A Walk to Remember: Seven Cities Best Explored on Foot
For travelers looking for a bit of inspiration to explore a new destination in a more authentic and sustainable way, using your own two feet and going on a walking tour is a great way to get a better understanding of the place you're visiting. There are all sorts to choose from - guided to self-guided, from strenuous hikes to leisurely strolls - no matter what you pick, they are all a great way to get some fresh air and exercise during your trip. In fact, when planning travel experiences for a vacation this year, almost half (40%)1 of global travelers said they would be interested in some kind of walking tour. With that in mind, we've analyzed the data on the more than 153,000 destinations available to book on our platform to present our customers' picks for the top places around the world that are best explored on foot. From Vientiane to Vienna, whether you want to hit all the hotspots or follow your curiosity and venture off the beaten path, these fabulous locales are anything but pedestrian.
According to our travelers, Vientiane is the top walking tour destination in Southeast Asia2 and offers great options both day and night. During the day, take in the sights of the broad boulevards of French colonial architecture, Buddhist temples such as Pha That Luang and shrines, including Wat Si Saket. After the sun sets, an evening stroll would be incomplete without a visit to the riverside night bazaar and the Vientiane Night Food Market to sample some tasty street food.
Where to stay: Barn1920s Hostel sits in the heart of Vientiane, is close to the Laos National Museum and is a three-minute walk from the popular night market, perfect for travelers exploring the city by foot. Start your day with a buffet breakfast and then explore the nearby Buddhist sites, such as Wat Si Saket, Pha That Luang stupa and the Chao Fa Ngum Statue. In the evening you can swap stories with fellow travelers in the garden, shared lounge, cafe or bar.
Daegu, South Korea
If you’re planning a trip to South Korea, head to Daegu, as this is one of the top walking tour destinations in Asia as endorsed by Booking.com travelers. Daegu has a lot of sites that can be explored by foot during the day or night. In the daytime, explore Daegu’s alleyways, including Jin-alley food court and Samduk-dong Mural alley, or visit Duryu Park. Save the mountain hike in Apsan Park for the evening to marvel at the sunset and the panoramic forest vistas, or visit the Suseong Lake for a magical water show.
Where to stay: Aega Hanok Guesthouse is highly rated by our travelers for having the best value in Daegu, perfect for travelers on a budget. Explore the nearby surroundings, all within walking distance, with a trip to Seomun Market, Duryu Park and the DEBEC Plaza.
Trois Rivières, Canada
Trois Rivières is a destination loved by Booking.com travelers for walking tours, as it’s rated the top destination in North America. Put on a pair of comfy shoes and discover this charming city come sunrise or sunset. Top sites to see in the day include a trip around Trois Rivières’ old city, with over 50 buildings that date back as far as 1650, as well as walking the picturesque Laviolette Bridge - an arched bridge that crosses the St. Lawrence River. After nightfall, visit the popular Rues des Forges, which runs from the St. Lawrence River to Rue Bellefeuille and has many popular bars.
Where to stay: You'll feel as if you've traveled back in time with a stay at the quaint Gite Loiselle bed and breakfast. Boasting a central location, this picturesque B&B is situated in the historic center of Trois Rivières and is only a short walk from the St. Lawrence River, where you can find an array of restaurants, cafes and museums to explore.
Culiacán is the top walking tour destination in Latin America, as endorsed by Booking.com travelers, and boasts a range of exciting sites to see. During the day, breathe in the fresh floral aroma with a trip to the botanical gardens, or seek peace and tranquility with a trip to the Lady of Guadaloupe church, which offers unrivalled views of the city. During the evening, take a tour of the delicious street food on offer and sample local delicacies such as chilorio (a dish from the Mexican state of Sinaloa that’s made from pork fried in chili sauce), machaca (traditionally spiced meat of pork or beef that’s been dried) or fresh seafood.
Where to stay: Hotel Los Tres Rios is the perfect stay for travelers exploring by foot, as it’s located near Culiacán’s city center. After a day of adventure, cool off with a dip in the outdoor pool and enjoy a tasty meal at the onsite restaurant.
If you’re planning a vacation to Europe and are interested in exploring some of the eastern edges of the continent by foot, Orenburg in Russia is the top walking tour destination in Europe, as endorsed by Booking.com travelers. This destination has a whole host of sites that can be explored on foot. In the daytime, walk the iconic pedestrian bridge that connects Europe and Asia, and in the evening, visit the Armada Mall for a bit of late night shopping and entertainment.
Where to stay: Ideally located in Orenburg’s historic center, the Grand Hotel also boasts a sauna and an indoor swimming pool. The Ural River is a short walk away, and a variety of shops and cafes can we found within a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
Aside from the top destinations endorsed for walking tours by Booking.com travelers, another city not to be overlooked is the medieval city of Edinburgh. During the day, take a leisurely stroll and visit the iconic Arthur’s seat and Edinburgh Castle, before sampling some local gins. Switch it up come nighttime, you can discover the chilling tales of Edinburgh’s dark past with The Dark Side walking tour. Other Booking.com attractions currently available in Edinburgh to add to your itinerary are the Harry Potter walking tour or a hiking trip to Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle & the Kelpies; perfect if you want to swap the scenery from bustling streets to serene countryside.
Where to stay: Situated in the heart of Edinburgh are the My-Quartermile Apartments, which are nestled between a variety of bars, cafes and restaurants. Edinburgh Castle can be reached within a 20-minute walk, as well as the Old and New Town, which are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites and feature The Royal Mile.
A walk around the beautiful city of Vienna should not be missed. Lovers of art and design must visit the Schönbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Belvedere Palace and the neo-gothic city hall or Rathaus. Vienna is also known for its great public transport, so if your feet get tired, hop on a tram, pick up a map and improvise your very own city guide. In Vienna, Booking.com offers 67 of the top attractions, including 10 percent off at the MUMOK Museum of Modern Art and 20 percent off at the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus and City Walk, so you’ll never run out of things to do.
Where to stay: Just a five-minute walk from St. Stephen’s Cathedral, are modern and elegant Vision Apartments. The apartments are ideally located for travelers who are keen to explore the city’s many famous sites, as the Schwedenplatz station is just a short walk away, which provides direct connections to Schönbrunn Palace and the Hundertwasser House.
1Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total 21,500 respondents were polled (including 1,000 each from Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China, Brazil, India, US, UK, Russia, Indonesia, Colombia and South Korea; and 500 each from Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Taiwan, Mexico, Netherlands, Sweden, Singapore and Israel). Respondents completed an online survey between 10th August to 30th August 2018.
2The list was based on endorsements from international Booking.com users who traveled to these destinations. The destinations had to receive 500 endorsements in the category “walking tours” to be considered, and were selected on the basis of share of total endorsements.