Thousands of football supporters love traveling across Europe – and now they are sharing their top ten favourite stadiums with us!
UK readers of Football Weekends magazine took part in a survey of stadiums they had visited on the continent (excluding Great Britain and Ireland) and nominated more than 100 venues. Once all the votes were counted up, the top 30 were featured in the magazine, and below we reveal the top 10 destinations they selected!
To see what stadiums finished 30-21, click here!
To see what stadiums finished 20-11, click here!
10. VELTINS-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany (62,271)
Their bitter rivals up the road, Borussia Dortmund, may edge things when it comes to stadium capacity – 20,000 more than the VELTINS-Arena . But Schalke can boast the more hi-tech stadium – indeed, it’s one of the most advanced football grounds on the planet.
The retractable roof was one of the first placed on a major football stadium, with giant TV screens hanging down above the centre of the pitch. However the technology doesn’t stop there. The pitch is retractable too, rolled outside the hemmed-in confines of the stadium so it can enjoy the full benefits of the West German sunshine and rain.
For two nights in a 3-star hotel in central Gelsenkirchen in a double room (including breakfast) and your match ticket, the price per person (excluding flight) is from 2 295 SEK/210 GBP.
Book your trip to see Schalke 04 at Nickes.Com!
9. Millerntor-Stadion, Hamburg, Germany (29,546)
Perhaps the most famous cult fan club in Europe, St. Pauli and the Millerntor-Stadion in Hamburg have proved hugely popular with overseas visitors.
A match at the Millerntor isn’t just a game, it’s an occasion. There’s a party going on outside, usually with a fair dose of heavy rock music, before the action moves inside and the players run out to AC/DC’s Hells Bells.
Over the past decade the Millerntor has been dramatically renovated, and the capacity increased. However, significant areas of terracing remain on three sides – more than half the capacity is standing – and every effort has been to retain, and indeed enhance, the unique atmosphere.
8. Stadion An der Alten Försterei, Berlin, Germany (22,012)
Much is made of old style stadiums around Europe – those that have held on to the character of a bygone age and stubbornly refuse to make too many concessions to modern football. The Stadion An der Alten Försterei is the highest placed such venue in our poll.
Union Berlin’s stadium is well worth the train journey into the heart of eastern Berlin. There’s one brand new stand at the stadium, and impressive it is too – a giant all-seater affair with a striking facade and cracking views inside.
But the ground’s heart lies on the other three sides, which are all terrace. So out of the total capacity of 22,012, 18,500 of those places are standing.
7. Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany (74,475)
The Olympiastadion in Berlin transcends football, indeed it goes far beyond sport. Built by the Nazis for the 1936 Olympics as a statement to the world, this was the venue that saw the black Jesse Owens race to gold.
It was the venue for the World Cup final in 2006 and was renovated ahead of it. It’s all seated, with a gigantic lower tier leading down to the oval running track, coloured blue for Hertha, and pitch.
Any visitor surely can’t fail to be impressed by the size and architecture of the stadium and surrounding Olympic Park. History oozes from every pore.
For two nights in a 3-star hotel in central Berlin in a double room (including breakfast) and your match ticket, the price per person (excluding flight) is from 1 595 SEK/145 GBP.
Book your trip to see Hertha Berlin with Nickes.Com!
6. Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, France (67,394)
The most iconic and recognisable venue of Euro 2016 rightly won the hearts of many football fans.
This was always a striking stadium with its big sweeping sides. But the decision to put roofs over the stands – and the curvy design chosen for the job – has made it surely the best stadium of France.
Marseille is a passionate home of football and, following the introduction of the roofs, the atmosphere and acoustics inside the Stade Vélodrome can be incredible, particularly when arch rivals PSG are in town.
5. Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany (75,000)
When the 2006 World Cup kicked off in Germany at the Allianz Arena you just knew the tournament was going to be a wonderful experience for fans.
The Allianz is proof, if ever you needed it, that a new build ground doesn’t need to be a soulless bowl lacking in character and charm. It can be iconic, striking and worth a visit. And this arena, in the heart of Bavaria, has achieved this – that’s why it’s the highest placed new build stadium in the poll.
It wins votes from the moment you step off the metro station and, a 15-minute walk away, you see something which could have landed from outer space. The cylindrical design is even more spectacular at night, when it takes on different colours depending on whether Bayern, fellow tenants 1860 of the second division, or the national team are in town.
For two nights in a 3-star hotel in central Munich in a double room (including breakfast) and your match ticket, the price per person (excluding flight) is from 2 595 SEK/239 GBP.
Book your trip to see Bayern Munich with Nickes.Com!
4. Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain (99,354)
It may be getting old. But that doesn’t stop the Camp Nou being a simply awesome place to watch a football match.
So what is the big deal? Well, it’s Europe’s biggest sporting venue. 99,000 people can gather to see arguably the world’s best supported team take to the field and play the type of football they are famous for. When you are watching the likes of Messi Co play week in, week out, it’s going to be special anyway but it’s somehow fitting that they’re on the biggest stage possible.
This cathedral of Catalonia, just like the Sagrada Familia cathedral across town, is in need of finishing off and that is the plan. The new proposals, due to be completed by 2021, will see all the Camp Nou fans covered at last, and capacity increased to a whopping 105,000.
However right now it is a vast concrete bowl and on a sunny Spanish afternoon it’s a glorious place for football. Bring your sun tan lotion.
For two nights in a 3-star hotel in central Barcelona in a double room (including breakfast) and your match ticket, the price per person (excluding flight) is from 1 595 SEK/145 GBP.
Book your trip to see Barcelona with Nickes.Com!
3. San Siro, Milan, Italy (80,018)
Milan may not be a traditional football city. This is the Italian home of classic architecture, stunning shopping malls housing the world’s leading fashion brands, and the world famous La Scala opera house.
However, Milan can also claim to have one of the grandest, and most iconic, football stadiums on earth. The official website labels it rather grandly as ‘the greatest temple of international soccer’ and spectators certainly agree.
From a distance it looks like a giant Meccano model. The flat roof is held above the gigantic tiers thanks to a clutch of cylindrical towers that encircle the stadium.
The San Siro – or to give it its official name Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, after a famous Milanese player – enjoyed its last major renovation for the 1990 World Cup finals, adding a third tier to three of the sides.
For two nights in a 3-star hotel in central Milan in a double room (including breakfast) and your match ticket, the price per person (excluding flight) is from 1 695 SEK/155 GBP.
Book your trip to see AC Milan or Inter with Nickes.Com!
2. Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain (85,454)
Real Madrid is Spanish royalty when it comes to football and their stadium is a palace worthy to house the 11 times European Cup winners.
Where Barcelona has wide open stands, the Bernabéu is more similar to a colosseum. The stands bear up steeply from the pitch, so even from the upper tier you feel on top of the action. It’s been steadily developed over the past 30 years, investment seeing the stadium growing in height, converting to all seating and being totally covered. Indeed, there are even heaters in the roof to keep you warm on a ‘chilly’ Spanish evening.
For two nights in a 3-star hotel in central Madrid in a double room (including breakfast) and your match ticket, the price per person (excluding flight) is from 1 795 SEK/165 GBP.
Book your trip to see Real Madrid with Nickes.Com!
1. Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany (81,360)
If this survey was a boxing match the winner landed a clear knockout.
Dortmund’s famous Südtribüne, or south terrace, has become famous the world over and even if you are not lucky enough to get a ticket among the 24,500 who pack Europe’s largest terrace every home game, and they’re not easy to come by, then simply taking in the view is worth a visit alone. It lends an intimidating atmosphere to every game, and the fans that gather on the hallowed steps there have produced some spectacular tifos too.
The Westfalenstadion, or Signal Iduna Park to give it the official longstanding sponsor’s name, was rebuilt in time for the 2006 World Cup. This saw the corners filled in and the capacity increased to more than 80,000. It has led the way in the rise of Bundesliga attendances, and the stadium is packed for every single match – there are more than 55,000 season ticket holders alone. It means Borussia Dortmund, in a modest sized city, have the biggest attendances in Europe, year in, year out.
For two nights in a 3-star hotel in central Dortmund in a double room (including breakfast) and your match ticket, the price per person (excluding flight) is from 2 095 SEK/190 GBP.
Book your trip to see Dortmund with Nickes.Com!
To see what stadiums finished 30-21, click here!
To see what stadiums finished 20-11, click here!
This is an edited version of a feature in Football Weekends magazine, a fan’s guide to watching football around Europe. To order a copy, visit www.footballweekends.co.uk