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Best Jogging Routes

From the May/June 2011 issue of National Geographic Traveler

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Runner's world: Sydney's skyscrapers are visible beyond the leafy Royal Botanic Garden.

Walking is the classic way to see a city, but running lets you cover ground faster (and burn more calories). New York City’s 6.1-mile Central Park Loop, for instance, lets the fleet-footed take in lush greenery, historic buildings, and the energy of the residents who call this metropolis home. Here are more great runs.

Sea Point Promenade, Cape Town

Few beachfront running paths compare to the splendor of this 6.8-mile flat route in Cape Town: Runners encounter panoramic views of the water, city, and mountains at every turn of the road; time your outing for sunset, when the vistas are even more spectacular. From June to November, you might spot a whale offshore.

Hyde Park, London

Some 900 years ago, boars used to roam the grounds of this London landmark. Though the park is generally free of wild animals today, a four-mile path favored by runners still courses around interesting sights such as groups of red-coated royal guardsmen and Londoners opining vociferously at Speakers’ Corner on Sunday mornings.

Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney

These gardens with postcard views of Sydney's Harbour Bridge and the Opera House date back to 1816, when the city’s governor wanted a parkland setting for his grand home. Joggers on three miles of paved paths can see the more than 45,000 plants that flourish here, including white lily trees and towering silky oaks. They might also spot birds such as cockatoos, moorhens, barn owls, or masked lapwings.

Stanley Park Seawall, Vancouver

Run the 5.5-mile waterfront flat path along a stone wall in Canada’s most popular park for views of the Vancouver downtown area, the North Shore Mountains, and the Gulf Islands in the distance. Sightings of bald eagles, herons, and seals are common. Don’t run so fast that you miss Siwash Rock, a 60-foot-tall stone formation millions of years old.

Imperial Palace, Tokyo

Once travelers return to Tokyo, they can jog around one of the world’s most expensive parcels of land for free: This 3.1-mile path circles the Japanese emperor’s main residence and homes of the imperial family. You’ll pass a moat lined with cherry blossom trees and palace gardens lush with azaleas and hydrangeas. The route also offers glimpses of the National Museum of Modern Art and the Tokyo Tower.

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