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To truly know a city, you have to pound its streets. Forsake the well-trodden tourist paths and let glimpses of colour draw you down cobbled European alleys, or follow your nose to discover local cafés in South America. These are five of the world’s best cities in which to take a stroll.
The Best Cities to Explore on Foot
1. Buenos Aires
This vibrant city is a cultural jumble of towering modern structures and grand European-style buildings. Wandering is the best way to appreciate the vast diversity, standing in awe of tall blocks and dipping into alleys to glimpse low-key barrios adorned with colourful murals. Walk around the city centre for an historical education, from the Casa Rosada (the office of the Argentinian president) in the Plaza de Mayo to the old-fashioned bars and cafés dotting the streets, or head to Recoleta to discover the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the world-renowned Recoleta Cemetery, countless street food stalls and quirky boutiques. Come evening, stroll through the music-filled streets of La Boca, a lively, Italian-inspired neighbourhood and the city’s cultural hub.
A city of contrast, Warsaw is filled with enormous Stalinist architecture and magnificent churches offset by cutsey cafés and charming bistros. Stroll down Ulica Nowy Świat for breakfast options aplenty before walking the Royal Route, on which you’ll pass the Old Town’s Unesco-protected streets lined with colourful houses and town squares adorned with impressive communist monuments. If you get a bit peckish on your way, grab a Polish pączki (a type of doughnut) from one of the many vendors you’ll find perched on street corners.
Created from donated land from neighbouring states Maryland and Virginia, Washington, DC has been voted one of America’s most walkable cities – it’s home to some of the world’s best museums and galleries. Wander along the National Mall to witness iconic monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, stop by the Newseum for a spot of history or pop into the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History or National Air and Space Museum. For those prone to wandering a little too far – DC’s streets are organised alphanumerically, meaning you should feel pretty confident in knowing roughly where you are.
In spite of its hilly terrain, the Scottish capital is best explored on foot. From Edinburgh Waverley Station, walk south to the Old Town to find the city’s central hub. Take a jaunt along The Royal Mile, a long cobbled high street dotted with souvenir shops and hidden alleyways, before making your way to Edinburgh Castle for views over the city. Head to Bristo Square or George Square to explore gothic university buildings before starting the downhill stroll to the New Town for an evening of elegant dining and bar hopping.
It’s a well-known fact that you can walk from one end of Paris to the other in under two hours, so there’s really no excuse not to whip out your best (read: most stylish) walking shoes and strut through the city streets. Start as the Place de la Concorde and take a romantic stroll along the Seine, passing the Jardin des Tuileries, place du Pont Neuf, Marché aux Fleurs and crossing the Pont de l’Archevêché – the famous bridge covered in padlocks symbolising eternal love. For a more obvious stroll, walk from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre, stopping off at the Musée d’Orsay along the way.
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