14 cities around the world that are better for pedestrians than people with cars

Business Insider US
Photo Jay Caboz
New York. Photo Jay Caboz.
  • When travelling, it's common to find cities that have restricted - or completely banned - cars in certain areas.
  • Business Insider rounded up some of these destination, where visitors can have a better experience when walking, biking and even riding a boat through the town.
  • Venice, Italy, for example, doesn't allow cars, and is an ideal city to walk through.
  • San Francisco, California on the other hand, doesn't restrict vehicles, though it can be better appreciated on foot.
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Around the world, some cities are making strides to go car-free.

Promoting motorless zones not only makes cities more friendly for those on foot or cycling. The change can also improve air quality and congestion as well as help preserve historic streets that might otherwise be damaged by constant use and overcrowding.

Below, check out some of the best destinations that are leading the charge to cut down on cars and prioritise pedestrians:

You can get anywhere in New York City by subway or on foot.

Getty Images/Spencer Platt

The sweeping subway system in New York City makes it one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities on Earth. The best way to hit the city's innumerable can't-miss landmarks, attractions, museums, and restaurants is by train and by foot.

The best way to see Copenhagen, Denmark, is by bike.

Bikes currently reign supreme in Copenhagen. Denmark's capital is small enough that seeing most of it by foot is relatively easy, but joining the city's residents in cycling from place to place is the best way to experience everything like a local.

Owning a car in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, could be risky business.

Amsterdam is another city where bikes are the primary mode of transportation. Strolling along the canals by foot is also preferable to traveling by car considering how tricky driving in the city can be. A diving team for the city's Fire Brigade estimates that 35 cars fall into the water on average each year.

It’s easier to see the beauty of Paris, France, on foot.

Consistently ranked as one of the most walkable cities on Earth, the abundance of attractions in Paris make it better seen by foot. Plus, strolling along the Seine is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon in the City of Love.

The lack of cars makes Venice, Italy, more peaceful.

In order to preserve the at-risk city, cars are not allowed anywhere in the overcrowded historic center of Venice.

Although a road connects the city to mainland Italy, motor vehicles are prohibited from entering and those wishing to explore must do so by foot (or by gondola, of course).

Madrid, Spain, wants to encourage walking by restricting cars.

More than 20 of Madrid's busiest roads are currently car-free and the city's effort to get more cars off the street is growing. New regulations require those interested in parking a car in the city center to receive advanced approval and pay a hefty fee to do so.

Hamburg, Germany, plans to go green and prioritise pedestrians.

Hamburg plans on taking a slightly different approach to car restriction. Over the next 15 to 20 years, the German city will construct a pedestrian- and bike-only "green network" that will connect the city's many parks, gardens, and recreational areas.

Don’t let the hills of San Francisco, California, fool you.

Although the enormous hills may look discouraging, San Francisco is actually a great city for pedestrians. According to Walk Score, it is the second most walkable large city in the US, and getting around by bike or public transportation is common among residents.

Florence's best attractions are all within close proximity of each other.

Florence is another Italian city where visitors are better off on foot. Not only does the city have a limited traffic zone, but it's easy to get between destinations on foot.

Dubrovnik, Croatia, needs to preserve its historic streets.

Ever since its association with "Game of Thrones" caused a boom in tourism, Dubrovnik has been seeking ways to decrease damage to its historic streets. The city's solution: a restriction on cars. Cars are currently prohibited in Dubrovnik's Old Town, a move that has helped preserve the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Helsinki, Finland, wants to create more convenient neighborhoods.

As more people move to Helsinki, the city is making efforts to improve walkability. The Finnish capital plans to construct new, denser neighborhoods that would allow people to get around on foot more easily while limiting car usage in favor of public transportation.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, makes accessing other cities easy.

Walk Score deemed Philadelphia the fifth most walkable large city in the US, meaning that most day-to-day tasks and errands can be completed on foot. Additionally, the city has great public transportation. Not only can you get around inside Philly easily, but trains also provide quick access to nearby cities like Washington, DC, and New York City.

Historic Boston, Massachusetts, is easy to get around.

One of the most historic cities in the US, Boston is also one of the most walkable. Along with being compact enough to make getting around on foot a breeze, the city also has one of the country's highest-ranked public transportation systems.

You can see many of Washington, DC's sites on foot.

Another of the most walkable cities in the US, the many monuments and museums of Washington, DC, are easy to see on foot. The US capital also has an impressive subway system that spans the entire city and extends deep into the surrounding metropolitan area.

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