At the time of writing, the Covid-19 pandemic has ceased all tourist activities in most places. Many of you will be taking the time to consider your tourism options in the future. Football (‘soccer’) is the most-watched sport around the world and Europe is its crown jewel, attracting millions of tourists and fans to its most popular stadiums every year. So in no particular order, here are five iconic football stadiums to visit in Europe.
Disclaimer, I have kept locations directly assigned to specific clubs and stated facts are only true to the time of writing. This list refers to visiting on match days and guided tours. Apologies if your chosen club does not feature in this list, there will definitely be a ‘part two’ written in the future.
Image source: Bavaria
5. Allianz Arena, FC Bayern Munich, Germany
This 75,000 capacity illuminating red stadium is the home to Bavarian outfit FC Bayern Munich. Winners of thirty national titles and six European cups they are the most decorated club in Germany. According to reviews, on a matchday, the atmosphere is colossal, the sight-lines are very clear and the stadium itself is truly a spectacle to behold.
The guided tour has received vast plaudits too as you can visit the club museums, engage with the club history, explore the player dressing room and tunnel and with an on-site restaurant and merchandise store. A must-visit for fans or neutral supporters to travel to the area.
Image source: Good Fon
4. Old Trafford, Manchester United, England
The largest club ground in England with a capacity of 76,000, Old Trafford is the home of Manchester United, one of the largest football clubs in the world. You can visit the booming stadium on a match day as a pundit or with a VIP package, which grants you good seats, dining options and free gifts and entertainment.
Or if you prefer, you can opt for the guided museum and stadium tour for a quieter but still mesmerising experience. You can explore the player’s locker room, team tunnel and walk out onto the pitch to the manager’s dugout. The tour also includes a tour of the museum and dining options at the Red Café’
Perfect for families and fans looking for a ‘behind the scenes experience.
Image source: Good Fon
3. Anfield, Liverpool FC, England
One of the most decorated clubs in England, Anfield offers a lot to visitors. On a match day, you can take a seat with 61,000 other fans and experience the famous ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ anthem as a pundit or part of a hospitality package with VIP lounge privileges and a fantastic view of the game.
There is also the option of a full stadium and museum tour, involving a walkthrough of the player’s locker room, tunnel and manager’s dugout. Plus an audio headset guide of the LFC Story, trophy room and Steven Gerrard collection. Finish your journey with an exquisite dining experience at the Boot Room Restaurant with the opportunity of meeting an iconic ex-player(s).
Having experienced the stadium and museum tour myself in 2018, I whole-heartedly recommend it for any fan or curious tourist.
Image source: Real Madrid CF
2. Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid, Spain
Arguably the biggest club in world football, watching Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu is a cherished experience for any football fan. Join 81,000 Madridistas on a match day either in the stands or in one of the viewing boxes in an indoor or outdoor setting as well as dining options.
Or you can opt for a tour of the stadium, either guided or self-guided, which includes a walkthrough of the player’s dressing room, press areas and full trophy exhibits (this includes Ballon D’or and Golden Boots too). Not only this but you are welcome to a pitch-side viewing and a fine-dining experience.
Image source: FC Barcelona
1. Camp Nou, FC Barcelona, Spain
Another major contender for the ‘biggest club in the world’s crown, FC Barcelona offers one of the most colourful, booming match day experiences in the world. Like its predecessors on this list, you can vouch for a pundit’s seat or VIP hospitality experience, including a Player’s Zone, VIP Lounge and first-rate dining experience. Either way, you and 100,000 other Barcelonistes get to enjoy a truly unique sporting spectacle.
Additionally, you can experience the stadium first-hand with its extensive tours. You will have access to the extensive club museum, which includes a vast array of trophies, historical pieces and ‘Messi Space’. Not only this, but you will be able to explore the player’s dressing rooms, tunnel, manager’s dugout and much more.
There you have it, the (first) five iconic football stadiums to visit in Europe. Both match day and stadium tours are fantastic options as gifts and tourism plans once foreign travel becomes available and safe. If visual art is also an interest, we have a similar article you should check out!
Apologies if your chosen club did not feature here but you never know, they might make an appearance in part two. Stay tuned for that and so much more!