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Switzerland’s best city running routes

Think about running in Switzerland. You probably picture technical trails with stunning mountain views. And you wouldn’t be wrong. Our Swiss home definitely offers an abundance of these. But away from the Alps, there’s lots to be found in the cities. So we’ve teamed up with Switzerland Tourism to show you around the best routes in Basel, Geneva, Lugano and Zurich.

 

From Portland to Sao Paulo, Melbourne to New York, our city running guides are all about finding the best urban routes in cities around the world. After traveling far and wide, we returned to Zurich for a reminder of how much our home country has to offer. And we don’t just mean the mountains. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the experts at Switzerland Tourism to source the best routes for you. Scroll down to watch the videos. 

 

Your guide: Mike

 

To show you around town(s), Mike from Zurich will be your guide. When he’s not busy taking photos or running, the energetic UX Designer tinkers with old motorbikes. But while he loves cruising through the mountains on his bike, Mike is just as big a fan of the Swiss public transport system.

 

“You don’t need a car to get around in both summer and winter – it’s my favorite thing about living in Switzerland.”

 

On the weekends, Mike can often be found scouring Zurich’s flea markets for what he calls “weird, obscure objects”. This time around however, he’ll be using his eagle eye to find some of the best urban running spots in Switzerland. And with the help of Switzerland Tourism, Mike’s recommendations are sure to maximize your Swiss running experience. Use the Strava links, run the routes yourself and have fun.

 

“It’s amazing how much of the city you can take in while running – the energy, the bars and restaurants, the hidden gems.”

 

 

Basel

First up? Basel. With its romantic old town, towering skyscrapers and the picturesque Rhine flowing through it, this is one of Switzerland’s top destinations. With a plethora of museums, galleries and exhibitions to enjoy, you’ll soon realize how art and design is rooted in Basel’s nature. And who knows? You might even meet the city’s most famous son (hint: he’s a beast on the court).

 

 

5km – Harbour to Old Town

See on Strava

 

“It’s astonishing how you can witness two completely different sides of a city on this route. Just when you think it’s all about Basel’s hip industrial flair you end up on a lively, green road along the river. It shows just how diverse running in Basel can be.”

 

10km – Essential Basel

See on Strava

 

“My friend Fabienne made sure I got the real Basel experience on this one. We took the ferry over the Rhine, explored the old town and passed by a number of museums. If there’s one route to really show you what Basel is all about, then it’s this one.” 

 

15km – Into the Green

See on Strava

 

“If you want to get out of the city for a bit, then our longest route into the forest will do the trick. I use these longer runs to really push myself – even if that means having to take a break or two.”

 

Mike’s top Basel spots:

 

 

Geneva

For the next stop, we're headed to Geneva. Mike gets put through his paces by Swiss marathon record holder (and On athlete) Tadesse Abraham as they explore the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Known for world politics, watchmaking and its rich international culture, Geneva is also home to some very exciting running routes.

 

 

5km – Lakefront Shakeout

See on Strava

 

“The short and sweet route along the lake is great for an easy start to your day. Enjoy the views of the city and the mountains before things get too crowded around lunchtime. Tadesse’s recommendation, Bains des Pâquis, should be on your list if you like swimming, great views or good Fondue.”

 

10km – Culture Trip

See on Strava

 

“The amount of cultural venues on our next route is unrivaled. Museums, nightlife, concert halls – there is truly something for everyone on this route. Luckily, you’ve got 10 kilometers to think about which one you want to try first.”

 

15km – Outskirts and Back

See on Strava

 

“Our first two routes feature plenty of exciting sights, now it’s time for a calmer, longer run to unwind. But don’t worry, there’s still lots to enjoy while you’re on the move. Once you reach Le Lignon at the halfway point, you might want to stop for a minute and soak up the nostalgic, retro vibes.”

 

Mike’s top Geneva spots:

 

 

Lugano

Now it’s time to head south to Lugano. This sunny city on the Italian border is an incredibly popular destination in summer because of the weather, food and atmosphere. To get a real taste of la dolce vita (the sweet life), Mike will be joined by Lugano local Evelyne, a former track athlete. Expect beautiful architecture, stunning scenery and some challenging runs.

 

 

5km – Peak Panorama

See on Strava

 

“This panoramic route along the lakefront is always breathtaking, but to run here at sunrise? That’s some next-level natural beauty. And exploring the old alleys around Via Nassa will take you straight to Italy – and on a trip back in time.”

 

10km – Monte Bré Challenge

See on Strava

 

“Before Evelyne recommended running up Monte Bré, the 10km route was nice and easy. The road up to the peak will require every bit of stamina and willpower you can muster. But trust me, the views from the top are worth the effort.”

 

15km – Road to Morcote

See on Strava

 

“For our longest Lugano run, I suggest taking the cable car to reach the starting point at the peak of Monte San Salvatore. From there you can enjoy technical trails and flying descents before passing through some of Switzerland's most beautiful villages.” 

 

Mike’s top Lugano spots:

 

 

Zurich

As a Zurich local, this one was easy for Mike. Switzerland’s largest city offers peaceful gravel trails along the crystal-clear Limmat river that contrast nicely with the hustle and bustle of a thriving city with an international atmosphere and a vibrant nightlife district. 

 

 

5km – Lochergut Loop

See on Strava

 

“My 5km route is a great way to experience a more urban side to Zurich. It goes through places that you wouldn’t see on a tourist guide but are commonplace for anyone that lives here.”

 

10km – City Center Circuit 

See on Strava

 

“For the 10km route, we get a little elevation for a beautiful panorama of Zurich and the lake. For me, the view demonstrates what makes the city great. But keep in mind that this can be a busy route, so be ready for that.”

 

15km – Green and Gray Getaway

See on Strava

 

“My longest route is the most serene, as it stretches along Limmat river. It starts with some elevation as we head up to the Chäferberg continues along the river to the industrial part of town before ending with a swim in the river – what else could you want?”

 

Mike’s top Zurich spots:

 

 

Run ’em all

Switzerland Tourism has the local knowledge. And On has the gear. So, now that you know the best routes to discover Switzerland, it’s time to get the shoes and clothes to help you do it in comfort and style. Then you can follow Mike’s tips and enjoy your runs in Basel, Geneva, Lugano and Zurich.

 

Mike’s wearing

Cloudrunner
A cushioned, supportive running shoe with a unique comfort sensation – giving you the confidence to go further.
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Cloudmonster
Featuring our biggest CloudTec® ever for massive cushioning and max energy. A monster of a ride on the road.
Learn more
Cloudvista
The lightweight and versatile trail running shoe for cushioned comfort. Your key to unlocking the trail.
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