The best football stadiums in the world
Which are the best football stadiums in the world to visit?
The best football stadiums in the world are often home to the best teams. And when it comes to parking cars, specifically at Glasgow Airport, here at Airport Park and Ride, we know our onions. We know a thing or two about football teams that park the bus, too. Although we prefer watching those who don’t…
So, with that (slightly tenuous segue) in mind, along with the fact that the new season is now well under way, we thought, ‘what better way to really kick off (we had to compliment the tenuous segue with an awful pun, just so the segue didn’t feel lonely) our new blog, than with a comprehensive list of the best stadiums in world football’?
We’ve compiled our favourite football stadia from around the world. Stadiums that are either beautiful and atmospheric cauldrons of noise, or, colosseums where you’re practically guaranteed a gladiatorial contest of a game of football with little to no parking, of buses or otherwise. Preferably both.
With no further ado, and in no particular order…
The Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy
The Juventus Stadium, home – unsurprisingly – to Juventus, the Old Lady of Turin, is the newest stadium on our list, and opened in the 2011-12 season. But, it’s no less magnificent for that, and is one of only three club-owned stadiums in Serie A. It’s also seen Juventus – the most decorated team in Italy, with 32 Serie A titles – win the Scudetto every year since it was opened.
Juve’s old stadium, the Stadio Delle Alpi, was built for the World Cup in 1990, (and is still home to Torino) is too big, too inaccessible, the seats too far from the pitch (due to the athletics track around the edge. Sound familiar West Ham?). And, for these reasons, attendance at the former home of Italy’s most successful, and best supported club, was often dismal.
The Juventus Stadium, on the other hand, is a 47,507 seater with the closest seats only 7.5 metres from the pitch. The steep stands, and often mesmeric football on display at the Juventus Stadium make this a must visit venue for all football fans.
Conveniently, Glasgow Airport flies to Turin regularly, so any avid football fans wanting to make this footballing pilgrimage can easily get there. Simply visit www.airportparkandride.com, choose which of our Park Mark awarded airport car parks to leave your car in, and fly off to footballing heaven.
The Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Another fairly newly built stadium, the Allianz Arena, which seats 75,000 and opened in 2005, is home to both of Munich’s teams: Bayern Munich and TSV 1860 Munich. The simply amazing design, clad in light-up-panels, changes colour (red or blue) depending on who is playing at home, and has been known to feature some other pretty cool light displays, too.
The large inflatable, light-up plastic panels that encase the stadium have left it nicknamed Schlauchboot, or Inflatable boat. But despite this slightly unusual nickname, a visit to the Allianz not only guarantees an awe-inspiring eye-full of some fantastic architecture, it also (if you watch Bayern, not so much 1860) practically guarantees you a noisy and goal filled 90 minutes, as well.
Well worth a visit.
And again, Glasgow Airport frequently flies to Munich. Click on our website, pick your airport car park, park your car, jump on a plane and go and watch the football. What a weekend away that would be!
The Signal Iduna Park (Westfalenstadion), Dortmund, Germany
Staying in Germany, Signal Iduna Park, the stadium that is home to the Yellow Wall, is the stomping ground of Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund’s ground is one of the most famous football grounds in Europe, and not for the success Dortmund have achieved (although in a league dominated by Bayern, they have done pretty well of late), but for the noise and the all-round assault on the senses that a visit here guarantees.
The South Bank stand is the largest standing terrace in European football, and home to the fabled Yellow Wall. The 25,000 fans that pack into this stand alone, create hugely impressive murals and huge amounts of noise; making the Signal Iduna one of the most intimidating experiences visiting players can find.
The stadium is an 80,000 seater, built in the ‘70s and is rocking, week in, week out. The vast carnival of colour and noise that can be experienced here is an experience every football fan should have.
Unfortunately, Glasgow Airport doesn’t fly directly to Dortmund, but let’s face it – it’s not a major stumbling block. You can still get there with a transfer or two. And we have possibly the best airport car parks in the world (I’m sure most of you caught the reference to the Old Carlsberg [other beers are available] football adverts, there!), so getting to Dortmund from Glasgow Airport is less of a challenge than still having your hearing after a visit to the Signal Iduna.
The San Siro, Milan, Italy
The San Siro, or to give it its full and proper name, the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, is the largest stadium in Italy, with a capacity of 80,018.
Home to both Milan clubs: AC Milan and Internazionale, the stadium, situated in the San Siro district of Milan, was initially named the Nuovo Stadio Calcistico San Siro (San Siro New Football Stadium) but, was re-named, in 1980, in honour of the double world cup winner, Giuseppe Meazza, who played for both Milan clubs (mainly Inter) in the ‘20s, 30’s & 40’s.
First opened in 1926, the stadium has undergone various renovations over the years, most notably, prior to the 1990 World Cup when it was given its current space-age-looking shell.
Often referred to as Milan’s other cathedral, the San Siro has one of the highest average attendances in Italian football. It also held the iconic match in the 1990 World Cup, between favourites, Argentina and 500/1 outsiders, Cameroon.
The Cameroonian reserve goal-keeper was called up to the team with little time to spare before kick-off – due to an argument the first keeper had had with the manager about squad bonuses – and went on to produce such a commanding display, not only in that game (which, incidentally, Cameroon won 1-0. Against an Argentina team in their pomp, led by the Hand of God, Diego Maradona, fresh from inspiring Napoli to back to back Serie A titles), but across the whole tournament, that a 12-year-old midfielder from Tuscany was inspired to switch positions and become a goalie.
The 12-year-old midfielder in question was called Gianluigi Buffon. Arguably the best ‘keeper ever.
Quite a legacy the San Siro has. And with its iconic buttresses housing both Milan teams, you’re likely to get a decent match there, too.
With non-stop flights, available from Glasgow Airport to Milan, why not spend a weekend watching a game of catenaccio? Airport parking in Glasgow from Airport Park and Ride is just the start of a fantastic weekend away.
The Stadion Feijenoord (De Kuip), Rotterdam, Netherlands
Next on our tour of football’s best stadiums, is the Feijenoord Stadion, more commonly known by its nickname: De Kuip. De Kuip translates as The Tub.
Given its nickname for its intentionally claustrophobic design, the acoustics of this stadium keep the noise in superbly. Generally accepted as the noisiest and rowdiest stadium in Holland, – particularly when arch-rivals, Ajax, are in town – De Kuip is the home (unsurprisingly, given its official name) to Feyenoord.
With a capacity of 51,117, the stadium has quite a history – it provided the blueprint for many of the greatest stadia of the modern era, including Camp Nou (we’ll be there later). It also survived WWII, when it was nearly torn down by the Germans for the metal.
With De Kuip being the home of Feyenoord, one of Holland’s two most successful teams, regularly hosting Dutch national games, and having provided the venue for both European club and national tournament finals, it is sure to get any football fan on their feet!
Glasgow Airport doesn’t fly direct to Rotterdam. However, most connecting flights go via London. So, park your car at one of the Park Mark awarded Glasgow airport car parks on Airport Park and Ride and make a serious football pilgrimage of it by taking in our next stadium on the list of the best football stadiums in the world on the way…
Wembley, London, England
“Wem-ber-lee” is not only the home of the English national team but the spiritual home of all English football. Finals are held there. National games are held there. “We’re going to Wem-ber-lee” is regularly heard throughout the land when a team makes it past the semis (or these days, quarters) of an English domestic cup tournament.
The hallowed turf at Wembley saw what was, surely, English football’s finest moment – the 1966 World Cup Final. Which England won. Obviously. Even if they haven’t managed to win much (read: anything) since.
FA Cup Finals, League Cup Finals, Football League play-offs, and of course, that 4-2, provide the strange power of Wembley, transforming both the twin-arched old stadium and the ultra-modern overarched iteration into seething cauldrons of footballing emotion.
So, on your way to Rotterdam to watch Feyenoord, you’re stopping in London for your connecting flight from Glasgow Aiport, anyway (after making sure to use Airport Park and Ride for your Glasgow airport parking, of course), nip into Wembley.
Estadio Alberto J. Armando (La Bombonera), Buenos Aires, Argentina
Home to Boca Juniors, the most successful team in Argentina, La Bombonera is so named (it translates as the bonbon box) due to its unusual shape – with three very steep stands and one highly unusual flat stand.
The interesting shape provides the stadium with truly magnificent acoustics and has led to the Boca support being nicknamed ‘La Doce’ (the 12th man).
The stadium came about as a result of Boca’s refusal to leave the site of their original wooden-shed-stadium, which had been situated in the vibrant Buenos Aires neighbourhood of, La Boca. The old stadium wasn’t big enough to house all of Boca’s fans. And the land they had, wasn’t big enough to build a huge concrete monolith on.
So, in 1934, La Bombonera was designed using a steep three-tiered design for three sides and a soaring vertical stand consisting of seating areas packed on top of one and other for the other. The resulting stadium has become a famed temple in world football. So much so, that Diego Maradona, who played for Boca in 1981 and again in 1995 & 1997, held his testimonial match there.
A popular Argentine saying states, ‘La Bonbonera no tiembla, late – The Bonbonera doesn’t tremble, it beats. It’s a living, breathing stadium. The singing, clapping and stamping of the crowd literally makes the stadium vibrate. And it was built to withstand this, similarly to the way buildings in Tokyo and San Francisco are built to withstand earthquakes.
With a capacity of 49,000, an unusual shape, and built to bounce – Bombonera is a must visit. Particularly if it’s a Superclasico weekend (River vs. Boca), these can get a bit tasty, though!
Glasgow Airport doesn’t fly direct to Buenos Aires, but changes on flights of this distance are pretty commonplace. If you fancy a football match that you’re guaranteed never to forget – get your Glasgow Airport parking from Airport Park and Ride, and get yourself to Buenos Aires to watch Boca Juniors. The weather and scenery in Argentina can be pretty amazing, too!
Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico
The Azteca in Mexico City is, perhaps, arguably, in the top 3 most famous stadia in the world.
With a name that pays homage to the indigenous people of Mexico, and having hosted two World Cup Finals (1970, Brazil vs. Italy & 1986, Argentina vs. West Germany) along with the 1986 World Cup quarter final, in which Diego Maradona – who is, without previous intention, becoming a recurring theme in this blog – scored both the Hand of God and the Goal of the Century. The stadium was also host to the Game of the Century, Italy’s 4-3 defeat of West Germany in one of the 1970 World Cup semi-finals.
It also was the main venue of the football tournament in the 1968 Olympics.
It has an official capacity of 87,000, but has squeezed 119,853 people in for a match against Brazil in 1968, and has housed a simply staggering 132,247 for a boxing match in 1993.
In addition to the Hand of God, the Goal of the Century and the Game of the Century, the Azteca has also borne witness to Pele’s absolute dominance of the 1970 World Cup, as he led the best team of all time (the one with five number 10s who simply would not relinquish the ball and made beautiful football look so unerringly easy) to their third World Cup win of the last four World Cups at the time.
The stadium is enormous. It’s world famous. And, it’s seen some of history’s finest players have their finest hours. What’s not to love?
With Glasgow Airport providing connecting flights from Glasgow to Mexico City, simply park your car at one of the Glasgow Airport car parks featured on our website and jet off for sun, scenery and some fantastic football.
The Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Maracanã was built for the 1950 World Cup. And it was built quickly, not well. It has played host to Brazilian disasters, both literal and metaphorical, yet has still become one the world’s most famous stadiums.
The Maracanã, in fact is not only one of the world’s most famous stadiums, it also holds the record for the most spectators to have witnessed one game; 199,854 people, packed in to the stadium for the 1950 World Cup Final – Brazil vs. Uruguay. At least, that’s the official figure, the actual attendance is estimated to be closer to 210,000!
The stadium is practically synonymous with Brazilian football. Known for the vibrancy, the colours, the relentless dancing, the Maracanã and the best Brazil teams are inseparable.
That said, the Maracanã also played host to Brazilian football’s biggest national tragedy – the Maracanazo, which translates as the big blow of Maracanã – the legendary defeat of 200,000 Brazilians by 11 Uruguayans in the 1950 World Cup Final. Which, incidentally, was the last time Brazil played in white.
It was built quickly, opened with no toilets or press box. And, within forty years of opening its doors, the structure itself was falling apart. Despite having work carried out to attempt repairs in both 1981 and 1985, there were genuine worries that the stadium had been affected by humidity, poor maintenance, and even decades of fans urine in the cement.
In 1992, in the Brasileirao final, between Flamengo and Botafogo, the stadium had upwards of 150,000 spectators crammed in. With so many fans jumping in the stands prior to kick off, a section of the home end collapsed and more than 50 people fell from the upper tier – leaving three dead.
Incredibly, the match was still played.
After the match (which Flamengo won 3-0) the stadium was closed for over six months. Repairs were, again, carried out and the stadium re-opened with its capacity halved.
The king of the Maracanã is undoubtedly Zico – he scored 333 goals in 435 games in the stadium. On top of that, Pelé scored his thousandth goal at the stadium, too; on 19th November 1969.
Completely remodelled prior to Brazil hosting the 2014 World Cup, the Maracanã actually ended up costing more to restore than it would have to knock down and build a new stadium. After three years of work and $500m, the interior is completely different to its original state. Previously it was a shallow two-tiered set-up, it’s now a single tier stadium with a steeper slope and better visibility. It also played host to the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games.
The sad thing about the Maracanã is, that this year, it has fallen into a state of disrepair following arguments between the firm responsible for the stadium’s upkeep, Maracanã SA, and the Rio Olympics committee, over who should pay for repairs. The Olympics committee has been accused of giving the stadium back in a poor condition. The stadium has been closed, looted and vandalised, the power has even been turned off. Hopefully this won’t spell the end for this most majestic of stadiums.
Connecting flights heading for Rio are available from Glasgow Airport, so if you need somewhere to park your car before you fly, remember, our site provides the best airport parking options in Glasgow.
Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
With an opening capacity of 106,146, which grew to 121,749 for the 1982 World Cup, and settled at its current level of 99,354, making it the biggest football stadium in Europe – in terms of capacity – and the third biggest in the world, Camp Nou is iconic. It began as a dream, stood for independence and helped Barce become mes que un club – more than a club.
To really tell the story of Camp Nou, you have to set the scene.
Spain was suffering. Between 1939 & 1959, the country was faced with economic and near-literal starvation. Trade restrictions placed on the country by the rest of Western Europe – due to Spain’s Fascist dictator, Franco – had effectively neutered the country. Despite being Spain’s most industrialised city, Barcelona struggled. In footballing and economic terms.
In 1950, Barcelona signed the Hungarian, Laszlo Kubala, and he changed everything. He played so well, scored so many goals and brought so much hope to the region, that within a few years of his signing, a new stadium had to be built to accommodate all the fans that wanted to come and watch him play.
When it opened in 1957, the repression of Catalan culture by Franco meant that despite being called Camp Nou (and yes, it definitely is Camp Nou not the Nou Camp as most English journalists and pundits seem to insist on calling it), it wasn’t allowed to be named in the Catalan dialect. Everything, even people’s actual names had to be Castilianised. As such, Camp Nou opened as Campo Nuevo.
Despite the adversity the country and the Catalan region faced during Franco’s oppressive rule, Camp Nou became home to two league titles in its first three seasons, and Kubala fired them to a league and cup double in 1959.
The enduring oxymoron of Camp Nou is that it is largely perceived as a cathedral of world football. However, three-quarters of the stadium are open to the elements and sitting in the top tier can be an unusual experience, leaving one feeling somewhat divorced from the football you’re (barely, from that height) witnessing.
That said, the atmosphere at Camp Nou, and the sense of occasion during big games is one that is seldom replicated elsewhere. When the Real Madrid wagon rolls in to town for the Clasico, you’ll find few more partisan crowds.
And of course, Camp Nou has hosted the Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup twice, the final of the European Cup once, the Olympics football tournament finals, and, most importantly…
…Camp Nou also hosted what was arguably the best, most important, most era-defining game in club football history. The 1999 Champions League Final, between Bayern Munich and Manchester United. With Bayern leading 1-0 going into extra time, Utd ran out 2-1 winners. Mes que un juego.
If Barcelona is mes que un club, then Camp Nou is mes que un estadi.
Glasgow Airport flies non-stop to Barcelona, so if you want to have mes que un fiesta and take in a match in Barcelona, park your car in one of Glasgow’s premier airport car parks using our website, and off you go.
Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
Not that any of the stadiums on this list need much of an introduction, but the Bernabeu, surely, needs less than most.
Home of, arguably, the most famous team in the world, the Galcticos, Real Madrid, the Bernabeu has hosted four Champions League (and European Cup in its previous guise) finals, World Cup games, and the finals of the 1964 European Nations Cup.
Quite an illustrious roll call.
From outside, the Bernabeu looks a little disheveled. ‘It has seen better days’, you might think. This is mostly because the stadium has spent 70 years sitting alongside one of Madrid’s busiest roads. The outside of the ground is distinctly greying, showing its age. Especially when compared with stadia such as Wembley and the Allianz.
But when you enter the stadium, it is a truly incredible, awe-inspiring experience. Vertigo inducing, even – if you’re in the top tier. But it is the height and cavernous shape of the stadium’s interior that gives the Bernabeu its overpowering acoustics. When the ground is full – it seats a capacity crowd of 85,000 – the sound of the crowd has no escape, it becomes so loud that the players on the pitch struggle to communicate with each other.
Being the home of Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema – amongst a never-ending plethora of other stars, past and present – the Bernabeu is an imperialist monolith. A solid statement of, and nod to, the fact that Real Madrid demand to be at the top of football. It is definitely worth a visit. If you can get tickets to El Clasico, even better!
Any football fans making this journey from Glasgow Airport couldn’t have a simpler task – park your car on one of the Park Mark awarded Glasgow Airport car parks featured on our website, jump on your plane, and go and watch some scintillating football.
Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy
The San Paolo is definitely one of Europe’s most voluble stadiums. Filled with some of Europe’s most partisan fans – they recently had toilet roll printed with the ‘traitor’ Gonzalo Higuaín’s face on, after his move to rivals, Juventus.
With a capacity of 60,240 and filled with Neapolitan ultras, this stadium can get noisy. Seriously noisy. Making it a hostile cauldron of noise that is feared by away teams and revered by the locals with an almost religious fervour.
That said, ignoring the ultras propensity for hostility, on match-days the stadium can have something of a South American feel; filled with flares, flags, giant banners and really, really passionate fans. It’s quite an experience.
Probably most famous for hosting the Italia ’90 semi-final, when Napoli’s own demigod, Diego Maradona, led Argentina to a win over hosts, Italy, the San Paolo is the third largest stadium in Italy and these days, not in the best condition – with large swathes of the ground shut due to safety fears.
That notwithstanding, the San Paolo is a riot of an away day. Definitely a must visit stadium.
Fly from Glasgow Airport to Naples with only one stop if you fancy taking in a match at the San Paolo. Get your airport parking from Airport Park and Ride and whisk yourself away for one of the most invigorating football matches you can see.
Old Trafford, Manchester, England
The Theatre of Dreams. Need I say more?
For the sake of those amongst you who don’t support the best team in the world, I will embellish.
Sir Alex Ferguson; The Busby Babes; Charlton, Law and Best; the Class of ’92; Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Edwin van der Sar, Ronaldo… just some of the names in the vaunted history of the great club and its great stadium.
The Stretford End, home of the most die-hard supporters in the UK. The stadium, host to some of the most amazing, swashbuckling football to be witnessed on these shores, or indeed, anywhere. The literal and religious home of the most successful club in England. The most supported club in the world.
In addition to hosting Utd matches (as if more were needed) Old Trafford has hosted World Cup games in 1966, a Euro ’96 semi-final, FA Cup semi-finals, Champions League matches, and even the Champions League Final in 2003, where Milan beat Juventus on penalties.
Built in 1909, and with a capacity of 75,957 Old Trafford is the biggest club football ground in the country. The second biggest football ground at all in the country, after Wembley. It survived not one, but two, bombings in WWII. And, when Utd go scything forward, the noise and the atmosphere is simply electric, with shouts of ‘attack, attack, attack…’ ringing round the terraces, under the lights.
With Manchester a mere one hour flight from Glasgow Airport, and with the best airport parking in Glasgow available from our website, this, more than any other on the list, is a trip there is absolutely no reason not to make.
So, if Carlsberg made airport parking, they would probably have made ours; probably the best airport parking in the world.
So, book your airport parking at Airport Park and Ride, park your car, and fly off to visit the best football stadiums in the world.