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People running a half marathon

Best Places to Run a Half Marathon While on Vacation

Looking for an amazing location for both travel and fitness? Keep reading to discover the best places to run a half marathon on vacation.

For those of us who exercise often, a vacation can really throw off our fitness routine. After working on the beach body for weeks you suddenly fall flat when you get to your resort. It’s hard to recover from your pre-vacation form. One way to maintain a high level of fitness is to plan a half marathon as part of your next vacation.

 A half marathon spans a distance of 21.1 km or 13 miles. This is certainly a do-able distance for any amateur runner. It’s something to plan for and work towards and will keep your mind on health and fitness while enjoying a vacation to a new destination.

 In this article, we will expand on how to plan and prepare for a half marathon vacation before listing out the top 10 best places to run a half marathon around the world.


How to plan your vacation around a half marathon

Pick a destination

There are literally thousands of half marathons around the world every year. Start by selecting the one you want to run and committing to going.

Know the date of your trip

Half marathons are usually scheduled during ideal weather. Make sure you know when the race is happening and what the conditions are like when you are going.

Research the location

If your family is going you want to make sure there are also things for them to do. Making the trip solo? Still a good idea to know what’s happening there before you go.

Sign up well in advance

When looking up the best places to run a half marathon there are always limited spots available for the big race. Make sure you sign up as far in advance as possible to ensure your spot at the starting line.


How to prepare for a half marathon while on vacation

two persons doing training for a marathon

Get the right gear

Gear could make or break your run. Do some research based on the type of race you are running. Take into consideration the type of surface you are running on and the climate/altitude. Running socks are an underrated accessory along with the right shoes. 

Train hard

While half marathons aren’t viewed as elite events, they still require training and discipline to complete. Experts often cite 10 weeks as enough time to train for a half marathon. You don’t have to run a half marathon every day but just work your way up to the distance you will be running. If you’re running for over an hour make sure you have headphones & a playlist to keep you motivated.


Poor nutrition can derail a run. You simply run out of gas. Healthy diets and pre-run meals give you the energy that is vital to success (here are some healthy snack bar options). If you’re training and find yourself struggling, a nutritionist could help you plan your diet. Here are some tips for better nutrition when running.

Know the terrain

Most half marathons are well planned. The website will have a route map and some photos you can review. This will help you get a feel for the kind of terrain you will be running on.

Roads are much different than mountain trails. To avoid injuries its best to be prepared

Being prepared is essential to a good run. Learn more about preparing with some helpful tips from The Cleveland Clinic.

People running a half marathon in Athens.


Best places to run a half marathon in the world

Athens, Greece

 First on the list of best places to run a half marathon in Athens, the capital of Greece. This is an ancient city with tons of sites and a really unique half marathon every October. This event weaves you through the core of downtown Athens. The name Marathon is based on a legendary Greek figure so why not make this your next trip…lots of things to keep the family busy when you’re not running.

Big Sur, California

The California coast is beautiful. Every April, there is a breathtaking half marathon along Highway 1 in The Golden State. You will be running along the ocean, in great weather, for an experience, you won’t soon forget. There is a little elevation in this race, but nothing too grueling (560ft is the highest point) but you are roughly at sea level the entire time.

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder Colorado is known for amazing mountain scenery and is a very popular destination for lovers of the outdoors. Every October there is a half marathon there that’s certainly worth checking out. One thing to keep in mind – Boulder is 1621 M above sea level. so running here is a little more challenging than running at sea level. Hope you’re up for a challenge.

Chamonix, France

In terms of picturesque scenery, it doesn’t really get better than Chamonix for a half marathon. The race takes place in late June when the weather is at its best. The trails go through mountains making sprained ankles a concern. The route goes through quite a bit of elevation variance so be prepared for the extra challenge.

Cornwall, UK

UK Marathon

Cornwall, located in the South of England has many half marathons during the year from May to August. Cornwall is known for its beaches and is a surfing haven. Doing a half marathon here is great because the land is relatively flat therefore elevation isn’t a factor. This offers excellent running conditions and fun for the family if they join you. At sea level, this is not a challenging run.


Every year, in March, there is a half marathon in Paphos, a city on the island nation of Cyprus. This race is remarkable because it weaves along the ancient city streets in sight of the sea and some historic sites. With a cool Mediterranean breeze in your hair, you will wish you were running a full marathon so the experience never ends.

This run is less challenging than others as the weather is typically perfect, it’s at sea level and has relatively low altitude variance. You’re in for a real trip if you book a trip to Cyprus and add this to the itinerary. 

Dubai, UAE

Dubai offers a unique challenge to half marathon fans. With races every year in October, be prepared to face some harsh conditions. Dubai is in the desert and temperatures in October can be really high. So be prepared to battle the elements. The benefit is completely flat terrain. Dubai is one of the most unique cities in the world. This is a great opportunity to run on the streets of the city, compete at the highest level and truly test your skills in the heat.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Scotland map

Run through the scenic streets of Edinburgh in Scotland if you’re looking for an urban experience on your vacation. Consistently ranked one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Edinburgh is a must-visit. The race itself takes place in May and the route is fairly simple with little elevation. There is always a chance of rain so be prepared to run wet but sometimes that helps in a half marathon. 

Gold Coast, Australia

The Gold Coast is one of the top destinations in all of Australia. Popular with surfers, it has flawless beaches and many things to do. The half marathon occurs in July and weaves along the coast. The race starts early so you get to enjoy the sunrise. Being at sea level and mostly flat this should not be a challenging run at all. Don’t forget it’s a long flight to Australia, check out some exercises for the plane to avoid cramping up.

Patagonia, Chile

Patagonia, Chile Marathon

The final entry on our list of best places to run a half marathon is Patagonia in Chile. A place known for its mountain ranges and scenic views. There are a variety of marathons that take place here including a half marathon. The race website states you will: “feel completely insignificant in comparison to nature”. We couldn’t say it any better and this sums up what to expect from this race. It’s at altitude so be prepared for a challenge.