. After escaping demolition in the 1960s, you’ll be able to find plenty of restaurants, cafes, and artisanal stores here. It’s also a great place to be if you’re keen on getting delicious Canadian maple tree products in the form of beer, wine, butter, and even lollipops.

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There are also some great museums within walking distance in the area, so be sure to check out the Chateau Ramezay Museum and the Pointe-a-Calliere Museum. Depending on how much energy you have left, you can also trek to Saint Paul Street, which was a major marketplace way back in 1803. Now, you can stroll down its length and pop into various art galleries, eateries, and stores at your leisure.

Also read: 12 Best Cities to Live in Canada If You Want a Fresh Start

Most walkable cities in Asia

12. Seoul – South Korea

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 While most of the world’s walkable cities tend to be in Europe, you can also find some in Asia. One of them is Seoul, where there’s plenty to see and do — starting with Bukchon Hanok Village. This collection of 900 well-preserved homes offers a small glimpse into Korean life during the Joseon era. Now, most of them function as guest houses, cultural centres, restaurants, and tea houses which you can visit.

It’s a roughly 20-minute walk from the village to Gyeongbokgung Palace, which is the largest of Seoul’s Five Grand Palaces. As you approach, be sure to take a picture of Gwanghwamun Gate, the main entrance to the palace that’s famous for its imposing structure. 

When you’re finished soaking in the historical splendour of the palace and its grounds, you can walk to the Insadong District — again, it’s only a 20-minute journey on foot. Nestled within this shopping street are a wide variety of antique dealers, arts and crafts stores, and restaurants offering authentic Korean cuisine.

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If you’ve got a little more steam left, feel free to walk Cheonggye Plaza. Here, the Cheonggye Stream runs through downtown Seoul, making its way under 22 bridges before flowing into the Hang River. This is a great place to just hang out and admire some scenic views, especially at night.

Also read: 26 Seoul Airbnb Stays in Popular Areas & Neighbourhoods

13. Kyoto – Japan

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One of Japan’s more underrated cities when it comes to walkability is Kyoto. This city is an embodiment of Japanese history and culture. Expect to find plenty of temples and teahouses on your walks, with a great place to start being the Southern Higashiyama District. Visit the Kiyomizu-Dera Temple first, before making your way down to the old cobblestone lanes of Ninnen-zaka and Sannen-zaka. You’ll find a good number of shops here, as well as cafes and restaurants if you’re looking for a bite.

After that, head over to Maruyama Park, which happens to be Kyoto’s most popular spot for viewing cherry blossoms. Located nearby is the Chionin Temple, which you’ll be able to pick out thanks to its massive ornate entrance. This is the head temple of the Jodo sect of Buddhism, and is more than worth taking a moment to explore.

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In the Northern Higashiyama District, you’ll find even more attractions to check out, but thankfully it has sparser crowds. While you’re walking about, check out the National Museum of Modern Art and the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. There are also plenty of great parks in this area, and you can also visit the nearby Heian Shrine.

Also read: 12 Gorgeous Airbnbs in Kyoto for Every Kind of Traveller

14. Taipei – Taiwan

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Taipei has an excellent public transportation system and pedestrian-friendly streets that offer a delightful experience on foot. From Liberty Square, you can walk to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, which is an important national landmark. Keep your eyes peeled for the changing-of-the-guard ceremony that takes place once every hour from 9am to 5pm. Liberty Square also lets you access the National Concert Hall and National Theatre.

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After that, stroll over to Ximending: Taiwan’s first pedestrian zone. Here, you’ll find an abundance of stores and street vendors to satisfy all your shopping cravings. While you’re here, be sure to swing by the Red House Theatre. This historic building was built in 1908 during the Japanese rule of Taiwan and served as a market. Today, you can swing by to catch a theatrical performance or simply grab a drink at the cafe.

Also within walking distance is Bopiliao Old Street. Most of the buildings here are over 100 years old and have been carefully preserved as markers of Taiwan’s colonial period. 

Also read: 8 Budget-Friendly Airbnb Apartments in Taipei for Your Next Trip

15. Singapore

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Singapore’s combination of top-notch public transportation and impeccable urban planning makes it easy for anyone to navigate on foot. A great place to explore on foot is the Boat Quay. Once the busiest section of Singapore’s old port, the shop houses from that era remain standing and have been carefully preserved. Now, they’re home to various bars, restaurants, and shops.

From there, you can walk to the Asian Civilisations Museum, which is a great place to learn more about the various cultures that make up Singapore’s cosmopolitan nation. Don’t forget to visit the nearby Cavenagh Bridge while you’re at it. And of course, no visit to Singapore will be complete without seeing the famous Merlion, which is within walking distance from the museum.

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Another attraction in Singapore to be enjoyed on foot is Marina Bay. Be sure to check out the iconic Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay, the Sands Skypark Observation Deck, the ArtScience Museum, and the Singapore Flyer. On top of that, if you’re in the Bay at night, keep an eye out for the dazzling Spectra light show, which lights up the entire area with impressive lasers and fountain jets.

Also read: 7 Tips for Travelling to Singapore on a Budget, According to Locals

And there you have it, the 15 most walkable cities in the world, summed up for your reading pleasure. Of course, the only way to really do them justice is to get out there and walk those streets for yourself. Tread carefully and get ready to find new adventures on every corner.

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About Author

Jeremiah Patrick
Jeremiah Patrick

A journeyman wordsmith wandering the creative lexicon, looking to craft a masterpiece. The only thing on par with Jerry’s love for a good story is the time he spends playing dauntingly difficult video games, reading works of fiction, and listening to horror podcasts. His mood shifts between dark brooding and cheery quips, depending on how much caffeine swirls in his system.