Top European Marathons
The Rome City Marathon is a historic event, promising hundreds of landmarks to discover whether you're participating or just cheering from the sidelines. The race begins and ends in front of the city's magnificent colosseum, and passes St Peter's Basilica and the Trevi Fountain, as well as the Spanish Steps. The route also travels through a number of small cobbled streets and along the bank of the River Tiber. If you want to participate but don't fancy rushing, take a Rome city break and join the thousands of people walking the route once the runners have taken off!
Barcelona marathon is a great race for runners looking for an endurance course surrounded by beauty and history. Alternatively, it's a great place for marathon spectators to see a race while enjoying the sunshine and culture! The course starts at the foot of the Montjuic peak and heads past the Camp Nou stadium before doubling back through Plaça d'Espanya and past the Sagrada Familia Cathedral. It then journeys along the beach and around the old city before heading back to the finish line, providing plenty of scenic places to view the race.
Attending the Paris Marathon is the perfect way to see the sights and enjoy the hospitality of the city during springtime. The majority of the race follows the River Siene and takes an attractive route through the city, starting at the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and continuing through the Louvre and Place de la Bastille before taking a long loop back round into the city at Bois de Vincennes. The course then sticks to the river bank, passing the Pont Neuf, the Trocadero, and then the Eiffel Tower, a great spot to cheer on the racers, at which point the race breaks off towards the finish point at Avenue Foch.
Amsterdam's marathon is still considered a fairly intimate event, ideal for enthusiastic runners and those looking for a quieter city break. The course starts and finished in the 80-year-old Olympic stadium, and takes a wide circuit of the city centre and the quieter suburbs, packed with sights along the way for both runners and spectators. The race passes the Rijksmmuseum twice, moves through Vondelpark, the city's largest green spaces, and follows the Amstel River for a large part of the route, before returning to the stadium for the finish.
The Prague Marathon has been voted one of the most beautiful in the world, thanks to its routes which pass through each neighbourhood in the city, allowing runners to see all the sights along the way. The event lasts all weekend and actually comprises of several different races. While the main course travels the full marathon length, the Family Mini-marathon and the Allianz Eco Walk are much shorter, while the in-line party takes to the course on roller skates, for a much quicker glimpse of the sights!
Berlin's world-class marathon is one of the most highly organised in Europe, with a wealth of world speed records and a course that takes runners through some of the most historic districts of the city. The course is almost completely flat and takes a circuit, starting and ending at the Brandenburg Gate. The course passes Charlottenburg Tor, through Tiergarten and Mitte and then turns south from Friedrichshain down to Neu Kolln. From here it winds west to Schöneberg, around Wilmersdorf and northwards towards the city centre, before winding back around to reach the finish line.
Edinburgh marathon is a flat and fast route making its way through the commercial and industrialised parts of the city, alongside a number of smaller race events over the whole weekend. The main route changes from year to year and takes runners from London Road and Regent Road through the major streets of the city, flanked by cheering supporters and waving crowds. The half-marathon follows the full marathon for enthuisiastic runners and first-timers looking for a challenge, while the Team Relay is a nail-biting split race where just about anything can change!
Known as the Rock 'n' Roll Madrid Marathon, Spain's largest race take place in late April, looping through the city streets and past a number of major landmarks. The race starts near the famous Paseo de Recoletos boulevard and makes its way north, past the Spanish National Library and the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. The route then heads back towards the centre of the city and into Plaza Mayor, before passing the Royal Palace and reaching the halfway point in the Oeste Park. The course then takes a more focused route before entering Buen Retiro park and circuiting it once before finishing in the beautiful Paseo del Duque de Fernán Nuñez park.
The London Marathon's enthusiastic crowds and party atmosphere make it a must for UK residents, appealing to professional runners and first-timers alike. The course starts at Greenwich Park in south-east London, and follows the River Thames west until reaching the narrow streets around the Docklands and the river crossing at the iconic Tower Bridge. From here the runners make their way through Canary Wharf and finally reach the Embankment, where the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace provide the perfect backdrop to see the runners make their way across the finish line.
Reykjavik's city marathon is held to coincide with the annual Cultural Night festival, and take a route that reaches to the biggest and best landmarks in the city. The first half of the route takes you past the major attractions, including the University and the lakes, while the second half is a quiet course through residential and coastal roads, ideal for a quiet race before a big celebration in the evening! Reykjavik Marathon's major draw is the huge festival that accompanies it, so be prepared to celebrate in true Icelandic style!