Lisbon on the run: Dashing past São Jorge Castle and the Elevador de Santa Justa on an energetic new tour of Portugal’s capital
- A Lisbon hotel is now offering guests a guided jog of the Portuguese city
- Run down tree-lined boulevards of designer shops and mosaic pavements
- The two-hour running loop begins outside the Inspira Santa Marta Hotel
- ‘Guided Jog’ package starts at £312, and includes a two-night stay for two
A running tour of Lisbon is not a soft option.
The Portuguese capital is famously hilly and its streets cobbled. Nonetheless, I’m on a guided jog around the city — part of a new package launched by Inspira Santa Marta Hotel.
My calf muscles throb as I battle a challenging gradient between the flat city centre, known as Baixa, and Bairro Alto, meaning ‘upper district’.
Dashing: On the tour, runners jog past the 12th-century São Jorge Castle, then to the Elevador de Santa Justa
‘Running in Lisbon is similar to trail running — the hills are good for fitness,’ says my guide, Carla, bounding alongside me.
Our two-hour loop of the city begins before 8am on a Sunday, at my hotel — I’m already looking forward to the post-run massage.
We set off down the Avenida da Liberdade, a tree-lined boulevard with designer shops and mosaic pavements. It has a touch of the Champs-Elysees — and Carla explains that the Avenida was, indeed, modelled on the elegant Parisian thoroughfare.
Lisbon was rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake by the Marques de Pombal, she tells me, as we run into the Praca do Comercio, an enormous square that ends at the Tagus river.
Early birds: The two-hour running loop begins before 8am on a Sunday outside the Inspira Santa Marta Hotel
The broad, straight streets linking to the square were built with pedestrians in mind and are quite different to the old town. I see what Carla means as we head into the Moorish quarter of Alfama. We have to run in single file, weaving through the roads, washing strung above our heads.
We glimpse the 12th-century São Jorge Castle, then head to the Elevador de Santa Justa. Built in 1902 to connect Baixa with the lofty streets around, it’s now a tourist attraction offering panoramic views.
Pausing to admire the terracotta roofs, I feel pleased with myself. We have arrived before the lift is even open and there’s not a tourist in sight. Rich reward for all that slogging.
Travel Facts: Plan your own energetic weekend in Lisbon
Inspira Santa Marta Hotel (inspirahotels.com, 00351 210 440 900) offers the Guided Jog package for £312, including two nights’ B&B for two and a guided jog and 30-minute massage for one (£42 extra for a second guest.)