Utrecht, Netherlands

A Comprehesive Guide to Running in Utrecht. See Also Our Guides to Amsterdam and Rotterdam

Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands, known for its canals and historic center with buildings dating back to the Middle Ages. The city is also an important transportation and economic center, cultural hub and home to the country’s largest university. There is absolutely wonderful running in Utrecht, with its many km of canal paths, beautiful parks, green countryside, and routes around forts and castles.

A great way to get started running in Utrecht is to take our ‘runseeing‘ tour, exploring the Oudegracht canal and city centre. For those who love canal-side running, there are nice paths along the Vecht and Rijnkanaal. Probably the best place to run in Utrecht is in the area around Fort Rhijnauwen, which can be combined with the National Forest Trails and other nearby parks. Máximapark, the largest park in the Netherlands, is terrific for running. For a classic European castle run, explore the 135 acres of grounds at Castle De Haar. Trail runners will love the massive Heuvelrug National Park, where there’s something for everyone. For neighborhood running, we love Wittevrouwen and Oudwijk near the centre, anchored by Wilhelminapark.

For transport, there’s a good bus and light rail (tram) system. Also, the network of cycle tracks is extensive.

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Some of our favorite runs in Utrecht, Netherlands

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Vecht Canal Route

Utrecht, Netherlands

The Vecht is one of the more scenic canal-side running options in Utrecht. It's up to 7.5 km one-way, starting from just north of the city centre, through Overvecht to the N230 in Oud-Zuilen, passing houseboats and an increasingly green landscape headed north.


Utrecht, Netherlands

The largest park in the Netherlands and a joy for running. Many km of pedestrian and cycle paths, water features, and attractive landscaping. It's 3 km north-south and 1 km east-west. One good option is the 10k perimeter path. Just west of the city centre.

Heuvelrug National Park

Utrecht, Netherlands

A worth-it destination run! This 6,000 hectare national park is 20 km east of Utrecht and features hundreds of km of trails and paths through heaths, sand dunes, forests, grass lands and floodplains. There are 50+ designated 'walks' ranging from 2 to 21 km.

Utrecht’s climate is similar to that of other parts of the Netherlands. Summers are mild and never overly hot. But it is humid. It can be rainy throughout the year but can be especially damp in winter. Winters are chilly, but frigid temps and snow are rare.

There’s a good running culture in Utrecht. There are four centrally located running stores — see the Overview Map for more info!