Europe’s must-see football stadiums
With the hotly anticipated Euro 2016 just around the corner, the world of football and travel once again collide, as fans lucky enough to bag a ticket warm up for an exciting trip to France.
But why wait for a tournament to roll around? Footie fans can tackle themed holidays at any time. Even out of season, the major football stadiums are kept open for tours, allowing those who’ve come to the city to score a look at the hallowed grounds.
For sports fans, a stadium visit can kick off a trip to a new city, with a new culture to absorb and different sets of sights, bars and restaurants to explore. So take a look at the Flexicover team top five stadiums across Europe, and see if any foot the bill for your next away game.
Camp Nou, Barcelona
Officially Europe’s biggest football stadium, holding nearly 100,000 fans, Camp Nou is home to FC Barcelona – and how. Its massive grounds make it the perfect venue to watch Spain’s biggest play-off, El Clásico: the grudge match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. The size also means it’s easy enough to get tickets for most other matches, though be aware that it’s worth paying a premium for seats that aren’t at the back, which practically have a different time zone. Self-guided stadium tours are available every day except match days, and there’s plenty to see in Barcelona’s centre, half an hour away. Stroll down Las Rambalas or visit the Picasso museum for starters. Of course, it’s impossible to go to Barcelona without seeing the spectacular church of Sagrada Familia, so put that at the top of your non-football agenda.
Juventus Stadium, Turin
In the suburbs of Turin but easily accessible from its centre, lies the famous Juventus Stadium, home of the club since 2011. On match days, it can hold an impressive 41,000 spectators, with tickets ranging between €30- €90 (£20-£70). Matches are almost always sell-outs, but tickets are easy enough to buy if you plan in advance. Even if you don’t, you can still take a tour of the stadium for a behind-the-scenes look at the media area, dressing rooms and the hallowed tunnel. Afterwards, the centre of Turin deserves an equal walk-around, with the likes of Piazza San Carlo, Piazza Vittorio Veneto and Piazza Castello full of Italian charm. The famous Shroud of Turin is worth a visit even though it’s kept in a closed box – if you want to actually see it, get your diaries out now for 2025 when it’s next publicly displayed.
Allianz Arena, Munich
Rebuilt in time for the 2006 World Cup, Allianz Arena’s unique appearance earned the name of Schlauchboot – meaning inflatable boat – but chuckle ye not, as the design is world-class. Its magnificent exterior was the first designed to change colour depending on who’s playing, while its underground car park is the largest in Europe. Home to Bayern Munich, it houses the museum of the club, open all year around. Sports enthusiasts should also visit Munich for the Olympic Stadium, built on a former World War II bomb site and designed as a symbol of optimism in Germany after Nazism - that’s a spirit we can get behind.
Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Holding a sizeable 67,000 spectators, football’s importance in Marseille illuminates when the Velodrome’s floodlights are switched on. Because of the great atmosphere this stadium is best visited for when a match is on – which is why it’s good news that the Velodrome is hosting four of Euro 16’s first round group matches, a quarter-final, and one of the two semi-finals. Make a weekend of it by visiting the beautiful, culture-rich port and the Capucin district, influenced by France’s North African colonies.
Arena Națională, Bucharest
Romania is rolling up its sleeves as it hosts four matches in the pan-European Euro 2020, and its National Arena is the perfect place for it. Similar to Warsaw’s national stadium, the most striking feature is the giant jumbotron floating over the centre of the field, which could be distracting but actually helps spectators get the most out of the live action. Outside of the football field, Bucharest is an up and coming tourist destination. The eclectic architecture, rich history and the colossal Parliament Palace – the second largest building in the world – will keep visitors busy, never mind the £1 pints of beer.
Whether you’re a footie fan who’s off to see the Euros in person or your aim of the game will be to take a trip with the purpose of avoiding all the action, it’s good to know that Flexicover are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day when away.