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Plan your next getaway to one of these stunning (and runner-friendly) cities.
Sure, maybe vacation is meant for “rest and relaxation,” but we can get to that later. Us runners know the best part about vacation is getting out and exploring by foot. Here are our 30 best vacation destinations around the world (in no particular order) where runners can take a refreshing day trip or log some miles in a different hemisphere.
Not only is Athens the site of the original marathon and the home to fascinating attractions like the Acropolis and Hadrian’s Library, but it’s also a great city for running. Its famed seven hills provide plenty of incline changes and great views of the city, and a jaunt through the National Gardens or along the Dionysiou Areopagitou are especially scenic.
Bagan, the ancient capital of the Pagan Kingdom provides some extraordinary running routes—assuming you’re okay with a little humidity. Over 2,000 of the ancient city’s temples and pagodas are still standing, and you can weave through the south Asian plains, stopping to view the architecture along the way.
Along the coast of California between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this stretch of mountainous shoreline provides excellent running locales. Run through a redwood forest, across a beach, or along the cliffs that overlook the Pacific Ocean. And the misty sea breeze is there to keep you cool.
Prepare for the elevation change, my friends, but once you get used to breathing a little harder than normal, you’re in for a treat. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder offers countless trail running opportunities. And you can finish a long run at one of many breweries in the area for a refreshing beer.
If this quaint little city wasn’t cute enough to visit on its own (and with plenty of restaurants, shops, and a cobblestone main drag, it is) the Burlington Greenway pushes it over the top. The eight-mile long path along Lake Champlain allows runners to run beside the water on a well-maintained paved route. Perfect for summer when everywhere else is getting muggy.
Good running is often accompanied by mountains. Runners love a challenge and a rewarding view. Perhaps no mountains are more rewarding than the Alps. Travel to this region in southeastern France to climb the mountains and catch site of the famed Mount Blanc.
On the southwestern tip of the U.K., jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean is Cornwall. The sleepy piece of English coastline is a bit difficult to travel to, but well worth the trek. Run along miles of rugged coast and stop in every village for a pint or a plate of fish and chips.
Off the coast of Turkey in the Mediterranean Sea, this tiny island nation is perfect for a run-in-the-morning, beach-in-the-afternoon vacation. Jog beside the crystal blue water and hop in for a dip to cool off if the sun is getting to you.
Speaking of heat, I’d avoid summer runs in this Middle Eastern city where temperatures can soar past 100 degrees. In cooler seasons or at dawn, however, running through the modern architectural splendor of Dubai can be breathtaking. Watch the sun bounce off the Persian Gulf and onto the glass skyscrapers jutting towards the sky.
When it comes to running, Edinburgh offers a little bit of everything. Seaside runs, check. Steep hills, check. Blustery moors, check. Plus, there is a high likelihood that you will run by an old castle if you go far enough.
This city on the coast (duh) of Western Australia is predominantly known for its great surfing and beaches. But good beaches usually mean good running. Jog on the sand or along one of the paved paths as you stare out across miles of empty sparkly ocean.
On the edge of southeastern China, this massive city is built up on islands and peninsulas surrounded by the South China Sea. Run along the promenades on Hong Kong for views of the city and the sea or crisscross through Victoria Park for something a bit shadier.
Kyoto has become a popular Japanese tourist destination for its many palaces, pagodas, and parks, which are perfect for running. Hit up the Imperial Palace’s gardens, the Nijo Castle Paths, or the Maruyama-Koen Park for combinations of old architecture and manicured nature.
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, meaning that its crystal clear water is mostly snow melted down from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. With forests, lakeshore, and plenty of hills, this is the perfect trail running escape.
Built where the River Tagus meets the Atlantic Ocean, the seaside capitol of Portugal boasts not only watery vistas but also centuries worth of decadent architecture and gardens. Run for miles along the shoreline before pivoting inward through the streets and past churches and castles of a bygone era.
If there’s one thing you’ll know for certain when running on this tiny Michigan Island, it’s that you won’t get hit by a car. The vacation destination between the state’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas doesn’t allow cars, which means you can run the full island loop or cut up through the wooded hills without ever seeing an automobile.
What was once one of Asia’s most important trading ports is now a popular tourist destination. Run along the Malacca River or along the ocean. The region was controlled by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British so the region boasts a blend of different architectural styles in between the native Malaysian cultural sites.
Do I really need to sell you on a lush Hawaiian island as a good vacation destination? The Pacific island, created by a volcano, boasts plenty of hiking locales, waterfalls, beaches, and views of the ocean. At 727 square miles, there’s plenty of ground to cover and paths to run.
While the city of Nairobi may not be the first place you want to go when you think of running, the metropolitan area is well situated between Lake Victoria, the Serengeti and Mt. Kilimanjaro. Take day trips to all three for some beautiful African running excursions.
Some people will tell you to run across the Brooklyn Bridge. (Don’t.) Instead, head to Central Park, the paths along the Hudson and East Rivers, or the Williamsburg or Manhattan Bridges. Or, you could run through across Brooklyn Bridge at 4 a.m., when the crowds have cleared.
In the southernmost reaches of South America, Patagonia is a landscape unlike anywhere else in the world. Combining the Andes Mountains with tablelands, glaciers, fjords, islands, and lakes, the area is as beautiful as it is remote. Trails crisscrossing the chilly region are perfect for running. Just make sure you bring a jacket.
If watching the 2016 Olympics gave you the travel bug, you can now run where the champions did. Combining beautiful beaches with nearby mountains, the Atlantic city offers plenty of unique running opportunities. If you’re into hills, you can always climb your way up to the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue
Recently, Iceland has become a trendy tourist destination due to its beautiful hot springs and picturesque views—and both of those can factor in nicely to your runcation. Run for miles along the edges of the tiny island nation and then settle into the steamy blue lagoons to ease the muscles.
Looking for a flat run that’s part beach, part mansion tour? Then head to Sarasota, on the west coast of Florida. Run along Siesta, Lido, and Longboat Keys for miles, as your view swaps between the Gulf of Mexico and massive vacation homes. Sarasota also boasts the expansive John Ringling Causeway, a bridge that provides a nice hill in a state mostly devoid of them. Just be prepared for the humidity at any time of the year.
So, maybe drinking wine before running is not a great idea, but drinking after a run can be incredibly soothing. Crisscross the paths through the Italian region’s many vineyards only to end up back at your hotel, a bottle of wine in hand and no guilt about drinking it.
Vancouver’s 17-mile Seawall running trail is the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path, so that alone should be an enticing reason for a runner to visit Canada’s west coast gem. Run through Stanley Park or head out of town a bit to the many accessible trails. Finish it off with one of those maple cookies I can never get enough of.
Don’t sleep on Vienna as one of the world’s most fascinating to visit (and one of the best for running.) Located along the Danube River, the city offers plenty of riverfront running, but it doesn’t end there. Run through the Vienna Woods or in Stadtpark and of course there is the sprawling ground of Schonbrunn Palace. Jog through the gardens and up a steep hill in the rear to take in the view.
One of my absolute favorite running paths is the Mount Vernon Trail, an 18-mile paved path that runs from George Washington’s home in Virginia along the Potomac River to the heart of D.C. You’ll pass all the important monuments and end with a final push up Capitol Hill.
The capital of New Zealand sits at the southern tip of the nation’s North Island. If you want to stay close to home you can run along the city’s bay taking in great views of the Pacific Ocean. For the more adventurous, several forest parks bump against the city and provide ample trail running potential.
Nearly every one of America’s National Parks could be a runner’s dream (the Gateway Arch excluded), but the northern California park is especially breathtaking. Combining forests, mountains, rivers, and valleys, Yosemite is a trail runner’s fantasy, and lends itself to endless running rambles.