Bathed in perennial sunshine and blessed with an abundance of picturesque look-out points, Lisbon is best explored on foot. Wandering its labyrinthine streets and traversing its bohemian neighbourhoods is a rewarding way to discover the city. However, for the fitness conscious, the Portuguese capital is ideal for a cardio blast. Ticking off sightseeing and step count in one, here are the most scenic running routes in Lisbon.
While Lisbon’s characterful barrios are ribboned with great running routes, some of the most scenic are on the city’s periphery. Monsanto Forest Park is a beautiful sweep of woodland to the northwest of the centre. Woven through with shaded hiking trails, it provides a welcome respite from the hot thrum of the centre.
For something a little closer to town, Edward VII Park, a 10-minute run from Corinthia Lisbon, is a magnificent 26-hectare square of tended lawns. Skirt its perimeter to work up a sweat, beginning with the gentle incline from Marquês de Pombal Square, and cooling off with an easy jog with views across the Tagus on the way back down.
One of the best runs in Lisbon is along the waterfront from the Praça do Comércio to Belém. The route flanks the Tagus, with wide views across the river and the scent of sea air carried in from the Atlantic. It skirts a gracious 19th-century palace, now home to the National Museum of Ancient Art, which contrasts beautifully with the achingly cool Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology a little further along. To increase the step count, take a detour into Belém around Jerónimos Monastery and its adjacent gardens.
Beyond Belém, Parque das Nações is a fresh development of ultra-modern architecture that sprawls out across the riverfront. Its promenade is a popular running route for Lisbon’s health-conscious residents, as well as families, dog-walkers and rollerbladers enjoying the clement weather. Join the laid-back tides with a leisurely jog along the entire stretch, from Vasco da Gama Bridge to the Lisbon Oceanarium.
One of Lisbon’s defining features is its hills, and the rewarding panoramas delivered by their miradouros, or look-out points. For a circuit that guarantees to raise the pulse, scale the slopes from the gracious sweep of Praça do Comércio towards the 11th-century Moorish battlements of São Jorge Castle. The stunning views towards the coast are worth every bead of sweat.
To bask in Lisbon’s unique character while breaking a sweat, the bohemian streets of hilly Bairro Alto are some of the city’s prettiest… and steepest. Avoid the bustle that starts to fill the narrow streets from mid-morning and stride in early while the temperatures are still cool. Jog past quirky street art and pavement cafés rolling up their shutters for the day ahead, glimpsing views down to the Tagus between the streets. The pavements can be slippery here even in dry weather, so wear running shoes with good traction.