Are you ready for some football?! Yep, the kickoff to the American football season has begun and that means thousands of fans are flocking to stadiums across the U.S. to watch their favorite teams play… and the excitement in these arenas is palpable! And when it comes to travel, sports fans enjoy a nice vacay planned around their favorite sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, because it allows them to experience the big game thrills and check out local landmarks and hangouts, too. From golf to grand prix… plan your sports vacay now! Get inspired with Vacation’s list of the most awe-inspiring sports arenas in the world.
Camp Nou (Barcelona, Spain)
The Experience: Check out a soccer game at Camp Nou – home to FC Barcelona (Barca). This stadium opened in 1957 and has since hosted two UEFA Champions League finals as well as Olympic events during the 1992 Games. Expect a party atmosphere during home games and wait for the Barca fans to shout "Independencia," 17 minutes and 14 seconds into every half, in commemoration of Catalan’s 1714 loss of independence.
Return on non-match days to explore the changing rooms, walk beside the pitch and experience the Barca Museum, where the boots of legendary goal scorers sit alongside the trophies they earned.
The Wow Factor: With a capacity of 99,787 that’s set to expand to 101,000, this is Europe’s largest stadium.
Wimbledon (All England Lawn Tennis Club, London, England)
The Experience: For two weeks each summer, this private members’ club hosts one of the most famous tennis tourneys in the world, where top-seed players compete on the illustrious center court. Expect a well-mannered crowd of Hollywood stars, royals and former champions; prepare for 125mph serves and pin-drop silence during play; fill up on strawberries and cream, Pimms and English tea. If you don’t manage to get a court ticket, join the long line to picnic around the big screen on Aorangi Terrace, known locally as “Henman Hill” or “Murray Mound.”
The Wow Factor: The largest catering operation in Europe’s sports calendar, around 61,730 pounds of strawberries and 1,540 gallons of cream are consumed during the tournament.
Augusta (Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia, U.S.)
The Experience: A year after it opened in 1933, this exclusive golf course became the home of the U.S. Masters. Built on the site of a former plant nursery, each hole is named after a flower or shrub and the course is characterized by gorgeous green fairways and Georgian pines. Pick a hole, set down your folding seat and wait for the golfing greats to visit you one by one. Tension builds steadily throughout the week as champions such as Adam Scott and Bubba Watson compete for the competition’s coveted green jacket.
The Wow Factor: Augusta National’s Trophy Room in the clubhouse displays golf clubs, busts and portraits of the sport’s most illustrious players.
Monaco (Monte Carlo, French Riviera)
The Experience: Each May, Monte Carlo’s narrow streets are transformed into one of the world’s most technically demanding Grand Prix courses for the Formula One. The burning rubber, roaring speedway and smell of diesel create an electric atmosphere as billionaires watch the race from their mega yachts. With the gorgeous and glamorous on show, celebrity spotting, socializing and Champagne drinking are as important as the race itself. Best of all, you can visit outside the event and follow part of the course yourself.
The Wow Factor: For the ultimate A-lister treatment, $3,300 buys you weekend entry to the race’s VIP balcony suite above the main straight with cars racing just below you.
Melbourne Cricket Ground (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
The Experience: Pass the life-sized statues of cricketing heroes, climb to your seat on the vertigo-inducing top tier or join the rowdy spectators in Bay 13, and sit amongst a 70,000-strong crowd in the world’s largest cricket venue.
Home to the Melbourne Cricket Club in the summer and Australia Rules Football in the winter, “The G” as it’s known locally, opened in 1853 and hosted the first ever test match between Australia and England. Take a stadium tour at any time throughout the year, or visit during Christmas for the venue’s biggest and most exciting event – the annual Boxing Day test match.
The Wow Factor: Melbourne Cricket Ground has hosted everything from the ‘56 Olympics to the ‘92 World Cup final, few stadiums are as steeped in history and emotion as this famous sports venue.
Inspired by this article and want to speak with a Vacation travel agent about how you can plan an unforgettable sports-inspired trip? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts connect you with a specialist to plan your next vacay.