Rich in history, art and cuisine, Europe’s cities are overflowing with culture. But what about sport? Whether a city is fitness-friendly or point-blank refuses to get up off the sofa is important when it comes to choosing a new home. Especially if your an amateur athlete. But also if you’re like the rest of us, constantly battling an ever-expanding waistline. Or just an armchair sports enthusiast. So what are Europe’s sportiest cities? Which have the best facilities, the biggest events, the strongest teams, the most devoted fans? The greenest parks and the cleanest pools? Read on to find out:

Barcelona

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Hosting the Olympics in 1992 propelled Barcelona into the big leagues when it comes to sport, providing investment into facilities and training. Today, the city is famous for its football club, FC Barcelona, which is constantly eigning champion of something. Among those who’ve worn those iconic blue and red shirts are Ronaldinho, Diego Maradona, Neymar, and Lionel Messi, and the team’s home stadium of Camp Nou is one of the largest in the world in the world, seating 93,000 fans at once.

For the Rafael Nadal’s among you, there’s the Barcelona Open tennis tournament. Or if your favourite sport involves speedos and goggles, you’ve got Montjuic Olympic Pool with its superb view of the city’s skyline to spur you on.

And you just want to go for a casual jog - or fast walking, which totally counts as exercise too - Barcelona is surrounded by soaring mountains and vast parks, such as Collserola, just north of the city center, the largest metropolitan park in the world. And in the city itself you have the wide and paved running and biking path along the beach where you’ll also find Mar Bella Sports Complex

London

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London. City of pubs, rain, Big Ben and the Queen. Oh, and rowdy football fans. Consistently a driving player in the Premier League, London is full of top-quality football clubs. The reputation of Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham goes beyond the city limits and even UK borders. Londons is also home to the monumental Wembley Stadium, which seats over 90,000.

Here you’ll also find the 100-year-old Twickenham Stadium , the best place to watch the Six Nations in all of those six nations - or so says a Londoner. Bryan Adams once played here too but don’t let that put you off.

The city has also has hosted the Olympic Games three times, most recently in 2012. And it’s home to the world's second biggest marathon where more than 38,000 runners race 42.2 kilometers through the city streets.

If you fancy taking part, the city is full of places to train. Hyde Park and Regent’s Park are both located in the heart of the London, great for trail and road runners alike with over 10 kilometers of paved paths and trails in each.

Finally, London’s outdoor swimming is as English as it gets: Hampstead Heath Ponds , charming, idyllic and, yes, a bit chilly, open year round for those brave enough to dip into the cold, unchlorinated waters. Outdoors swimming has countless health benefits so grab your bikini, ignore Britain’s reputation for year-round rain, and jump right in.

Berlin

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Berlin has built a reputation as the hip and happening cultural hub of Europe. But do all those craft-beer-drinking, abstract-art-creating hipsters also play sport? Actually, yes.

For one, Berlin is home to the top-tier (or Bundesliga) football club Hertha BSC. Hockey is also big here, as is basketball: Alba Berlin has won eight German National Cup victories.

The Berlin Marathon is known as one of the biggest, fastest and, in typical German fashion, one of the best organized in the world. Several top runners have broken world records during the course which, being relatively flat, apparently isn’t that difficult - as far as marathons go.

For those who enjoy cycling, you’ve got the Große Tiergarten situated just west of central Berlin, as well as the paved path along the River Spree - great for bikes and joggers.
Fancy a dip in that same River Spree? Better yet, fancy a dip in a swimming pool floating on top of the River Spree? The city’s Badeschiff pool offers all the great views of swimming in the river and no threat of unpleasant river-borne disease.

Lisbon

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In terms of marathons, Lisbon is also a front-runner (harhar). Beginning in the beautiful coastal village of Cascais, the race runs for 42 kilometers along the coastline and the banks of the Tangus River: you’ll huff, puff and heave yourself past landmarks and World Heritage sites on your way. It’s also accompanied by live music throughout, earning it the name Lisbon’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.

If you fancy a hike, head out to the green hills of Sintra, full of picturesque hiking trails. If you’re a surfer, Lisbon has world-class waves year round, all within 40 minutes of the city-centre.

Yoga goes hand in hand with surfing and Lisbon has plenty of places where you can throw down some sun salutations, from long running traditional Hatha yoga practices to more contemporary-style Yin or Hot Yoga studios.

Athens

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This list wouldn’t be complete without Athens. Greece has a rich sporting tradition and was, of course, home to the original Olympics, highlight of the Ancient Greek calendar for almost 12 centuries. More recently, Athens hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and the 2004 games as well. Today the Olympic Stadium complex, known as the Panthinaiko, football pitches, basketball courts and many other venues make this a great city for sports facilities.

It is also home to the famously challenging Athens Classic Marathon, which began in 490 B.C. Prove that humans are still made of stern stuff today and attempt to complete the tough course that’s described as “a celebration of human will and strength” by the Hellenic Athletics Federation that organizes it.

If you're more skilled as a spectator than a participant, Athens hosts the International Acropolis Rally, a car race that attracts international talent and lasts a week.

And for outdoor swimming, you have Lake Vouliagmeni , a thermal lake surrounded by spectacular scenery, just outside of Athens. Maybe less for a workout than a peaceful lounge in its warm waters, but we won’t tell anyone. And of course, diving, fishing and water-skiing are all possible on one of the city’s many charming beaches.

Thinking of relocating to another city? Spotahome can help with that.

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