Even though North America is home to some great sports venues, a number of countries throughout the world have very unique and original designs that home some of their most cherished sports teams. Some are nearly brand new, some are bordering on holy sites to team fans, and some are just plain cool to see, but each stadium provides the spectator with a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Here are some of the best stadiums that given the chance, you should definitely check out on your travels:
13. The Float@Marina Bay (Singapore)
Located in Singapore, The Float@Marina Bay is the largest floating stage in the world. Made entirely of steel, the platform can sustain a total weight the equivalent of: 9,000 people, 200 tons of stage equipment and three 30-ton military vehicles. The stadium has a capacity of 30,000 and hosts a number of events including soccer, concerts and exhibitions. Try to get there soon, though. The Float@Marina Bay will see a decrease in use once the new National Stadium is finished construction.
12. Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (Italy)
The stadium known as the “San Siro” is located in the San Siro district of Milan, Italy and is the home of famous soccer clubs A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale Milano. Though the capacity is somewhat less than its peak, the San Siro still boasts a capacity of over 80,000. The stadium is set to host the final of the 2016 UEFA Champion’s League, and has seen a number of renovations over the years after first opening in 1926. However, the stadium is set to see a decline in use in the near future, as Internazionale have plans to move out of the stadium into their own venue.
11. First National Bank Stadium (Johannesburg)
Host to the 2010 World Cup final, the stadium is officially named the First National Bank Stadium, or FNB Stadium but is more effectively nicknamed “The Calabash” (in reference to an African pot, similar in appearance) or simply “Soccer City”. The stadium saw a number of major renovations take place in the buildup to the World Cup final. With a capacity over 90,000 Soccer City is the largest stadium in the continent of Africa. The venue was also the site of the first speech given by Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison in 1990, and was where his memorial service was held. Currently, the stadium is the home of the South African national soccer and rugby teams, as well as club soccer team Kaizer Chiefs.
10. Ericsson Globe (Sweden)
Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe Arena is the largest hemispherical building in the world, and required more than 2 years worth of construction before it was finished. Shaped like a giant golf ball, the stadium has a diameter of 361 feet, and a height of 279 feet. Seating capacity is just over 16,000 for concerts and shows, and just under 14,000 for ice hockey. The Ericsson Globe is one of the most instantly identifiable stadiums in the world due to its unique shape, and even provides visitors with the chance to travel up an inclined elevator to the top of the arena, providing a great view overlooking all of Stockholm.
9. Azadi Stadium (Iran)
Officially ranked as the fifth largest soccer stadium in the world, Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran has had a record attendance of 128,000 for a match between the Iranian and Australian national soccer teams. Located in the west of Tehran, the stadium provides easy access for the majority of the cities inhabitants. Though it has a simple concrete bowl style design, the sheer size of this behemoth is amazing. The stadium is home to a pair of soccer clubs, and remains the home for the national squad.
8. AAMI Park (Australia)
More casually referred to as, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium is certainly one of the most unique design concepts for a stadium. Having just opened in 2010, the stadium still has a new feel in comparison to most. Boasting a capacity that is just over a modest 30,000 the stadium is home to a number of Melbourne’s soccer and rugby clubs. The “Bioframe” design features a geodesic dome roof that provides cover to most of the seats, but still allows for natural light to shrine onto the pitch.
7. Stade Roland Garros (France)
Roland Garros is arguably the most identifiable tennis venue in the world. The famous complex hosts the French Open that is played annually around the end of May or beginning of June. The stadium is named after French hero Roland Garros, inventor of the forward-firing aircraft machine gun, and first pilot referred to as an “ace” during World War I. The complex contains 20 courts, and even a Tenniseum, a museum dedicated to the history of tennis. The Court Phillipe Chatrier is the largest court, and is instantly identifiable to sports fans for its distinct red-clay playing surface.
6. Old Trafford (England)
Nicknamed by English soccer legend Sir Bobby Charlton the “Theatre of Dreams” is the second largest soccer stadium in the United Kingdom after Wembley Stadium. Old Trafford has been home to one of the most famous teams in the world, Manchester United F.C. and has served as the team’s home ground since 1910. Current capacity at Old Trafford is north of 75,000 and is expected to see some further renovations in the coming years as the stadium continues to be refurbished to keep up-to-date with the most modern of venues.
5. Allianz Arena (Germany)
Home to one of the world’s finest soccer clubs FC Bayern Munich, the Allianz Arena was the first in the world to feature a color-changeable exterior, as the stadium also hosts a second Munich soccer club as well as the 2014 World Cup Champion German national team. The stadium was constructed to host the 2006 World Cup final and is one of the most instantly recognizable in all of Europe. Around 70,000 soccer-mad German fans pack the venue every time Bayern Munich or the German national team takes the pitch, providing for a fantastic atmosphere.
4. National Stadium (Taiwan)
The largest stadium in Taiwan, this venue is truly of world-class design. Completed in 2009, the National Stadium is used mostly for soccer matches with a capacity of 55,000 spectators. Not only is the stadium defined by its dragon-like design, but also the exterior is covered in solar panels that provide nearly 100% of the power for the facility, the first in the world to do so.
3. Santiago Bernabeu Stadium (Spain)
The Santiago Bernabeu Stadium is a very special place in sports. Even the most casual of soccer fan across the globe has heard of Real Madrid, the giant club that calls the Bernabeu home. Not only does the team feature some of the finest talent in the world, but more than 80,000 screaming fans routinely take in matches in the capital of soccer obsessed Spain. Plans for a redevelopment are underway to increase that capacity up to 88,000 in the near future as the stadium, which opened in 1944 looks to bring in some more modern additions to enhance the spectating experience.
2. Estádio Alberto J. Armando (Argentina)
Situated in the La Boca district of the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires, this stadium is nicknamed “La Bombonera” or the “Chocolate Box” in English, because of its unique “flat” stand on one side, surrounded by three steep stands on the other sides. This very unusual shape allows for 49,000 fans to fill the stadium for home games for famous Argentinian soccer club Boca Juniors. The shape allows the venue to have excellent acoustics, which makes the stadium an extremely intimidating place to play for visitors. More work is being done on the stadium, taking the atmosphere to the next level while providing more features to supporters.
1. Estádio Municipal de Braga (Portugal)
Though it only has a capacity just over 30,000 the Estádio Municipal de Braga is unforgettable. Opened in 2003 and home to Portuguese soccer club Sporting Clube de Braga, the stadium was carved from a quarry overlooking the city. Behind the goal at one end, spectators and players alike get a magnificent view of the rock walls surrounding the stadium with the city sprawling in the distance. To get around the stadium, fans travel through a plaza built beneath the surface. The stadium has received critical acclaim for its architectural design, and is approved by UEFA for use at the highest levels of club soccer.