Walkable cities in Europe with a pleasant climate, lots of things to do/see?
June 22, 2011 4:05 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to visit some walkable cities in Europe over the next six weekends. I don't know when I'll next be in Europe, so this is my chance. My current homebase of Dublin fits the bill: walkable, good public transportation, lovely climate (in my opinion), LOTS to see! I'm told that Amsterdam and Prague are absolute musts.

Spain is, unfortunately, the flight prices are off the charts.
posted by Xere to Travel & Transportation around Dublin, Ireland (31 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Riga, especially the old town, might fit your bill. And airfare from Dublin is very reasonable.
posted by Harald74 at 4:09 AM on June 22, 2011

Edinburgh is easily walkable and public transport is ok.

Zürich are easily walkable and public transport is excellent.
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:12 AM on June 22, 2011

Berlin and Munich. Cheap flights using Ryanair. Awesome public transportation. Lots and lots to see. Beautiful cities.
posted by carmel at 4:20 AM on June 22, 2011

If you're going to Amsterdam, grab a train to Brugge; it is gorgeous.
posted by pompomtom at 4:21 AM on June 22, 2011

Go to Prague for sure
posted by Bacillus at 4:22 AM on June 22, 2011

Venice is very walkable - it has to be. Florence also. I've heard good things about Dubrovnik.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 4:22 AM on June 22, 2011

Seconding Florence. Also easy to make serendipitous discoveries when walking around there, but everything about the city is expensive, even compared to Dublin.
posted by StephenF at 5:12 AM on June 22, 2011

Berlin, Copenhagen (although it's likely to be expensive)
posted by azarbayejani at 5:13 AM on June 22, 2011

There are some lovely Dutch cities that are less crowded than Amsterdam, such as Utrecht and Delft. Also, seconding Brugge, although it's three to three-and-a-half hours from Amsterdam by train, so it probably warrants a separate trip (especially if you're flying back out of Schiphol).
posted by neushoorn at 5:17 AM on June 22, 2011

Amsterdam is definitely a walkable city, but it's even more fun by bike - you can rent them for next to nothing, and it takes a lot less time to get to Vondelpark and enjoy the gorgeous atmosphere and weather.

I second Edinburgh - it's a great city to see by foot, especially the Royal Mile area, or the New Town / Stockbridge.
posted by ukdanae at 5:40 AM on June 22, 2011

I have found both Zurich and Reykjavik a) walkable and b) fun to visit. Public transport in Zurich was excellent, not sure about Reykjavik because everything I wanted to see and do was close enough to walk. Prices in Iceland go up in the summer, though, as far as I can tell.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:52 AM on June 22, 2011

Absolutely Edinburgh. It's a short hop from Dublin and very affordable on RyanAir. There are frequent express buses between the city and the airport. My husband and I stayed at the Bank Hotel, which was so centrally located that we didn't need public transport, except to take the bus to Edinburgh Castle.
posted by slmorri at 6:25 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ljubljana is extremely walkable.
And Budapest is pretty good too, especially if you're happy to use its fantastic public transport.
posted by sleepy boy at 6:37 AM on June 22, 2011

I'll third Zurich, I lived there for quite a while and walked pretty much everywhere. I wouldn't call Berlin walkable, maybe getting a rental bike and peddling around, but not really a tight knit city. The old area in Munich is good as is Rome. I finally learned to like walking around London and as others have noted, Edinburgh is great. Other places I'd recommend are in the nordics: Stockholm, Helsinki and Copenhagen were all fun places for me when I trundled around on weekend mornings.

If you end up going to Switzerland, memail me and I can make specific recommendation in Zurich, Bern, and Basel to explore.
posted by michswiss at 6:41 AM on June 22, 2011

I'm in Berlin right now and it is incredibly lovely and walkable, although it's been rainy here and there. But still very walkable if you don't mind some light showers (and right now it is gloriously sunny without being too hot).
posted by dubitable at 7:05 AM on June 22, 2011

Oh, and, Paris, dunno why that hasn't been mentioned. Quite walkable and nice weather now. It's a beautiful city.
posted by dubitable at 7:06 AM on June 22, 2011

Most of which i saw in Belgium i liked better than what i saw in the Netherlands (Brugge, Leuven, Antwerpen, etc.)

And like dubitable says, just go to Paris, it's just a giant museum, very walkable, great transportation, excellent food, tons of things to do.
posted by palbo at 7:40 AM on June 22, 2011

Edinburgh is lovely, very walkable and has lots to see. It is cheap and easy to get to from Dublin (if you go with one of the budget airlines). Unfortunately your timescale of the next six weekends means you will be too early for the Fringe, but on the plus side than means it will be less crowded and easier to get accommodation. There would still be plenty to see and do over the course of the weekend.
posted by maybeandroid at 7:43 AM on June 22, 2011

michswiss: I will be in Zurich during the summer and would appreciate a guide to good places to visit, please post it to the thread if you are putting it together. Thanks!
posted by biffa at 7:47 AM on June 22, 2011

Regarding walkability, I see from your profile you are from Los Angeles, where I hear driving is all but mandatory. There are (afaik) no European cities which are anything like this. Even London and Paris, often described as car-centric, are very easy for visitors to get around with a combination of walking and public transport. So basically, pretty much any European city meets your requirements.

I'd say that it would be wiser to start choosing destinations based on two other criteria in your question. Firstly, you're visiting places at the weekend, so there will be lots of cities where the flights don't give you enough hours in the destination to be worth it. Secondly, you are concerned about prices to Spain, so I assume you're limited to budget airlines and direct flights.

However, don't neglect what's on your doorstep (the rest of Ireland) or other ways to travel, such as taking the ferry plus train to UK destinations, which can be very affordable.

Getting back to flights, from Dublin RyanAir flies to Talinn, Prague, Zadar, Brussels, Riga, Vilnius, Kaunas, Eindhoven, Oslo, Oporto, Faro, Bratislava, Stockholm, Bydgoszcz, Gdansk, Katowice, Krakow, Lodz, Poznan, Rzeszow, Szczecin, Wroclaw, Biarritz, Carcassone, La Rochelle, Marseilles, Nantes, Nice, Paris, Poitiers, Rodez, Tours, Berlin, Frankfurt Hahn, Memmingen, Alghero Sardinia, Bologna, Milan, Pisa, Rome, Trapani, Venice, Alicante, Barcelona, Ibiza, Madrid, Malaga, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Santander, Seville and Valencia.
AirBaltic flies to Riga.
BlueAir flies to Cluj, Bacau and Bucharest.
GermanWings flies to Cologne, Dresden, Munich, Milan, Venice, Barcelona, Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca.

There are also many cheap flights to the UK, but I'm too lazy to search for them. There are also probably some cheap tickets available on Aer Lingus, but again I'll leave you to track those down.

Of the cities in that list, I've visited and can recommend Brussels, Riga, Vilnius, Bratislava, Gdansk, Krakow, Wroclaw, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Venice and Barcelona. Prague is horribly crowded, especially in the tourist season at weekends. It's pretty enough, but I've only really enjoyed myself there in the off-season.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 7:55 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by supermedusa at 7:58 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Tallinn, Vienna and Dubrovnik are all very walkable, though Tallinn requires you to go up a bit.
posted by TheRaven at 8:21 AM on June 22, 2011

I will be in time for Edinburgh Fringe! I'll be around until the 15th.
posted by Xere at 9:08 AM on June 22, 2011

While we're in the Netherlands, a short train ride from Amsterdam is Haarlem, which is just as you'd want a Dutch town to be.

Further away, Maastricht has a lovely medieval centre and beautiful riverside walks.
posted by Boggins at 9:12 AM on June 22, 2011

During the festival, finding a place to stay in Edinburgh is extremely difficult unless you arrange it well in advance or are prepared to pay over the odds for low-end lodging. Go another time if you can.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 9:35 AM on June 22, 2011

Gdansk! Krakow! Above all: LVIV. Oh, Lviv.
posted by mdonley at 11:11 AM on June 22, 2011

Um... Paris?
Along the Seine, in Montmartre or another neighborhood of your choosing. Public transport (subway, bus, tram and public rental bikes) are excellent for getting from one place to another (as long as no one's on strike).
Can't help you with the weather. But Paris is beautiful when it rains, too.
posted by Paris Elk at 12:10 PM on June 22, 2011

Every European city is walkable and has, by American standards, outstanding public transit. Get a blindfold and some darts. Toss at a map of Europe. You're done.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 2:19 PM on June 22, 2011

Tallinn, Tallinn, Tallinn. Direct by Ryanair from Dublin, extremely walkable, totally beautiful, interesting history, good food, lively nightlife, light nights in summer, also has a beach. Prettier than Riga, cheaper than Edinburgh.
posted by penguin pie at 3:07 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd Nth Munich - easier to walk than drive most of the time, particularly post biergarten!
posted by prentiz at 3:19 PM on June 22, 2011

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