Where’s the best place to run a marathon?

In Europe, engaging in a marathon merges sightseeing and exercising to create a fun and healthy experience for participants and spectators. Participants run by significant monuments and witness where historical events have taken place while they work out for charitable causes. Read below for more information about marathons in some of Europe’s most beautiful cities. 

  • Rome: Every March, the Eternal City holds the Rome Marathon in the heart of the capital. The route runners embark on starts and finishes at the Via Dei Fori Imperiali and passes by numerous landmarks like the Basilica di San Paolo, Castel Sant’Angelo, and the Piazza di Spagna. The course also passes by parts of the famous Tiber River. 
  • Paris: The Paris Marathon is considered one of the most challenging races with a total distance of 42.195 kilometers (26.2 miles) across the City of Light. It boasts the second-highest number of participants, behind the New York City marathon. Participants begin running along the Champs-Élysées and pass the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Bois de Vincennes, and end on Avenue Foch with the Arc de Triomphe present in the background. The race takes place in early April.
  • London: The London Marathon is usually held in April. The 26.2-mile route the marathon follows goes by multiple landmarks. The race starts near Greenwich, the home of the Meridian Line. By mile 12, the race crosses the famous Tower Bridge and The Shard and ends with the London Eye and Buckingham Palace. To top it off, the event teams up with charities to raise money for good causes. In 2019, a total of 66.4 million pounds was raised for the Dementia Revolution, a world record for single-day fundraising. 
  • Berlin: The Berlin Marathon takes runners on a journey through the Paper City. The Tiergarten is host to both the start and finish of the race. Participants run past the Reichstag Building and the Brandenburg Gate, followed by the Südstern transit station, the Berlin Victory Column, and other monuments. Some stations provide beverages and fruit for runners along the way as well. The marathon takes place in September.
  • Amsterdam: The TCS Amsterdam Marathon occurs every October. The event starts and finishes in the Olympic Stadium used for the 1928 Summer Olympics. The 42.195-kilometer race goes through Vondelpark, down past Amstelpark, and across the Torontobrug Bridge. Runners will be supporting a good cause; the marathon teams up with the Dutch Cancer Society to raise money for cancer research. 
  • Madrid: The Rock 'n' Roll Madrid Marathon has been held in April annually for 42 years. Runners pass by the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, the Faro de Moncloa and the Torres de Colón on their route. The race continues past the Royal Palace of Madrid and the Cibeles Fountain before coming to an end. The event connects with multiple charities every year to donate money to good causes. 
  • BarcelonaThe Zurich Barcelona Marathon takes place in March yearly and boasts a dozen landmarks along the way. The starting and finishing line is the famous Plaça d'Espanya and moves on past Camp Nou, the stadium where soccer team Barcelona FC plays. The route continues towards the Barcelona Cathedral and the Sagrada Familia before running along the coast.
  • Zurich: The Zurich Marathon is also held in April. Participants start the event near the Mythenquai, a public bath in the city of Zurich built in the 1800s. The runners then run down the bank of Lake Zurich for 20 kilometers before turning and retracing their path back to the city to the finish line.  
  • Tromso: The Midnight Sun Marathon held in Tromsø is the northernmost marathon in the world. It is unique because of its start time, midnight. The course starts and finishes in the center of the city and goes along the coast of the Norwegian island before reaching a turning point and heading back. The race takes place annually in June.