The 10 Coolest Soccer Stadiums Across the World
Imagine cheering in the stands at one of these magnificent soccer stadiums across the world.
If you're a soccer fan, you know there's nothing quite as thrilling as attending a live game. There's an unparalleled kind of energy—you, suited up in your favorite player's jersey; the stadium's light blinding your eyes; the stands erupting with support for the home team, or rage against the rivals.
But there's more to a live game than the game itself, which makes it so riveting. The stadium at which the game is held contributes to that thrill. Every stadium is different, each offering a unique experience for the super fans filling the audience. And, being such a universal sport (uniting the globe during events like World Cups and Winter or Summer Olympic games), there are so many incredible stadiums to help you truly immerse yourself into the experience. That in mind, let's take a look at the coolest soccer stadiums across the world.
10. San Siro (Milan, Italy)
Kicking off this list is San Siro, or The Giuseppe Meazza Stadium. Constructed by the founder of AC Milan in 1925 and opened to the public in 1926, this incredible stadium looms at the heart of the metropolitan, and is home to revered clubs AC Milan and Internazionale. As of late, the San Siro stands as the pride of Italy, maintaining its status as the country’s most famous and largest establishment and literally boasting an impressive capacity of 80,018. With its rich history, and having hosted both the European Cup as well as the Champion League finals, the building is hailed as one of the most respected soccer stadiums across the world. When planning a trip to Milan, this stadium is a definite must-see.
9. Azadi Stadium (Tehran, Iran)
Next on the list is the Azadi Stadium, located in Tehran, Iran. Translated to English as the “Freedom” Stadium, this proud building stands as a centerpiece of wonder in Iran. It was opened in 1971, and is home to the FB Persepolis and the FC Esteghlal. What makes this stadium so cool is its facilities—attached to the larger Azadi Sports Complex, this impressive arena includes a lake, training pitches, multiple swimming centers, and other sports facilities.
8. Allianz Arena (Munich, Germany)
Next, we fly over to Germany—to Munich’s revered Allianz Arena. Opened in 2005, this incredible establishment is one of the most gorgeously constructed soccer stadiums in the world. It’s home to Bayern Munich, and can hold an audience of just over 71,000 of the craziest fans in the world of football. Its fame is in its unique design; this is one of the few arenas in the world which literally changes color to reflect the rivaling teams. It’s one of the coolest things to see, and even cooler to experience in real time. Plus, it hosted the 2012 Champion League final, and… DRUM ROLL… it was recently announced that the Arena is planning to host the Champions League final In 2022. Looks like you have some planning to do.
Pro Tip—Snag your tickets well in advance to find the cheapest (and coolest!) touring options.
7. Camp Nou (Barcelona, Spain)
On to Espana! The home stadium to the famed FC Barcelona, Camp Nou is a stadium you don’t want to miss visiting on your next trip to Barcelona. It has a staggering capacity of over 99,000, making this impressive stadium the largest in Spain and Europe, as well as third largest in the world. Some of the greats have kicked up dirt on these grounds, including Diego Maradona, who earned the status of the best player in the world in the 1980s.
Camp Nou stands as a relic of pride for Spain, and for good reason: Opened in 1957, it has a rich history, and one that Barcelona proudly presents to the world. It truly is one of the most incredible soccer stadiums in the world.
6. Santiago Bernabéu Stadium (Madrid, Spain)
We’re not leaving the country for this next one, but trust me, it’s worth the extended stay. The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, located in Madrid, hosts soccer giant Real Madrid. The arena isn’t as large is Camp Nou (ranking second largest in Spain with a capacity of 81,044), but may very well be more famous. Opened in 1947, its grounds have been played on by some of the greats: Ferenc Puskas, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. There’s a reason this arena boasts a review as the best stadium in Europe to visit on TripAdvisor.
5. First National Bank Stadium (Johannesburg, South Africa)
No list would be complete without Soccer City: the First National Bank Stadium. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, this famous arena is home to the South African National team, the Kaizer Chiefs, and was constructed in 1989. Notably, the stadium was renovated in 2009 to host the 2010 World Cup final—and the renovations made for an unbelievable centerpiece. Holding a whopping 94,700 capacity, the FNB Stadium ranks at fourth largest in the world. Its respected fields have been kicked up by some incredible players—including Nelson Mandela, who made his first speech at the arena after being released from prison in 1990. Rich in South African history, this stadium is a landmark that both soccer fans and non-soccer fans alike would benefit from visiting.
4. Estadio Azteca (Tlalpan, Mexico City)
And now to Mexico we go. Next up is The Estadio Azteca, which opened in 1966 and is home to Mexico’s national football team, Cruz Azul. Reaching a capacity of just over 87,500, this arena ranks as the largest stadium in Mexico. Probably what makes this stadium so revered, however, isn’t its size—Instead, it’s the iconic moment which featured Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal during the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
The stadium is notorious for its atmosphere, each game marked by a distinct craze unique to the Azteca audience. It’s a must-see for any sports enthusiast visiting Mexico.
3. Wembley Stadium (London, Wembley)
Wembley Stadium is one of the most well known, and highly respected, soccer stadiums across the world. One of the coolest things about it: The original Wembley Stadium was constructed way back in 1923, but it was revitalized and reopened in 2007, on the site of its predecessor. Located in London and home to the England National Football team, this arena is known across borders as “The Home of Football” for its invigorating atmosphere and charismatic fanbase. A couple of its more distinct features are its 7,840 ton steel roof and its 436 foot steel arch, spanning a grandiose 1,033 feet. It’s an architectural masterpiece, and with a capacity of 90,000, it’s a masterpiece that can hold a crowd.
2. La Bombonera (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Argentina is our next destination, and you’ll be glad we made the visit. La Bombonera—or Estadio Alberto J. Armando, as its officially titled—is, hands down, one of the coolest stadiums you can visit. It’s nicknamed “La Bombonera,” translated to English as “chocolate box,” for its unique “D” shape and steep sides. That makes the acoustics of the arena absolutely fantastic, lending itself to an incredible fan experience when the stands go wild for Argentina’s beloved team, the Boca Juniors.
It only (only?) has a capacity of 49,000, but its claim to fame is in its unique architecture, deeming it one of the most emblematic stadiums across the world. When booking a trip of Argentina, make sure your tour includes visiting the iconic La Bombonera arena—you won’t want to miss out on this one.
1. Rungrado 1st of May Stadium (Pyongyang, North Korea)
And finally, one of the absolute coolest stadiums across the world; the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea. With a boggling capacity of 150,000, this arena ranks as the largest in the world. It’s a landmark characteristic of North Korea—projecting its power, strength, and magnitude to the rest of the world. Not only does the stadium’s capacity make it absolutely unbelievable, but so does the fact that it lives on its own island. With only two roads connecting the stadium to the nearby metropolitan, this mountain of a stadium marks its ground quite literally in its own universe. Do you expect anything less from a country known for one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history though?
The arena is home to North Korea’s National Football Team, and while the stadium itself is used mainly for military parades and mass pageants, the sheer magnitude of the space lends itself to an unbelievable destination experience.
At the end of the game...
When push comes to shove (or... kick?), every soccer stadium is unique in its own way. The experience of a live game, the collective effervescence of cheering your team to victory, is unparalleled, and every stadium houses a different shade of the thrill. These are just 10 of the many, many cool soccer stadiums across the world, all of which are worthy of visiting whenever you have the opportunity (so long as you're sure to avoid the worst MLS venues of all time). Long live football!