Escaping the everyday hustle and bustle is one of the main reasons we go on holiday, and cars play a major role in the day-to-day grind. But what if we told you there were places around the world where not only could you escape the need to be in a car, but there was no traffic allowed at all? That’s the purpose of this guide, to bring you the best traffic-free places around the globe. So put your car keys down, delete the Uber app and enjoy a holiday free from vehicles.
Zermatt, Switzerland 🇨🇭
Zermatt is an entirely car-free village in Switzerland, where travellers can only reach it by train, taxi or helicopter (if that’s how you roll). Once there, you’re encouraged to get around on foot, though buses, cable cars and, yes, horse-drawn carriages are available for the quaint village in southern Switzerland. Of course, the main reason to visit is skiing, and a traffic-free environment makes the air so clean that you can buy bottles of air from the mountains. It turns out that you can literally put anything in a bottle and sell it.
Lamu, Kenya 🇰🇪
Situated just off the coast of Kenya, Lamu is a delightful island you can explore free from traffic. It’s the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa, and you can get around on foot or by hopping on bicycles and even donkeys. Its car-free status means you can soak up the beautiful architecture to the backdrop of calmness as you admire buildings influenced by a fascinating mix of cultures including Swahili, Arabic, Persian, Indian and European.
Halibut Cove, Alaska 🇺🇸
If you’re looking for a picturesque location in an unlikely place, then look no further than Halibut Cove in Alaska. It’s a de facto town for tranquil settings without any traffic. People mostly get around on foot, by ATV or with a seaplane; the latter two are what we would call alternative transport methods. There’s beauty everywhere you look in Halibut Cove, from the delightful lakes to the buildings, which sit on stilts or flat on docks – and the ones that don’t are charmingly rustic, timber-framed lodges. So if you fancy getting away to somewhere with a floating espresso bar or amphitheatre on water, head to Alaska and, more importantly, Halibut Cove.
La Cumbrecita, Argentina 🇦🇷
You will find La Cumbrecita in Argentina’s Córdoba Province. It’s a tiny village ready to make you fall in love with its alpine-inspired architecture and Bavarian-style houses. You also won’t find a single paved road here, and La Cumbrecita is largely considered the first-ever pedestrian-only town in Argentina. There aren’t even any alternative transport modes – the only way to get around is on foot. Don’t forget to bring your walking shoes.
Venice, Italy 🇮🇹
Arguably the most famous traffic-free city in the world, Venice is a legendary town known for its romantic nature. Your options here are to walk or jump on a boat, and we thoroughly recommended getting a boat and going up and down the many canals. If you do decide to do a spot of walking, expect to find the city’s colourful buildings and more than 400 bridges, all of which only add to the allure of Venice.
The Old Town of Dubrovnik, Croatia 🇭🇷
Known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, The Old Town in Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a place for pedestrians. Cars are only allowed on the outskirts of the historic walls that surround the Old Town, so you can walk around and admire the striking architecture in peace. Dubrovnik is full of beauty, and its buildings are influenced by many cultures, including Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, all of which are Instagram-worthy. And it’s all set to the backdrop of the soothing Adriatic sea.
Hydra, Greece 🇬🇷
Less than two hours from Athens by ferry, Hydra is a small and beautiful Greek island without any traffic. The only way to get around here is on foot, by donkey or horse riding. It’s a throwback to another way of life in Greece, which has made it a popular tourist spot since the 1960s when celebrities vacationed here regularly. Today you can wander around on your visit, admiring the local tavernas, places to swim and friendly locals ready to welcome you with open arms.
Giethoorn, The Netherlands 🇳🇱
Giethoorn is a village where you will find loads of canals but no roads. It’s often dubbed as the “Venice of the Netherlands”, so don’t expect to find a car in sight. There are a fair few cycling lanes though, which means you can pedal around, taking in the village’s 18th-century farmhouses and wooden arch bridges. When the lakes freeze in the colder months, locals hit the ice for a spot of ice skating. Does that count as another transport method?
No vehicles allowed 🚫
Get away from it all with a holiday where traffic doesn’t exist. The places on our list are unique, as there are so few areas in the world free of traffic. A visit to any one of them is a chance to embrace a different way of life, slow everything down a notch and, most importantly, enjoy a fantastic holiday at an idyllic location.