Bill Shankly, one of the game’s greatest managers, once said: “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.” If you think that’s a far-fetched statement, then you’ve never visited these football-mad cities.
From the wild derbies of Istanbul and Buenos Aires to the iconic clubs of London and Madrid, here’s where every football fan needs to visit.
Milan, Italy Football rivalries don’t get much bigger (or intense) than the Derby della Madonnina, Milan’s bi-annual battle between the red and black of AC and the blue and black of Inter. Over 80,000 Milanese watch these icons lock horns in their shared gladiatorial stadium, the San Siro. While it might be tricky to secure tickets to the big match, tours of the ground and trophy-laden museum are available throughout the year.
Istanbul, Turkey Now, if the Milan derby is intense, any meeting of Istanbul’s Big Three (Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray) is a mind-blowing assault of the senses that any true football fan needs to experience. The stands are packed with unbridled passion as fans shatter noise records. A 2011 meeting between Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe clocked an ear-ringing 131 decibels, which was then a world record for the loudest roar in a sports stadium. Best bring your earplugs.
Barcelona, Spain Nobody needs an excuse to visit the sun-soaked city of Barcelona–especially fans of the Beautiful Game. The Catalonian city has long been established as a footballing wonderland thanks to the tika-taka on display at Camp Nou. Once you’ve had your fill of tapas, head straight to the stadium and learn about the likes of Messi, Ronaldinho and Cruyff as you tour the largest stadium in Europe and the club’s interactive museum.
Manchester, UK Two great teams, one truly great city. Life in England’s northern powerhouse revolves around a couple of footballing giants, Manchester United and Manchester City. Head to the Etihad or Old Trafford to watch the world’s best in action or indulge in England’s rich footballing history at the National Football Museum.You can even enjoy a football-themed meal at Cafe Football,which is located just a stone’s throw from United’s famed stadium.
Dortmund, Germany While most destinations on this list house some of football’s fiercest inner-city derbies, Dortmund is a one-team city of epic proportions. No city in the world gets behind their team like the locals of Dortmund, so it’s easy to see why a trip to the Westfalenstadion (especially the Yellow Wall) is near the top of every football fan’s bucket list. Like Manchester, Dortmund is home to a national football museum, which is a great place to get your football geekery on.
Buenos Aires, Argentina If the city of Dortmund has one of football’s most united fan bases, Buenos Aires can claim to have one of the most divided. Home to the Superclásico between Boca Juniors and River Plate, Buenos Aires eats, sleeps and breathes football (with a side of tango, of course). The derby pits two of South America’s most successful clubs against each other in a true feast for football fans.
Lisbon, Portugal The people of Lisbon agree on plenty: Pastel de Natas are the best pastries around, their native city is the prettiest of them all and their seafood is to die for. However, one thing that divides them like no other is the small matter of football. Benfica vs. Sporting. Red vs. Green. Eagles vs. Lions. It’s a rivalry that defines life in the Portuguese capital, and one that you can get to know better with a stadium of the tour Estádio da Luzor the Estadio José Alvalade.
Ever traveled somewhere just to see the flowers? Every year millions do just that! This short list of the most stunning floral regions will inspire you to stop and smell the roses. From flower festivals to exceptional botanical gardens, here is where to see the most stunning flowers in the world.
Valentine’s Day is hard: there is so much expectation and hype around the perfect romantic experience. But the truth is, it should be about you and your partner. That’s why we put together these 9 surefire ideas for Valentine’s Day to help some wayward Romeo’s.
Give yourself some peace and quiet, for Christ’s sake! Hit the road together and get away from the hectic city. Dramatic landscapes and tranquility are a must for any romantic getaway. It’s a great way to spark that sense of adventure that every romance needs. Driving too stressful? Hire someone to do it for you.
Teamwork builds trust and if you can trust your partner with sharp kitchen appliances: your relationship is on sound footing. Take a trip to the store together, pick out the ingredients, bump into each other in the kitchen, and learn something new. Grab some wine and put on some music and you’re cooking with fire.
Discover new flavors you never knew existed. You can book a tour, or meander about in your favorite picturesque neighborhood, stopping in at all the cafes. Feed each other and indulge your senses. Fun tip: make it a competition to see who can eat the most. Winner gets a free massage.
Or let someone else do the massaging. The stress will melt off and you can enjoy each other’s company. The best way to do so is with an ice-cold bottle of champagne while soaking in a thermal bath. Order some fruit and spoil each other with sweets.
Everyone wants to be swept off their feet (admit it, men!). But, let’s just say not everyone has the ability to do so. Nothing embodies passion quite like dancing and undertaking something new together. The experience bonds: physically and mentally!
Sprawling cityscapes framed by a colorful sunset. Enjoy the seclusion and the view together. Make sure you ask the waiter for some candles and don’t skimp on the special requests. Request a favorite song or a “surprise” in the ice bucket (maybe a little box with something special inside?).
Ready to take the plunge? An extreme experience – like skydiving – will get your heart racing. The thrill of holding on for dear life makes anything seem possible. Once survival mode kicks in, it’s straight into each other’s arms. Netflix and chill can wait. We promise.
Let the waves take you away. It is liberating floating on the open ocean, with the wind in your hair and nothing but the horizon in front of you. Set the atmosphere with some romantic music and wine or go for a dip together.
Vacation season is well and truly upon us! Alas so are the long-haul flights and dreaded layovers. If you don’t fancy taking root outside your gate and using up all your phone battery, you might like to check out what some airports have in the way of entertaining distractions. Together with the help of the consumer organization FairPlane, we’ve put together our favorite airport attractions from across the globe that will help turn the hours into minutes. Enjoy!
1 – Rooftop Paradise
At Singapore’s Changi Airport, it’s worth having a bathing suit stowed away in your hand luggage. A rooftop swimming pool awaits all those with time to kill! Those who prefer to stay dry can while away the time in the tropical garden, complete with almost 50 different types of butterfly and luscious greenery.
2 – Airport Brewery
Beer-lovers are bound to feel at home at Munich Airport. Home to the only airport brewery in Europe, what better place to kill an hour or 2 than with a behind-the-scenes tour or a sampling of their very own “Airbräu” beer? Follow the sound of clinking beer steins to the restaurant, located between terminal 1 and 2.
3 – Play and Fly
Keeping the kids occupied during a layover? Oh boy. All those stranded in Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris can breathe a huge sigh of relief. Here, little ones can let off some steam in the Disney-style play corner whilst the older ones check out the range of simulator games. With Playstation games, cartoons, and themed areas, the only thing you need to worry about is not missing your connecting flight!
4 – Underwater Wonderland
An underwater world of gigantic proportions awaits passengers at Vancouver’s International Airport in Canada. More than 20 different kinds of fish from the Pacific can be found bobbing through this huge aquarium. Go pay them a visit at the International Terminal.
5 – Rest and Relaxation
Travelers with a layover at Frankfurt am Main Airport in Germany won’t find themselves short on options to pass the time. Indulge in a pamper session to chase away pre-flight nerves, or treat your tootsies to a mani-pedi for that all-important beach debut. Those looking for a more spiritual atmosphere can find around-the-clock prayer rooms for peaceful contemplation.
6 – A Hole in One
The ultimate activity to keep airport boredom at bay can be found directly on the grounds of the Frankfurt Hahn Airport: a fully-functioning 9-hole golf course. Built in 1954 and renovated in 2006, the putting green provides fresh air and welcome relief from the tannoy system.
7 – The Endless Wait
If you’ve conquered the art of patience by now, why not visit an airport where airplanes are a thing of the past? At Tempelhof Airport in Berlin you won’t see any aircraft on the runway or in the skies above it. All air traffic was discontinued in 2008, although luckily for us the grounds and building itself are still open for intrepid explorers. Embark on a guided tour of the underground bunker system and many other secret corners that have only recently opened up to the public.
8 – Eliminate Further Waiting
After having waited hours for a delayed flight or connection, you’re probably not looking to waste further vacation time on queuing for taxis or navigating an unknown public transport system. Reward your perseverance with a luxury airport transfer, available from major airports worldwide such as Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. Sit back, and let the Mercedes do the work for you.