From the Americas through to Europe and Asia, these cities were made for walking
In theory, you can walk through any city in the world, even if it should take you a week to cross from one side to the other. Perhaps we can all agree that some places are just much more suitable for walking and here is our selection.
Despite being one of the largest cities in the US, surprisingly, Boston has a very intimate feel to it. It’s also one of the oldest, having been founded by English Puritans in 1630 and until today it has retained its historic, dense core and the typical early New England architecture laid out throughout its irregular street grid. Even though some might say Boston is somewhat of a European city, it is primarily modern, global, and also distinctly American.
If you decide to walk through Boston (even though views from the T — the local transportation system — are quite spectacular at times), definitely go check out the old USS Constitution Ship on the north side of town. Laid down in 1794, never-defeated-in-battle Old Ironsides is the oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat today. And while in the Navy Yard, visit the museum, USS Cassin Young battleship from WWII, or the early 19th-century Commandant’s House.
Cross the Charlestown Bridge spanning the Charles River and enter the old center of town — the North End. If you continue on Hull Street, you’ll pass the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground and the Old North Church and make a stop at the colonial Paul Revere House, which was built around 1680 and became the home of American patriot Paul Revere during the late 18-century American Revolution.
Following the famous Freedom Trail, you’ll spot a number of other important historic sites before arriving at the famous and oh, so lovely Boston Common, the oldest city park in the US dating back to 1634. Cross the road and you’ll enter the Public Garden created two centuries after Boston Common.
If you continue further past the park through the Back Bay neighborhood, you’ll come up to Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox baseball team, and some distance later you’ll reach the birthplace of JFK, the 35th US president. With a bit of a detour back north you’ll come up to Harvard University, which is, of course, mainly famous for its intellectual heritage. All this in just one town!
Within the entire region of Southeast Asia, the island nation of Singapore definitely stands out for its ultra-modern cityscape and an interesting mixture of diverse cultures. In the last century, it’s seen an incredible transition towards a destination that at first sight might look like a set from a science fiction movie.
To experience the truly progressive nature of the city, head out to Marina Bay, Singapore’s new downtown. Complementing Singapore’s reputation as a garden city, you’ll find there the remarkable Gardens by the bay, which opened in 2012. The best time to visit them is at dusk as you’ll be treated to a spectacular light and sound show. The 18 supertrees, measuring between 25 and 50 meters, are perhaps the most iconic attraction of the Bay. If you don’t have a fear of heights, check out the 22-meter-high OCBC Skyway constructed in the midst of the Supertree Grove for stunning vistas of the gardens.
Within walking distance of the gardens lies Merlion Park. You can easily reach it by crossing the Helix Bridge, a footbridge modeled on the spiral structure of DNA. The city skyline will open up to you along the way and if you stay long enough to see it both in the daylight and in the dark, you can watch how the whole view changes under a different light. while there, you can admire the nearly nine-meter-tall water-spewing Merlion statue, a half-fish, and half-lion stone sculpture.
But Singapore isn’t all just about being modern. It also embraces its rich history that you can learn a lot about in the National Museum of Singapore, which is the oldest museum in the country opened in 1849.
Following the wide, clean streets that Singapore is no doubt so proud of, you’ll arrive in Chinatown, huddled among the tallest skyscrapers around. It’s a culturally diverse enclave within the heart of the city, celebrating Chinese heritage in the area. It’s more than just an interesting place to wander about. Besides the many market stalls and restaurants, you can visit the old Thian Hock Keng Temple or the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum.
Singapore is a city of contrasts that fit together in perfect harmony.
Probably best known as the birthplace of Mozart and a set for the movie The Sound of Music, this Austrian city has a lot more to offer at practically every corner.
Walk towards the Mirabell Palace and Gardens just by the river Salzach. The palace was built in 1606 by prince-archbishop Wolf Dietrich for his beloved Salome Alt. Its name is a combination of Italian mirabile meaning admirable, and bella meaning beautiful. The Gardens is an 18th-century ensemble of a number of smaller gardens and fountains, such as the Dwarf Garden, Orangery, or the Pegasus Fountain.
Pass Makartplatz features the so-called Dance Master’s House, which was Mozart’s residence from 1773 to 1787. Continue south across the river and you’ll come up at Mozart’s birthplace (he was born 27 January 1756), a canary yellow house turned into one of the most-visited museums in Austria.
Everywhere from across town you’ll have a great view of the iconic Hohensalzburg Castle, sitting atop a small hill at the edge of Salzburg’s Altstadt. Its construction began in 1077 under the then archbishop and till this day it survives as one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. It’s a must-see in Salzburg but it’s so big that you won’t miss it.
To reach it though — or to leave it again — you’ll first have to catch the sight of beautiful buildings placed in the Old Town, such as the Kapitelplatz square and Kapitelschwemme fountain. The square itself was once the site of the Cathedral Abbey but the archbishopric was dissolved in 1803. The fountain, slightly off the center of the square, was once a horse pond and despite its reconstructed 18th-century facade modeled on Roman architecture, it was used by horses to access water.
When exploring the beauty of both the old and modern European city, look up and into the distance to see the peaks of the Alps which impose themselves on each view of the surrounding landscape.
The capital of Nepal is a mixture of smells, sounds, and colors. It might seem like chaos to some but it’s the steady flow of activity that keeps you at a constant level of amazement. One of the loveliest walks, almost a perfectly straight line and really not far at all, is from Durbar Square to Ason.
Durbar Square is right in the heart of the old town and it’s an amazing example of traditional Kathmandu architecture (despite the fact some of the buildings were damaged during the 2015 earthquake). Durbar means palace and it makes complete sense within the context; it is a place where the city’s rulers were once crowned and legitimized and where they ruled from. The square in fact consists of three loosely connected squares dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, even though many of the buildings there are much older.
Visit Hanuman Dhoka, a complex of structures and the royal palace for the Malla kings and the Shah dynasty. Hanuman is one of the most worshipped and celebrated figures in the whole region and he’s often referred to as the Hindu monkey god. His statue guards the entrance (dhoka means entrance) to the palace — cloaked, shielded by an umbrella, and his face covered in orange veneer applied by his devotees.
Further on, you’ll pass through Indra Chowk (unless you get lost in a muddle of people, traffic, and stunningly decorated temples and shrines), a vibrant local market selling all possible things, including traditional beads worn by married Hindu women. The Ason market is the biggest in town, having six busy streets spill into it. If you can make it there in the morning, you’ll enjoy a more peaceful atmosphere and observe the locals setting up their stalls for the day. Fittingly, the Annapurna temple of abundance is located right in the middle of all the market sellers.
Luckily, Kathmandu isn’t all just crowds of people, explore the local cafes and discover the modern face of the city in a valley at the foot of the Himalayas.
Lively music, amazing food, and full of colors. This Caribbean colonial gem on the northern coast of Colombia is more than a few streets of the old town center. However, the walled city of Cartagena might just be a good starting point for exploring the history of the place.
The 11-km-long walls are hard to overlook. They were commissioned following an increasing number of pirate and corsair raids to protect an important port in the area. The construction was finished in 1796, after nearly two hundred years of building, and is complete with bastions and fortifications all around. From the seaside, you can catch beautiful views of sunsets and the modern contemporary city center.
Behind the walls of Cartagena, you’ll find mainly colonial architecture in a whole range of pastel colors. It’s a photographer’s dream with balconied buildings dripping with flowers. You won’t need a map but even if you do get lost, just go with the flow and enjoy the lively vibe.
The main entry point to the old fortified center is at the Plaza de la Paz. The yellow clock tower Puerta del Reloj marks the main and original gate to the city. Its name comes from the clock crowning it since the 18th century.
Let’s leave the old city behind for a minute and explore the hip neighborhood of Getsemani. It’s less touristy and has a more bohemian flair to it, and it’s also full of up-and-coming cafes and restaurants. There are colored umbrella canopies over the streets, flags, wall murals, and other artwork.
If you decide you’ve had enough walking and want to just relax and enjoy some of the Caribbean sun, head south towards Bocagrande and Castillogrande. Cartagena has a number of city beaches that are perfect for an afternoon off from all the sightseeing Cartagena offers. Just be firm with the vendors.
It doesn’t matter if you’re after learning about the past or exploring the hip and modern, in Cartagena you can find it all.
Located in the heart of Belgium between the regions of Flanders and Wallonia, Brussels is a charming mixture of old and new. While it features many historical sites, it’s also the capital of the European Union and headquarters to a number of governmental and international institutions, such as the Nato. Being in the presence of all these important organizations — and supposedly important people — certainly makes Brussels quite exciting and unique.
Start your walk at the central square in Brussels — Grand Place. Not only a Unesco Heritage Site but allegedly also one of the most beautiful squares in Europe (of course that’s up to you to decide). Here you’ll find the Brussels Town Hall, a masterpiece of Brabantine Gothic architecture from the 15th century.
Apparently, the people of Brussels like statues that look like they’re urinating and there are three in the vicinity of the square. There’s the famous Manneken Pis, which was put up following the 14th-century story of a local boy who saved the city by urinating on a burning fuse. However, as a measure against water waste, nothing comes out of the boy’s privates these days. Nearby, there is also the Jeanneke Pis, a squatting female counterpart or a sister of the urinating little boy, and Zinneke Pis, a urinating dog statue.
The typical cobblestones, which were once a Belgian specialty, are slowly disappearing from the city but the streets are still full of beauty. When wandering through them, look for some typical Belgian delicacies, such as frites or waffles, which you can easily get anywhere on the street (later in the evening you can switch to craft beers).
While gourmandizing your street food, slowly make your way towards the largest public city park in the center of Brussels — Parc de Bruxelles, also called Warandepark — on the east side of town. The area used to serve as the hunting ground for the Dukes of Brabant but in the 18th century, it was turned into a neoclassical-styled park. Just south of it lies the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Belgian royal family, even though it is no longer used by them as a royal residence.
Brussels might be an important hub of the region but it certainly hasn’t forgotten how to chill and enjoy life.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic around the globe, we advise you to check the current rules and restrictions before booking your trip and traveling abroad.