Kiev – National Sports Complex Olimpiyskiy (70,050)

In short:
Kiev is a city of contrasts, mixing up sparkling gold-domed churches with pompous Soviet monuments and shiny shopping malls. And with its large avenues it feels like a proper big city. The influx of new money is clearly visible with lots of fancy restaurants, SUVs, and stiletto heels, but the cobbled streets, self-service restaurants, and peaceful river banks more than balance that.

Match schedule:
11 June (8:45 pm) – Ukraine v Sweden
15 June (8:45 pm) – Sweden v England
19 June (8:45 pm) – Sweden v France
24 June (8:45 pm) – Quarter-final 1D v 2C
01 July  (8:45 pm) – Final #29 v #30
Click here for our full Kiev venue guide.

Donetsk – Donbass Arena (51,504)

In short:
Donetsk lies in the industrial heart of Ukraine, but has recently undergone something of a facelift. It lacks a historic city centre and is most of all a city of avenues, parks, shopping malls, and nightclubs. It is a touch bland, but also does not deserve the negative reputation some have given it. Its highlight is undoubtedly the magnificent Donbass Arena.

Match schedule:
11 June (6:00 pm) – France v England
15 June (6:00 pm) – Ukraine v France
19 June (8:45 pm) – England v Ukraine
23 June (8:45 pm) – Quarter-final 1C v 2D
27 June (8:45 pm) – Semi-final #25 v #27
Click here for our full Donetsk venue guide.

Kharkiv – Metalist Stadium (38,633)

In short:
Kharkiv is the big unknown. But those expecting a dull city full of Soviet era apartment blocks might be in for a nice surprise. The apartment blocks are there, of course, but also lots of green spaces, large squares, some beautiful churches, chaotic markets, and a large student population that brings a lively atmosphere and guarantees plenty of nightlife options.

Match schedule:
09 June (6:00 pm) – Netherlands v Denmark
13 June (8:45 pm) – Netherlands v Germany
17 June (8:45 pm) – Portugal v Netherlands
Click here for our full Kharkiv venue guide.

Lviv – Arena Lviv (34,915)

In short:
Lviv more resembles the cities in neighbouring Poland than its Ukrainian counterparts. It has an old town that has not received a touristic make-over yet, and the surrounding green hills give it a romantic and mysterious edge. It is packed with open-air terraces, and well-stocked with modern coffee bars, thematic pubs, and posh nightclubs.

Match schedule:
09 June (8:45 pm) – Germany v Portugal
13 June (6:00 pm) – Denmark v Portugal
17 June (8:45 pm) – Denmark v Germany
Click here for our full Lviv venue guide.

Warsaw – Stadion Narodowy w Warszawie (58,145)

In short:
Warsaw is possibly the most underrated city in Europe. Its old town is small, touristic, but still lovely. What’s more, the surrounding areas are packed with bars, restaurants, theatres, parks and museums. Its architecture is a fascinating mix between the old, new, and ugly, but rapid economic progress has now resulted in glass skyscrapers accompanying the Stalinist Palace of Culture.

Match schedule:
08 June (6:00 pm) – Poland v Greece
12 June (8:45 pm) – Poland v Russia
16 June (8:45 pm) – Greece v Russia
21 June (8:45 pm) – Quarter-final 1A v 2B
28 June (8:45 pm) – Semi-final #26 v #28
Click here for our full Warsaw venue guide.

Wrocław – Stadion Miejski w Wrocławie (44,901)

In short:
Wrocław has the beauty of a Krakow, but (still) goes without the hordes of tourists. Its market square rates as one of Europe’s most beautiful, and the surrounding old town is picture perfect. The leafy banks of the Oder river are great to quiet down from the football excitement, but rest assured that the healthy student population provides for a wide range of eating or drinking options.

Match schedule:
08 June 2012 (8:45 pm) – Russia v Czech Republic
12 June 2012 (6:00 pm) – Greece v Czech Republic
16 June 2012 (8:45 pm) – Czech Republic v Poland
Click here for our full Wrocław venue guide.

Poznań – Stadion Miejski (43,269)

In short:
One probably would not call Poznań spectacular, but it certainly is a city with charm. The old town and market square are the heart of the city and filled with bars and restaurants. There is an abundance of parks and the nearby water reservoir provides for excellent outdoors entertainment. Another plus is that the city is well-connected with the rest of Poland for a quick break-away.

Match schedule:
10 June (8:45 pm) – Republic of Ireland vs Croatia
14 June (6:00 pm) – Italy v Croatia
18 June (8:45 pm) – Republic of Ireland v Italy

Click here for our full Poznań venue guide.

Gdańsk – PGE Arena (42,105)

In short:
Another beautiful Polish city, with the added advantage that the beach is only a few kilometres away. It has got a vibrant old town full of cafes, bars and restaurants, and for the heavier nightlife you can head up to beach resort Sopot. A city perfect for day trips with beaches, castles, medieval villages, and nature reserves all a stone’s throw away.

Match schedule:
10 June (6:00 pm) – Spain v Italy
14 June (8:45 pm) – Spain v Republic of Ireland
18 June (8:45 pm) – Croatia v Spain
22 June (8:45 pm) – Quarter-final 1B v 2A
Click here for our full Gdańsk venue guide.