Running is one of my favorite ways to explore a new city. Running packs a powerful three-punch:
- You get a great workout that ends with a sweet runner’s high.
- You can string together a bunch of tourist spots on your route. It’s a great way to explore the city!
- Lots of potential for Instagram-worthy shots ;).
Without much ado, let’s dive into 7 fantastic running routes around the world.
Central Park, New York City, USA
Being a proud New Yorker, I’ll naturally start off with my favorite place to run – Central Park.
Start at the 59th street side, and run into the park. You will soon see the main central park loop (it’s pretty hard to miss the wide road). Get on that, and run all the way round the park.
Length: Almost a perfect 10 kms. Two rounds of this, and you’ll be ready to do a half marathon.
What’s cool about the route: Most iconic park, in the most iconic city in the entire world. The route is well paved, wide, and perfect during the mornings when tourist activity is minimal. It gets hilly towards the north side, so be prepared for some climbing. Of course, you can always cut across at any point to make it shorter.
Kamo River to Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto is one of my favorite cities in Japan. There are so many shrines and temples all around the city that you could do a run to each one separately for weeks. When I was visiting, I ran east from my AirBnB near Karasuma Oike station over to the Kamo River, and then all the way south to Fushimi Inari Taisha (which is probably the most famous shrine in Kyoto).
Length: Approximately 7 kms.
What’s cool about the route: You run right along the Kamo river, which is pretty nice in the morning. The end of this route is the incredible Fushimi Inari shrine. If you are feeling powerful, I challenge you to run up the stairs at the shrine for as long as you can ;). I’d recommend doing this run early in the morning so you get to see the shrine before tourists show up by the bus-load.
Queenstown, New Zealand
If you ever get the chance to visit New Zealand, make sure to spend at least 4 days in Queenstown, aka, the adventure capital of the southern hemisphere. The town is located right by a lake and surrounded by mountains. I’d recommend spending the day doing one or more of the adventure activities offered (such as rock climbing, luging, bungee jumping, or whatever else gets you going), and then ending the day with a nice run along the lake at sunset.
Start the run up along Lake Esplanade, run in towards the city center, then round the park and then keep going down for as long as you wish before turning back.
Length: Approximately 10 kms round trip.
What’s cool about the route: The lake to your side at all times, mountains in front of you at all times, the cold beer waiting for you at the end.
Historic Financial District, London, UK
London is a quick hop across the pond from New York City, and I go there for work some times. I prefer staying in Shoreditch because it has great food, and cool bars that make for a fantastic night out. Of course, it’s also a good place to start your run the morning after a big night!
Start from Old Street station and run south all the way till you get to the London Bridge. Run across, then turn left and run towards Tower Bridge. Stop to take photos, then continue across the bridge, turn back in around the Tower of London, and run back up the way you came down.
Length: Approx. 7 kms.
What’s cool about the route: This is a very urban route. You’ll run through the main financial district of London, which means weaving through suited bankers on the sidewalk, unless you go early in the morning. London’s architecture is on full display, and you also run across London’s most iconic bridge, which makes for an epic photo in the morning. The Tower of London also falls along the route. The run ends at Shoreditch Grind, where you can treat yourself to a full English breakfast.
The Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
My idea of a perfect Parisian summer morning: A lovely run past two of the most iconic tourist spots in the world, followed by a nice petit-déjeuner. On my last work trip to Paris, I made sure to organize at least on such morning for myself. Given my obsession with the Eiffel Tower, I had to include it into my route.
Start from the Louvre, turn left in the gardens, and run across the Seine on the Passerelle Léopold Sédar Senghor. Turn right, and then run along the river till you get to the Eiffel Tower. Then, cross the Seine back to the other side, run back towards the Louvre, round the Grand Palais and finally, down the Av. des Champs-Élysées to where you started.
What’s cool about the route: I guarantee that you’ll want to stop and take a photo every 5 minutes on this route.
To the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA
Ah California, the land of sunshine, tech companies, and Hollywood. Co-incidentally, also a fantastic place to run all year round! I used to live in San Francisco before moving to New York City, and one of my favorite places to run was at the northern tip of the city.
Start from the entrance to Fort Mason, run up along Marina Blvd, then exit on to Chrissy Field, and run all the way till the Golden Gate Bridge. Take a moment and marvel at the view. Now turn around, and run all the way back!
Length: 10 kms.
What’s cool about the route: The bridge is awesome at sunset (when not covered in fog). I’d recommend checking the weather, and going for this run on a day that is forecast to be completely clear. The view will be much, much better in the evening. After the run, walk 3 blocks further and treat yourself to freshly made chocolate at Ghirardelli Square.
Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach, Sydney, Australia
One of the best sunrise runs I’ve ever done. Sydney faces east, and gets an epic sunrise over the ocean. If you can drag yourself out of bed and head over to Bondi Beach on time, then this run will be the best 6 kms of your life.
Start at Bondi Beach, run south, up and around the hill, around Tamarama Beach, around the next hill, around Bronte Beach, around the next hill and past Waverley Cemetery. Go through Burrows Park, around Clovelly Beach, up the hill and around Gordons Bay, and finally down to Coogee Beach.
Length: Just over 6 kms, with a decent amount of hill climbing.
What’s cool about the route: The sunrise is epic, and the views are generally great for the entire route. Grab yourself a smoothie at the end, and take a dip in the ocean!