25 Most Scenic Riverwalks Around the World, Ranked
The world is full of beautiful bodies of water that leave us in awe of nature’s canvas. Among the most tranquil ways to take in the majority of Earth’s surface is along riverwalks. Small towns and big cities revitalize river banks into a collective of cultural activity. Open-air dining, public art, museums, flea markets and fairs are peppered along stretches of riverfront real estate. Meanwhile, cyclists and pedestrians, kayakers and boaters, bird watchers and fishermen, all take advantage of the opportunities within and around the river.
We rounded up the 25 best riverwalks in the world, taking you through different continents and revealing the revelry found along some of the most iconic rivers on the planet.
25. Reno Riverwalk
Location: Reno, Nevada
Best time to visit: Late spring through early fall are filled with adventure along the riverwalk in Reno.
Where to stay: The Jesse
Why Reno Riverwalk is so popular: Stroll along the Reno Riverwalk as it follows both banks of the Truckee River for half a mile. Outdoor enthusiasts take advantage of its waters, kayaking the rapids of the whitewater park, while pedestrians saunter along, enjoying the medley of shops, bistros and cafés, lodging, bars, taverns, and indoor and outdoor entertainment venues.
24. Samara Embankment
Location: Samara, Russia
Best time to visit: Visit from May until August for pleasantly warm temperatures and limited rainfall.
Where to stay: Lotte Hotel Samara
Why Samara Embankment is so popular: The longest river in Europe. The Volga River flows through Central Russia to Southern Russia and into the Caspian Sea. There are 66 towns and cities along its shores, making for plentiful opportunities to explore the culture of Russia while taking in the scenic views. Among the most popular portions of the river, Samara Embankment offers 3.1 miles of pedestrianized riverfront designed by Russian architect Mikhail Trufanov.
23. Wilmington Riverwalk
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina
Best time to visit: Visit in October for the annual Riverfest, where craft and food vendors, live music, fireworks and a mock pirate invasion take over the riverfront.
Where to stay: Graystone Inn
Why Wilmington Riverwalk is so popular: Hundreds of cafes, bars, boutique shops, art galleries, markets and more overlook the Cape Fear River along the nearly 2-mile-long Wilmington Riverwalk. The scenic walkway is the ideal location for an al fresco cultural experience of the city.
22. Riverfront Park Nashville
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Best time to visit: Comfortable temperatures and dry weather promise plenty of outdoor fun in Nashville from April through October.
Where to stay: Dream Nashville
Why Riverfront Park Nashville is so popular: Residing along the bank of the Cumberland River, this downtown Nashville riverwalk is a popular destination for open-air concerts and various events. The urban park is the ideal location for enjoying gorgeous views of the river, while landing you steps from the famed Broadway thoroughfare, along with various music venues, restaurants and other attractions.
21. Prague Riverfront
Location: Prague, Czechia
Best time to visit: Visit Prague in June when the city is particularly active with beer stands and concerts at the Vltava riverfront.
Where to stay: Four Seasons Hotel Prague
Why Prague Riverfront is so popular: The Vlatva River is the longest river in Czechia. The river flows through Prague, humbling tourists with its grandeur. Bridges, baroque style churches, farmers markets and traditional Czech pubs and restaurants can all be enjoyed along the way.
20. Deschutes River Trail
Location: Bend, Oregon
Best time to visit: Come during summer for the hottest temperatures when you’ll be more enticed to float down the river on an inner tube.
Where to stay: Tetherow Resort
Why Deschutes River Trail is so popular: The Deschutes River Trail is divided into five “reaches.” Among the most popular, lively and scenic is the Old Mill Reach. The area is a mix of river parks, eclectic shops and restaurants at the Old Mill and the Bend Whitewater Park, which offers a variety of river recreation opportunities, including tubing, kayaking and surfing.
19. Charles River Esplanade
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Best time to visit: Mild autumn weather, peak leaf season and locals enjoying sporting events and the esplanade make October a prime time to visit.
Where to stay: Newbury Hotel
Why Charles River Esplanade is so popular: A 64-acre park with 17 miles of running trails along the Charles River, this esplanade is a hub of scenic outdoor recreation. A community boat launch, a seasonal cafe and an outdoor amphitheater for concerts all thrive in the summertime. Residing on the south bank of the Charles River Basin, the park hugs the affluent Back Bay area of the city, where high-end shops and fine dining entice.
18. Tampa Riverwalk
Location: Tampa, Florida
Best time to visit: Visit from September to December to avoid the muggy weather and to enjoy lower prices on hotels.
Where to stay: Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel
Why Tampa Riverwalk is so popular: A 2.6-mile-long open space and pedestrian trail development along the Hillsborough River, the Tampa Riverwalk is a bustling downtown hotspot for enjoying the many entertainment avenues the city has to offer. A scenic stroll along the trail takes you from Heights Market at Armature Works, through Curtis Hixon Park, to Sparkman Wharf. Stop at the Sail Pavilion along the way, where a 360-degree, open-air waterfront bar awaits.
17. Mississippi Riverwalk
Location: Dubuque, Iowa
Best time to visit: Summer is full of outdoor opportunities in Dubuque. Fall is another great time to visit with the changing leaves creating a fiery backdrop to the river.
Where to stay: Hotel Julien Dubuque
Why Mississippi Riverwalk is so popular: The Mississippi Riverwalk in Dubuque is a part of the 26-mile Heritage Trail, which connects the Mississippi River to the renowned “Field of Dreams” site in Dyersville, Iowa. A stroll along the riverwalk reveals seasonal public art displays, the historic Dubuque Railroad Bridge, a conference center and resort, the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium and the William M. Black, a historic steamboat docked permanently in the little harbor.
16. Brisbane Riverwalk
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Best time to visit: Visit Brisbane in Autumn — from March to May — when temperatures hover between the high 50s and mid-80s with little rainfall.
Where to stay: W Brisbane
Why Brisbane Riverwalk is so popular: A water highway jutting out from one of the most scenic portions of the Brisbane River, this riverwalk is a bustling spot for people looking for fresh air, exercise and views. The riverwalk is split into two pathways: one for pedestrians and another for cyclists to ensure safety. The suspended pathway provides a great view across the river to Kangaroo Point as well as a central business district view.
15. Potomac River Waterfront
Location: Alexandria, Virginia
Best time to visit: Come in mid-June for the weekend-long annual Potomac River Festival, which includes a firemen’s parade, grand feature parade, a pet parade, a boat parade, music, food and craft vendors.
Where to stay: Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa
Why Potomac River Waterfront is so popular: Offering stunning views of the Potomac River and Washington D.C., Alexandria’s waterfront is filled with things to see and do. The riverwalk booms with al fresco dining experiences, music, street performers, people exercising and more. The area offers the opportunity to set sail with river cruises, while water taxis allow you to commute between Alexandria and the National Mall, The Wharf, Georgetown, Nationals Park, George Washington’s Mount Vernon and National Harbor.
14. Riverland Dubai
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Best time to visit: Avoid the sweltering heat by visiting from November to March.
Where to stay: Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection
Why Riverland Dubai is so popular: Perhaps the most outlandish riverwalk on this list, Riverland Dubai is a themed, fun, dining and retail destination. Walk along the river and enjoy the four vibrant districts inspired by India, France and mid-century America. An abundance of cafes, restaurants, street artists and special events await.
13. Boise Greenbelt
Location: Boise, Idaho
Best time to visit: Visit Boise between March and May when ideal temperatures beckon outdoor activity.
Where to stay: The Riverside Hotel
Why Boise Greenbelt is so popular: A 25-mile-long bicycle and pedestrian tree-lined path, the Boise Greenbelt links over 850 acres of parks and natural areas along both sides of the Boise River. The generous riverfront stretch invites visitors to explore several neighborhoods of Boise, Garden City and Eagle, as well as 12 parks and dozens of restaurants, shops and sights.
12. Kamo River Walk
Location: Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Best time to visit: Visit from May to September. Though the temperatures are high, you’ll be able to experience the temporary open-air dining overlooking the river.
Where to stay: Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Kyoto Premier
Why Kamo River Walk is so popular: The Kamogawa River is a popular destination for those looking to enjoy a riverside stroll. Just one block west of the river, tourists and residents flock to one of Kyoto's most atmospheric dining areas, a narrow alley called Pontocho. In summer, many of the restaurants build temporary platforms over the river, allowing patrons an al fresco dining experience known as kawayuka.
11. River Walk Savannah
Location: Savannah, Georgia
Best time to visit: Festivals flourish, warm temperatures entice, and the tree leaves and azalea blooms come alive from March to July.
Where to stay: Marriott Savannah Riverfront
Why River Street is so popular: A stroll along the picturesque Savannah River leads to bustling River Street, a working harbor filled with excitement. Various types of ships, horse-drawn carriage rides, street performers, restaurants, charming taverns, galleries and boutique shops form to create an idyllic waterfront.
10. Thames Path
Location: London, England
Best time to visit: March through May offers mild temperatures and gorgeous greenery, while summer is the prime tourist season with a flurry of festivals and other al fresco events.
Where to stay: The River Hotel
Why Thames Path is so popular: The River Thames, which stretches from Lechlade in Gloucestershire through London, offers iconic views with plenty to do along its shores. The Thames Path National Trail is a 184-mile-long trail that allows pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy the beauty of the flowing water. There are many towns and villages to explore along the river. Outside of London, visit the royal River Thames — home to Windsor Castle and plentiful riverside restaurants and pubs. The Thames River also flows through central London, providing a breathtaking backdrop to many of the city's top tourist attractions.
9. Loire Riverbank
Location: Loire, France
Best time to visit: For mild weather and outdoor activities without hoards of tourists, visit between April and June and September through October. Christmastime is another fantastic option, as many of the chateaus transform their grounds into holiday wonderlands.
Where to stay: Les Hautes Roches Hotel
Why Loire Riverbank is so popular: An hour south of Paris, Loire River is the last remaining wild river in France. Towns and villages line its shores, with walkers, runners and cyclists taking full advantage of the country atmosphere. There’s also an array of open-air cafes, called guinguettes, along the Loire. The river hosts a wide array of festivities and events, including the Loire Festival, a five-day festival held every two years at the end of September, where 600 sailors from France and the rest of Europe meet at Orléans on the quayside of the Loire.
8. Milwaukee RiverWalk
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Best time to visit: Avoid the frigid temperatures of winter, and come in summer. From June to September, sunshine is plentiful, temperatures are balmy, and the events are plentiful.
Where to stay: Aloft Milwaukee
Why Milwaukee RiverWalk is so popular: Three miles along the Milwaukee River, a vibrant wooden plank and concrete pathway urges pedestrians and cyclists to get outside and enjoy the sights. The riverwalk winds through the heart of the city, allowing you to visit its three distinctive riverfront neighborhoods: the Historic Third Ward, Downtown and Beerline B. Lively bars, delicious restaurants and unique shops await.
7. Amstel Riverfront
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Best time to visit: The best time to visit is between April and May or September and November for comfortable weather and shoulder-season tourism rates.
Where to stay: InterContinental Amstel
Why Amstel Riverfront is so popular: The great Amstel River flows through the vibrant city of Amsterdam. The river runs through the city center, broken up into the iconic canal belt. Around the Amstel, several parks create world-class cycling routes. Various concerts and festivals take place along the river, including the annual Liberation Day, which takes place on the bridges that cross the river.
6. Seine Riverside Walk
Location: Paris, France
Best time to visit: There’s really no poor time to visit Paris. For smaller crowds, comfortable weather and long periods of daylight, come in May, June, September and October.
Where to stay: The Peninsula Paris
Why Seine Riverside Walk is so popular: The famed Seine River that flows through the City of Light is a brilliant backdrop as you walk over bridges, picnic parks and peer out of museums. A path on either side of the Seine runs the length of the river. Sights along the Seine include: the Eiffel Tower, Musée d'Orsay and the Musée du Louvre, the iconic Love Lock Bridge and so, so much more.
5. San Antonio River Walk
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Best time to visit: Take advantage of lower rates on hotels and comfortable weather from November to April.
Where to stay: Hilton Palacio Del Rio
Why San Antonio Riverwalk is so popular: The 15-mile waterway boasts a bustling city life with endless scenic views. Lush Cypress trees line the riverside paths, while art galleries, boutiques, dining and rich history impress along the San Antonio River Walk. A stroll will keep you busy for hours, even days, which is why the riverwalk is the hub of the city.
4. Breckenridge Riverwalk
Location: Breckenridge, Colorado
Best time to visit: While winter promises powdery slopes and plenty of apres ski opportunities, the riverwalk is a focal point for summer activities.
Where to stay: Gravity Haus
Why Breckenridge Riverwalk is so popular: One of the highest riverwalks in the world, Breckenridge Riverwalk climbs high at 9,600-square-feet above sea level. As you stroll along the shores of the Blue River, take in unparalleled views of the Ten Mile Range and the Breckenridge Ski resort. The riverwalk’s bustling epicenter, Blue River Plaza, features a picnic area, community events and more.
3. Praça da Ribeira
Location: Porto, Portugal
Best time to visit: Spring fever is alive and well in Porto. Visit to enjoy shoulder season and locals enjoying the mild temperatures by the river.
Where to stay: Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel
Why Praça da Ribeira is so popular: The Douro River flows through the districts of Bragança, Guarda, Viseu, Vila Real, Aveiro and Porto. Porto is the most well-known and for good reason. The city’s Old Town — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — sits on the picturesque Douro, complete with six bridges. People flock to its shores to indulge in stunning views, eat freshly caught seafood at one of the restaurants lining the waterfront and marvel at the tall, narrow building in pastel shades that encapsulate the main riverfront square, the Praça da Ribeira.
2. Chicago Riverwalk
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Best time to visit: Winter is unbearably frigid outside. The best time to visit is April through May and between September and October. During these months, the temperatures are warm, a variety of festivals take place and crowds are manageable.
Where to stay: LondonHouse Chicago
Why Chicago Riverwalk is so popular: The Chicago Riverwalk is more than just a stroll along the picturesque river. It’s a whole lifestyle. Located on the south bank of the Chicago River, the award-winning riverfront attraction stretches 1.25 miles from Lake Michigan to Lake Street. It’s jam-packed with outdoor bars and restaurants, museums, public art, pier fishing, boaters and kayakers, cyclists and runners, live music, floating wetland gardens and even bird watching. Each of the six coves that make up the riverwalk has its own nickname, urban landscape and activities.
1. Toulouse Riverwalk
Location: Toulouse, France
Best time to visit: Summer boasts immense outdoor energy in Toulouse. Everything is in bloom, the days are long, and people take advantage of the warm temperatures and bright sunshine.
Where to stay: La Cour des Consuls Hotel&Spa
Why Place des Quinconces is so popular: Rising into the Pyrenees and flowing through Toulouse, the Garonne River is the backdrop for plentiful al fresco activities. Begin in Toulouse at the Daurade to see the irregular arches of the oldest bridge in the city, the Pont Neuf Bridge and the La Grave dome, one of the most shared monuments on social media. As you meander along the riverwalk, you’ll come to the happening hub known as the Port Viguerie. This vibrant riverfront hosts tons of events and features a large Ferris wheel that towers over the river. Also along the river, you’ll find various open-air dining opportunities, including the renowned La Guinguette.