See the sights—and get in a workout—on these active tours
Running is traditionally an easy workout to do for travelers—after all, you only need to bring yourself and a pair of sneakers. These days, though, jogging has become more than just a way to burn a few calories, as many operators are using this typically solitary activity as a vehicle for tours of cities around the world.
In Rome, for instance, Isabella Calidonna—an art historian and a coach on the Italian National Olympic Committee—founded ArcheoRunning to offer guided jogs with itineraries covering ancient Roman bridges, the Appian Way, Trastevere, and more. She times the rest stops on the one-and-a-half-to-four-hour runs so that guests can enjoy gawking at landmarks and take the opportunity to learn a little bit. Calidonna isn’t alone, either: Go Running Tours offers sightseeing jogs in Cape Town, Sydney, Singapore, and other global cities, while City Running Tours offers guided group and private runs in American destinations such as New York and Seattle.
What’s more, many hotels have realized that some guests prefer the atmosphere of city streets to the tranquility of fitness center treadmills. “No matter where you are, don’t be afraid to ask about running experiences,” says travel agent and runner Kimberly Wilson Wetty, copresident of Valerie Wilson Travel. “Almost all hotels now provide running routes, maps, and suggestions.” Staffers at the Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, lead Run My City trips past sights such as the Eiffel Tower. (The three- to four-mile routes are free and available every day, but they do require a reservation.) Stateside, the Pendry Washington DC—The Wharf has programmed routes into the app RunGo that stretch from 1.8 to 23 miles, including one for cherry blossom season. The RunWestin program at Westin Hotels & Resorts, meanwhile, has 250 running concierges around the world who lead guided groups, as well as digital RunWestin Maps that feature self-guided routes.
No matter where you’re staying, Misty Belles, a vice president at the travel industry consortium Virtuoso, recommends doing a running tour on the first day of your trip. “A good run is the best way to combat jet lag,” she says. The ultimate perk, though? “Guilt-free gelato!”