Prague Sights: 5 Reasons to Consider a Running Tour

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There are many ways to see the Czech Republic’s capital city – known for its well-preserved Old Town, clock tower, and historic architecture. When visiting Prague, there are buses and boats, however, Segways and rollerblades can also reach historic points of the city. I personally prefer my own two feet solidly on the ground and have walked on the cobble-stoned streets many times, enjoying a leisurely pace and time to look around. On my latest trip, however, I decided to move at a quicker pace and jog through Prague on a guided tour.

Jogging tours offer several advantages over more standard bus, walking and boat tours. Firstly, they tend to be time savers. In fact, I combined a sightseeing tour with my workout. Running tours can also be more flexible. Depending on the company and number of joggers, it’s up to the runners to set the distance, time of day and sights en route. You not only burn off the beer calories and bratwurst, you get to know Prague’s intimate alleyways, peaceful parks and timeless trails.

Prague Sights: 5 Reasons to Consider a Running Tour

1. Each route features specific sights

At times my jogging slowed to a brisk walk to keep up with my guide, as some of the city’s most spectacular views require trekking uphill. Running tour companies in Prague typically offer four to five routes, featuring certain sights. There are riverside runs along the banks of the Vltava River and park runs through the beautiful Kinsky Gardens. There are also runs up to Prague Castle and then through the Old Town in the early-morning light to see the famous astronomical clock chime. Most runs average between five and ten kilometers (three to six miles).

2. You’ll get a unique impression of the city

At daybreak, vapor from the Vltava River forms a silvery veil over the city and the sun’s rays gently lift its folds, revealing a patchwork of red-roofed houses, medieval towers and Gothic church spires. Leaves and flower petals drip with dew as the temperature slowly climbs with each passing moment. Prague Castle is empty and the shaded parks are as silent as cemeteries, with a few will o’ wisp joggers flitting in between the trees. In the early-morning light, the city slowly unveils itself and then pauses, on hold until tram tracks begin to squeal, tourists appear and residents methodically shuffle to work.

3. Your guides often speak multiple languages

In the Czech Republic, they say, all the best ideas are born over a pint, or two, of beer. The idea for Czech Running Tours formed over frothy mugs of Pilsner as two friends discussed the future of the tourism industry. Veronika Jíchová, an experienced tour guide, saw potential in the booming sector. I met the enthusiastic entrepreneur at a pub in the Old Town square to hear the story of this start up and how it has grown in popularity. Speaking both Spanish and English and having a keen interest in the industry, Veronika wanted to expand her tour business to reach even more visitors and provide opportunities for them to see the city, visiting Prague in a new, more athletic way.

4. They’re a way to share a hobby

Prague resident Martin Opolecký, started the business Running Prague as a dream job and way to be active. “The business helps me keep running,” the frequent marathoner and Ironman competitor told me as he led me on one of his jogging tours. Martin wants to promote the culture of running in the Czech Republic. When he runs around the city with his clients, mostly English-speakers, ranging in ages from 20 to 65 years old, the conversations extend beyond historical dates, people and places to running, races and training methods. Friendships form and connections are made with others who share the same hobby and interest in seeing the sights at a slightly quicker pace. Martin’s encouragement and die-hard attitude towards running kept me going on the more strenuous uphill routes we took to catch the best views of the city.

5. They’re year round

Prague Sights: 5 Reasons to Consider a Running Tour

Through rain, snow, sleet or blazing summer sun, the guides from Running Tours Prague will share their in-depth knowledge of the city and country’s history as well as the stories behind the buildings. Tours operate year-round and are only canceled if there is ice on the streets. Runners can choose a pre-planned route or suggest their own itinerary: uphill through Letná Park or winding through the labyrinth-like streets of the Jewish Quarter. This option allows runners to set their pace, distance, and perhaps challenge themselves if training for a race. My energetic guide, Lenka, shared her love and in-depth knowledge of the city. As we ran together, we paused at many points so the guide could tell us a story about a famous person or event in the country’s history.

During my guided jogs through Prague, I witnessed a normally noisy, bustling city on hold. In that moment, my guide and I had the time and space to cover more area and see more of the city than any walking tour would have provided. This beautiful capital revealed a quieter, more docile character as I rounded each corner, flew past each side street, and tried to run up each hill—in the end making new friends and making the most of the running shoes that took up a corner of my carry-on.

 

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About Bobbie Traut

Bobbie TrautBobbie has always been captivated by the world’s unique and diverse cultures, places, landscapes, languages and peoples. Growing up in Alaska, she spent the cold, dark winters engrossed in her parent’s yellowed, dog-eared copies of National Geographic from the 1960s. This keen interest and passion has led and inspired many adventures and stories to share. Currently working in Washington DC, she gratefully travels for her job, and has lived in Moldova, Poland, Russia and Ukraine. An avid runner, Bobbie has completed two marathons and two half marathons in Paris and Washington DC. Whenever possible, she brings her running shoes along for the ride.

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