How Did People Travel in Medieval Times?

During the Middle Ages, land travel took place by foot, by horse or by cart and carriage, while sea travel utilized either sailing ships or galleys. Some wealthy individuals may have utilized sedan chairs, also known as litters, which were carried by servants.

The average person is able to walk at approximately three miles per hour, while horses walk at between three and five miles per hour. This made travel much slower than in the age of internal combustion engines and motorized vehicles. A person might never travel more than 100 miles from where he was born in his entire lifetime.

Medieval travel often consisted of limited trips to market for any supplies which could not be grown, harvested or manufactured. For nobility, trips to court or to visit land holdings were not uncommon either, usually at the behest of a baron’s superior. Land owners might also be required to make an annual trip to their liege lord in order to attend official functions.

Travel was generally limited due to the length of time required to complete the round trip journey. For those wealthy enough to own a horse, it was often saved for significant events, especially in the case of large war horses.