10 European capitals where you can sign up for a marathon - and have a city break

Klaudia Balogh
Venice Marathon: Shutterstock / Rolf_52

With a successful London Marathon now behind us, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t mark your next challenge on the calendar. A 42K run looping around a city can not only be a scenic route but can also be a wonderful way to sightsee around a foreign metropolis.

Here are marathons in ten European capitals that you can sign up for in 2017 - and upgrade into a short getaway.

1. Helsinki City Marathon

Date: 12 August

Registration deadline: 31 July

Price: 80-96 € (£68 - £82)

It’s the biggest marathon in Finland and the second most popular in Scandinavia attracting runners from more than 40 nations. The route takes participants through the Baltic Sea coastline and many of Helsinki’s scenic sights. If you decide to make your marathon into a Scandinavian city getaway, Helsinki has a lot more to offer than just a race course. Get a taste of Finland's capital through discovering the urban sauna culture and exploring the city’s contemporary architecture and traditional cuisine. And, because it’s summertime, you can’t miss visiting the sea, which won’t be hard with a shoreline of over 130 kilometres.

See more at http://www.helsinkicitymarathon.fi/en

2. Reykjavik Marathon


Date: 19 August

Registration Deadline: 17 August

Price: 10,900-13,600 ISK (£79 - £99)

The rather flat-to-undulating route of the marathon is a loop, starting and finishing on Laekjargata, next to the Islands-banki. After crossing the finish line, the next thing on your mind might be a hot bath to release some tension. There’s an even better option though: a geothermal beach, where cold sea and hot geothermal water fuse together creating higher temperatures.

Find an even more exciting sea-life experience on a whale watching excursion watching some gigantic blue whales in their natural habitat. Furthermore, all whale watching tours include admission to the Whales of Iceland, the largest whale exhibit in Europe.

See more at http://marathon.is/reykjavik-marathon

3. Moscow Marathon


Date: 24 September

Registration deadline: 23 August

Price: 2,000-4,000 Russian Rubles (£28 - £56)

Whether you’ve been to Moscow, or it’s your first visit, it’s certain that a run around the city won’t give you the whole experience of this Russian cosmopolitan capital. Although the course of the marathon takes you through attractions such as the White House, Moskva-City, four of the Seven Sisters skyscrapers, Bolshoi Theatre, FSB (former KGB) building, Polytechnic Museum, and the Kremlin, chances are that you won’t be spending your time getting lost in their sights, but your focus will rather be on finishing the race. So, it’s worth planning to spend a couple extra days there to get most out of your trip.

See more at http://moscowmarathon.org/en/

4. Oslo Marathon

(Hans-Peter Merten/Getty Images)

Date: 16 September

Registration deadline: 12 September

Price: 885 Norwegian Krone (£82)

The Oslo Marathon has taken place since 1981, so the route is well-established guiding you through sights from sea to the city. It’s quite a flat course, so it might just be the place for you to break your personal record or run your first marathon. If sightseeing on the run doesn’t fill your touristic needs, then it’s worth signing up for fjord cruises or bicycle tours to visit the highlights of the Norwegian capital.

See more at https://oslomaraton.no/en/arrangement/distanser/maraton/

5. Brussels Marathon


Date: 1 October

Registration deadline: 18 September

Price: 70-90€ (£60 - £77)

Tie your shoelaces because this is for the more experienced marathoners. The course is known to be very hilly, so only consider it if you’ve run a marathon before. The route leads through many green areas of Brussels and even passes through the woods before returning towards the city. Staying an extra couple of days will give you a chance to visit several museums and sights that are within walking distance at the heart of the city. Don’t miss the chance to see the Grand Place, one of the world’s great squares, illuminated at night.

See more at http://www.sport.be/brusselsmarathon/2017/en/

6. Amsterdam Marathon

Date: 15 October

Registration deadline: 4 September

Price: 72.50 € (£62)

Continuing the 42-year-old tradition of the marathon, it starts and finishes at the Olympic Stadium in the Dutch capital. Besides bystanders cheering you on, there’ll also be a variety of entertainment from DJ’s, samba bands and vocal delights, so this marathon will be far from boring. And, after you cross the finish line, you can hop on a bike to get lost in the artsy neighbourhoods of the capital. Of course, only after a big lunch and a relaxing bath. Moreover, another great way to explore the city’s picturesque attractions is to float along the canals on a guided boat tour.

See more at http://www.tcsamsterdammarathon.nl/en/

7. Budapest Marathon

Date: 15 October

Registration deadline: 4 October

Price: 70-100 € (£60 - £85)

The Budapest Marathon loops around the city passing by some of the main attractions of the Hungarian capital. The course is a flat one, so runners of all levels (with efficient training) are welcome to gear up for the challenge. Last year’s figures showed that there were runners attending from 79 countries. If you’re up for a weekend getaway, there’s no better place to relax your joints and muscles than in one of Budapest’s famous thermal baths that often date back to the 16th and 17th century. And, after soaking in the healing waters, don’t forget to indulge in traditional Hungarian cuisine to refuel your body after the exhausting run.

See more at http://marathon.runinbudapest.com/

8. Venice Marathon

(Lennart Preiss/Getty Images)

Date: 22 October

Registration deadline: 20 October

Price: 65-80 € (£56 - £68)

Being the city built on water, the Venice Marathon doesn’t come with much elevation. In fact it’s a rather flat course, which is ideal for first-timers not only because of its route but because of its spectacular scenery as well. Participants will run across 14 of the 400 bridges that connect more than 100 islands passing by canals and squares. However, once you’re in Venice, you won’t be satisfied with just running through it. Palaces, churches and museums await for you to explore them, and the gondoliers are keen to tell you about the city’s history.

See more at http://www.venicemarathon.it/en/venicemarathon/

9. Dublin Marathon

Essex Street in Dublin’s Left Bank quarter

Date: 29 October

Registration deadline: 1 October

Price: 70-90 € (£60 - £77)

Often called the “Friendly Marathon,” the race loops around the city starting and finishing near Trinity College. The warm and dry Irish October weather provides ideal running conditions.

And, staying longer than just a six-hour-run will be worth your while. Extend your stay to enjoy some Irish music, food and drinks and get lost in the view of the historical capital. Making your trip complete, visit the Guinness Storehouse in the heart of St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin to learn about the 250-year-long history of the famous beer.

See more at http://sseairtricitydublinmarathon.ie/

10. Athens Marathon


Date: 12 November

Registration deadline: until the 18,500 participation limit is met

Price: 30-100 € (£26 - £85)

This may just be the most historic marathon you’ll ever run. It follows the original course of a Greek soldier who ran from Marathon to Athens in 490 AD to bring news of the victory over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. This course is a combination of flat, uphill and downhill sections leading runners from the city of Marathon to Athens' Panathinaikon Olympic Stadium. Being one of the most historic cities, there’s so much to see in the Greek capital. From the ancient Acropolis and Agora to museums revealing history dating back thousands of years, your trip to Athens will truly be a spectacular one.

See more at http://www.athensauthenticmarathon.gr/site/index.php/en/

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