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Top Ten Best Cities for Walking Tours

Updated on October 30, 2012
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San Francisco
San Francisco
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
New York
New York
Washington DC
Washington DC

 One of my favorite things to do whenever I travel somewhere is to find out if there are any local people who give guided walking tours of the area. I find that this is the best way to really get out within the city that I’m visiting, learn something about its nooks and crannies and also get some great photos for the scrapbook. If there isn’t a guided walking tour offered in the area where I’m visiting, I usually try to put together my own little walking tour through research about the best places to walk around in the area.

What I’ve found is that some cities are far better than others for walking tours. Some cities really offer some great guided tours and those are the best ones to check out. Other considerations include geographic size of the area, general weather conditions and safety concerns. After taking all of these things into consideration, here are ten of the top places that I would recommend for people who want to walk through a new city and learn all about it:

1. San Francisco, United States. Okay, so I’m biased because I live here and I love this city but I’ve also done tons of walking tours here and I have had a wonderful experience every single time. First of all, there are many different places that give guided walking tours of the city, including one called San Francisco City Guides which provides awesome free (by donation) tours of tons of different neighborhoods and historic sites. But even if you didn’t take a guided tour, San Francisco is great for walking tours for many reasons including that it’s geographically small so it’s easy to walk around; lots of other people are out walking; it’s a beautiful city with amazing architecture and tons to see; and it’s generally got comfortable weather. The one thing to note here is that there are hills everywhere so you really need to be in shape to do walking tours in San Francisco.

2. Paris, France. Paris is another city that provides really amazing walking tour experiences for many of the same reasons as San Francisco does. There are lots of people out and about walking through Paris so you’re in good company here. There are many different wonderful things to see. Getting lost in the little streets here is a joy because of the wonders that you discover. And although some times of the year are better than others because of the rainy season, it is possible to find good guided walking tours in Paris all throughout the year. Paris Walks is one of the most popular places to start when looking for guided walking tours there.

3. Buenos Aires, Argentina. One of the things that San Francisco, Paris and Buenos Aires all have in common is that these are cities that have many different neighborhoods which are very distinct from one another. Exploring a set of neighborhoods or an in-depth look at one neighborhood is a great way to do a walking tour. That’s definitely an option in Buenos Aires where you can learn a lot about the history of the area by walking around with a tour guide. Buenos Aires is great for walkers because the weather is almost always good (although late autumn may be rainy and the summer may be humid).

4. New York City, United States. Some people are overwhelmed by the idea of doing a walking tour of New York City because the area is so big and so busy. However, it’s a really great place to see on foot. The key here is to focus on small areas within the larger metropolitan area and to really explore them in-depth with a focus on historical sites or cultural sites or whatever specific things interest you most in this city. Being out among the energy of the many people walking around in New York City can really make you feel energetic yourself!

5. Tokyo, Japan. If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of doing a walking tour in New York then you’re really going to be wary of doing one in Tokyo but the same deal applies. If you find a good walking tour guide and focus on specific areas or sights then this can be a great way to be out amidst the people of the city and to see the things that you want to see.

6. Sydney, Australia. There are so many different amazing sights to see in the beautiful city of Sydney and many of them can be seen with a well-planned walking tour of the city. The great thing here is that many of the major sights are all fairly close to one another so you can see a lot of the big tourist attractions in a short amount of time. This is great for travelers who want to see it all since they never know when they’ll get the chance to come back here again. There are many different guided walking tours here included at least one that’s free.

7. Amsterdam, Netherlands. Amsterdam is one of the best cities in the world to enjoy a walking tour of in my personal opinion. It’s beautiful, it’s safe, it’s easy to walk around. It’s the kind of place where you can opt to take a guided walking tour (there are lots of them including ones that will safely educate you on the naughtier spots Amsterdam is known for) or you can just set up your own walking tour and go without a guide.

8. Washington DC, United States. If you’re going to spend some time exploring the capital of the United States then you should do it on foot. There are so many different museums and historical landmarks to see here that you can easily just park your car at the hotel and walk from one place to the next. There are guided tours or you can create your own. Sticking to the main historical areas for your walking is best here.

9. Rome, Italy. Another great place where you typically go to experience the history of the area is Rome. Although any city in Italy is fine for walking, Rome is a particularly good place to get a good tour guide who knows the historical landmarks inside and out and can walk you through them one at a time.

10. London, England. This is a tough one for many tourists to swallow because of how often it rains in London. But, if you can suck it up, get out your umbrella and put on your galoshes then you can really see the best sides of London with a walking tour. Like with other huge cities (such as New York), you’ll probably want to focus on a specific set of sights, a specific neighborhood or some other pared-down part of London. You can find lots of good walking tours that will give you insight into the history of the area (including odd tours like the Jack the Ripper tours). London Walks is a long-standing walking guide group to start with.


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