10 of the Most Beautiful Football Stadiums in the World
With the World Cup now over and England’s exploits being celebrated around the country, it’s time to take stock of just how beautiful football can be. So we’re taking some time to not only appreciate things on the pitch, we’re taking a look at some the beautiful game’s most beautiful amphitheatres. Here’s what we think are 10 of the world’s most beautiful football stadiums on the planet.
Beijing National Stadium
Where: Beijing, China
Team: Chinese PR National Team
For some stadiums it doesn’t matter about the quality of sport on show, it’s all about the design. One such example the Beijing National Stadium. Otherwise known as ‘The Bird’s Nest’, it was built for the 2008 Summer Olympics but was recently the venue for the China’s matches during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Designed by famed Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and costing around £360 million to construct, the stadium consists of an inner concrete bowl and a spectacular curvilinear outer steel shell that gives it the look of a bird’s nest.
Estadio BBVA Bancomer
Where: Guadalupe, Mexico
Team: C.F. Monterrey
Nicknamed ‘El Gigante de Acero’, which translates as ‘The Steel Giant’, the Bancomer stadium in Guadalupe, Mexico is all about the views. Home of C.F. Monterrey, it may not actually be located in Monterrey and the project was met with a whole load of environmental controversy, but nobody can deny that Mexico’s fourth largest stadium offers one of the most breath-taking scenes in any football stadium the world over.
Where: Felcsút, Hungary
Team: Puskás Akadémia FC
Another feat of architectural beauty, take a look at the Pancho Aréna in Felcsút, Hungary. Home to the youth team of Videoton, Puskás Akadémia FC, the Pancho is utterly staggering. Designed by legendary Hungarian architect Imre Makovetz, it may only have a capacity of 3,816, but its curving, wood-lined interior gives the stadium an awe-inspiring, cathedral-like feel. It opened in 2014 and is named after Hungary’s most famous ever footballer, Ferenc Puskas, and his Spanish nickname.
Estádio Municipal de Aveiro
Where: Aveiro, Portugal
One for the big kids out there, the Estádio Municipal de Aveiro in Portugal was designed for Euro 2004 by Portuguese architect Tomás Taveira and is primarily built for fun. The exterior is divided into different coloured panels, while seats inside have also been randomly asigned different colours – red, green, yellow, blue, white, and black – to offer an original and chromatic animation. Despite currently only being used for the Beira-Mar U19s team, it’s still the fifth largest football ground in Portugal.
Ottmar Hitzfeld Stadium
Where: Gspon, Switzerland
Team: FC Gspon
More ‘pitch’ than ‘stadium’, it’s still impossible to argue that the home of village team FC Gspon isn’t one of the most breath-taking football venues on the entire planet. With views of the snow-capped Alps as far as the eye can see, the Ottmar Hitzfeld Stadium is located 2,000 metres above sea level in Switzerland, making it the highest ground in Europe. The altitude means it’s extremely difficult to grow grass; as a result, Gspon play on artificial turf which is 75% of the size of a regular pitch – purely as that’s the only flat land that was available. It’s also virtually inaccessible by car, meaning players, coaches and fans all arrive on by cable car on match days.
Where: Milan, Italy
Team: AC Milan, Inter Milan
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And while many may see the San Siro as a concrete behemoth, we see Italian tradition and brutalist beauty. Quite simply, it’s an icon. Some of the game’s greatest footballers have graced the pitch and it’s also hosted European Cup and Champions League finals. But the stadium was designed with purpose too, with every spectator getting maximum visibility regardless of where they sit.
Where: Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland
Team: Íþróttabandalag Vestmannaeyja (ÍBV)
Probably the most unpronounceable stadium of our list, the Hásteinsvöllur in Iceland is the home ground of Íþróttabandalag Vestmannaeyja (ÍBV). Featuring only a single stand, the stadium itself is hardly one for grandeur, but the surroundings most certainly are. Though you’ve probably never heard of ÍBV, they won three Icelandic league titles in the 90s and have played in the Champions League. Former England goalkeeper David James did also play for them for a season towards the end of his career.
Where: Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Team: Chinese Taipei National Team
Less about the view and more about the architecture, the Taiwan National Stadium plays host to the Chinese Taipei national team with the stadium’s spiral shape evoking a dragon’s tail. It’s also the first stadium in the world to use almost entirely solar energy to power the itself, thanks to panels covering the external face of the stadium.
Where: Munich, Germany
Team: FC Bayern Munich
Munich’s Allianz Arena truly is a modern classic. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the striking home of FC Bayern Munich (and up until 2017 also 1860 Munich) is characterised by its exterior of inflated ETFE plastic panels. It’s the first stadium in the world to have a full colour changing exterior and is regularly changing its aesthetic depending on the event.
Where: Henningsvær, Norway
Team: Henningsvær FC
The most remote stadium on our list, take a look at the incredible Henningsvær Stadion located in the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway. The stadium doesn’t feature any stands and is only used for amateur football with the village of Henningsvær only having a population of less than 500. It almost doesn’t look real it’s so stunning!
Also check out our top 10 most beautiful sporting venues across the planet.