Thursday, January 26, 2017

25 Europe’s Most Walkable Cities

We all know almost all cities in Europe are walkable. However, some cities are just too huge for elder legs to handle, some cities are too busy it's scary. Here I've listed down my top 25 cities in Europe which I think are the most walkable, taking the size, pedestrian friendly streets, amount of traffic and safety into consideration. 

1. Venice, Italy

Venice is the first city that earned my affection! But let’s get real, when I say I like Venice, it doesn't mean that I am denying the fact that it's (in some part of the city) over-commercialized, crowded, crazily hot, expensive and some-say-smelly during summer time. Instead, I fell hard for the hidden canals, the backstreet where I sat overlooking the canals waving to passing gondolas, the Cicchetti-to-go, the warm locals I've met and spent the whole morning with, the coolest bookstore by the canal, the flooded San Marco-Square where I literally had to swim across, the narrow streets where I got lost in... We gotta go a little bit further to fall in love, with something, someone, someplace. If you walk pass the crowd and go the extra miles into the heart of the neighborhood, you’ll realize that it is not an overrated city after all.

#Venice, #Italy. I know it sounds #cliche , but when I say I like Venice, it doesn't mean that I am denying the fact that it is over-commercialized, crowded, crazily hot, expensive and some-say-smelly during #summer time. Instead, I fell hard for the #hiddencanals, the little hole in the wall, the #backstreet where I sat overlooking the #canal with my Pasta Nero di Seppia, the cicchetti-to-go, the warm locals I've met and spent the whole morning with, the coolest bookstore by the canal, the flooded San Marco-Square where I literally had to swim accross, the narrow streets where i got lost in... We gotta go a little bit further to fall in love, with something, someone, some place. Definitely not an overrated city for me. #solotravel #europe #meettheworld #letsgoeverywhere #ootd #wanderlust #malaysian
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2. Florence, Italy

Due to train delays and a series of unfortunate events, I arrived in Florence with only 3 hours to spend. Yes! 3 hours! However, it was enough for Florence to confiscate my heart. In Contrary to my initial preconception, Florence is not a large city. In fact, it is the perfect size to walk about leisurely (if you have more than 3 hours!) I brutally run through all the sites with my backpack in fear of missing train, but I am glad that I made it a point to check out Piazzale Michelangelo. Don’t be fooled by the size of the city, this photogenic open air museum deserves at least a full day.

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3. Rome, Italy

With all these tourist hotspots dotted across the city, I started to think if it is really a good idea to walk everywhere without getting on the metro. Well, despite being the Capital of Italy, Rome has the simplest metro system in the country, perhaps the world. On second thought, it doesn’t even need a metro system since it is such a great city to wander on foot. However, to beat the crowd, I recommend starting as early as possible, making the Trevi Fountain your first stop.

4. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

With the crowds pouring in during Summer, most people thought the streets of Amsterdam would be all clogged up with tourists. However, that is really not the case because although it is very popular among tourists, the city itself is large enough to handle them. Amsterdam is the perfect place to ditch your maps and get lost, then it is not impossible that you will find yourself wandering down peaceful side streets that no one has ever talked about and yep, they are just as beautiful as the main tourist attractions.

5. Brugge, Belgium

No one shall pass Belgium without visiting Brugge… at least, no one should! The Historic Center of Brugge is listed under UNESCO World Heritage Site, what you have to do now is to grab your camera, put on your walking shoes and go explore! It is quite a small city but rows after rows of Brugge's chocolate shop will certainly keep you busy for the whole day.

6. Brussels, Belgium

A fan of chocolate? Then you will love Brussels as much as I do. Not only that the city is very walkable, it is the go-to place if you are a foodie (fries, mussels and fries, beer, waffles... you name it! ). Make sure you make enough quick stops to pick up free chocolate samples from various shops (including the sharks like Godiva!) My travel buddy Catherine failed to keep me under control.

7. Prague, Czech Republic

The best thing to do in the city is to grab an ice cream-filled chimney cake and head down the alleys. Start your walking tour in the early morning from the idyllic Charles Bridge (since it will be too packed with people during the day) and then make your way slowly up to the Prague Castle. Don’t forget to check out all the craft shops along the way. I remember there is a small tunnel on the left of the street that sells paintings, go check them out, they got me mesmerized! In the afternoon as the Old and New Town start coming to life, cross the Vltava to explore that part of the city.

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8. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh was such a pleasant surprise! With Arthur’s Seat standing above the city, it is considered one of the best places to unwind and photograph the skyline (if you can withstand the walk). Other than that, head up to Calton hill for some interesting panoramic shots above the city. Cutting through the heart of Edinburgh, The Royal Mile is the most visited street in Edinburgh. It is always buzzing with energy, jam-packed with a lot to see, do and eat. Here, I've summarized a Quick Guide for those who are planning to "Walk the Mile"!

9. Munich, Germany

I swear that I am not bias towards Munich, nope, not because of the juicy pork knuckles, not because of those beers by the liters, not due to the fact that people are wearing the German traditional clothes on the streets on daily basis. Attractions are minimal in the city of Munich. But that is the very reason we were able to focus on the culture, spirit, and food instead!

10. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon has long been my favorite city in Europe since I first picked up my backpack in 2012. This city is bursting with colors and positive energy. Although we were falsely accused of eating dogs (it sucks, we love dogs too.) on the streets, the locals generally are friendly. Make it a point to visit the Bohemian-ish neighborhood, Alfama, which is also the birthplace of Fado. Things here are quite cheap if compared to the rest of Western Europe and the crispy custardy Pastel de nata from Pastรฉis de Belรฉm was the last straw… I am sold! Remember to allocate some time for Sintra, where you’ll come face to face with the most colorful castle in the world.
A photo posted by Vivian Dominique Lee (@littlemisshappyfeet) on

11. Sevilla, Spain

Stepping into Plaza de Espana made my heart skipped a beat. It was beyond stunning, I fell head over heels in love with the city. Be sure to sample traditional tapas and Agua de Sevilla drink during your visit. Then, round up your visit with a passionate Flamenco dance performance.

12. Ljubljana, Slovenia

I discovered this hidden gem of Europe while heading to Bled. I made sure to arrive in the city earlier so that I still have time to tour around Ljubljana. Ljubljana is a city with unique character, they even set up a special corner featuring its own weather! If you happen to be in the city on Friday, don't miss the Open Kitchen!  
A photo posted by Vivian Dominique Lee (@littlemisshappyfeet) on

13. Riga, Latvia

Riga is what I would consider to be Europe’s most underrated capital city. Thanks to the 16-hours layover in the capital of Latvia, I got a chance to check out its charming old town. I love the central market especially the overwhelming sight of freshly chopped Salmons and the unlimited supply of caviar!

14.Dubrovnik, Croatia

Without a doubt, the Old City district of Dubrovnik is one of the best places to explore Dubrovnik on foot. Visit the Sponza Palace, walk the medieval, looking out at the mesmerizing view of Adriatic Sea coastline... And you'll understand why it is dubbed the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’.

15. Budapest, Hungary

Being one of the most charming cities in Europe, Budapest quickly steals the hearts of millions, me myself included. Budapest is huge, divided into Buda area and Pest area. My favorite sites include the Fisherman Bastion, Chain Bridge, Buda Castle , the Parliament and also the indoor food market.

16. Stockholm, Sweden

Talking about walkable cities in Europe, how could we forget about the Swedish capital. The city is beautiful, as well as compact although spreading across 14 islands. The city is a perfect example where modernity meets tranquility, with the historic old town, Gamla Stan located right next to the modern city center.

17. Dublin, Ireland

Dublin is a compact capital where everything is so near to each other, perfect to explore on foot. Despite being small, it packs a lot of charm in it, it is up to the visitors whether they would like to take it all in in one go or to leisurely soak in the atmosphere as they spent a few more days in the breathtaking capital of Ireland. Don’t forget to check out the Trinity College, along with the famous Book of Kells which dates back to 800AD.
A photo posted by Vivian Dominique Lee (@littlemisshappyfeet) on

18.Paris, France

Don’t make Paris a day trip, I repeat, do not make Paris a day trip! Too often have I seen groups of travelers come for a day trip from other major cities like London and Amsterdam and spend less than a day in this gorgeous city. As a result? Most of them hate Paris, putting her down as “underrated”. The City of Light won’t shed light on you until you take the time to venture deeper into the heart of Paris.

19. Avignon, France

Last July, I had an amazing time in the city of the Popes. This city surrounded by the medieval walls not only serves as a good base to explore Vaucluse area, it is also one of the most walkable city in Europe. If you only have time to check out one attraction in Avignon, I recommend visiting Palais du Papais, A UNESCO heritage site once played a pivotal role in Catholic Church history… After the visit, walk down to the river bank to admire the broken bridge made famous by a folk song " Sur Le Pont".

20. Tours, France

The main reason we stayed in tours is to check out all the neighboring Chateaus via rail. Although the medieval city, Tours itself turned out to be such a gem. Cathedral Quarter and Rue Colbert (where all the restaurants are located) are the most celebrated parts of the city. We managed to catch 2 light shows at the Cathedral of Tours before departing back to Paris!

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21. Copenhagen, Denmark

A stroll along the Nyhaven river would certainly wow anyone. Copenhagen is a haven for footbound traveler... Although it gets extremely cold during winter, so do bundle up!

22. Vienna, Austria

My mom actually calls me Vien instead of Vivian so when I arrived in Wien, I felt so connected to the city and it certainly did not disappoint. The Ringstrasse is the main boulevard where all the most famous attractions gather at. I recommend stopping every now and then to check out all the worthiest cafes listed in this guide. End your day with a spectacular sunset at Schonbrunn Palace.

23. Salzburg, Austria

We arrived in Salzburg soaked in Rain, but that did not stop us from having a great time indulging in the sound of music and not to forget Mozartkugan. Salzburg is said to be the birthplace of classical music, so what’s more interesting than to attend a free musical concert in the Mozart Academy?

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24. Istanbul, Turkey

Historically also known as Constantinople and Byzantium, Istanbul is not an unfamiliar name for Malaysian students, especially those who took "Sejarah" seriously during SPM. Imagine my excitement when I saw all that I learned about came to life in front of my very eyes. Here is a Quick Guide to Istanbul. 

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25. Warsaw, Poland

Easily explored on foot, this city is like no other, displaying so much elegance in its timeless Eastern European Architecture. Here is one cute fact about the city: While moving from places to places, you are not exactly alone... keep an eye for the dwarfs that will appear in every few turns. Those little monuments certainly make this city so unique!

A photo posted by Vivian Dominique Lee (@littlemisshappyfeet) on

Summary of my 70 days Europe Trip in 3 short minutes 

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Thank You for Reading! 
This post is based solely on my personal experience. If you have a different opinion, feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below!

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