Length 7.2 km (4.5 miles), terrain: light hills, 60 meters gain
Brussels Running Routes:
Avenue Louise/Bois de la Cambre
EU Quarter/Woluwe Park
For more running routes, see Route List
Here's a Brussels run that takes you in a loop around (and outside) the center, with its often overflowing tourist masses. This route takes you through some of the city's interesting sights, while avoiding the crowded Grand Place neighborhood. It goes through the the botanical garden, through the old harbor, sees some city wall remnants, heads up to the Petit Sablon Park, Egmont Palace and its gardens, the Justice Palace and its lookout, and then heads back past the royal palace and Brussels Park.
NOTE: I'll use the French street names here, in this bi-lingual city, since most of its residents use French. No offence intended to the Flemish!
There are some nice houses in-between and some ugly ones, some quiet streets and some loud ones. The whole run isn't beautiful, but it reflects the character of the city pretty well, and will give you a feeling for what the town is about.
|Place du Congres|
Now, turn north and run along Rue Royale for two blocks, until you come to the botanical gardens on your left side. Follow the steps down into the park, leading to the exhibition building.
Down at the round entrance of the building, take the steps down to the garden and run west through the small park. You will have to cross a little street that bisects the park. Now, run into the second section of the park, zig-zagging along the path as it descends to the lowest level of the park.
|The botanical garden|
Now turn right at the first side-street, Rue du Commercants, which is quieter than the loud avenue before it, but a bit run-down.
The street will end when it hits Quai du Commerce, with its tree-lined green strip down the middle. This used to be a canal which served as the town's harbor centuries ago. It was filled in, but you still get a feel for the harbor when you run down it.
|The old harbor used to be here|
If you stay to the left side of the church, you'll see a remnant round-tower of the old city walls right behind it. Now turn right and run past the far side of the church to come out into a square (the old grain market) in front of the main church entrance.
|St. Catherine's at the end of the old harbor|
|St. Catherine's square|
Now turn left and head southeast along Rue de 6 Jetons, which passes an ugly, uninviting park on the right side.
|The unattractive park: don't even know its name|
When you cross wide (but not too busy) Boulevard de l'Empereur, you'll see another short section of the medieval city wall to the left. But just keep running straight uphill.
|Medieval city wall remnants|
On the other side of the church, you'll come to a small jewel of a park, the Petit Sablon. It's surrounded by statues, and there are so many beautiful details that I'm fascinated every time I come by. Run up through the little park, and exit behind the statue of the two Belgian heroes who were executed for their fight for independence.
|Egmont Palace gardens|
You'll pass some museums and churches, then come to Brussels Park, with the royal palace off to the right side.
|The royal palace|
After the park, continue along Rue Royale for the last three blocks back to Place du Congres.