18 Charming Car-Free Cities To Visit Around The World

18 Charming Car-Free Cities To Visit Around The World

Cars are overrated anyway. Sure, your car is a nice convenience, but imagine life without

Cars are overrated anyway.

Sure, your car is a nice convenience, but imagine life without them for a moment. The streets would be quieter, the air fresher, and we’d have to rely on our own two feet (or something like a bike, boat, or scooter) to get around.

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And without car-packed roads, arriving at a new destination might mean taking a cable car over a mountain, hopping on a ferry, or walking a footbridge to a magical hilltop city.

Turns out, places like this do exist. The following cities and villages — from all around the world — are as quaint as they are car-free.


Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy

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This Italian village is free of cars, but even more dramatic is the fact that the only way in or out is by footbridge. The town’s scenic location — on a hilltop overlooking a vast canyon — is all the more striking given that you have trek up a walkway to reach it.


Halibut Cove, Alaska

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The isolated village of Halibut Cove is only home to about 90 permanent residents, which adds to the charm of this beautiful and car-free place. If that doesn’t seem serene enough, it’s also home to one of the only floating — yes, floatingUS post offices


Lamu, Kenya

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When you visit the town of Lamu on Lamu Island, Kenya, you’ll be met by donkeys instead of cars. Once you set foot on the island, it will become clear understand why. The roads — err, walkways — are narrow and winding, making it virtually impossible to get around by car. 


Giethoorn, Netherlands

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Giethoorn might just be the cutest place you’ll ever see. The village relies on a series of walking paths, bike trails, and waterways for transportation. In fact, the most popular way for visitors to see the town’s centuries-old thatched-roof houses is exploring the canals by boat.


Islas Cíes, Spain

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Imagine laying on a pristine beach without hordes of tourists. Well, that’s the reality at Islas Cíes (also known as Cíes Islands) off the coast of Galicia, Spain. The archipelago is only accessible by boat, has no hotels, and allows only 1,800 visitors (plus 600 campers) on the island per day. It’s the closest many of us will ever get to lounging on a private island.


Fire Island, New York

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You don’t have to travel far to escape the stress of NYC traffic. Fire Island, set off the southern shore of Long Island, draws in travelers who would rather hear the ding of a bike bell than the honk of a taxi. To get to one of the island’s many beaches, hiking trails, or surf spots, all you have to do is rent a bike and cruise around like a local. 


Zermatt, Switzerland

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Zermatt is a popular travel destination, but this mountain town in the Swiss Alps still takes its car-free policy seriously. Those looking to stay and play at the foot of the Matterhorn — known for skiing, hiking, and climbing — have to travel in by train, helicopter, or taxi, which have permission to use the road into Zermatt and can drop you at your hotel.


Lamma Island, Hong Kong

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A car-free island in Hong Kong, a city renowned for its teetering high-rises, neon lights, and traffic? Believe it. Lamma Island is just a 25 minute ferry from the heart of the city, but it feels worlds away. You can spend the day lounging at the beach or high up in the mountains  — just know that you can’t rely on a taxi to get you there. 


Isla Holbox, Mexico

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Just north of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is Isla Holbox, a tiny island with a big reputation. It’s home to flamingos, pristine beaches, and shallow waters. The lack of cars gives the entire island a laid-back vibe that pairs perfectly with its sandy streets and colorful wooden houses.


La Cumbrecita, Argentina

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La Cumbrecita is located in Argentina, but it has an undeniably European feel. That’s because in addition to being almost completely free of cars, it was founded by German, Swiss, French, and Austrian citizens — many of whom were exiled during World War II. Today, the secluded hamlet not only bans cars, but it is also almost completely reliant on renewable energy and a water treatment and reuse system.


Hydra, Greece

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Not far from Athens floats the island of Hydra (aka Ydra or Idra). Once you step foot off the water taxi, you’ll be hard pressed to find a car or even a bike on the island. Instead, visitors make their way by foot or boat to Hydra’s natural springs and isolated beaches.


Bald Head Island, North Carolina

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When you board the ferry to Bald Head Island, you leave your car and the norms of the mainland behind. Life moves slower here — about as slow as the island’s main form of transportation: the golf cart. 


Sark, Channel Islands

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Nestled between the islands of Guernsey and Jersey in the English Channel is Sark, a tiny, car-free island that’s only accessible by ferry. In addition to being traffic-free, the island is free of street lights, which ensures that there’s nothing hindering your view of the starry night skies. 


Chamois, Italy

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Chamois, located in the beautiful, mountainous region of northwestern Italy, has a lot going for it. But what really makes this town notable is the fact that it’s not reachable by car. To get there, you have to lace up your hiking boots or hop on a cable car that will whisk you up and over the mountains.


Fes El Bali, Morocco

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The ancient walled medina of Fes El Bali in the city of Fez is made up of over 9,000 maze-like alleyways that are far too narrow for cars, making it one of the few distinctly urban car-free destinations. Without cars taking up space and polluting the air, you can jostle through the narrow walkways in search of the medina’s renowned leather goods, street kebabs, and sweets.


Mackinac Island, Michigan

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The state of Michigan is home to what many call a national treasure: Mackinac Island. Without cars to get you from Point A to Point B, you can rent a bike, walk, or, better yet, take a horse-drawn carriage. It’s about as wonderfully old-school as it gets, yet it’s just a 16 minute ferry ride from the mainland.


Venice, Italy

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If you’ve been to Venice, you might have been so enchanted by the narrow waterways, cobblestone streets, and St. Mark’s Basilica, that you forgot to notice the lack of cars. That’s right, this iconic medieval city is car-free, relying on man-powered gondolas rather than motor-powered vehicles. The little fun fact only adds to Venice’s undeniable charm (as if the city needs any more of it).


The Old Town of Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Within the Croatian city of Dubrovnik is the historic, car-free Old Town neighborhood — a section of the town that’s surrounded by medieval walls. It’s the sort of place you can meander for hours, shopping, eating, and sightseeing, feeling as if you’ve traveled back in time. 

Have you traveled somewhere not mentioned on this list where cars aren’t allowed? Tell us in the comments!

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