There are some grounds where players could be forgiven for taking their eyes off the ball. Here’s our list of the 7 most beautiful football stadiums in the world.
1. Pancho Arena (Felcsút, Hungary)
There’s never been a better reason to watch Hungarian youth football! The Pancho Arena is in the village of Felcsút and is the home ground of Puskás Akadémia FC. It was named after Ferenc Puskás, adopting the nickname the player had in Spain.
The Pancho Arena may only seat 3,500, but is one of the world’s most beautiful football grounds because of the curving wooden beams that support the stadium’s roof. They were the work of the seminal architect Imre Makovecz.
2. Sapporo Dome (Hokkaido, Japan)
An astounding feat of modern architecture, this multi-use stadium in Hokkaido was the most emblematic arena at the 2002 World Cup. From the outside the silver dome looks like a spaceship, but the cool part is the pitch.
The dome isn’t retractable, but the pitch is: Most of the time the turf will be outside the stadium. When it’s needed for football matches the seating configuration changes and the pitch automatically slides along rails into the arena.
3. Ipurúa Stadium (Eibar, Spain)
La Liga side Eibar’s stadium is wedged on the floor of a precipitous valley in the Basque Country so space is at a premium. The green mountainsides tower over the ground’s touchlines, and this doesn’t leave a lot of room for seating.
Despite playing at Spain’s top level there’s only room for 6,285 fans, but it’s the landscape that makes Ipurúa one of the world’s most beautiful football grounds. There can’t be a more picturesque stadium to watch the likes of Messi and Ronaldo ply their trade next season.
4. Braga Stadium (Braga, Portugal)
S.C. Braga’s Estádio Municipal is one of the most beautiful stadiums in the world for the way its architecture interacts with the landscape. The 30,286-seater stadium in northern Portugal was built for Euro 2004 on the site of a former quarry.
And it will be easy to tell, because one end of the pitch is backed by nothing but a sheer rockface that looms above the goal. If you come to a match it may be difficult to keep your eyes on the action from the vast lateral stands.
5. Camp Nou (Barcelona, Spain)
It’s not just that Barcelona’s Camp Nou is one of the world’s iconic football cathedrals, the stadium has a scale that blows first-time visitors away and this is what qualifies it for the world’s most beautiful grounds.
After recent works there’s now a capacity for 99,354. When you approach from the outside you won’t get an idea of the Camp Nou’s size as the lowest of the three tiers is below ground level.
6. Stadion Gospin Dolac (Imotski, Croatia)
Former quarries are good locations if you want to build one of the most beautiful football grounds in the world. Croatian club HFN Rijeka’s stadium is bordered on its north side by the high craggy bluffs of a quarry.
And just beyond the southern end are the calm, azure waters of the Adriatic Sea, and views extend to the Istria peninsula and islands of Cres and Krk. With a capacity of 12,600, the stadium is occasionally for Croatia’s internationals.
7. Rheinpark Stadion (Vaduz, Liechtenstein)
Liechtenstein may not have the world’s top football team, but they do have one of the most beautiful stadiums in the world. It’s not so much the arena, a 7,584-capacity ground with a single tier.
What makes it special are the soaring Alpine peaks that climb to the east of the stadium. You don’t need to wait for internationals to come and see a match, as the Swiss Super League team FC Vaduz also plays its home matches here.
The Eye of the Beholder
Of course beauty is a subjective thing. Is there a shoo-in for the most beautiful football stadiums in the world that we’ve unfairly overlooked? Let us know.