Sometimes the best way to see a city, to experience its true essence, is at street level. Walking gives you the chance to explore its significant features and local attractions at your leisure. While you can walk in almost any city center, some destinations are more peripatetic pleasurable as you make your way through the labyrinthine streetscapes. Charter a private jet to one of these top city centers to experience by foot.
Amsterdam is not just about its mazes of canals. It’s also a delightful city for walking. Just keep your head up for cyclists. Amsterdam has countless treasures that you will only see on foot. If you look in the trees in the grass in the northeast corner of Leidseplein and Stadhouderskade, you’ll see a small statue of a man with a large saw on one of the branches. Make your way to the floating flower market and order bulbs that the vendors will ship to your home. Then head to Dam Square and tour the neoclassical royal palace and gothic Nieuwe Kerk (New Church).
Pack your hiking boots when you venture to the former capital of the Incan empire. Most of the attractions in Cusco surround the old town center in Plaza de Armas. You’ll love the ancient stonemasonry, which the city integrates into its walls to make for an unexpected backdrop. Follow the trail at the plaza for 30 minutes to Sacsayahuamán, the site of Incan ruins. The hike will give you a small taste of the trek to Machu Picchu.
Canada is ripe with charming walk-able cities, like Vancouver, Quebec City and Toronto. None compare to Montréal, which is perhaps the most pedestrian-friendly. The city has over 20,000 cafes and restaurants within a short distance from each other. Historic Old Montréal is the home of the magnificent Notre-Dame Basilica. Put on a pair of comfy shoes and see why so many flock to this Canadian epicenter.
Next to the Vatican, Florence and its Centro Storico is packed more densely with treasures than any other city in the world. The art is more than its famous street sculptures, like those found in Piazza della Signoria. It’s the fading fresco on the side of an old building. It’s the marble cherub above a doorway. Details like wrought iron signs and manhole covers are worth a second look. Great pieces of art at the Accademia, Duomo and Uffizi are never more than 30 minutes away from one another. Keep in mind that the streets are made of cobblestones, so supportive shoes are a must.
Situated at the base of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is where old meets new. The Medina quarter is rich with historical attractions and a maze of markets. Be sure to visit the Badii Palace ruins, Koutoubia Mosque and Jemaa el Fna. See beautiful examples of the area’s classic architecture at the Ben Youssef Medersa, which dates back to the 16th century. For a gorgeous oasis in the desert landscape, don’t miss the world-famous Arset El-Mamoun gardens at the glamorous La Mamounia, which the Crown Prince Moulay Mamoun established in the 18th century.