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13 grounds you must visit for the best experience

by Staff

Being in Europe means being on the doorstep of a bottomless pit of opportunity to catch some truly brilliant football matches, across cities packed with culture.

While there are some truly mesmerising football stadiums and genuine bucket list pipedreams of stadiums we’d love to visit worldwide, the advantage that a European road trip has is, well, exactly that – the close proximity allows for much more efficient groundhopping if you’re putting together a mini-road trip of sorts.

Taking into account factors such as beautiful stadiums, atmospheres and fan culture, good transport links and the things to do in each city, we’ve pulled together a list of 13 stadiums you ought to try and watch a game at on a European road trip.

In a bid to try and create as much variation as possible, we’ve done our best to limit this to one stadium per country, with a few exceptions.

Santiago Bernabeu – Madrid

Starting with the obvious ones, there is simply no excuse not to visit the Bernabeu if you find yourself in Spain – even more so now it’s been renovated.

Home to perhaps football’s biggest club, seeing a Real Madrid game is a genuine bucket list experience. Superstars galore in an institution so rich in history that it hurts.

It’s also just as easy to catch Real Madrid Femenino at the Alfredo Di Stefano while there, and Madrid is full of things to do as a tourist.

A no-brainer.

Camp Nou – Barcelona

Europe has an endless supply of brilliant football to the point where you could make a few weeks of just watching several games within one country, which is why this list is difficult to narrow down.

If you’re in Spain, though, and have the chance to visit both Barcelona and Madrid, visiting both stadiums simply has to be done. The Camp Nou is undergoing heavy renovations right now, but when it’s done, it’ll be an unmissable experience similar to that of the Bernabeu.

Away from the football, Barcelona is also a stunning city.

San Siro – Milan

Both Milan clubs have been keen to move out of San Siro – also known as the Giuseppe Meazza – for several years now, thus it’s hard to know exactly how long we’ve got left to visit one of football’s holy grails before it’s potentially knocked down.

Getting rid of such an iconic ground would be blasphemous. Don’t miss out. Trust us. 

READ: I watched Inter Milan at the San Siro & discovered the meaning of life

Stade Velodrome – Marseille

An impressive 67,000-seater stadium in the South of France, the Velodrome looks like something from the future and is home to one of the most ferocious atmospheres in European football.

Marseille are a club steeped in history with nine Ligue 1 titles, 10 Coupe de France trophies and one Champions League, and their fans are notoriously passionate – sometimes too passionate.

Opened in 1937, the Velodrome has been a host of two World Cups and is also regularly used by France’s national rugby team. Away from the sport, there’s plenty to do in Marseille, a picturesque port city with lots of lovely architecture, good food and great weather.

Stadion An der Alten Försterei – Berlin

Germany is yet another nation where you’re essentially spoilt for choice when it comes to brilliant cities for football. Berlin, however, should be a priority.

The capital is swimming with fascinating history, plenty to do and two Bundesliga teams to enjoy watching. Watching Hertha is an option, but we’d prefer to go southeast and watch Union Berlin at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.

A tightly-packed stadium surrounded by greenery, it holds just over 22,000 fans and has those all-important standing terraces which improve an atmosphere tenfold. It also has an exceptionally unique look and is easy to get to.

Affordable and one for the hipsters among us.

Signal Iduna Park – Dortmund

If you want a more well-known German football experience and are willing to spend a little more money on a ticket – merely due to such high demand – then a trip to Dortmund for a game is a no-brainer.

Home to the famous Yellow Wall, the Signal Iduna Park – also known as Westfalenstadion – champions one of the most impressive terrace-standing sections in the game behind the goal and is an absolute marvel.

Affordable beers, great food and the best part is that you can take those affordable beers to your seat.

Tickets might be a little harder to come by – especially if you want to be in the atmosphere sections – but if you can snag some, then do.

Fans inside the Signal Iduna Park.

Some view, that.

Johan Cruyff ArenA – Amsterdam

A true footballing institution within a city where it’s impossible to be bored, a stop in Amsterdam coupled with a trip to the Johan Cruyff ArenA is the dream.

They might not be the footballing powerhouse that they once were, but to hear Ajax fans on home turf, those iconic shirts and the young guns taking their chance in such an impressive stadium is a must.

And like we’ve just alluded to, there’s much more to Amsterdam than just the football.

Fortuna Arena – Prague

While it doesn’t stand out among the big flashy names, the Czech Republic – and Prague in particular – is a hidden gem for a European football fix on a budget, and you get the full experience.

One of the game’s most underrated derbies is contested in the capital between Slavia Prague and Sparta Prague. It doesn’t stop there, though, with as many as six teams based in Prague.

We’ve highlighted Slavia and the Fortuna Arena, a 21,000-seater stadium east of the centre which has famous ultras – and a McDonald’s drive-thru built into the side of the ground. Really.

Don’t waste your time in the McDonald’s, though, get lost in the city centre and the various bars and restaurants. You won’t struggle.

Slavia Prague's Fortuna Arena.

The McDonald’s drive-thru in full view…

Old Trafford – Manchester

There is a very real possibility that Old Trafford as we know it will no longer exist in the not-too-distant future. That is an absurd thought and all the more reason for a trip to Manchester to watch Manchester United.

The Red Devils are a far cry from the force that they once were, but you’ll struggle to find someone who doesn’t concur that Old Trafford – when in full voice – is one of the greatest grounds ever to be stood in. Historic.

A weekend in Manchester around that isn’t bad, either. Bring a waterproof and get lost in bars, or take a train to any of the surrounding cities or more rural areas.

Anfield – Liverpool

From a stadium pending an overhaul to one which is coming out of a fantastic renovation phase, Anfield is merely down the motorway from Manchester and another brilliant bit of footballing history that’s a must for anyone wanting the Premier League experience.

Much like Old Trafford, snagging a ticket for a game at Anfield will be difficult – and/or cost you a pretty penny – but if you can get one, don’t hesitate.

Only a stone’s throw away from Manchester on the train, Liverpool is a brilliant city for a mini-break. If you like Manchester’s options, you’ll love Liverpool’s.

Henryk Reyman Stadium – Krakow

A brilliant holiday destination and always affordable, Krakow is just one of several brilliant cities to visit in Poland.

The national team play in Warsaw, another excellent city, but for a combination of football and good times then a trip to the Stadion Miejski im. Henryka Reymana – home of Wisla Krakow – is a brilliant shout for the football fix.

A club steeped in history, the stadium looks brilliant. It’s tightly-packed and the stands sit right on top of the pitch. Krakow is also home to excellent food, cheap beer and plenty of culture.

Architecture, castles, the old town, an amazing square and museums – just to name a few recommendations.

Parken – Copenhagen

You might’ve noticed Copenhagen making a splash in the Champions League in recent times, one particularly big splash being their 4-3 victory at home to Manchester United in November 2023.

They did so at the ever-electric Parken, which has become home to some of the most impressive fan displays in recent times.

Compact, noisy and passionate, it’s a serious insight into just how good European football can be away from the big names. Just be sure to bring plenty of spends and your nicest clothes – the capital of Denmark is one stylish city.

Copenhagen fans at PARKEN stadium.

A proper showing.

Besiktas Stadium – Istanbul

We’re finishing off this list in Turkey’s capital, where again you’ve got the pick of the bunch between several giants.

While Galatasaray or Fenerbahce might be the most obvious choice, Besiktas are a club who boast equal star power in the players they attract and their new stadium opened in 2016, making for a brilliant experience right on the Port of Istanbul, for even better views.

A bustling city with amazing mosques and museums as well as bars, food and tourist activities, it’s a trip that has it all – and one you can do at a fair price.


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