Running While Traveling: Barcelona

This is for anyone who has ever googled “Where to run in Barcelona”. Here’s to everyone who has traveled to a new place, trying to figure out how to get a run in. You’re not alone. Introducing my new series called “Running While Traveling”, check out the intro here.

I travel extensively and it can definitely be challenging to get my runs in while away from home. My friends in the airline industry know that trips can be quick, spontaneous, and a bit interruptive of your normal day to day routine. With a bit of research and know-how, there is no reason to skip a run!

For the first weekend in October 2019, I found myself in Barcelona, Spain! The city is beautiful, full of rich history and food. And I also found some incredible running routes. I went on two runs, one on Saturday morning and one on Sunday morning. Be sure to check out my Instagram page – click on the bubble “Travel” for videos from my Barcelona runs.

Running Route #1:

From my hotel in the city center (Eixample neighborhood), I ran north to a large park overlooking the city (Parc de Collserola). Within the park, I ran along a path designed for runners, bikers, and walkers alike, called Carretera de les Aigues. This is a phenomenal route and hands down my favorite. I’ll be revisiting this each time I return to Barcelona.

The route itself is fairly easy to navigate. I do recommend taking along your phone. I took my iPhone and used the Google Maps app to track where I was. I tracked my run with the Nike Run Club. Both worked well and fully functioned even without any international cellular data! I kept my phone in airplane mode the entire time and didn’t have any wifi for the duration of my run.

The challenge of this run is the elevation! I climbed 821 feet in elevation gain throughout going up and then back down to the Carretera de les Aigues. I recommend taking it slow and don’t be afraid of walking for short bursts as the elevation gets steep. It’s an overall incline, up until the very entrance to the park, where it’s practically straight uphill for about 200 meters. I definitely recommend walking the 200 meters between the city streets to the park – the incline is quite steep. Once you find your way onto the Carretera de les Aigues, the path is relatively flat!

I didn’t see any motor vehicles in my time within the park, just plenty of walkers, runners, and tons of bikers. I was there on a Saturday morning and loved the feeling that the city was out for their morning exercise.

Run from Nike Run Club app – check out that elevation gain!
Behind me is a skyline view of the entire city! Hard to capture in a picture – totally worth seeing in person
Parc de Collserola – park map – everything is clearly labeled!
Carretera de les Aigues – plenty of people and clearly marked!

Running Route #2:

On Sunday morning, I decided to go for a run to explore the city streets. This run was for the wondering, to see what the city had to offer. There were unique sidewalk tiles (see picture below). I found these tiles all over the city with various patterns of detail. I love these unique features in Barcelona. Throughout my run, I encountered a children’s parade and a rose garden, both full of entertainment. When I checked the clock, it was 30 minutes till hotel checkout so I sprinted the two miles back. Yes, I was the foreigner crazily running down the street.

I again took my iPhone and used Google Maps and Nike Run Club to track myself. I went for a straightforward, can’t get lost, type of route. I choose one of the main streets that cuts across the entire city and my hotel happened to be only one block away. I began within the Eixample neighborhood and got on the street Avinguda Diagonal. From here, I ran west for about 2 miles before turning around and returning along the same route. This is a good method when exploring the same city, choosing a straight path along a main road (so you can’t take the wrong turn anywhere) and running an out – and – back, returning to the same starting point. I ran to a beautiful rose park (Parc de Pedrolbes) which was exactly 2 miles from my starting point, making for a nice 4 mile run.

Path is light gravel – very fine track-like surface
Rose park map!
Entrance to the beautiful park
It sure is beautiful and peaceful within the park
These sidewalk tiles are all over the city, with various patterns of detail

Barcelona Travel notes:

Favorite Paella: L’Arrosseria Xativa

Favorite Tapas: Cerveseria Catalana

Best Experience: Getting floor level seats in Camp Nou to watch Messi play, cheering on Barca to win 4-0 at home!

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