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  • Writer's pictureThe Merge

To Really Get to Know a Place, You Have to Walk It: The Ultimate Guide to Fully Experiencing a Place

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

There's something special about walking through a place. Whether it's a bustling city, a quaint small town, or a sprawling countryside, walking can give you a deeper understanding and appreciation of the place you're in.

To really get to know a place, you have to walk it.

tourist walking around to explore a new place

Walking is a simple activity that has been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years. However, it is often overlooked as a way to explore a place. It always seems safer or easier to consider public transport or private taxis for your daily transportation. But does this give you a chance to explore the new place?

When you walk, you get a greater sense of understanding of where things are located.

Walking allows you to slow down and take in your surroundings. When you're on foot, you notice things you might miss if you were driving or biking.

Walking gives you a chance to observe the unique characteristics of the area, such as architecture, historical landmarks, and natural features. Walking also enables you to interact with locals and learn more about their community's history, traditions, and culture. It is an immersive experience that engages all your senses, allowing you to fully appreciate the place you're in.


So why is it important to walk to get to know a place?

Walking is an activity that can be enjoyed by both tourists and locals who are looking to develop a deeper connection with a place. It is particularly suited for those who have the time and flexibility to immerse themselves in a community and explore at a leisurely pace. Unlike rushed sightseeing tours that prioritize checking off destinations from a list, walking enables you to slow down and engage with the local culture on a more personal level.

Let's dive a little deeper to understand a few benefits that walking offers in exploring a new place.

Whether you're exploring a new city or discovering a familiar neighbourhood, walking enables you to put down deep roots and develop a long-term relationship with a place.

One of the benefits of walking is that it gives you a sense of the area's layout and scale. When you're on foot, you can see how different neighbourhoods fit together and how the streets connect. You can also get a feel for the terrain, such as hills or water features, that impact the community's design and development.

Walking also allows you to explore off the beaten path. It allows you to discover hidden gems and secret spots that might not be visible from a car or public transportation. You can venture down side streets and alleys, finding unique shops, cafes, and other local businesses. Walking also enables you to explore natural areas and parks that may not be accessible by other means.

Taking a walking tour or exploring on foot is an immersive experience. It engages all your senses, from sights and sounds to smells and textures. You can taste local foods, touch the textures of local crafts, and hear the sounds of street performers or musicians. These experiences create a lasting impression of the place and help you understand what makes it unique.

In addition to the benefits of exploring a place on foot, walking has numerous health benefits. Walking is a low-impact exercise that can improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress, and help with weight management. Walking also improves mental health by reducing anxiety and depression symptoms and improving mood.

Many cities and towns have embraced the idea of walking as a way to explore and promote their communities. They've created walking tours, pedestrian-friendly zones, and walking maps to encourage visitors and residents to explore on foot. Some communities have even established walking festivals or events that celebrate walking as a fun and healthy activity.

Walking can also be a sustainable way to explore a place. Walking is a zero-emission activity that doesn't contribute to air or noise pollution. It's also a way to reduce traffic congestion and promote alternative transportation options.

How can you make the most of walking in a new place?

To really get the most out of your walking experience, it is important to prepare ahead of time. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather. Bring water and snacks, especially if you're planning on walking for an extended period of time. Consider using a map or guidebook to help you navigate the area.

young couple using a map to discover a new place

Whether you're exploring a new city or discovering a familiar neighbourhood, walking enables you to put down deep roots and develop a long-term relationship with a place. By taking the time to explore on foot, you can gain a deeper understanding of the community's history, values, and challenges. This can foster a sense of connection and belonging that goes beyond mere tourism.

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