November 24 , 2023

15 Unique Races for Your Bucket List

Travel-worthy destination races for all seasons and all levels.

15 Unique Races for Your Bucket List


A destination race makes a great excuse to plan a trip, whether for yourself or the avid runner(s) in your life. We’ve done the research to find the most unique races around southern Europe and the Mediterranean, ideal for a getaway and truly worth the journey. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a dedicated marathon enthusiast, you’ll find something interesting in these race recommendations.



Athens Marathon 'The Authentic'

Athens, Greece (November)


Run the original marathon route from the Greek town of Marathon to finish at Athens’s Panathenaic Stadium, on the site where sporting events have been held from ancient times to the modern Olympic Games.



Image credit: bk via flickr


Italy Coast to Coast Relay

Rimini, Italy (June)


Get your foursome together for this 4-day relay race across Italy (from the Adriatic to the Tyrrhenian Sea), and run through the idyllic pastoral landscapes of Umbria and Tuscany, discovering authentic countryside and medieval villages.



Cursa de la Mercè 10k

Barcelona, Spain (September)


Admire the major architectural landmarks of the Catalonian capital when you join this city road race, held the weekend before Barcelona’s biggest festival event, La Mercè.



San Silvestre Vallecana

Madrid, Spain (New Year’s Eve)


An excellent way to ring in the New Year, this 10K race (with a fun run as well as a pro race) is one of the most popular and festive running events in Spain, attracting both elite athletes and casual runners.



We Run Rome

Rome, Italy (New Year’s Eve)


Celebrate the New Year with a 5K or 10K run through the historic streets of Rome, passing by landmarks such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Borghese Gardens.



Image credit: Gabriele via flickr


Run Rome The Marathon

Rome, Italy (March)


For a warmer-weather run around Rome’s iconic landmarks, you can do this spring marathon and let gladiators welcome you across the finish line at the heart of the ancient city.



Run in Lyon

Lyon, France (October)


This popular running event in the gastronomic city of Lyon offers various race distances, including a 10K and a half marathon, so you can explore this beautiful capital of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.



Image credit: Pedro Szekely via flickr



La Parisienne

Paris, France (September)


Women in pink take over the heart of Paris for this 7K female-only fun run and charity race that finishes at the Champ de Mars, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.



Venice Night Trail

Venice, Italy (April)


Over the bridges and through the calli (streets) you’ll go with headlamps bobbing, for this 16K and 51 bridges night trail race in the romantic city of Venice.



Dubrovnik Half Marathon

Dubrovnik, Croatia (April)


Run the marble city of Dubrovnik, the medieval Pearl of the Adriatic – choose from a half marathon, 5K run, or run along the city walls with their challenging steps and rewarding views.



Trail of the Gods

Amalfi Coast, Italy (May)


Run the breathtaking elevated footpaths along the Amalfi Coast – choose to complete the trail running circuit once, twice, or thrice for the full 32.5 miles.



Image credit: Kārlis Dambrāns via flickr



Run Through the Homeland of Emil Zátopek

Kopřivnice, Czech Republic (September)


Lovers of the sport will appreciate this 14-mile road race dedicated to the greatest of all endurance athletes, the Moravian-born Emil Zátopek.



Le Marathon des Châteaux du Médoc

Bordeaux, France (September)


A race for connoisseurs, this festive marathon winds through the prestigious vineyards of Médoc in southwestern France, with wine and oysters at aid stations and creative costumes applauded.


Image credit: SB via flickr



Courmayeur, Italy (October)


Registration sells out quickly for this wacky 11-mile alpine race, a beer-soaked blend of costumes and climbs in the Aosta Valley near the Swiss and French borders.



Marathon Des Sables

Sahara Desert, Morocco (April)


A race so unique it deserves a mention, this long-distance free style foot race across the dunes of the Sahara is definitely not for the faint-hearted (there’s a near 50% drop-out rate!).



Put a reminder in your calendar to sign up for one of these races as soon as registration opens! Then give us a call so we can help you build a customized trip itinerary around any of these fun events.