In August, I visited my aunt who lives in Lisbon, Portugal. I spent an amazing time there; the city and its surroundings are absolutely beautiful! Of course I had my running gear with me, and I would like to share with you some of my experiences on running in this wonderful environment.
First of all: Lisbon and its surroundings are full of runners. Running is a popular sport among both natives and tourists, and there are plenty of ways on comfortably getting around on your feet.
Sightseeing: Get ready for some hills and stairs
If you plan to do running and sightseeing at the same time, Lisbon has a treat for your hamstrings, as it is located on seven lovely hills. The views from the top are absolutely amazing and definitely worth the climb, even if, like me, you simply walked the entire way. For obvious reasons, you will find most of the runners somewhere else; along the river.
The River Tagus
Lisbon lies on the bank of the beautiful river Tagus with stunning views and promenades which span the city. Not surprisingly, these promenades are some of the favourite places for runners. Moreover, there are trains and metro lines very close to the river, and the tickets are very affordable, so it is really easy if you decide one day you want to go to the Expo area and run along the river there. It is really pretty and full of modern architecture. If you want a break, there’s the Europe’s largest indoor aquarium and plenty of spaces to sit down and relax.
Another wonderful area with a convenient promenade along the river, topped off with a multitude of green parks, architectural monuments (both old and new) and museums worth visiting. If all that running around makes you hungry, I can recommend a delicious Italian-style pizza in the restaurant at the Museu Coleção Berardo (modern art gallery).
Out of the city – beaches!
There is a train line which connects Lisbon to its suburbs all the way to the picturesque city of Cascais, and all along the riverside and oceanside there you can find beaches.
I dedicated my old pair of running shoes to the sand and it was spectacular. The water was very cold (too cold for me to swim in, and that’s not something that happens often), but the plus side of it is that it cools the air down at the very edge of the beach making it pleasant to run even when the temperatures are very high. However, if you dream of beaches that span for miles, you’ll have to make your way around some old timey fortifications which dot the coast.
Conveniently reachable by train, Cascais is not only a picturesque port town with a beautiful small palace, a Paula Rego museum and a wonderful park. If you follow the road further down the coast, you’re in for a visual treat: it is lined with black cliffs. You’re in luck, because there’s a path right along them where people are free to bike, run or walk. Just be careful when you do want to step onto the rocks themselves, they do tend to fall off without warning…
Everyone has their preferences on what to take on their runcaction, but I have a couple of tips based on what I found useful during my stay in Lisbon.
- I know this is obvious, but sunscreen is an absolute must if you do not want to end up severily burned. I also recommend having a running cap and a hydration bottle even if you do not run very long distances. It can be very, very hot.
- At the same time, it can also get cold all of the sudden. Even though the weather was splendid all two weeks I spent there, there was one exception: an afternoon/evening when a long-sleeve running tee was much more sensible.
- Beach shoes, or a pair of running shoes dedicated to running in the sand. There can be sharp stones, shells and jellyfish there, so if you decide to run barefoot, be careful!
- LED and/or reflective gear. The day is not that very long in Lisbon in August and you want to make sure you will be visible on those dark mornings or evenings when you go run.
- Some sort of GPS to guide you home in case you get lost. Portuguese people are extremely kind and helpful; so helpful that, when you ask them for directions and they do not know the correct route, they will still try to guide you the best they can. What might result in you getting lost even worse.
- A bikini that fits under a running bra/running shorts (or running shorts that can get wet). Just in case you want to take a dip in the ice-cold ocean after all that running!
Running on the beach!
What are your tips for running on holidays?
Is there anything else you want to know about running in Lisbon and surroundings?