Ten holiday getaways Aucklanders would love

Giethoorn, Netherlands

Auckland recently beat Hong Kong for traffic congestion, when recent data put it at 40th-worst big city in the world for gridlock.

And with winter getting colder, many super city commuters may be dreaming of some freedom from the rat race.

Fortunately, real estate website Curbed has made a helpful list of car-free cities around the world.

Some are historic town centres that have banned cars; some have streets that are simply too narrow for vehicles. Others, like Venice, rely on boats. 

Ghent, Belgium

Ghent Belgium
Ghent, Belgium (Getty)

In an effort to end traffic chaos and air pollution, the Ghent city centre banned cars in 1996. The streets are now free for exploring on foot, by bike or public transport.

Lamu, Kenya

Lamu, Kenya
Lamu, Kenya (Getty)

Lamu is a car-free island in Kenya, and is the oldest, most well-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa, earning it a listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The narrow streets of the old town only permit walkers, bicycles, and donkeys.

Fes el Bali, Morocco

Fes el Bali
Fes el Bali, Morocco (Getty)

Another UNESCO World Heritage site - Fes el Bali is one of the largest car-free urban areas in the world. Like Lamu, the preferred way of travel is on foot, by bike, donkey or cart. There are about 9,400 winding streets to explore, Curbed says.

Fire Island, New York

Fire Island
Fire Island, New York (Getty)

Off the coast of Long Island, Fire Island is a car-free oasis for the US. The only means of travel is by foot, bicycle or golf cart.

Hydra Island, Greece

Hydra, Greece
Hydra, Greece (Getty)

The only big vehicles in this ancient town are the rubbish trucks. Part of the Saronic Islands, residents get around on foot, by donkey, or water taxi.

La Cumbrecita, Argentina

La Cumbrecita
La Cumbrecita, Argentina (Getty)

La Cumbrecita is known as Argentina's first pedestrian-only town. Strangely it features alpine-inspired Bavarian-style houses.

Venice, Italy 

Venice, Italy
Venice, Italy (Getty)

The most famous car-free city - Venice boasts 416 bridges, 177 canals and beautiful, brightly-painted buildings.

Giethoorn, the Netherlands

Giethoorn, Netherlands
Giethoorn, in the Netherlands (Getty)

Giethoorn is often nicknamed "the Dutch Venice" for its waterways filled with boats, and its plethora of bike trails. It's also famous for its thatched-roof buildings.

Dubrovnik's Old Town, Croatia

Old Town, Dubrovnik
Old Town, Dubrovnik (Getty)

Dubrovnik is a busy city, but its Old Town centre is a pedestrian-only UNESCO World Heritage site.

Sark, Channel Islands

Sark, Channel Islands
Sark, Channel Islands (Getty)

Off the coast of France, the island of Sark could be the perfect place for travellers to unplug. The only motors are the island's tractors. Even the ambulance is pulled by a tractor.