While itís no secret that wandering the world by foot is a great way for travelers to save money, many are unaware of the world-class walking tours available around the globe. Many of them are bucket-list worthy and free of charge. These categories represent some of my favorite ways to select walking tours when I travel. (See also: 3 Fun Walking Tours in the Tampa Bay Area)
When a cityís historical district has been designated a world heritage site by UNESCO, itís a pretty safe bet that visiting it on foot will be a memorable part of your vacation itinerary. Bruges, Belgium for example pairs historic European architecture with canals, greenery and traditional Belgian charm. The city of Quito, Ecuador boasts a downtown historical district with wedding-cake-style detail on a number of buildings, and a weekly changing of the guard ceremony that is not to be missed. Then of course, thereís the charming Bermuda town of St. George. Featuring picture-perfect European charm on a semi-tropical island complete with costumed historical reenactments and colorful buildings, this is one UNESCO heritage site that is not to be missed.
Bostonís Freedom Trail is a two-and-a half-mile brick walking trail which leads tourists past 16 nationally-significant sites, including Bunker Hill Monument, the USS Constitution, Old North Church, the home of Paul Revere and Faneuil Hall, among others. Itís one of the reasons Beantown is so popular with vacationers from around the world. The historical district in New Orleans known as the French Quarter is another world-class location in which to enjoy a free walking tour. Notable items include the St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square and of course the architecture present throughout the entire district.† The walled city of York, England, easily accessible from London by train, is worthy of your vacation consideration as well. From the preserved medieval shopping street known as The Shambles to the gothic York Minster cathedral, budget travelers will have lots to see.
Few places embrace walking as a national pastime as much as the United Kingdom. With walking trails that skirt foamy seashores, network ancient abbeys and traverse the countryside Ė typically for free Ė itís a smart move to incorporate this part of Europe into any long-term travel itinerary. For example, the Coast Path in Wales allows active vacationers to walk the coastline of the entire country, while Scotland features a network of trails known as long distance routes, offering multi-day walking adventures for those who prefer to serve as their own transportation.
For those who appreciate more massive archaeological sites as their walking tour of choice, there is certainly no shortage of them. Plan to spend several days in Petra in order to properly experience the ruins and interact with the local Bedouin culture. If you arrive early, Pompeii can be covered in a day, albeit a full one that will require water bottles and a picnic. Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat are other world-class archaeological venues excursionists can explore on foot. And of course, thereís the forum in Rome. While not as large as some of the other sites, itís worth spending the bulk of an afternoon or even an entire day for those on a sketching or photography mission.