The world’s most fascinating streets
Boulevard Saint Laurent, Montréal
Nicknamed ‘The Main’, this is one of the most central streets in Montreal as it links the old town to Chinatown, and Little Italy to the seaport. In summer, some of the stretch is closed to traffic while arts and jazz festivals take over and hundreds flock to the street to take part.
Camden High Street, London
This busy thoroughfare boasts an eclectic mix of brilliant bars, eccentric shops, and small indoor markets that overflow into the side streets. Known for its alternative character, Camden High Street is a fantastic place for people-watching, as punk hairstyles and heavily tattooed types ramble on past.
The Royal Mile, Edinburgh
The main thoroughfare linking Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle is a mile-long cobbled street, lined with old and impressive buildings. It’s easy to get lost along the mile though, as there are lots of narrow alleys to explore, often concealing quaint little pubs or galleries.
Khao San Road, Bangkok
By day this former rice market is just another busy street in Bangkok, full of tourists and tuk-tuk touts looking to make a buck. Come nightfall, however, and this short strip of road becomes the highlight of Bangkok nightlife, as bars compete to drown out each other’s music and food stalls pop up to feed the masses.
Chandni Chowk, Delhi
If it isn’t a tuk-tuk or a bicycle laden with chickens, it’s the hordes of people that you’re battling against to get to the prize at the end: the Jama Masjid mosque. The mosque sits majestically at the eastern end providing a superb vista through the crowds and clusters of pop-up market stalls selling everything from street food to saris.
While it might seem an odd choice for a stroll, as boarded up derelict buildings haunt the pavements, there is something pleasant about this street's defiant atmosphere. The buildings lining Spuistraat are covered in clever and anarchic graffiti and the whole place has the melancholy air of some failed attempt at social revolution. For a flavour of the radical left you can visit the Vankrijk café, run by volunteers, where you can partake in political workshops and film screenings.
Venice Beach Boardwalk, Los Angeles
There is nothing better than a seafront stroll, and while one side is lined with colourful restaurants, bars and shops, the other is scattered with performers, fortune tellers and artists looking to catch your eye – all backed by the beautiful white sands and blue waters of Venice Beach.
La Rambla, Barcelona
This tree-lined pedestrian thoroughfare stretches for just over a kilometre and is always buzzing with tourists, locals, street entertainers and market traders alike. There are plenty of restaurants and bars along this promenade, perfect for sitting outside with a glass of sangria, to watch the bartering market vendors and silver-painted human statues.
Wall Street, New York City
It’s not just a name – this is one of the most important streets in America and is home to the New York Stock Exchange. Wall St is where all the financial magic happens for America. The area is home to some beautiful Gilded Age architecture and boasts iconic buildings such as Federal Hall and the towering Trump Building.
Istiklal Street, Istanbul
Linking Taskim Square to the Galata district, this busy shopping street is a hive of activity day and night, with restaurants, bars and shops opening their doors to customers, while the tram whizzes up and down. As you wander down this thoroughfare, you can smell the roasting chestnuts on street stalls or follow your nose to a side street for some divine Turkish coffee.
Once the home of Princess and the Pea writer Hans Christian Andersen, there is certainly an air of fairytale about this street. With a canal running down the centre, and brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century town houses lining its sides, it makes for a pleasant stroll in Copenhagen.
Half Moon Street, Sherborne, UK
For a quintessentially English experience have a wander down Half Moon St in the market town of Sherborne, Dorset. On one side, old cottages cluster side-by-side, housing little boutiques and independent shops, and on the other, the magnificent medieval Sherborne Abbey stands to attention as the centrepiece of the town.
Pingjiang Road, Suzhou, China
Over 1.5km long, this street is a picture of what China used to be, and in ancient Suzhou it was the main road through the city. A river flows along the street crossed by charming little bridges, and elegant gardens are scattered along the route making it a popular spot for newlyweds to take their photographs.
Small white cottages, originally built for single or widowed Catholic women, surround this quaint little street and its central green lawn. The cottages are now home to a group of Benedictine nuns and, as to be expected, there is an air of silence. However, the quiet is not eerie but tranquil in this unspoilt setting.
Jonker Street, Melaka, Malaysia
In the UNESCO World Heritage city of Melaka, the rather garishly-decorated Jonker Street is popular with both locals and tourists. At weekends it’s alive with food stalls and pop-up shops, and in the evening red lamps hang on wires to light up the way. Don’t miss some of the traditional restaurants that are often lost among the souvenir shops.
Latema Road, Nairobi
It’s pandemonium along this main matatu (minibus) stage, providing most of the transport out of the city. If you want to dive into the chaotic side of Kenya, this certainly makes for a most entertaining walk, as you dodge touts and locals haggling the price of their next journey, and dive out of the way of buses bursting with people. There are plenty of bars and restaurants along this strip that, from their first floor balconies, offer great views of – and reprieve from – the chaos.
Long Street, Cape Town
Living up to its name, this is one of the longest streets in the city, totalling a 3.8km walk. Antique shops, bookshops and galleries, many housed in elaborate and colourful Victorian buildings with original cast iron balconies, line this lengthy street. As you’d expect in this African metropolitan city, Long Street comes alive at night with scores of bars, pubs and clubs.
Royal Street, New Orleans
A rather popular alternative to the somewhat seedy Bourbon Street, this is one of the oldest roads in New Orleans. It is a particularly beautiful and unusual area dating from the French colonial era, with quirky antique shops and art galleries that promise to entertain anyone strolling down it, while flowers spill over elaborate balconies.
9 de Julio Avenue, Buenos Aires
Purported to be the widest avenue in the world, this street, accommodating nine lanes of traffic in each direction, is something to behold as a pedestrian. When crossing the road, it may look like you’ll never reach the other side. But, fear not – there are extra wide pedestrian crossings for all of your rambling pleasures. Historical monuments such as the Obelisk of Buenos Aires and a statue of classic Spanish character Don Quixote are particular points of interest along this mammoth thoroughfare.
Lombard Street, San Francisco
Perhaps the craziest street in the world this famous zigzagged road is iconic in San Francisco. It has eight hairpin turns which twist and bend like a serpent downhill from west to east, making the drive quite a challenge but always entertaining to watch. Incredibly green gardens fill in the spaces between residential buildings and the road itself.
Fifth Avenue, New York City
This infamous street is one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world, lined with prestigious and luxury brands and boutiques. Walking down Fifth Avenue gives a glimpse of the high life as New York’s richest shop for tailored suits and expensive jewellery. A section called “Museum Mile” houses renowned galleries such as the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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