The 2018 World Cup is over but that doesn't mean the buzz is over. Football is by far the biggest sport in Europe, so we’ve put together a footy lover’s European bucket list of dreams. From how to get the ultimate Barcelona FC experience to where to find the coolest (and highest) football pitch on the continent. How many of these have you already ticked off?
1. GET TICKETS TO A WORLD CUP GAME
The dream scenario for any football fan… We just have to wait 4 years until the next one.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for football fanatics.
2. GO TO BELUSHI’S BARS, THE HOME OF INTERNATIONAL SPORTS
Budweiser has actually named Belushi’s one of its top 4 places to watch the World Cup in London - and now the World Cup is over, watch the new football season kick off at this epic sports bar. And there happens to be Belushi’s bars all over Europe including London, Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Berlin. The cheap drinks, epic burgers and enormous screens at Belushi’s are all reasons why this place is a firm favourite amongst students, travellers and locals to watch big sporting games. It’s the Home of International Sports after all.
The best thing about Belushi’s is the international crowd: watch the game with people from all over the world. In London’s you can hire out private caves to watch all the matches stocked with sofas, Playstations, fridges and TVs; the ultimate football experience.
3. THE CAMP NOU EXPERIENCE IN BARCELONA
Camp Nou is one of the most visited attractions in Barcelona, along with the Sagrada Familia. Locals adore Barcelona FC and the team has one of the most devoted fan bases in the world. Any football fan should make time for the Camp Nou Experience, perhaps the most cutting edge stadium tour in the world because it has its own museum; it’s spectacular and one of the best sports museums to exist.
On this tour, you’ll get to see the pitch, the changing rooms, the tunnel, commentary boxes and of course, the museum. Here you’ll get to come up close and personal with the trophies won throughout the club’s history, see the section entirely dedicated to Messi, an area just to learn about the female Barcelona FC team and even get interactive with touch screens.
Need a hostel in Barcelona? just off La Rambla
4. PUBLIC WORLD CUP SCREENING IN BERLIN
Germany is always pretty strong contenders to win the World Cup every 4 years. Watch the football tournament in the most epic way ever (other than actually being there in person) - in Berlin. Berlin holds a Fan Fest open-air viewing throughout the tournament located on the Straße near Brandenburg Gate. With several huge screens set over a stretch of two kilometres (called the Fanmeile), crowds gather for the public viewing, screening German matches only. This is essentially a gigantic football fan street party.
At the start of the World Cup, only the German games will be broadcasted at the Fanmeile in Berlin. But as soon as only 16 teams are left in the tournament, all matches will be screened!
5. STADIUM TOURS IN LONDON (AND WHERE TO EAT AFTER)
Two of the best stadium tours to do in London is Arsenal FC’s stellar Emirates Stadium and Chelsea's much cherished Stamford Bridge. Both stadiums are worth the visit with brilliant tours of behind-the-scenes goings-on. From sitting in the Dugout, checking out changing rooms and going pitchside, it’s a fun thing to do for any footie lover - and the Chelsea Megastore has all the merch you could possibly think of.
While you’re at the Arsenal stadium, be sure to get a pie from Piebury Corner for one of the best pies in London. Football and pies go hand in hand after all.
And if you visit Stamford Bridge, grab some food at the brand new Market Halls that’s opened just short walk away (it’s one of the best places to grab street food in London).
Check out the
6. WATCH A GAME IN A TRADITIONAL BRITISH PUB
The English are known for being some of the biggest football hooligans in the world - and when you watch a game with them there’s no experience like it. If you’re ever in London during a big football game, there’s no better place to watch the game than a traditional pub if you want an authentic British football screening experience with good quality beers and pub grub. Just hope your team wins...
These are the
7. GO TO INIESTA’S VERY OWN VINEYARD AND SAMPLE WINE
Spanish footballer Andrés Iniesta has his very own vineyard with his family in the beautiful Manchuela in Fuentealbilla, Spain. Iniesta and his family control the whole vineyard and it really is a great day out whether you're a fan of him or not!
8. CHECK OUT THE HIGHEST FOOTBALL GROUND IN EUROPE
Play a game of football surrounded by the Swiss mountains at the Ottmar Hitzfeld Stadium. This is the highest football ground in Europe at 2,000 metres above sea level, sitting on the mountains of Zermatt in Switzerland. FIFA actually banned international matches at altitudes higher than 2,750m but the ban was lifted when a stadium in South America Estadio Hernando Siles in La Paz sits at 3,6000m above sea level.
9. VISIT THE MANCHESTER UNITED MUSEUM
Manchester United has one of the biggest fan bases in the world - and perhaps the most well-known club worldwide to come out of England. Inside Old Trafford, the largest league ground in Europe, you’ll find the Manchester United Museum. Kitted out with trophies, any Man United fan needs to add a stadium tour of Old Trafford onto their bucket list.
10. CRISTIANO RONALDO’S CR7 MUSEUM
Head to the place where Ronaldo was born. Madeira, the birthplace of Cristiano Ronaldo is within easy reach for a long weekend from most places in Europe (flights go here from Gatwick). There’s a whole museum dedicated to one of the greatest athletes on the planet. The altar to CR7 was opened by his brother in 2013 and recently expanded, and features two of Cristiano’s Ballon d’Or trophies, among other memorabilia.
11. START A CHANT
Is there any better feeling than starting a chant whilst watching a football match and everyone else follows your lead? Whether it’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, or a diss chant about the opposing team, belt it out and people will be sure to join in...
12. EAT THE LOCAL FOOD AND DRINK IF YOU GO ABROAD FOR MATCHES
Any stadium you visit in the world will have its own ‘match snacks’ when a game is on. But we recommend venturing out of the stadium for more authentic grub. For example, meat pie or fish and chips in England, bratwurst in Germany, crepes and galettes in France and hams and cheeses in Spain, chocolate in Belgium and Beef Stroganoff in Russia - the list goes on)… You can’t watch a game abroad and not take part in these local traditions!
Russian Beef Stroganoff
13. KICK A BALL AROUND IN ONE OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST FOOTBALL STADIUMS IN PRAGUE
The Strahov stadium used to house athletics events as well as football, seating a HUGE capacity of 230,000. Today, the colossal stadium is currently being used as Sparta Prague’s training complex, but it’s open to everyone so you can go for kick around.
Need a hostel in Prague?
14. TAKE A PIC WITH YOUR FAVOURITE PLAYERS IN MADAME TUSSAUDS ACROSS EUROPE
If all you want is a photograph with your favourite player, this is the way to tick that one off the list. Head to Madame Tussauds in London to meet David Beckham, Ronaldo and Rooney, the Berlin museum to visit Ozil and Neuer, or Amsterdam to meet Rafael van der Vaart and Lionel Messi! You know that they’re all made of wax though, right?
15. ADMIRE REAL MADRID’S GLISTENING TROPHY ROOM AT BERNABEU
Bernabeu is one of our favourite football stadiums, and inside you can take a tour of one of the most kitted out trophy rooms in football. Real Madrid fans have to see the Bernabeu whilst in the city. While some trophies may be replicas, the team has a record of earning a whopping 33 La Liga Trophies and a record 12 European Cup/UEFA Champions League titles.
16. TAKE PART IN A WORLD CUP SWEEPSTAKE OR FANTASY FOOTBALL
Being part of a sweepstake or a Fantasy Football League makes the World Cup all that more exciting! Whether you play against your friends or colleagues at work, it’s always fun to see which team you pick out the basket. That’s your team for the duration of the World Cup.
17. GO TO THE WORLD CUP FINAL!
Bagging tickets to a World Cup Final must be on every football lover’s bucket list. Just imagine being one of those with a seat at the biggest, most-watched game for 4 years! It might be too late this time, but there are plenty more WC Finals in the years to come…
Check out where you should go to watch the
18. EXPLORE FC BARCELONA PLAYERS HOUSES
If you're in Barcelona, take a day trip to Castelldelfels an affluent area where many footballers live such as Lionel Messi, Suarez, Gomes and the former home of Cesc Fabregas. Messi and Suarez are neighbours! Take a little independent driving tour and get a sneak peek at the houses of the biggest sports stars who play for FC Barcelona. These million-pound mansions are worth it!