Crowds roar and the competition is contagious: there’s nothing like the thrill of a football game. Stadiums are where teams can come together with fans and share their love for the game, victories, and, in some cases, many defeats. Whether you’re a fan of the jogo bonito or simply curious about seeing some massive architectural feats, the football stadiums below are must-sees for any trip.
1. ArenA Stadium, Amsterdam
That’s two capital As, front and back. The largest stadium in the Netherlands, ArenA Stadium is where AFC Ajax fans have come together to loudly celebrate their team since 1996. They’re well known for their passionate dedication to the club, and the stadium has hosted names of the caliber of One Direction, Madonna, the Rolling Stones, and more.
The Stadium is being renovated and renamed the Johan Cruijff Arena after the city’s most famous footballer, who died a year ago. Fans believe it’s worth the wait to honor this hero (and arguably Amsterdam’s most famous export). In Cruijff’s own wise words: “Every disadvantage has its advantage.” With a museum, seating galore, and even a road going through it, there’s a lot of ArenA to uncover.
2. Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Who hasn’t heard of Santiago Bernabeu? Home of the legendary Real Madrid, the stadium has stood witness to success after success. With this season’s Liga under its belt, the team has come a long way. Santiago Bernabeu Yeste, after whom the stadium is named, gave Real an efficient, business-like structure in the 1940s. This allowed the club to emerge from the shadow of more successful rivals, like FC Barcelona and Athletic Club Bilbao.
Of course, this is a lot of stadium for just one team. The venue has also hosted four European Cup finals, the 2010 Champions’ League final, and Italy’s 1982 World Cup Final victory. In short: it’s got history. And, with a capacity of 85,000, it’s a truly special experience to stand in its hallowed halls with just a few others, and fill in the action using your imagination.
3. Camp Nou, Barcelona
There’s a reason why Barça’s motto is “More than just a club”. With 23 Liga and five Champions League trophies in a trophy cabinet that looks more like a treasure chest, Camp Nou is a stadium you have to see to believe.
With seating for 99,354, Barcelona’s Camp Nou has a string of records that few can boast of. It is the largest stadium in Europe and the second largest association football stadium in the world in terms of capacity. It’s hosted two Champions League finals in 1989 and 1999, five matches including the opening game of the 1982 FIFA World Cup, and the football competition final at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Now that’s a stadium!
Your next Camp Nou visit is on us!
Fancy seeing this footie hot spot for yourself? We’re giving away six tickets for the Camp Nou Experience.
4. Stamford Bridge, London
There are many competing football teams in London, yet none have made as massive a comeback over the years as Chelsea. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, it’s carved a name in today’s football scene (and isn’t leaving any time soon!).
Chelsea faithfuls flock to Stamford Bridge on a weekly basis. There’s no shortage of fantastic footballing figures in the stadium’s rich history. Plans for a large renovation are underway, but you can still take part in the action with the stadium tour. It also houses the largest football museum in London, so you’ll be nothing short of a Chelsea scholar by the end of your visit.
5. Vicente Calderón, Madrid
The cold Manzanares river that travels underneath Vicente Calderón does little to dampen Atletico’s fans’ spirits. With capacity for 55,000 people, it’s created an atmosphere of constant support, no matter the competition or the opponent.
Sadly, Atlético Madrid and fans alike are bidding a sad farewell to their beloved stadium. The team is set to move into the Wanda Metropolitano, a modern 68,000-seater on the outskirts of the Spanish capital. Although humble when compared to similar rivals, it didn’t matter to fans, who were just focused on watching the match and cheer for Atlético. Most seem to have embraced the move, having already made more than 50,000 requests for season tickets at the new venue – a record compared to the numbers for the Vicente Calderón.
Time is running out to see this history-packed wonder, so get there before it’s gone!
6. San Siro Stadium, Milan
One of the best teams in the Italian Liga, a visit to Milan should include a tour around the San Siro stadium. Walking through the tunnel of Champions to get into the legendary pitch of “La Scala del Calcio” is something else. In person, it gives a great insight into the legendary structure and recollects old memories through the Museum of A.C. Milan and F.C. Inter.
One of the largest of its kind in Europe, the stadium has even hosted rugby, boxing, and music events. Fans and non-fans alike will have a blast!
7. Aviva Stadium, Dublin
With so many stadiums undergoing renovations, it’s great to find one that’s new, gleaming, and ready for action. Opened in 2010, fans and curious visitors come to Aviva to pay homage to their rugby and soccer teams. While this may be a shiny new stadium, it has a sporting heritage dating all the way back to the 1800s.
Seeing the stadium itself isn’t only a trip to one of Europe’s finest: it’ll open a door to the whole of the Irish sporting landscape.
8. Croke Park Stadium, Dublin
Walk in and have a Guinness at the only stadium that doesn’t divide its fans. Full of history and absolutely fascinating, this non-traditional football stadium is a great place for non-football fans. You can witness Gaelic football and hurling, two things as intrinsically Irish as the Croke Park itself.
The headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), it’s also the tragic setting of Bloody Sunday, where members of the Auxiliary Division opened fire at the crowd during a football match, killing 11 civilians and wounding at least 60. The scale of the tragedy left its mark on the Croker, but it still strives and succeeds in standing up for Ireland’s rich sporting heritage.
Visit the football stadiums and the cities they call home!
If you’re a die-hard footie fan (or just want to explore behind the scenes), get your tickets on Tiqets.com!