You’ll agree if we say that this world is dominated by cars and public transportation and there's an utmost need for appreciation for the simple joy of walking.
What if we told you that there are some countries already out there without the hassle of traffic jams, crowded buses, or expensive taxi fares? From the historical charm of European capitals to the modern allure of Asian metropolises, these are waiting to capture your heart.
Ready to rediscover the joy of walking and explore the world in a new light? Let’s get into 12 of the world's most walkable countries, where every step invites adventure, and every corner holds a hidden surprise.
Japan – where walking isn’t just about getting around; it's a cultural odyssey that beckons you to explore every nook and cranny.
Tokyo, the buzzing metropolis, might seem overwhelming, but walking here is an adventure in itself. From the tranquility of Meiji Shrine to the sensory extravaganza of Tsukiji Fish Market, there's a vibrant walkway to explore on foot.
Wander through Fushimi Inari Shrine's iconic torii gates or follow the historical Nakasendo Trail between Tokyo and Kyoto for a taste of old Japan.
But let's not forget the countryside – Japan's rural charm is a delight for walkers. Each step reveals a slice of Japanese life and culture, from the terraced rice fields in Sapa to the lantern-lit streets of Hoi An's Old Town.
In Japan, walking isn’t just about reaching a destination; it’s an immersive experience that lets you uncover the country's soul, one step at a time. Whether amidst the neon lights of Tokyo or serene cherry blossom gardens, walking here is like getting on a captivating journey where each footfall tells a story.
Italy, the land of pasta and picture-perfect walks. Most cities are easily traversed on foot, making walking vacations a great way to see the attractions and discover hidden gems.
Rome's charming streets lead to ancient ruins like the Colosseum, while Florence enchants with its Renaissance architecture and art.
Of course, no visit is complete without an amble through Venice’s narrow canals and hidden alleyways.
Spain, it's a walker's paradise! Many car owners choose to forego their vehicles in favor of walking rather than dealing with the hassle of searching for and potentially losing their valuable parking spots because of the abundance and dependability of public transportation and easy accessibility of most daily destinations.
Barcelona's El Born whispers stories of history through its medieval lanes, while Seville's Santa Cruz district is a colorful maze of hidden plazas and tapas bars.
And don't miss the Camino de Santiago, a historic pilgrimage offering spiritual and scenic wonders, even in a short stretch like Sarria to Santiago de Compostela.
From Madrid's sprawling parks to the Pyrenees' rugged trails, Spain's diversity shines through its walking experiences. But it's not just about reaching a destination – it's about immersing yourself in Spanish culture.
Tapas breaks, impromptu flamenco performances, or simply embracing the relaxed siesta vibe – walking here is a journey filled with delightful surprises. In Spain, the streets aren't just pathways; they're storytellers inviting you to wander, discover, and savor every step you take.
4. The Netherlands
The land of bicycles and pedestrian-friendly paths – the Netherlands.
Amsterdam is one of the most walkable cities, thanks to its low-speed restrictions of only 30 km/h and emphasis on people and active transportation. Its charming canals and bike-friendly streets make exploring the city a delight.
Leiden and Utrecht offer quaint vibes perfect for leisurely walks, while the serene countryside showcases picturesque windmills and tulip fields.
France is where walking feels like poetry in motion. Paris, the city of love, beckons with its iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum. It is widely recognized as one of the world's best cities where you can take a stroll. The city's charms and attractions are such that exploring on foot is the best way to take it all in.
Strasbourg's timber-framed houses and cobblestone streets offer a glimpse into medieval charm, while Nice’s Promenade des Anglais invites you to stroll along the sparkling Mediterranean coast.
Lisbon's hilly streets and historic neighborhoods like Alfama offer a maze of colorful buildings and stunning views.
You don't need the stress of parking and traffic while you're here. While the city's seven hills might make for some exhausting walking, there are plenty of flat regions that make moving from one place to another a breeze.
Porto's riverside walks along the Douro River are perfect for soaking in the city's charm, while the Algarve coast provides scenic cliffside paths and sandy beaches for delightful coastal hikes.
Sweden, where the concept of ‘lagom’ extends to leisurely walks. Swedish law guarantees everyone the right to move freely in the countryside. Walking is permitted practically everywhere except on private or farmed land, with the exception that no harm or disturbance be made.
Stockholm’s archipelago invites exploration, while the Old Town (Gamla Stan) is a treasure trove of medieval streets and royal palaces. Gothenburg’s waterfront promenades and green spaces make for a refreshing stroll amid urban vibes.
8. Czech Republic
Prague is a fairytale city meant for walking. The Charles Bridge and Prague Castle beckon history enthusiasts, while the charming alleys of Mala Strana promise picturesque walks.
Cesky Krumlov's UNESCO-listed town center offers a step back in time with its medieval architecture and winding streets.
Canada's cities are a pedestrian's paradise. The top three Canadian cities that have excellent walkability are Vancouver, British Columbia, with a Walk Score of 79.8; Montreal, Quebec, scoring 65.4; and Toronto, Ontario also scoring a solid 79.8.
Vancouver’s Stanley Park flaunts scenic pathways and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, while Quebec City’s Old Town radiates European charm with its cobblestone streets and historic architecture.
Toronto’s almost busy neighborhoods and waterfront promenades offer diverse and vibrant walks.
Australia is not just about beaches; it's also a haven for walkers. All the inner cities promote walking instead of vehicles.
Melbourne’s laneways and street art create an urban playground for exploration, while Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House provide stunning vistas for a waterfront stroll.
Scotland, where rugged landscapes meet charming towns, has everything it needs to be a world-class walking location.
Blessed with stunning trails and a large network of clearly marked roads and routes that people of all abilities can use.
The Scottish Highlands provides hikers with scenic trails and a taste of wild beauty.
Transport yourself to ancient history while walking through Greece. A
thens' Acropolis and Plaka neighborhood exudes ancient charm, while Santorini’s cliffside paths and whitewashed villages offer postcard-perfect walks.
Crete’s coastal trails and olive groves provide a serene escape for nature lovers.
Countries Where Walking is An Adventure
So, that’s all for a passport to pedestrian paradise across 12 countries where walking isn’t just a mode of transport but an adventure in itself.
Lace-up your comfortable shoes, set your pace, and get ready to explore the world, one step at a time!
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I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.