Here’s a reason to cheer a runner’s heart, despite the creeping cold and shorter days: holiday running! Travel magazines and websites are full of lists such as ‘best cities to see holiday lights”, so we did some research to match some of those with some great running routes. 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. A special bonus: that dreaded nighttime run becomes a special treat! While the list might tilt toward wintry, northern spots, you’ll find some special surprises in warmer weather cities, too. For more, see our list of the best holiday runs in North America.
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.
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.
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.
Wroclaw, Poland. One of the best Christmas markets and a great holiday vibe.
Bruges, Belgium. The Grote Markt is really special during the holidays, and there’s a huge ice sculpture festival.
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.
Cologne, Germany. Hosts 7 Christmas Fairs and one of the largest Christmas Markets in Europe.
Düsseldorf, Germany. Our of our newest cities and site of one of the largest Christmas markets in Europe.
Rottertdam, Netherlands. The city is famous for its bridges that are festooned with holiday lights. Here’s a 15 km Five Bridges Tour of Rotterdam.
Strasbourg. One of Europe’s famous Christmas Markets can be enjoyed in our Old Town Strasbourg tour.
Catania, Sicily. Enjoy a great ‘runseeing tour‘ of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Especially festive during the holiday season, including a terrific Christmas Market.