The World’s Best Places to Run, Swim & Cycle

The World’s Best Places to Run, Swim & Cycle

The World’s Best Places to Run, Swim & Cycle

Written By: SportsShoes

Running, swimming and cycling - the bread and butter of our outdoor fitness regimes. Whether you’re training for a triathlon and are scouting out beautiful locations to practise all three, or you simply want to grab your bike and head out on a gorgeous trail at home or on holiday - the great outdoors has plenty to offer across the globe.

No matter if you’re on two feet, two wheels, or in the water - adding an assortment of stunning surroundings can really elevate your workout further, beyond the confines of a gym or your regular running route. We wanted to discover exactly which parts of the world are fierce favourites for each activity - and so we took to Tripadvisor to find out. We analysed over 100,000 mentions, across 10 different countries and have ranked them according to which spots have the most mentions for “running”, “swimming” or “cycling” in their Tripadvisor reviews.

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  1. UK’s Favourite Running Spots
  2. UK’s Favourite Swimming Spots
  3. UK’s Favourite Cycling Spots
  4. Top 10 Countries for Running
  5. Top 10 Countries for Swimming
  6. Top 10 Countries for Cycling

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1. UK’s Favourite Running Spots

Hyde Park comes out on top in both the rankings for the UK’s favourite place to run and to cycle, largely in part due to its flat surfaces (kind on the legs, according to many of its reviewers) and long promenades that span the park’s stunning greenery and lakes. Hyde Park is followed by Arthur’s Seat, a hillier run than the former, but providing one of Edinburgh’s most famous viewpoints - while the top three is completed by Bute Park in Cardiff, the city’s “green heart” and a common spot for locals to head for their morning run.

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hyde-park-london-england-running-hotspot

Pictured: Hyde Park, London, England

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The rest of the top 10 consists of more picturesque parks scattered around the UK, from Manchester’s iconic Heaton Park which plays host to a weekly parkrun and numerous charity running events throughout the year, to Cassiobury Park in Hertfordshire - referred to as “runner heaven” by one Tripadvisor reviewer, offering a diverse landscape full of wooded areas, rolling hills and wetlands.

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RANKLOCATIONREGIONCOUNTRY
1Hyde ParkLondonEngland
2Arthur's SeatEdinburghScotland
3Bute ParkCardiffWales
4Heaton ParkManchesterEngland
5Cassiobury ParkHertfordshireEngland
6Cardiff BayCardiffWales
7Holyrood ParkEdinburghScotland
8Windsor Great ParkBerkshireEngland
9Clifton Suspension BridgeBristolEngland
10Cannock ChaseStaffordshireEngland

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2. UK’s Favourite Swimming Spots

When it comes to having a splash around the UK’s sandy shores, Dorset and Cornwall pull rank with the most picturesque beaches according to Tripadvisor reviews, with three swimming spots each featuring in the top ten. The top spot goes to Bude Sea Pool, a part-natural, part man-made tidal swimming pool located in Cornwall, perfect for kids and free to enter. Coming in second is Weymouth Beach, a scenic sandy beach popular for its water sports (and its fish and chips), while third place is stolen by the charming Fairy Pools in Scotland’s Isle of Skye - a wild swimming spot with emerald green pools offering a refreshing dip for locals and tourists alike.

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bude-sea-pool-cornwall-england-uk-favourite-swim-spots

Pictured: Bude Sea Pool, Cornwall, England

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Other locations completing the top 10 consist of Hampstead Heath, the London park which plays host to three ponds (women’s, men’s and mixed) for brave swimmers to take a plunge, Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, Dorset’s iconic beach which attracts visitors from all over the world, and Perranporth Beach, a romantic stretch of coastline offering rock pools, caves and a swimming pool for those not brave enough to tackle the ocean.

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RANKLOCATIONREGIONCOUNTRY
1Bude Sea PoolCornwallEngland
2Weymouth BeachDorsetEngland
3Fairy PoolsIsle of SkyeScotland
4Bournemouth BeachDorsetEngland
5Hampstead HeathLondonEngland
6Tunnels BeachesDevonEngland
7Lulworth Cove and Durdle DoorDorsetEngland
8Perranporth BeachCornwallEngland
9Horsey BeachNorfolkEngland
10Fistral BeachCornwallEngland

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3. UK’s Favourite Cycling Spots

For adventures on two wheels, Hyde Park features again - the London park taking the top spot as UK cyclists' favourite location for a spin. Following behind is the Peak District’s Monsal Trail, a traffic free route via an old railway track that’s nestled in the limestone dales, and which spoils its cyclists with breath-taking views. Completing the top three is Cornwall’s Camel Trail, another track that follows a disused railway line, taking cyclists through panoramic landscapes where they can hop off and explore the stunning Cornish coastline or quaint villages.

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hyde-park-london-england-uk-favourite-cycling-spots

Pictured: Monsal Trail, Peak District, England

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The rest of the top 10 includes spectacular routes across the UK’s lush forests, from the Sherwood Pines in Nottingham to Yorkshire’s Dalby Forest, and to aesthetic reservoirs like Rutland and Carsington Water.

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RANKLOCATIONREGIONCOUNTRY
1Hyde ParkLondonEngland
2Monsal TrailPeak DistrictEngland
3The Camel TrailCornwallEngland
4Rutland WaterRutlandEngland
5Sherwood PinesNottinghamEngland
6Cannock ChaseStaffordshireEngland
7Moors Valley Country Park and ForestDorsetEngland
8Dalby ForestYorkshireEngland
9Carsington WaterDerbyshireEngland
10Bedgebury National Pinetum and ForestKentEngland

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4. Top 10 Countries for Running

The United States ranks as the hottest spot globally to run, swim and cycle; the nation beating out all other countries in all three leader boards, according to Tripadvisor’s many reviewers. And with locations like New York City’s Central Park (in first place for the US) and California’s iconic Venice Beach (in seventh) - it’s not all too surprising that America is scoring so high when it comes to where people love to run the most.

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top-10-countries-for-running-usa

Pictured: Vancouver Seawall, Vancouver - Canada

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Other countries that earn their stripes as a haven for runners include Spain - which completes the top three after the UK - as well as Canada and France, which place fourth and fifth, respectively. Spain boasts stunning Mediterranean park running routes all over, from Madrid to Gran Canaria, Canadian citizens love to run in many of Vancouver’s parks and French jogging enthusiasts head to Paris’ Jardin du Luxembourg or Nice’s Promenade de Anglais.

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RANKCOUNTRY
1United States
2United Kingdom
3Spain
4Canada
5France
6Germany
7Italy
8Australia
9United Arab Emirates
10South Africa

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5. Top 10 Countries for Swimming

The US held tight in first place for the best swimming holes but was closely followed in the rankings by Australia and Spain with the many stunning beaches they both have to offer. In Australia, the Whale sharks of Hervey Bay offer up the country’s main swimming attraction, with other crystal-clear waters in places like Exmouth and Airlie Beach also pulling in several thousands of visitors too. While the Spanish swimming spots consist of the mesmerising Mediterranean coastline, which offers many a spot for Spanish locals and tourists to head out for a dip, from the golden coast of Tenerife to Barcelona and the Canary Islands.

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top-10-countries-for-swimming-usa

Pictured: Airlie Beach, Whitsundays - Australia

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In fourth position is the United Kingdom, and the top five is completed by France - the European country’s southern coastline - specifically that of Gard and the Cote d’Azur - providing the reviewers of Tripadvisor with their most well-loved locations to swim.

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RANKCOUNTRY
1United States
2Australia
3Spain
4United Kingdom
5France
6Canada
7Italy
8United Arab Emirates
9South Africa
10Germany

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6. Top 10 Countries for Cycling

Taking the bike by the wheels is once again the US, routes through New York’s Central Park and Alaska’s Tony Knowles Coastal Trail proving to be firm favourites for US citizens to take their wheels out for a spin. Canada followed behind in second place - Vancouver’s Seawall route featuring for a second time in our rankings - and Italy completed the top three, Le Mura di Lucca (otherwise known as the walls surrounding the ancient city of Lucca in Tuscany) famous for tourists who want to rent a bike to cycle on top of the walls and see the sights.

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top-10-places-world-cycling-usa

Pictured: Central Park, New York City - United States of America

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The top five most frequently reviewed cycling locations globally is rounded out by the United Kingdom and Germany, the latter offering up pristine cycling routes through places like the Englischer Garten in Munich and Tiergarten in Berlin for avid bikers to get their workouts in.

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RANKCOUNTRY
1United States
2Canada
3Italy
4United Kingdom
5Germany
6Spain
7France
8United Arab Emirates
9Australia
10Soutrh Africa

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Methodology:  

SportsShoes analysed Tripadvisor data from countries around the world. Using the ‘Things to Do’ section of the Tripadvisor website, the attractions in each location that had the highest number of mentions of ‘run/running’, ‘swim/swimming’ and ‘cycle/cycling/bike’ (in French and English language) in their reviews were ranked as being the best spot or each activity in that country. 

The number of mentions were then totalled to provide a country-level ranking for each activity. 

Results where the terms were used negatively or for another context (“this area was run-down"), or if the location was not an area of beauty (i.e., a swimming pool) were omitted from the final results. 

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While we hope this has provided you with any inspiration you might need for your next adventure - at home or abroad - it’s important to make sure you’re kitted out with all the gear to keep you comfy during your workouts, whether you’re running, swimming or cycling!

Related post: Who Run the World? The World's Most Picturesque Running Cities | The Running Hub | SportsShoes.com







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