Europe's 5 Most Walkable Cities

February 24, 2016

From free guided walks to why getting lost is good, we've got the lowdown on Europe's five most walkable cities.

We're not talking stumbling distance from bar to bed - we mean cities that are great for walking in daylight hours. Plenty of European cities offer more to see by foot; from major sites to local culture. Not only will you save money (and keep fit), you'll also get a chance to see parts of the city you'd otherwise miss. We round up Europe's five most walkable cities (and hey, you might even stumble across a bar along the way).

1. Edinburgh

A Couple Stroll Down into Edinburgh Centre

Wee, walkable Edinburgh is perfect for a stroll with wide, tree-lined roads and plenty of historic sites to spot. An added bonus is its proximity to more rural, longer paths. If you're in town, stroll along Princes Street and head up Calton Hill for scenic skyline views before looping back round to the National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle. One of the city's longer (and best-loved) walks is up to Arthur's Seat (an extinct volcano) in Holyrood Park, which sits in the middle of the city and offers miles of fantastic views.

2. Venice

A Path Leads Along A Canal with Gondolier in Venice

Two factors make Venice an eminently walkable city. First, the canals; it's neither feasible nor possible to drive or cycle around all of the semi-submerged streets. Second, cost; as much as we'd love to be ferried around by gondola, the cost is eye-watering (we're talking hundreds of euros a day). Walking is a great alternative and gives you a chance to discover otherwise unseen waterways and paths. Our tip? Devote a day to seeing the sights (if that's your thing) then throw the map away and spend the rest of the time getting lost. Wander across tiny bridges and down impossibly small lanes; it's the best way to see this magical place.

3. Valletta

Colourful Streets in Malta's Capital Valletta

Pint-sized Valletta (population: 5,700) is ideal to explore by foot - it's so dinky that you can walk its perimeter in around an hour. This ancient walled city, the capital of Malta, is bursting with heritage and walking allows you to take in its postcard-perfect architecture and slow-paced, Mediterranean vibe. Begin at the city gate by the Triton Fountain and walk down Triq Ir-Repubblika before stopping at St John's Cathedral to admire the painting of John the Baptist by Caravaggio. Spend the rest of the time wandering along the largely pedestrianised streets where there's often a market and live music on weekends. Finish at Upper or Lower Barrakka Gardens; both have wonderful harbour views.

4. Budapest

Historic Stone Steps in Central Budapest

Home to magnificent Art Nouveau Buildings, beautiful Danube bridges, dozens of thermal baths and of course, the Grande Dame of the lot - The Royal Palace; Budapest has plenty to keep you busy. Although the city is home to the second oldest metro system in Europe, the historic architecture is best seen from above ground and there are several city and river walks that give you a taste of what this capital has to offer. Several companies offer free walking tours (you can tip the guide at your discretion) which incorporate major sites. Our favourite is offered by Trip To Budapest which meets in Vörösmarty Square at 10.30am and 2.30pm daily.

5. Rome

Solo Woman Walks Through Rome's Streets

With all the major tourist hotspots in close proximity to one another, it's understandable that Rome is a great place to see by foot. We recommend beginning - early, the crowds can be a nightmare - at the Colosseum, before heading on to the National Roman Museum and the Trevi Fountain. Though the city's traffic make the roads less idyllic than other places, there are enough cute cafes, yummy gelaterias and Italian bars along the way to keep things interesting. The best time to walk here is spring and autumn - high summer can be busy and winter weather unpredictable.

Siobhan Brewood-Wyatt After a Masters in Comparative Literature, Siobhan worked for several big-name travel companies before joining travioor. She has been hooked on travel since her teens and her biggest adventure is booking flights from Rome to Rio after a few too many beers.