Which cities worth seeing are ideal as a city trip for the enthusiastic runner? The nice thing about a half or full marathon in a foreign city is that the course passes sights. But what if you want to run during a regular city trip? The road is not closed off. Not every city offers ample space for runners. But you don’t want to leave the city, because you mainly want to spend your time on sights and attractions. And not running is not an option for you. Moreover, it is fun to explore the city while running. This is possible, for example, in London, Barcelona, Budapest, Frankfurt, Valencia and Seville. These cities offer varied running routes, often passing sights.
Running in a strange city
The true runner doesn’t let anything stop him from completing his miles in the city. If necessary, you can use the treadmill in the far too small fitness room in the basement of the hotel. Outside, traffic, busy sidewalks and traffic lights can spoil your running pleasure. In addition to sights, a suitable city trip offers ample opportunity for the running holidaymaker. It is most ideal if you can combine running with exploring the city and taking in the sights. Fortunately, a number of cities meet this ideal, provided you book the overnight stays in the right location.
The capital of England needs no introduction as a city worth seeing. There is plenty of choice for lovers of the coast, culture, history, gastronomy, going out and shopping. All the better that there are also a number of suitable locations for running.
The banks of the Thames are ideal for runners. The route also passes a number of sights. You can cover quite a long route between Tower Bridge and Westminster Bridge without being bothered by traffic. Do this early in the morning on sunny weekend days, because the south bank fills up with strolling Londoners later in the day.
Hyde Park west of The City offers plenty of space for a nice run. From here you can run via Green Park and St. James Park to the Thames (near Westminster Bridge) relatively undisturbed by traffic.
Regents Park, located north of Hyde Park, is slightly smaller, but offers the option of hill training. Primrose Hill is located in an appendix at the north end of the park, just across Prince Albert Road. From the top of the hill you have a beautiful view of the skyline of The City and the London Eye towards the south.
Barcelona is ideal for the runner who loves the sun and wants to lie on the beach after training.
You can run along the coast for approximately five kilometers, mostly along a boulevard with a view of the sea and beach. You can run from the striking Hotel W Barcelona, on the beach near the harbour, to Parque del Forum at the start of Avinguda Diagonal in the north.
You can do a hill training on Montjuïch south of the center and enjoy viewpoints of the city. From the Castell de Montjuïch, located at the top, you can look out over the sea. On the mountain you walk past various accommodations for the 1992 Olympic Games. There is also a freely accessible athletics track (not the one in the Olympic stadium).
Parque de la Ciutadella
This park is centrally located in the city, next to the tourist district of El Born and close to the coast. The park is quite small, but there is a running route that winds over all the paths through the park. You can combine the park with a training run along the coast.
In addition to everything that makes Budapest interesting for a city trip, the city also offers a lot for runners. You can do a hill workout by running up Buda Castle. At the top you can stretch your muscles with a view of the Danube River and Pest lower. You can also run unhindered for long stretches along the Danube. More than two kilometers upstream is the Margaret Bridge, which provides halfway access to the elongated Margaret Island. There is a circuit for runners of approximately five kilometers along the shores of the island. There is also an athletics track there. After your run you can relax in one of Budapest’s many thermal baths and have a massage.
Frankfurt is perhaps one of the most underrated destinations for a city trip. After all, the city has a lot to offer for tourists who want to run. There are many museums and theaters. As a financial business center and student city, there are entertainment options for every budget.
On both banks of the River Main you can run for long stretches unhindered on a boulevard. The south bank continues in an easterly direction far beyond the center (towards Offenbach). Walking back to the center you have a good view of Mainhattan, the modern skyline of Frankfurt.
Frankfurt city forest
On the southern edge of the city, about two kilometers from the river, there is a large urban forest. Running routes of different lengths have been plotted there. There is a freely accessible athletics track near the entrance to the forest. After your run, you can look out over the Frankfurt skyline from the Goethe Tower (43 m) at the edge of the forest.
Valencia is less sea-oriented than Barcelona, but otherwise offers similar sights. For runners, the Gardens of Turia are the place to release energy. The former bed of the Turia River runs in a bend along the north of the old town. Here you can run on a specially constructed circuit of about ten kilometers on flat terrain. There is also an athletics track. Outside the circuit you can continue to the ends of the park. At one end of the park is the City of Arts and Sciences, with striking modern architecture, and at the other end is the Bioparc Valencia. Here and there trees provide shelter from the sun. The coastal strip is less suitable for running. The beach promenade is relatively short and is located a few kilometers from the city center.
Seville is a typical city in Andalusia (cathedral, Moorish castle and narrow alleys) with a compact center. You can run along the Guadalquivir River to the Parque del Alamillo a few kilometers north of the old city. You can run in more shelter in the Parque de Maria Louisa, adjacent to the southern edge of the old town. Next to it is Plaza de España with the characteristic semi-circular pavilion of the 1929 World Exhibition. Even in winter it is usually sunny in Seville and the temperature can be pleasant by Dutch standards. But it cools down considerably at night, which is an advantage for some runners.
Selection criteria for a city trip
The common denominator of the cities described is that they are located on a river or on the coast. That is a characteristic on which you can select your city trip. But not in every city the river flows past the center or there is a boulevard along the water where you can run unhindered. Another striking feature that you can select for is a large park in or on the edge of the center. Hills are a real bonus, because they are often not in the middle of a city.
- City trip Frankfurt: museums and skyscrapers on the river