The 2022 FIFA World Cup's got me feeling some type of way! You can say I've got a case of football fever! And if you're a student spending a semester on exchange in Europe, you'd likely notice how big a football culture it is there - be it the pubs, the fan chants or the stadiums! Err.. especially the stadiums - probably the best way to really embrace THE GAME!
As fun and exciting it is to watch on television, it's another thing entirely to watch your team play up close and being with other fans in some of the grandest stadiums ever constructed!
That's why I've decided in this article, to look into the best stadiums to visit and travel to in Europe! So if you're looking for some amazing football stadiums to visit during your exchange semester in Europe, here are a few of our favorites:
1. Camp Nou | Barcelona, Spain
This is a must for any football fan! The iconic Camp Nou ('the new ground'), the home of Spanish football giants FC Barcelona, is the largest stadium in Europe (with a capacity of over 99,000 people), and its FC Barcelona Museum is one of the most visited in Spain.
It is unfathomable how comically massive this stadium is, but you've got to see it to believe it! I have been here myself and speaking from experience, it will absolutely take your breath away! Especially when the fans break out el Himne Del Barça! It truly makes you see football as a religion, with fans chanting out hymns that ring out throughout this grand cathedral of football.
After the game, there are plenty of bars, restaurants and hotels in the surrounding areas of the stadium to visit for a bite to eat and to unwind in after a great game!
2. Estadio Santiago Bernabéu | Madrid, Spain
Home to FC Barcelona's bitter rivals, Real Madrid, Estadio Santiago Bernabéu is one of the most-visited sites of Spain's capital. Similar to the Camp Nou, the stadium has a large capacity, able to accomodate around 80,000 spectators at a time! It looks
Estadio Santiago Bernabéu is located on the large tree-lined Paseo de la Castellana avenue, one of Madrid’s principal avenues. This makes it more than convenient enough to travel to; it even has its own Metro Station! There are also lot of bars and coffee shops you can find around the stadium!
Visit the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu today!
3. Signal Iduna Park | Dortmund, Germany
Signal Iduna Park or the Westfalenstadion is the home of football club, Borussia Dortumund.
I might be a little biased here, but some of my early memories of football fandom was watching Borussia Dortmund play great football during the 2010's. And part of the appeal of supporting this team was watching the amazing fan culture and atmosphere it fostered among its devout supporters!
One of the most notorious areas of Westfalenstadion is its famous South Stand (Südtribune) or the Yellow Wall (Die Gelbe Wand)- the largest free-standing grandstand in Europe, that can hold a capacity of 25,000. What results is certainly something special (and very intimidating for opposing teams): 25,000 passionate and raucous BVB fans dressed in black-and-yellow united, exploding in a deafening chorus of chant and song.
It has certainly played a role in transforming Borussia Dortmund into one of the most watchable European football clubs in recent memory. There is no doubt visiting this arena will make you experience that spectacularly intense fan display and atmosphere firsthand!
4. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium | London, England
If you ever find yourself in the United Kingdom, it might be worth visiting one of most modern and recently built stadiums in the world: the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
This multi-awarded stadium has been designed to deliver one of the best matchday fan atmospheres in the world! It is designed like a concert hall with a focus in optimising the acoustics generated by fans, loud enough that the sound of chants can reverberate around the grounds. The south stand is the venue's most striking feature, taking inspiration from the "Yellow Wall".
This stadium has even been specifically designed for NFL Football events, with a retractable pitch system to transform the stadium in short time. It also boasts the world's first in-stadium micro-brewery! Drink up!
If you're up for a thrill, you can go on the Dare Skywalk and enjoy amazing views of the London skyline from a glass walkway 46.8 meters above the ground! If you want to add some more excitement, you can take on the Edge (UK’s first controlled descent from a stadium) and rappel 42 meters down by rope!
5. Allianz Arena | Munich, Germany
There is no doubt that the Allianz Arena is definitely one of most eye-catching modern stadiums you can ever visit! For one, it is the first full exterior color changing stadium in the world! You can see the stadium's exterior made up of 2,784 inflated, self-cleaning ETFE plastic panels, and a total of 304,128 LEDs!
The stadium also is known for having the world's largest membrane shell and has Europe's biggest underground parking structure. The roof of the Allianz Arena also can be drawn back and forth to provide shade during games.
I almost forgot to mention but Allianz Arena is home to one of the most successful soccer teams in the world, Bayern Munich, and draws around 3 million visitors annually.
The Colosseum | Rome, Italy
Okay, okay, you caught me, this isn't technically a "football stadium", but still worth shouting out the most iconic stadium of the ancient world!
It is a must-see for anyone interested in history or architecture! Gladiatorial contests, plays, shows and other public spectacles were performed in its large amphitheater and could accomodate between 50,000 to 80,000 spectators! It is a remarkable feat of engineering and a symbol of the power and might of the ancient Roman Empire!
Note that these are just a few of the many incredible football stadiums (spare the last) you can find across Europe - so get out there and explore!
One more thing:
For most, if not all, the stadiums mentioned above provide several guided stadium tours and private access to players changing rooms, the pressroom, the tunnel, the pitch, the benches and the stands! These stadiums also have their respective club museums, which feature each club's iconic players, kits, trophy galleries and various arrays of club memorabilia.
We've provided links to each stadium tour in each entry! Book a ticket to these tours or even watch a football match live and experience what it truly means to support a club!
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