We’ve taken Germany’s S-Bahn in the wrong direction for an hour without noticing, gotten scammed by a taxi driver at Heathrow, and fallen so seasick on a ferry to Sardinia we could barely make it off the boat. What we’re saying is, we’re very into walkable cities that render other modes of transportation largely obsolete. Here, five of our favourites in Europe.
Like in Amsterdam, you have to take advantage of Venice’s famous canals via gondola ride (touristy but fun), but in our opinion, the best way to experience this incredible city is by foot. After dodging pigeons in Piazza San Marco, walk over to the Hotel Saturnia & International for the best Aperol Spritz of your life and watch as off-duty gondoliers start filtering in for a much-needed after-work drink. Be forewarned: You will get lost (even with a map), but just go with it.
We’ll be honest: Paris is a big city, and we probably wouldn’t advise covering it in its entirety by foot, but certain neighborhoods and sites must be explored by walking. Between early evening strolls along the Seine to lazy hours spent perusing the Jardin des Tuileries, there’s nothing quite like a leisurely stroll in Paris. When it comes time for food or shopping (which, when in Paris, is pretty much all the time), walk to and through the colorful Latin Quarter, the chic Marais and the historic Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
This compact capital set at the mouth of the River Liffy is perfect for exploring sans car. Don’t let its relatively small size fool you, though: There’s a ton of charm packed into every square foot. Explore St. Stephen’s Green, a beautiful public park, take advantage of the city’s up-and-coming food scene (try the seasonal menu at Mulberry Garden) and swing by the Old Jameson Distillery or the Guinness Storehouse. For something a touch more intellectual, scope out the ground of Trinity College—especially the library, which is home to the Book of Kells (it dates back to 800 AD).
Honestly, Bruges kind of feels like a fairy-tale. Fairly small and generally flat, Bruges is excellent for walking slowly and eating chocolate. Pop into one of the city’s many incredible chocolate shops in the Markt, Bruges main square, and then head over to the Burg, the second main square, to gawk at the Stadhuis, the city’s 14th-century, neo-Gothic town hall, and the elaborate Brugse Vrije courthouse.
Set along the Guadalquivir River, Seville is as flat as it is packed with history. The Plaza Mayor pictured above is exclusively pedestrian and, as you can see, crazily beautiful. Plus, with more than 1,000 tapas bars (you have to try the garlic shrimp at La Pepona), there are plenty of places to stop and refuel while walking the days away. One caveat: Seville gets hot (like, very hot) in the summer, so if you’re going between June and August, plan on hydrating—a lot.