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13 Unbelievable Urban Hiking Trails Around the World

Lauren Mack

New York, NY, USA

When hiking mountains simply won’t do, grab your hiking boots and hit the city streets for an urban hike. There are tons of easy urban hikes for city slickers around the world. Whether you conquer your acrophobia (fear of heights) at the world’s most epic urban climbs, like NYC’s City Climb —the highest open-air building ascent in the world— or spend one or more days hiking leisurely along distance walking trails like London’s Thames Path, it’s time to take a hike.

Arrábida Bridge Climb, Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

When it was built in 1963, the Arrábida Bridge had the largest concrete arch in the world. Urban hikers climb 262 steps for enviable views of the northwesterly Portugese city known for its port wine. Under the guidance of a guide, hikers are harnessed and grasp a handrail on one side and steel cables on the other to hike up the 26-foot-wide concrete arch that spans the Douro River.

California Coastal Trail, San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

Stretching 1,200 miles from Mexico to Oregon, the California Coastal Trail is best tackled in smaller sections like the 2.7-mile segment that runs along the Pacific Ocean from the 25th Avenue Gate near Baker Beach through The Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge. Strap on your hiking boots late afternoon to catch an iconic San Francisco sunset.

City Climb, New York, New York

New York, New York

Live life on the edge at City Climb: the highest external building climb in the world. The hike culminates with leaning out from the highest outdoor platform in New York City and the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere. The experience 1,200-plus feet above ground isn’t for the faint of heart. All climbers are given a safety briefing and a breathalyzer test before beginning the climb.

Malecón, Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru

Located in Lima‘s upscale neighborhood of Miraflores, the clifftop El Malecón is a picturesque pathway perched high above the Pacific Ocean. The six-mile coastal path consists of three connected segments that pass through several parks, a lighthouse, a bridge, and several sculptures, including El Beso, a sculpture of a couple in an embrace created by Peruvian sculptor Víctor Delfín. 

Great Wall, Beijing, China

Beijing, China

There are a half dozen sections of the Great Wall within driving distance of Beijing, but Mutianyu is one of the most popular restored parts of the 3,852-mile wall. Mutianyu dates to the Ming Dynasty and is a 90-minute drive from the Chinese capital. The Mutianyu section is a challenging urban hike that features a series of watchtowers and views of the Chinese countryside. Weary hikers can take a cable car or chair lift up to the wall and then take a chair lift or toboggan ride down. Hiking parts of the Great Wall is, hands down, one of the best things to do in Beijing.

La Traversée de Paris, Paris, France

Paris, France

One of three ways to walk across Paris, La Traversée de Paris is a 13-mile hiking route that starts in the east at the Bois de Vincennes, the French capitol’s largest park, and ends at the Bois de Boulogne in the west. Along the way, urban hikers cross the Seine and pass by the Eiffel Tower, École Militaire, Luxembourg Gardens, Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, and the Panthéon.

Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Considered one of the best things to do in Dubai, at the Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk on The Palm you can enjoy a 6.8 mile walk along the Arabian Gulf, admiring the views of the world’s largest man-made island shaped like a date palm. Stretching from the Rixos The Palm Hotel & Suites to the One&Only The Palm, the 19.6-foot-wide boardwalk is populated with food trucks and vendors.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is a bucket list item for folks who love urban hiking around the world. Intrepid hikers climb 1,621 steps up the steel-arch bridge 439 feet above Sydney Harbour. There are several options for exploring the Sydney Harbour Bridge, including a three-and-a-half-hour option to climb both the lower and upper arches and cross the entire bridge from the south to the north and back. While enjoyable solo, this experience is best enjoyed with others, making it a perfect Sydney date idea.

Tampa Riverwalk, Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Take a waterfront walk in downtown Tampa, along the 2.6-mile Tampa Riverwalk. Open 24/7, the paved walkway runs along the Hillsborough River from Armature Works to Sparkman Wharf. Along the way, stroll past museums, including the Tampa Museum of Art, parks, restaurants, shops, and a historical monument trail that honors 30 people who influenced the development of  Tampa and Hillsborough County.

Thames Path, London, England

London, England

As its name suggests, the 185-mile Thames Path follows the River Thames, starting at the Cotswolds, continuing through the English countryside, winding its way through Central London, and finishing at the Thames Barrier in Southeast London. The 10.5-mile stretch from Putney to Tower Bridge along the south bank of the river is ideal for urban sightseers as the easy path passes historical sights, including the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.

The Ramble, Central Park, New York, New York

New York, New York

Central Park, the nation’s first public park, is one of NYC’s most popular spots for a stroll, jog, or bike ride. It’s also home to The Ramble: an urban hiking trail that looks and feels like the woods in the middle of Manhattan. One of three woodland areas in the 800-acre park, the 36-acre Ramble was designed to look like the woodlands in upstate New York like the Catskills or Adirondacks. While beautiful from the ground, the Ramble is also incredible from a bird’s eye view.

Up at The O2, London, England

London, England

During Up at The O2, urban hikers are rewarded with panoramic views from 170 feet up. After a safety briefing, hikers don a climbing jacket, boots, and harness before embarking on the one-hour outdoor climb over the roof of The O2, the famed London arena. Along the way, a guide provides interesting facts and points out points of interest, including The Olympic Park, Canary Wharf, and Greenwich. 

Yangmingshan National Park, Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan

Located above the Taipei basin, urban hikers can explore the 28,305-acre Yangmingshan National Park’s 30 peaks. The park is technically an active volcano, but the last eruption was 300,000 years ago. There are several trails, including the Butterfly Corridor, an easy 1.2-mile trail where butterflies flutter around hikers, and the Bird Watching Trail, a two-hour, mostly flat forest trail where hikers can glimpse 20 species of birds like the Taiwan blue magpie and the Formosan whistling thrush. Soothe tired feet with a post-hike dip in Lengshuikeng, a cold water spring, or soak in hot springs at one of the bath houses dotted along Yang Jin Highway, one of the best things to do in Taiwan.