Come with us, one step at a time, as we explore ten scenic walks in some of the world’s most iconic and beautiful cities. If you’re anything like us and you love traveling, exploring new cities and walking, then read on about some of the best places to walk around the world.
10 of the most scenic walks around the world
1. Devil’s Peak, Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is a cool and incredibly scenic city and one of the best ways to experience it is by walking up Devil’s Peak Mountain. Okay, it’s more like a mini hike than a leisurely walk but it's much easier than the Table Mountain hike. Plus, Table Mountain has a cable car, so we recommend stretching your legs here instead.
Devil’s Peak sits in between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean and at its peak offers 360 degree views of the Cape Town CBD, Table Mountain, the 12 Apostles and Camps Bay. It is only 3km to the top and should only take you around one hour, going at a slow and steady pace. A certain level of fitness is required as it becomes more strenuous as you approach the top.
There are three ways to access Devil’s Peak but we recommend taking the Tafelberg Road entrance as it offers the best views. Do take care as it gets steeper as the peak is exposed and can become slippery when wet. However, reaching the peak is well worth the effort and offers some of the best views of one of the most naturally beautiful cities in the world.
2. Circle Walk, Victoria Peak, Hong Kong
Like Cape Town, Hong Kong is another incredible, naturally beautiful city surrounded by mountains and national parks. It was also featured in our ultimate world cruise itinerary of Asia post. One of the best walks with a view of this scenic city is the Circle Walk at the top of Victoria Peak.
Not only will you be able to see the iconic city skyline, but indulge in walking amongst some of the most expensive real estate on the planet. Beyond that you can take in the mountains, ocean and islands in the distance. It’s a great way to easily escape the hustle and bustle of the city and escape to nature to look back on it all.
You can take a tram up Victoria Peak Sky Terrace to begin the Circle Walk which is roughly 4km long. It is a loop track and should take you no longer than an hour. It is an easy walk, suitable for children.
3. City Foreshore Walk, Sydney, Australia
There are so many fabulous walks in this gorgeous city, including the famous coastal Bondi to Coogee walk along the rugged cliffs that take you to pretty Pacific Ocean beaches. Then, there are nature trails like the Spit Bridge to Manly Walk which don’t feel like you’re in a city at all. But if you are fortunate enough to visit this incredibly naturally beautiful city for the first time, then you must do the Sydney harbour foreshore walk.
The walk takes you around all the cultural landmarks which identify the city, including the iconic Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the historic Rocks district. What makes this walk even better now is the newly developed Barangaroo precinct which had always been the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle connecting the harbor foreshore walk to Darling Harbour on the west side of Sydney’s downtown.
We suggest starting in Woolloomooloo, walking up to Mrs. Macquarie's Chair, along the Botanical Gardens to the Opera House. You can do tours of the iconic structure if you so desire. Then around the busy Circular Quay, the city’s ferry hub and gateway to downtown. Continue along the Harbour through The Rocks, where the British convicts built the city hundreds of years ago. Then you will go from old to new as you pass Barangaroo Reserve and into Darling Harbour. You will not experience a more gorgeous harbor walk in your life.
4. West Observatory Trail, Los Angeles
The Griffith Observatory is a true Los Angeles landmark and institution. Opened in 1935, visitors can look through their night view and solar telescopes, as well as view scientific exhibits and see live shows in the planetarium. What’s more, and perhaps best of all is its vantage point perched up high on Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park. As a result, it boasts million dollar views over the city of Los Angeles, the Hollywood sign and beyond.
Instead of driving to the observatory, we recommend a short hike up the West Observatory Trail. It starts from Fern Dell Drive from Western Canyon (below the Observatory on the western side). It is a 2.1 mile round trip hike and provides a solid little workout. The reward is views beyond those experienced at Griffith Observatory. You also get to visit the observatory itself, an incredible piece of architecture with art-deco and Greek island influences.
Once at the top, pat yourself on the back while taking in a view over Los Angeles usually reserved for the rich and famous.
5. Nairobi Safari Walk, Nairobi National Park
Nairobi is one of the fastest developing cities on the African continent and a popular tourist destination due to its amazing wildlife and eco-diversity. Nairobi also boasts the only Wildlife park in the world right next to the city. It is truly an extraordinary sight, seeing Giraffes with city skyscrapers in the background and not being inside a zoo!
One of the best ways to experience the park is by the Nairobi Safari Walk. Some of the wildlife you will get to see includes:
While it may not be as wild as Masai Mara, to get a taste of the African wildlife in such close proximity to a major city centre makes this one of the most scenic walks around the world.
6. The Seawall, Vancouver, Canada
Yet another aesthetically pleasing to the eye city, Vancouver lays claim to the longest uninterrupted waterfront pathway in the world. The Seawall walk is a 25.6km (16m) journey that takes you around Downtown and the beautiful Stanley Park. If you choose to take the entire walk it will take you around 5 hours.
It truly is a magnificent walk. Like Cape Town, Hong Kong and Sydney before it, Vancouver is another naturally beautiful city. The section around Stanley Park offers up magnificent mountain, city and sea views that are hard to beat.
Along the way you will see the old Brockton Point Lighthouse, the Lion’s Gate Bridge and even the odd seal if you're lucky. However, the famous sight along The Seawall is Siwash Rock, an iconic rocky outcrop created by lava. Besides the basalt rock are two beautiful trees sitting atop making it truly a sight to see - a photographer’s destination.
7. Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh
Arthur’s Seat sits at the top of Holyrood Park, overlooking another iconic city, Edinburgh in Scotland. The park offers spectacular views as well as a real sense of escape from the city's streets below. There are several routes you can take up to Arthur’s Seat; the Blue Route, Red Route, Green Route and Purple Route. For the best views and ease, we recommend the Red Route. You need to allow roughly two hours round trip.
You access it from the Holyrood Palace car park. From there, the red path gently climbs away from the road. Along the way you can view Dunsapie Loch below. The red path eventually opens out into a grassy area at the end of Salisbury Crags where you will join the blue route. Just avoid the purple route, unless you enjoy a steep hiking challenge.
Eventually you will begin to hear the sounds of Edinburgh as you approach the summit and Arthur’s Seat. Enjoy the magnificent views of this ancient city, including the iconic Castle Rock and Edinburgh Castle. If you brought some Scottish whiskey along, now would be a good time to reward yourself with a cheeky little tipple.
8. Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio is another naturally beautiful city, with gorgeous coastlines, pretty bays and rainforest mountains jutting up throughout the city. It's also one of the incredible historical travel destinations. One of the best ways to take it all in is by walking up to the famous Christ the Redeemer statue at the top of Corcovado Mountain.
The hike will take you roughly 2 hours and it is steep so a certain level of fitness is required for this one. The trail starts at Parque Lage, at the foot of Corcovado Mountain. It is a beautiful place to start the walk with lush peaceful surroundings contrasting with the hustle and bustle of the city outside the park.
The scenic walk takes you through lush tropical forest which provides shade from the hot Brazilian sun. You’ll pass a few waterfalls along the way. Eventually you will hit the steep incline of the trail, and it goes for some time, so chances are you will stop for breath on more than one occasion. The most difficult part is a steep rock with a chain for you to pull yourself up.
But once you reach the top you will realize it was all worth it. After you thank Christ that you made it, you can take in the view of Rio unlike any other. From Sugarloaf Mountain to the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema and Guanabara Bay, you can see it all. Maybe get the train back down though!
9. High Line Walk, New York City, USA
The High Line Walk in New York is one of the most genius additions to this incredible city. Originally a historic freight rail line elevated above streets along Manhattan's West Side, it was saved from demolition by local residents and transformed into a public pathway where people experience a beautiful blend of nature, art and design while taking in the sights and sounds of Manhattan above and below.
You can start the scenic walk from Gansevoort Street at the southern end or 34th Street at the northern end. The High Line stretches 1.45 miles and we recommend taking your time, about 2 - 3 hours, to get the full experience. You can use the High Line to explore Manhattan by exiting to grab a drink or meal in the many different districts below. Then rejoin. At 30 feet high, the walk is a sweet escape from the concrete jungle below. There are carefully manicured gardens at every turn and magnificent views of the Hudson River.
Walking the High Line is a must-do New York experience.
10. The Great Wall of China, China
We all know of the Great Wall of China. But did you know that it was built to keep the northern and nomadic invaders out? Seems that Trump wasn’t the first one to build a wall to keep people out... As such, the wall stretches a whopping 2,500 miles long! And guess what, you can walk it. Well, maybe just a section of it will do.
This walk is all about appreciating this historical and architectural triumph. Amazingly, this immense feat of engineering dates back to the 7th century BC. As such, responsible tourism should be practiced while walking the Great Wall.
The Great Wall stretches from the east coast to the Gobi Desert through rural countryside and over steep mountain passages. Over the years, erosion and vandalism have taken their toll on sections of the wall. However, the sections closest to Beijing are the best maintained and have been restored. As such, we recommend that you start your walk from here.
There are a number of walking tours you can take that vary in length and difficulty. Or, if you prefer to explore yourself, make your way to Badaling, the most popular section of the Great Wall due to its close proximity to Beijing. The wall is in very good condition here; however, we recommend avoiding it during summer as it gets overcrowded with tourists.
Storylines is a luxury residential community at sea. Our first ship MV Narrative is attracting like-minded people who choose travel as a way of life, not a vacation. We are guided by core values of responsible tourism and participation in the communities we visit. If this sounds like you then please learn more about us on our website. You can also see a sample itinerary of some of the wonderful places we explore around the world. Get your walking shoes ready!