There is a school of thought known as 'pyscho-geography' which lends itself to the idea that walking an urban area helps you commit it to memory better and get a greater feel for its people, makeup, landscape and space. Although sightseeing from a cab or tour bus may be a more efficient use of time, it doesn't offer up the same interactive experience as trundling through the city on foot.
Here we look at some of the most walkable cities in the world and reason out why this makes them so great.
1. Florence - Italy
The ancient Italian city is filled with romance, art and stunning architecture, so much so that it is often compared to an open air museum and so historic is its city center that it is actually restricted to motorized traffic and so practically cried out to be explored on foot. With famous sights such as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore which is a magnificent gothic cathedral built in the 13th century.
Other sites include the historic Ponte Vecchio bridge, which was the only one in the city that was spared from German bombing raids in WWII,and the Piazzale Michelangelo which overlooks the stunning Tuscan countryside with plenty of al fresco cafes, bars and restaurants to soak up the sun in and rest those weary feet.
2. New York City - USA
With its iconic yellow taxi cabs and subway system, walking is not the first thought of many in the big apple but it actually ranks as the most walkable city in the USA due to its easily navigable numbered streets, pedestrianized areas and beautiful parklands like Central Park which has 843 acres to explore, or stroll up Clinton Hill to observe Brooklyn from above.
With a wealth of bridges connecting various districts of the city, it easy to cross the river to explore new areas.
3. Marrakech - Morocco
A UNESCO world heritage site, Marrakech is a weaving conglomeration of alleys and side streets and its infamous labyrinth of souks are unnavigable unless on foot but beware of getting yourself lost in amongst the sights and smells of rug weavers and exotic spices. The famous Jemaa El-Fnaa square is home to street entertainers, food stalls, and festivals and can't be truly enjoyed unless under your own power.
The Menara gardens offer a reprieve from the bustling city as it sits just to the West of it and allows time to rest in this gorgeous olive garden of old.
4. Paris - France
The city of romance is a complex conglomeration of narrow streets, cobblestoned squares and arching bridges over the river Seine, but taking this in by car lacks the ambiance desired for a heart throbbing experience. With beautiful gardens such as the one at Versaille or the Jardin des Tuileries to amble amongst, it really is a fabulous way to get around.
The famous Montmartre has winding narrow streets with cafes that capture the essence of Parisian culture in their chic, sleek style and grace.
5. Vancouver - Canada
The third largest city in Canada has a very pro-walker stance with its encouraging of pedestrianization in its transportation plans and newly introduced pedestrian wayfinding maps. With a scenic promenade along False Creek to Granville Island, those on foot can stop off at the public market for fresh produce or a great little lunch pick-me-up.
Lions Gate Bride offers up the stunning opportunity to stop and get great views of the city whilst Stanley Park also has jaw-dropping viewpoints as well as a lost lagoon.
6. Buenos Aires - Argentina
The barrio of La Boca is just one reason you should discover what this city has to offer to walkers as it has vibrantly painted houses decorated with the work of local artists on the street of Caminito that was itself declared an open air museum in 1959. Other, more upscale, districts are filled with grand, old-Europe style architecture.
Take a walk around the port or across the iconic Puente de la Mujer rotating footbridge, designed to represent two people dancing the tango.
7. Dubrovnik - Croatia
The entirety of the Dubrovnik Old City district is a UNESCO world heritage site and as such is pedestrian only, so the only real way to soak up the true history and culture of the place is by putting your sneakers on and going for a trot about the place. Dubbed the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic,’ the city has medieval walls and a picturesque Old Port to find out about.
For those looking for a more challenging walk, hike through the nearby hills of Velika I Mala Petka to get fabulous views of the city.
8. Melbourne - Australia
Melbourne is a city of contrast as the beautiful victorian architecture nestles in between the ultra-modern skyscrapers and street-art filled hipster districts the beautiful urban parklands meet the gorgeous bay. The best way to take all of this is to drift between them on foot and blur the lines of where one ends and the next begins.
Alexandra Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens offer up perfectly manicured greenery to wander through away from the busy streets.
9. Boston - USA
Boston is a city of trails and walks that specifically lend themselves to the outdoor-minded looking to open up the city into a world of their own, from the Harbor walk that goes along a 40 mile stretch of Boston's waterfront and takes in the Institute of Contemporary Art and the beautiful Christopher Columbus Park.
The Freedom Trail rolls through the more historic districts of the city and is far shorter and more accessible whilst there's plenty to see and do off of set trails as well.
10. Vientiane - Laos
On a bend of the Mekong river, Vientiane is a glorious mix of European and Asian cultures as the architectural marks of colonial France remain amongst the tree lined avenues, Buddhist temples and monuments. This is most evident at the Patuxay Monument which is modeled on Paris' Arc de Triomphe but incorporates Laotian design and symbolism and from the top you can see the rest of the city.
A leisurely walk through high-end cafes and restaurants will lead to important religious sites all clustered extremely close together.