City breaks have become very popular in recent years as an alternative to a longer holiday. The great thing about city breaks is that in a relatively short amount of time, you can fully explore a whole city. Popular destinations in Europe include London, Paris, Berlin, Prague and Amsterdam. All of these destinations are within a 2 hour flight of each other.

The cities I have mentioned above all have distinctive landmarks that make them special and attractive. London has history and heritage, Paris has the bohemian charm, Berlin has recent history and Amsterdam is a free and open city where anyone will feel welcome.

All of the cities mentioned have an annual marathon. What better way is there of seeing a city than running 26.2 miles around it?

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Some of the best cities for marathon runners


The London marathon which takes place in April had just become the world’s largest Marathon with just under 37 thousand finishers in 2012. The race weaves through London and takes in most of the sites on display to tourists. The route goes from east to west and covers some parts of London that tourists rarely go to. The highlight must be crossing Tower Bridge at mile 12 or finishing on the Mall. There is a fantastic interactive resource for runners and spectators to use on the London Marathon’s website which can be found here


Paris stole the record from London in terms of finishers in 2012 to become the largest marathon in the world. The race follows the course of La Seine river and motivates runners by sending them past the main city attractions towards the end of the race. Notre Dame Cathedral, The Grand Palais and the Eiffel Tower create beautiful scenery along with the start which is on the historic Champs Elyees. If you stay in the city for a few days you can take in some of the lively bars and restaurants in Montmartre and enjoy becoming a bon vivant for a few days.


The Berlin Marathon which is held at the end of September is one of the six World Marathon Majors alongside London in the European contingent. Berlin boasts the title of the Marathon World Record along its fast, flat course. Patrick Makau set this record in 2011 to make Berlin the holder of the last four world records. The highlights of this event include the opening stages which start alongside the Reichstag in the Tiergarten and the finish which passes through the iconic Brandenburg Gate where the celebrations took place on the evening of 9th November 1989. Runners get the opportunity to pass across a road once separated by a 12 foot high concrete wall.

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Big capital cities like these for one weekend per year welcome runners from all over the world. These visitors take over the hotels, hostels and B&B’s as they settle in to take on what has been called by Lance Armstrong as “the hardest physical thing I have ever done”. The sense of achievement is very rewarding and the whole city comes out to support its guests.

Short city trips with a marathon included can be a cheap way of getting away. Most cities with their advanced transport systems are very easy to explore which means that generally three days is enough for a fulfilling trip. With single trip Travel Insurance, the costs can be as low as £3.60 with specialist Travel Insurance providers such as More info can be found here

Remember that Travel Insurance is very important when considering a marathon abroad.  This will give you the peace of mind that is essential for your race day preparations.

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