Thinking Green: these are Europe’s most walkable cities

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Millions of tourists from all around the world flock to European cities every year to enjoy its mesmerizing culture. Cruising the canals in Amsterdam, enjoying the classic Italian cuisine in the Eternal city or enjoying the glamor of the French riviera – the options for a fun holiday in Europe are endless.

Europe is well-known for its iconic landmarks and sights, while the city break holidays remain extremely popular for international tourists. During 2020 and 2021, numerous European countries experienced significant tourism revenue loss due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, with the summer approaching and the current Covid-19 measures being relaxed or abolished, a growing number of European cities are seeing tourists return.

There are numerous reasons why European cities are highly appreciated and loved by international visitors. Due to their fascinating history, European cities are home to countless monuments and other memorable places. At the same time, modern infrastructure allows tourists to travel and move between different European countries and cities quite easily. As a result, tourism has evolved into one of the most important economic engines in many European cities today.

There are a lot of options to move around Europe and to go from one European city to another. Europe is also generally known for their world-class public transportation systems. Visitors who wish to discover the diverse offer of European cities have various options regarding public transportation like bikes, trams, buses or underground systems. However, with the effects of climate change becoming increasingly visible, many cities are also moving to make their public transportation systems more eco-friendly.

One way to do that is to modernize the bus system and to include more electric buses. Another way is to encourage biking and expand local bike-sharing programs, allowing more people to tour the city in a more environmentally-friendly manner. Much like biking, walking is another zero-emission activity that is not only beneficial for the environment, but also for one’s personal health. Even though walking is certainly an extremely climate-friendly way of moving around, not each European city has the same level of walkability.

Recently, the hotel chain Motel One published a new study that looked at Europe’s most popular tourist attractions and assessed how long it would take to walk between each city’s most famous sights. The study found the Belgian city of Bruges to be Europe’s most walkable city. The capital of West Flanders, dubbed the “Venice of the North,” is one of the most attractive and picturesque cities in Belgium and all of Western Europe. With a total area of 138.4 square kilometers, a walking tour of almost entirely pedestrianized Bruges can easily be completed in half a day.

The English city of Manchester ranked second in the study. In the city known as the music capital of the UK, numerous museums and other cultural attractions can easily be seen on a 30-minute stroll.

History and tradition meet modern lifestyle and architecture in Europe’s third most walkable city. That is Frankfurt, Germany’s fifth-largest city and major financial and banking hub. The touristy city center, which is confined within the old city walls, is relatively small and is considered extremely pedestrian-friendly.

Dubrovnik, a jewel on Croatia’s magnificent Dalmatian Coast, came fourth on the list of Europe’s most walkable cities. Walking along the historic walls of Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is considered the greatest way to obtain a fantastic view of this ancient city overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Furthermore, Dubrovnik is easy to wander around even outside of the Old City.

Leipzig in Germany rounded up the top five of Europe’s best cities for pedestrians. This arts and culture hub is considered perfect for walking, thanks in part to its flat landscape. Furthermore, Zurich, Venice, Amsterdam, Milan and Prague also made it to the top ten of Europe’s most walkable cities.

People who want to discover Europe can enjoy top-tier cultural attractions as well as numerous hidden gems. Those who wish to travel in a more climate-friendly way can also opt for one of the many Europe’s cities that can easily be discovered on foot. Making tourism more sustainable and encouraging people to enjoy the beauty of European cities can have numerous environmental benefits and also contribute to securing a more sustainable future for all. (photo credit: Dimitris Vetsikas/Unsplash)