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.
Your guide: City Running Tours
There’s more to Chicago than Cubs, Bears and dogs (the Chicago style hot dog originated here)—namely, amazing running. Three reasons: “An uninterrupted lake shore park and path that extends nine miles south and nine miles north of the city, a variety of architecture from art deco to post-modern, and a river that flows backward—with an incredible story that explains why,” says Marlin Keesler, manager of City Running Tours, which offers private and group runs. For the latter, the company offers three themed 5k routes and four feature routes like Tower to Tower, where you run past the city’s four tallest buildings, and City in a Garden, themed around the Chicago park system. Do all four feature routes—in a day or over several visits—and you’ll have logged 26.2 miles, which will net you a finisher’s T-shirt and certificate. Even if you don’t accomplish that task, you’ll still get a swag bag with a T-shirt and discount coupons.
Your guide: Lisbon City Runners
You don’t just run when you go with Lisbon City Runners; you also get inside info about Lisbon. “We’re not tour operators because we don’t provide detail like historical data,” says Pedro Vieira, founder of Lisbon City Runners, adding that all guides are born and raised in Lisbon. “But we do tell stories and make lots of suggestions, like where to go and what to eat.” The company offers six routes that vary in distance and include popular sights, museums and squares (or you can customize your own). Vieira, though, is partial to the City Centre Run (9k or 7k for the short version), which takes you through six different neighborhoods. “It’s also the most intense, and every street, corner, and building has a story to tell,” he says.
Your guide: City Running Tours
Running through the streets of New York City is an experience unlike any other you’ve had, which may explain why the city’s marathon is the largest in the country. Although the Big Apple boasts numerous parks and pathways along the water, “every neighborhood tells a different story,” says Michael Gazaleh, president and CEO of City Running Tours. “When you run from block to block, nothing ever looks the same; there’s such great diversity from the store fronts to the traffic that it’s a different experience every time.” Through City Running Tours, you can choose from a personalized running tour (most people request running over the Brooklyn Bridge or through Central Park) or join a scheduled group running tour, all of which follow designated routes. One to put on your radar: Sunday runs through Times Square. Not only do you avoid the crowds by going in the morning, you get a history lesson as you run by theaters, Grand Central Station, the United Nations and Rockefeller Center. With any tour you do, you’ll get a goody bag with a T-shirt, various products and coupons to local merchants.
Your guide: Scenic Fitness
Your running routine doesn’t have to go down under when you book a tour through Scenic Fitness. Choose from one of six routes that range in length from 6k to 10k, all of which provide memorable views of the city. For instance, one of the tours takes you across the Sydney Harbour Bridge while another takes you past famous icons like the Sydney Opera House and through the Royal Botanical gardens. You can end your tour in fascinating places like the historic Sydney Fish Market where you can dine on fresh seafood, Palm Beach where you can sip a cup of joe at a café, or Manly Beach where you can ferry to Circular Quay, the hub of Sydney Harbour.
Your guide: Sight Jogging
Rome may not have been built in a day, but you can certainly try to run it in one, especially if you book one of Sight Jogging’s 15 pre-planned routes. They range from 4.6 miles to a whopping 11.5 miles—that one takes you on the running equivalent of Rome’s Seven Churches pilgrimage—and are designed to see the city’s hot spots. If you want to hit the highlights, commit to the St. Peter’s Basilica route, where you’ll run down the Spanish Steps and through the city’s heart, or the Imperial Forums and Colosseum route for a look at ancient Rome. These are the most requested, largely because they’re most representative of Rome, says Carolina Gasparetto, director of Sight Jogging.
Your guide: Off 'N Running Tours
In L.A., running from the paparazzi isn't just for celebs. The Running from the Paparazzi tour by Off 'N Running Tours is a four-mile journey that covers territory from Wilshire Boulevard to glitzy Rodeo Drive. (The company also offers three other themed routes, but this is the most popular.) Where you'll go and what you'll see, though, is never publicized. (Of course, right?) Yet you will visit jewelry stores—you can even try on diamonds—see fun buildings, and maybe stop in the Richard Simmons studio. And there's a sweet pay-off (not including the water, fresh fruit and tech tee every runner gets): a cupcake from the bakery Crumbs.
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.
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.
Your guide: City Jogging Tours
London’s calling, and it’s telling you to run off those fish and chips with City Jogging Tours. The company offers six different tours of the city that vary in length (anywhere from 6k to 12k) and pace (choose between “gentle” or “recreational”), but the ones that get the most foot traffic are the Riverside London and Royal London tours. “Not only do they link some of the main sights together—like Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the Royal Albert Hall—each route is also very scenic, whether that means meandering along the banks of the Thames or running through some of our ancient but beautifully maintained Royal Parks,” says Hope Sloly, director and manager of City Jogging Tours. You might even see more than you expected; on a recent tour, guests ran past the prime minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, in Hyde Park.
Your guide: Toronto Guided Runs
For a great view of the city, you can step onto the CN Tower’s Edgewalk, the world’s highest hands-free walk. Or you can get an equally thrilling adrenaline boost and get up close with the sights by taking a running tour through Toronto Guided Runs. The company offers five planned routes, including two popular ones that run along the lake shore. The 10k Leslie Street Spit tour, for instance, takes you onto a spit that extends into Lake Ontario with views looking back at the Toronto skyline, while the Beaches route runs you along a boardwalk and past boutiques and cafes.
Your guide: Paris Running Tours
If you don’t agree that Paris is one of the best cities in the world, spend some time with a running guide from Paris Running Tours. “We Parisian running guides have two passions: Paris and running, and we love to share Paris with our visitors,” says Jean-Charles Sarfati, manager and running guide with Paris Running Tours. Choose from eight planned tours like the Right Bank Tour (which will take you past famous attractions like the Eiffel Tower, Musée d'Orsay, and Tuileries Gardens) or the Parisian Churches Tour, where you’ll see Notre Dame Cathedral and the Sacré Coeur. Feeling adventurous? Take the 20k Paris Marathon Tour or customize your own.