Stadiums come at different locations. The traditional English stadiums were famous of being hemmed in by housing, German stadiums tended to get built in city parks, and the latest generation of stadiums often finds itself at an office and retail park on the edge of the city.
Some stadiums though, jump out of the pack because of the spectacular location they have been built at. These settings can be man-made or natural, but they have in common that they all make for pretty nice pictures.
We have collected 17 of them, and they include such features as oceans, seas, lakes, mountains, rocks, beaches, castles, palaces, skyscrapers, and bridges. We have earlier already dedicated a photo gallery to riverside stadiums.
If you wish to know a bit more about these stadiums, then there is some explanation below the photos.
1. Cape Town Stadium – The stadiums are in random order, but even if we did make a ranking, we would likely have ended up with Cape Town Stadium as a solid number one. If you have the Atlantic Coast just a hundred metres away and the splendid Table Mountain as a backdrop, you are unbeatable if it comes to spectacular stadium settings.
2. Stadion Kantrida – Croatia has a knack for spectacular stadium settings – we have one more later on – , as they have tremendous help from the beautiful Adriatic sea coast. Rijeka built their stadium right on the coast, and as the stadium was built at the site of an old stone quarry, it is bordered by a wall of rocks on its other side.
3. PPL Park – When the town of Chester offered Philadelphia Union to build a stadium in their municipality, they had hoped that it would regenerate the previously neglected area. This did not happen, but the new PPL Park, which sits almost right underneath the Commodore Barry Bridge that spans the Delaware River, surely has attracted the attention for its location.
4. Sparkassen-Erzgebirgsstadion – Tucked deep inside the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) of Eastern Germany lies the small town of Aue. The team has climbed up all the way to the 2. Bundesliga, and one also needs to climb a hill to get to their stadium which is surrounded by more green rolling hills. Visiting a match on a sunny autumn day must be a very pleasant experience.
5. Bet Butler Stadium – Scotland is another country that has an ample collection of beautifully located stadiums. Pittodrie and the Caledonian Stadium were good contenders, but there really was not much competition for Dumbarton’s Bet Butler Stadium. It sits right at the foot of Dumbarton Rock with (parts of) Dumbarton Castle perched on top.
6. Aker Stadion – We could have selected any Norwegian stadium outside of the Oslo area, but Aker Stadion in the town of Molde really has a lot going for it. It sits right on the shore of the Romsdalsfjord and has dramatic views over the adjacent snow-topped mountain ranges.
7. Bluetongue Stadium – One would expect an Australian stadium to be on the list, and isn’t it great to watch some football and see 22 palm trees waving above one of the goals? What’s more, behind the palm trees begins the Brisbane Water, an inland ocean bay, and one can almost imagine the dolphins and whales jumping out of the water (which Wikipedia says is very unlikely).
8. Estadio de Riazor – Admittedly, the above photos does not do justice, but what you see right behind the beach is La Coruña’s Estadio de Riazor. Local planners ruined the location somewhat by squeezing an indoor sports hall in between the stadium and the beach, but in few places you can plan a day at the beach and then walk a hundred metres to see some top football. Here is a better photo.
9. Inönü Stadi – Beşiktaş’ Inönü Stadi has two thing going for it: first there is the location right on the Bosphorus, but to top things off it lies also right next to Dolmabahçe Palace (visible on the photo), which is arguably one of Istanbul’s main cultural highlights.
10. Stade François Coty – Corsica is a beautiful island with an amazing coastline, and AC Ajaccio made good use of that by building a stadium high up the shore with a breathtaking view over the Mediterranean Sea. They were also smart enough to leave that side of the stadium open so that if the football disappoints, fans at least have the view.
11. BBVA Compass Stadium – Few of the newly built soccer-specific MLS stadiums have been built at central locations (on the contrary), but the Houston Dynamo decided to be the exception and build their recently opened BBVA Compass Stadium right in Houston’s downtown. This, of course, leads to nice skyline pictures.
12. Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo – While basically any point in Santiago de Chile gives a magnificent view over the snow-topped Andes mountains, the home of Universidad Católica lies right at the foot of these mountains. In fact, the view may even be better from farther away, e.g. from Estadio Monumental, but La Católica’s rivals surely cannot recreate a photo like this.
13. Stadio Giuseppe Sinigaglia – If it is good enough for George Clooney, you know you are at a special place. Como’s home might not be a beauty itself, but more than makes up for it by sitting right on the shores of Lake Como. What better than having a pizza in Como’s historic centre and then making the short walk to the stadium while glancing out over the lake?
14. Alfheim Stadion – The second Norwegian entry comes from Tromsø. Could this be the most northern top-flight stadium in Europe? Because Norway pretty much ends after Tromsø. Located on an island in a bay of the Norwegian Sea, the wilderness is never far away, and in winter rough mountains covered with snow loom over the small stands of the stadium.
15. Hásteinsvöllur – A list of spectacular stadium settings is incomplete without a stadium from either the Faroer Islands or Iceland. Hásteinsvöllur is the home of Icelandic Premier League side IB Vestmannaeyja, and located on a small island off the coast. The spectacular rocks in the back give the extra edge. Good other candidates were this and this one on the Faroer Islands.
16. Stadion Gospin Dolac – It is the second Croatian stadium in this gallery, but this time not on the coast, but in a small mountain town. Second division side NK Imotski found some space in between a few rocks, and with some quirky stands had themselves a stadium. It is surrounded by medieval ruins and of you climb over the rocks, you look right into a lagoon.
17. Reebok Stadium – Yes really, the Reebok Stadium. Of course, it is built on a modern office park and the M61 runs right past, but if you take the photo from a reasonable distance and include something of the lovely English countryside, it actually looks very nice. It is not only the photo above, but we also could have chosen this, or this, or this, or this, or this shot, which kind of proves our point.