World’s best sporting sites
For travel-lovers, watching sports may spark the desire to visit one of the globes renowned sporting sites. But which to choose, as there’s a slew of places where sports fans gather and some are so impressive they’re a destination in their own right.
If you fancy paying homage to one, or more, of the best sporting venues in the world, here’s the Flexicover team's recommendations of the places with the real wow factor.
Madison Square Gardens, New York
Along with Wembley Stadium, the indoor venue of Madison Square Gardens is arguably the most famous of all sporting venues. That’s not only due to the location (it’s in the heart of New York, right above Penn station) but also its sheer size – it can hold around 21,000 sports fans. The venue’s house team are the New York Rangers hockey team and the New York Knicks basketball team, but a huge range of events take place there – upcoming specials include Billy Joel, WWE’s summer tour, women’s basketball and Paul McCartney.
Panathenaic Stadium, Greece
In an article about sporting sites, we couldn’t miss out the place where it all began: Athens, Greece. The U-shaped stadium was first created in 330BC, then rebuilt entirely in marble in 144AD. It lay abandoned for centuries, but was excavated in 1869 and hosted the first modern Olympic Games 27 years later. It’s now one of the many ancient attractions in Athens, but remains a working stadium: it was used in the Olympics of 2004, and is open to joggers for a couple of hours every day. So if you’re heading to Athens, don’t forget your trainers!
Golf enthusiasts will be enamoured by the expansive course of Crans-sur-Sierre in the Swiss Alps. The course is noted for its picturesque backgrounds (including Mont Blanc) and higher altitude, which helps golf balls fly further. First opened as an 18-hole course in 1927, its expanded to become a 36-hole wonder and the home of the European Masters since 1939. That’s meant it’s seen champs like Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros and Ernie Els play on its greens. The course is open to visitors, but the minimum handicap is 36 and you’ll need to provide proof of an exact handicap.
Scotiabank Saddledome, Canada
One of the largest and oldest ice rinks in the world, the impressive Saddledome in Calgary is a much-loved institution in Canadian ice hockey. It’s been home to the Calgary Flames for 35 years, but also played a part in the 1988 Winter Olympics, when it was the largest arena to have been used. Much of the venue’s charm is its immediately recognisable shape, which gave rise to its name but, in fact, was designed by architect Graham McCourt to allow all seats a pillar-free view as well as efficient running costs. Clever and beautiful, it’s an arena worth visiting.
Old Trafford, UK
Home to arguably the most famous football team in the world, Old Trafford is a pilgrimage for any Manchester United supporter. If tickets for matches aren’t available, taking a tour of the stadium is a tempting alternative. Begin with a look around the museum, which tells the 130-year story of the club. Then the tour allows a behind-the-scenes look at the stadium including the dressing rooms, the pitch and players’ tunnel. For an extra special treat, book a Legends Tour, in which guests spend the morning with a former famous player, who’ll regale stories of their time at the club while touring the stadium, followed by lunch with the star in a private suite.
Wherever you plan to travel to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.