Our list of the best holiday runs in Europe is a combination of beautiful light displays, popular ‘Christmas Markets’, and cities that are especially festive this time of year. While the list might tilt toward wintry, northern spots, you’ll find some special surprises in warmer weather cities, too. We’ve also added a couple of Asian cities known for their lights. For more, see our list of the best holiday runs in North America.
Bournemouth, UK. In Dorset, this coastal town well-known for its 1000 hectares of glorious parks and gardens has a Christmas Tree Wonderland that makes for a great run. Information
Budapest, Hungary. Festive holiday scene in the city’s central park (Városligeti Műjégpálya), with its ice skating rink and holiday lights. The first part of our ‘Runseeing’ tour highlights Andrássy út., the main commercial street, with beautiful holiday lights.
Bruges, Belgium. The Grote Markt is really special during the holidays, and there’s a huge ice sculpture festival.
Cascais, Portugal. A 20-minute train ride from Lisbon. While our route there is primarily on a beautiful seafront path, the centre is magical during the holidays, with five million lights lining the streets downtown. Also run on Alameda Combatentes da Grande Guerra that heads to the Town Hall.
Catania, Sicily. Enjoy a great ‘runseeing tour‘ of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Especially festive during the holiday season, including a terrific Christmas Market.
Cologne, Germany. The entire city is festively decorated. Cologne also hosts 7 Christmas Fairs and one of the largest Christmas Markets in Europe.
Copenhagen. No holiday running list is complete without a Scandinavian destination, and Copenhagen is our favorite this time of year. See wonderful decorations as you run through the Tivoli Gardens or in the waterfront district of Nyhaven.
Düsseldorf, Germany. Our of our newest cities and site of one of the largest Christmas markets in Europe.
Madrid. One of the best warmer weather Christmas spots in Europe. The city is festooned with lights, especially the Plaza Mayor. Best seen on our Madrid Sights Tour.
Munich, Germany. Start in Old Town at Marienplatz, where there are beautiful lights and a giant tree, and then follow our Oktoberfest route into Theresienwiese, which is turned into a winter wonderland
Nuremberg, Germany. Run the Old City Walls route and explore the two largely pedestrianized Old Towns, the Handwerkerhof medieval village, and Christkindlesmarkt — Europe’s largest Christmas market!
Paris: We couldn’t leave out a classic. The Champs Elysées is lined with lights, as are other iconic Paris landmarks, highlighted in our ‘runseeing’ tour. Fromn the Champs, also run down Av. Montaigne for its beautiful light displays.
Potsdam, Germany. An easy train ride from Berlin, Potdsam is one of the best preserved cities in Germany and features one of the country’s largest Christmas markets. Our Potsdam tour features wonderful palaces, paths along the Havel river, and pretty parks.
Prague. This fairytale city, with its gothic architecture and wintry streets, is beautifully lit and abounds with Christmas markets. Our Prague Major Sites Tour will hit many of the holiday hotspots.
Strasbourg. One of Europe’s famous Christmas Markets can be enjoyed in our Old Town Strasbourg tour.
Tallinn, Estonia. Located on the northern shores of Estonia’s Baltic sea and across the Gulf of Finland from Helsinki, this city is especially wintry and festive during the holiday season. Pretty lights, markets, and charming old city.
Vienna. Garlands of bulbs hang over the city’s main streets, while its shops are decorated with pine branches and silk ribbons. Chandeliers line the road to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Stay inside the ring road, on the western side of the river, and create your own tour of historic Vienna.
Vigo, Spain. The holiday lights are a major visitor attraction in this northwestern Spain port city. The extravagant light display is made up of 11 million LED lights and 450 Christmas trees across more than 400 streets.
Wroclaw, Poland. One of the best Christmas markets and a great holiday vibe.
Hong Kong. Take our route along the fantastically illuminated Victoria Harbour.
Kobe, Japan. Following the Kobe earthquake of 1995, Italy loaned thousands of hand-painted bulbs to be built into intricate luminarie—light-strung, Gothic-style structures. They’re near Higashi-Yuenchi Park (East Park), adjacent to our Harborland Promenade route.
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