What exactly is a walkable city? A city which favours pedestrians (of course), is convenient, green and is safe. These are some of the guidelines or check points to see if a city, or part of it, is indeed walkable. While discovering a city by public transport is definitely a big yes, walking around is another charm. One can enjoy a city at one’s own pace to discover hidden gems, unknown alleyways, and surprise hole-in-the-wall food joints. From all corners of the globe, here are a few walkable cities you can go to on your next holiday.
Manhattan can be overpowering sometimes, though the place is extremely walking-friendly. If you want to get away from the crowds, why not head to Boston? Two hours or so away, Boston is a very old, historical city and lets enthusiast walkers discover the place through plenty of trails and paths. Walk the 40-mile Harbor Walk to enjoy the waterfront and see city landmarks like the Christopher Columbus Park. The Freedom Trail (2.5 miles) is another enjoyable walking area for history lovers as one passes by King’s Chapel and other historical areas. And there’s also Acorn Street, probably one of the most Instagrammed streets from the US. Boston also provides plenty of walking tours to encourage visitors to explore the city’s food, architecture, natural beauty and even bars.
Getting there: From New Delhi, it is easiest to fly to Boston via halts in London (British Airways/Virgin Atlantic) or Paris (Air France/Jet Airways). There is always the option of flying directly to New York and then taking the train or another local flight to Boston.
Firenze is definitely one of the prettiest cities in the world. Art and history buffs can rejoice while shoppers will be delighted to walk around the cobblestone streets and bridges to discover local markets and shops. It is no secret that Florence often ranks the highest among most walkable cities but then, with its historic centre being limited to locals with permits, walking is the best option. Be delighted to enjoy the open-air museum the city is. Discover the famous cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, walk over to Ponte Vecchio to enjoy some shopping, breathe in art from every corner and museum, bite into the most delicious pizzas at the various pizzerias found in the area—the possibilities are endless.
Getting there: From New Delhi, there are many flights to Florence with a halt. Check Alitalia (halt in Rome), Swiss (halt in Zurich), Lufthansa (halt in Munich), KLM (halt in Amsterdam) among the many carriers.
A city of canals and bicycles, don’t be fooled. Amsterdam is a lovely city to walk around in and discover hidden gems. Walk to the Anne Frank Museum or Rijksmuseum, the red light area or the Dam Square, you will discover peculiar shops, rows and rows of flower shops, local bars, and of course, views of the canals that will make you be social-media friendly. While cycling around is almost the norm (every local owns one at least while shops offer one for hire), don’t follow the crowd and walk instead.
Getting there: Fly direct from New Delhi to Amsterdam on KLM.
So, Vancouver is huge. While it may seem impossible to walk from one end to the other, Vancouver is a walker’s paradise (in certain areas). The third largest city in the country, walking is encouraged thanks to various facilities, including pedestrian maps. One can walk to discover some of the iconic locations—Stanley Park, Granville Island, Downtown area, the Lions Gate Bridge etc.
Getting there: Air Canada flies direct to Vancouver from New Delhi on certain dates. Otherwise, plenty of carriers fly to Vancouver with halts, including Lufthansa, China Southern, Delta.
This might seem like a strange choice but Kolkata is a city where walking is a way of life for many. While the city has been growing, the central part of the city is a great walking area. See Victoria Memorial and the Race Course, enjoy the greens of the Maidan, enjoy shopping for clothes and trinkets at the various markets, gorge on local delicacies like puchkas and rolls on the streets, and most definitely take pictures of local life. The roads may have traffic but walking and exploring the city will be charming and will give you an insight into the lives of the local people.
Getting there: Fly directly into Kolkata, or first reach New Delhi or Mumbai and then take a connecting flight to the capital of West Bengal. You can choose to fly carries like Emirates, KLM, Lufthansa, Thai Airways etc.