Sightseeing On the Run: 12 Great City Running Tours

By Karen Asp
6/21/2013 10:19:01 AM

Name the toughest part about traveling (and, no, packing doesn't count). If you said sticking with your workout program, join the club.

A whopping 50 percent of people said exercising on the road was stressful while another 17 percent said it was very stressful, according to a survey by travel website TripIt.

But if you're a runner, you're now in luck. From Los Angeles to Sydney to Paris, running tours are popping up in cities all over the world, meaning you don't have to sacrifice a sweat session for sightseeing.

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Granted, you can hit the pavement on your own-and no doubt you will-but with a running tour, you don't have to mess with maps or apps to figure out where you're going, and getting lost is no longer an issue.

Even better, you're with a local guide, so while you're burning off those vacation calories, you're also getting an insider's view of the city. Want to know what buildings you're running by? Where locals love to eat? What other active adventures you can do in the city? Your guide can give you the scoop. Plus, along the way, you'll undoubtedly find places you want to revisit later, not to mention unearth running routes you would never have discovered on your own. Plain and simple, running tours offer an engaging, eco-conscious, waist-friendly way to see a city.

Here's a peek at running tours in twelve of the world's most fascinating cities. Take one of these, and you won't feel an ounce of guilt about indulging in deep dish pizza in Chicago, sangria de cava in Barcelona, or gelato in Rome.

Credit: Peter Dejong


Your guide: Tourist Run Amsterdam

Amsterdam's Red Light District may be its most famous nighttime attraction, but when you take an early morning, five-mile guided run with Tourist Run Amsterdam, you'll unearth daytime gems like the Heineken Brewery and the Rijksmuseum, the largest museum in the Netherlands, which boasts a collection of works by Rembrandt. "You'll learn about our city and culture from an original Amsterdammer who was born and raised here," says Paul Bierman, running guide and co-founder of Tourist Run Amsterdam. In just an hour, sans fast cars or scooters, you see all of the highlights of Amsterdam, including famous museums, beautiful canals and yes, the Red Light District. Better yet? "You don't have to feel guilty about later eating the best apple pie in town, which we'll tell you where to find," he adds.

Credit: Flickr / Amy the Nurse


Your guide: RunBoston

Feel like being the master of your own running destiny? That's what you'll get when you take a tour with RunBoston. "We do have routes that are mapped out, but we like to provide the flexibility of allowing customers to tell us their route and sight preferences," says Wayne Levy, owner and Chief Running Officer of RunBoston. The average run covers five to six miles, and guides share history about famous sights you pass along the way. Most popular route requests? The Freedom Trail and parts of the Boston Marathon course, largely because of the recent bombings.

Credit: 360º Running Barcelona


Your guide: 360º Running Barcelona

It goes without saying that any Olympic city boasts incredible running terrain, but Barcelona, home of the 1992 Olympics, truly rocks thanks to the city's colorful scenery. Your eyes will get a true treat, though, when you take the Park Güell and Barcelona at Your Feet tour, where you'll visit highlights like Park Güell (the whimsical, brightly colored park created by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí) and La Sagrada Família, Gaudi's church which has been under construction since 1882. The real highlight, though? "Discovering the most breathtaking views of the city, ranging from the mountains to the Mediterranean Sea," says Jaime Pedregosa, founder of 360º Running Barcelona.

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