Best Ultra Marathons In Europe: The Ultimate European Races 2021

Written By Jasper Johnson

Jasper is a new member of the Ultra X team. A keen middle distance runner who is looking to up the distance to an ultra marathon, Jasper enjoys writing about all things running.

5 November 2020


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In this article we look at the best ultramarathons in Europe in 2021. We have included all formats of ultra-marathons: single stage, multi stage, 100 mile and more. We think that the below European races should have a spot on every runner’s bucket list.

The following events have been graded in difficulty: accessible, intermediate, hard, and brutal.

Let’s have a look shall we?

Ultra X 125 Azores

Ultra X 125 Azores now includes a single stage 50km option making this one of the best located ultra marathons for runners looking to take their first step towards completing an ultra. Set in the island of São Miguel within the Azores archipelago, 1000 miles into the Atlantic Ocean, you will be taken past stunning lagoons through lush green fields and around active volcanoes.

Runners begin under Ponta Delgada’s city gates at 5am on Saturday morning and head out of the city and up into the hills. Saturday night is spent in a beautiful campsite located at sea level overlooking the ocean. On Sunday, runners will take on the 50km stage before crossing the finish line to much fanfare and a finishers BBQ. Prize giving will take place in the city that evening. This is the ultimate weekend ultra and a great opportunity to see a part of the world you may never travel to otherwise, and what is more, the value for money is excellent.

Where: São Miguel, Azores (Portugal
When: 24-25 April 2021
Distance: 125km (2 days)
Elevation Gain: 5,800m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Hard
Entry Price: £295

Transylvania 100k

With the 2020 Transylvania races cancelled, 2021 will be the 7th edition of this race series. Starting in the shadow of Count Dracula’s lair ‘Bran castle’, competitors make their way through this mountainous part of eastern Europe. This circular route will take round the Bucegi mountain range so prepare for some decent elevation for this race.

11 check points line the route with encouraging staff to help you get round the course in time. This is a bit of a lesser known race, perhaps due to it’s location off the trail running circuit. However, it certainly does not disappoint for scenery and excitement.

A great race to try if you are looking for something off the beaten track with a bit of a spooky element to it.

Where: Romania
When: 29 May 2021
Distance: 100km
Elevation Gain: 6,444m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Hard
Entry Price: 95€

Best Ultra Marathons in Europe - transylvania 100

Montane Spine Race – Arctic

This is the most extreme ultra Spine events have come up with yet. Spine haven’t released the entry criteria yet, but we have a feeling it’s going to be pretty exclusive!

Set in the cold, mountainous wilds of Artic Sweden you will head down Sweden’s longest trail ‘The Kungsleden’. Continuing the Spine race tradition of non stop racing and self reliance this will be one of the big spectacles of the year.

While formal entries aren’t being taken right now you can register your interest to get all the latest updates while giving you enough time to chose between the two distances and two categories available; 130km and 420km with individual and team options available.

Where: Switzerland
When: February 2021
Distance: 130/420km
Elevation Gain: TBC
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Hard
Entry Price: TBC

Best Ultra Marathons in Europe - eiger ultra trail

Mozart 100

Now in its 9th year the Mozart 100 is a brilliant value for money ultra. The route is spectacular, made even more so by the fact that parts of the route were used in the filming of ‘The Sound of Music’ So now you know what songs to put on your race day playlist!

You start and finish in the Kapitelplatz Square, slotted between Salzburg Cathedral and Hohensalzburg Fortress, creating a fantastic atmosphere. With a range of distances on offer from 13km 103km there is a race for everyone so make sure you bring all friends along with you.

If you are looking for a tough race with plenty of ITRA points this is the one for you, plus the 2021 version will be interesting as the first year under the ownership of the IRONMAN Group who completed the acquisition of the event in October 2020 as part of their continued foray into ultra running.

Where: Austria
When: 19 June 2021
Distance: 108km
Elevation Gain: 5000m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Entry Price: 119-179km

Best Ultra Marathons in Europe - mozart ultra

Fire & Ice Ultra

True to its name, this 250km 6 days event starts in in central Iceland passes frozen glaciers and active volcanoes and finishes by the hot springs in the North of the country.

Accommodation is sorted for you as is navigation with the entire route marked out for you, however the rest is up to you! This is a self-reliant race, carrying everything you need: food, water, clothing etc. It certainly lives up to their slogan of ’Iceland’s toughest footrace and is more an adventure more anything else.

Where: Iceland
When: 29 August 2021
Distance: 250km (6 days)
Elevation Gain: “Not too much” (according to the race website)
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Entry Price: £2,700

Best Ultra Marathons in Europe - fire and ice ultra

UTMR (Ultra Tour Monte Rosa)

At 100 miles UTMR is a classic long distance ultra. A circular route takes runners anticlockwise around Monte Rosa Massif, completing a complete circuit of 29, 4000m+ summits making this one of the more mountainous ultras out there.

Offering an alternative to UTMB the UTMR allows competitors to enjoy the high mountain passes usually covered in snow for most of the year whilst weaving between Italy and Switzerland.

Over the course of the event you will witness some of the most spectacular views in the alps, some of which has been the source of inspiration for many a poet and writer as well as mountaineers. It’s directed by the great Lizzie Hawker and described by her as “the race I would have loved to run”…if you missed out on UTMB ballot this is the one for you! 

Where: Switzerland & Italy

When: 1-4 September 2021
Distance: 170km
Elevation Gain: 11,600m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Brutal
Entry Price: 298€

Best Ultra Marathons in Europe - ultra trail monte rosa utmr

UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc)

Probably one of the most prestigious ultra marathons and probably one of the most extreme as well.  The UTMB takes place every summer in the mountain resort of Chamonix and over 2500 people descend on the alps to take this ultra on.

The pinnacle of a 7 day festival where the town also hosts a variety of races on offer from 50km to a 350km this one is the biggie! You have to qualify to compete, collecting at least 10 UTMB points by participating in other ultra marathons in order to enter the ballot for the main event.

UTMB attracts some of the best ultra runners in the globe to come and compete for the coveted UTMB title. However, there are plenty of mere mortals such as yourself to keep you company through the race. Just be prepared to be out in the hills for up to 46 hours to complete the race.

Where: France, Italy and Switzerland
When: 27 August 2021
Distance: 171km
Elevation Gain: 10,300m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: Brutal
Entry Price: 298€

Best Ultra Marathons in Europe - ultra trail du mont blanc utmb


Based upon the historic route of Sparta to Athens made famous by the ancient Athenian runner who ran from Athens to Sparta to seek help before the battle of marathon. Now in its 37th anniversary The Spartathlon is still epic as ever

Taking you through some of Greece’s most ancient cities the route won’t fail to provide areas of historic interest.

The race’s aid stations are placed every 3–5km apart and are provisioned with food, water, and other refreshments to keep you going as well as your own personal supplies. The race is very demanding, not only because of the distance, but also for the cut-off requirements and weather conditions.

Each of the 75 race check points (yes, you read that correctly) has its own cut-off. Should a runner arrive later than the official closing time he or she will be eliminated from the race.

Where: Greece
When: 25 September 2021
Distance: 245km
Elevation Gain: Unknown
Terrain: Road
Difficulty Level: Brutal
Entry Price: 600€

Best Ultra Marathons in Europe - spartathlon

Tor des Géants

igorous training and a physical as well as psychological capacity for self-reliance are essential requirements for taking part in this race.

Running through the Valle d’Aosta of Italy runners are taken into extreme altitude trails of over 3000m, with similarly tough weather conditions including wind ice and snow, conversely the lower altitude valley trails, runners can expect the sun to be beating down on them so remember to pack appropriately for this race. It will make or break you.

Don’t let this put you off. The route has been perfectly selected to take you through the entire region, through both Gran Paradiso National and Mont Avic Regional Parks. However, don’t underestimate the unusually physically demanding nature of this race compared to other races.

2020’s cancelled event was expecting an incredible 2,000 competitors and so good luck getting a place fot 21 with all the deferrals! This does show however the immense popularity of the event and it is 100% one to get involved in if you’re after something that really does push the mind and body to it’s limits.

Where: Italy
When: TBC September 2021
Distance: 330km
Elevation Gain: 24,000m
Terrain: Trail
Difficulty Level: We’ve introduced a new category for this one. It’s called ‘stupid’.
Entry Price: 750

Best Ultra Marathons in Europe - tor des geants

Want to see more incredible ultra marathons from every continent?



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