Are you tired of running through the same streets and boring old routes every day? Is running becoming monotonous and boring? Are your daily runs beginning to feel more of a burden and an obligation than they are a hobby? Do you need some fresh inspiration to put on your running shoes and hit the road once again? Perhaps a change of scenery? Or maybe you just need an adventure or a vacation and you don’t want to leave your running shoes behind? If you fall into any of the above categories, it’s time to pack your bags, hop on a plane and hit the streets, as we pick our 6 top running destinations in Europe.
Although our list focuses on quite a lot of popular running destinations, I’ve taken the liberty to deviate a bit and include some lesser-known European running destinations, where you can run in safe silence; from paved city roads to rocky coastal shores, this list of top running destinations in Europe has it all!
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There are a few experiences that beat the sheer ecstasy and thrill of taking a run across Leipzig’s sprawling, yet enthralling, waterfront trails. Picture yourself running on a windy morning, through a wooded track right at the edge of a river; the fresh breeze drying the sweat in your skin, the chirping of birds, and the calming sound of rushing water in the background… that’s what if feels like running through the Leipziger Auenwald, the riparian forest right at the heart of Saxony’s Jewel.
The trail’s scenery is further embellished by the beautiful parks and nature reserves that lie on the its winding path and certainly one of the best running destinations in Europe!
There is a weekly Parkrun in Leipzig – Check details here
If you are a Game of Thrones fan and you’ve ever imagined what taking a run through King’s Landing, while Queen Cersei imposes her evil will on the peasants would feel like, you should visit Dubrovnik (King’s Landing) in your running shoes.
Dubrovnik doesn’t just dazzle you with medieval buildings, red roofs and heavily fortified, ancient walls, it also boasts of great running routes. Running within the city could be deemed as tedious due to the hilly and narrow, cobblestone paths that meander through the city, but outside the walls of the city the song is entirely different!
The Lapad Bay promenade and Babin Kuk Loop are sure to be one of the best routes you’ll ever run through.
Running through Lyon, is such an ethereal experience; one that embodies the true spirit of Europe, both ancient and contemporary. With it’s countless hills and valleys, Lyon’s topography particularly favors those who love hill running.
There are a number of alluring running routes in Lyon, so I took the liberty of singling out some of the best:
The Monts d’or
If you love running through nature in its raw, untamed form, The Monts d’or should be the first running route you explore in Lyon. The Monts d’or is made up of five hills and a plethora of streams, cliffs, forests and meandering paths.
Les Berges du Rhône
Yet another riverside running route, the Les Berges du Rhône is an essential part of city life in Lyon. The 7km route offers a clear view of the Grand Hôtel-Dieu, the Opera House and leads to the Parc de Gerland, and the Parc de la Tête d’Or. It’s the perfect trail for ‘river runners.’
Parc de la Tête d’Or
Arguably one of the most beautiful parks in Europe, the 4km Parc de la Tête d’or doubles as a runner’s haven. The park offers one of Lyon’s few flat landscapes. Some of the sights you’ll get to enjoy are the zoo, lake, flower gardens and greenhouses. The downside to taking a run in the park is that it gets extremely busy at weekends.
N.B: If you’re going to take a run in the famous park, you should run in an anticlockwise direction.
The fact that Montpellier is ground zero for a number of annual running events, should tell you all you need to know about the gem of a city.
- The running routes in Montpellier proves that you can’t go wrong when it comes to ancient French cities and waterside trails. The stunning scenery the beach offers you, the ancient aqueduct, Montpellier cathedral and the Arc de Triomphe are some of the landmarks that lie on Montepellier’s famous routes.
Amsterdam is one of those few cities in Europe that doubles as a bustling tourist getaway and a great running destination. With over 5 million annual visitors and a flat landscape, the pedestrian friendly city attracts thousands of runners every year.
The best guide for running in Amsterdam is to follow the canals. Whether you’re running with the canals or following the flow of the Amstel river, the nicest thing about the city is that the next park is always a step ahead! Vondelpark, Remembrandt Park, Westerpark; these are some wonderful parks that lie on the running routes in Amsterdam, where you can take some time to cool off and admire flowers before continuing your lap!
Some of the best running routes in Amsterdam include:
- Amsterdam Noord; 8.4 miles.
- River Amstel; 6.5 miles.
- Vondelpark; 2.1 miles
Deep in the heart of Catalonia, is a runner’s gem called Barcelona. The most amazing about a city as big and as populated as Barcelona is the fact that it has a stunning countryside. The coastal city has beautiful, yet flat, sandy seaside beaches that extend about 4.5km. As the ‘best beach city in the world’, the main problem with running on Barcelona’s beaches in the influx of tourists in the summer. The sheer number of people basking in the sun and playing in the sand on summer afternoons and evenings make the route almost impossible to navigate.
The Avenida Diagonal is a pedestrian-friendly part in central Barcelona. The availability of bicycle lanes and its wide streets make it a nice running spot.
Montjuïc is perfect for those who are looking to get away from the din and cacophony of city life. The silent hill will treat you to nature at its finest with some pleasant greenery and serenity. And did I mention that you won’t have to deal with droves of tourists obstructing your path?
Are you still in need of further inspiration? Then why not check this book, entitled Epic Runs of the World – part of the lonely planet series.
In this comprehensive runner’s companion, you’ll find 50 of the world’s greatest running routes – from short city runs and must-do marathons to cross-country trails and challenging ultras – plus a further 150 courses around the globe to satisfy runners of all abilities. Each run is accompanied by stunning photos and a map and toolkit of practical details