Following Seville, Madrid or other Spanish teams in the Champions League this year? Then you’ll love a new interactive guide to European football away days developed by travel experts at Expedia.
If you’ve ever gone to watch your team play abroad, you’ll be familiar with a few things. How best to get to the stadium? Bus, tram, taxi, walk? What about places to stay – where’s the best and the most affordable hotels? And then there’s the things to do. You haven’t come from London, Manchester, Munich or somewhere else just to watch the football. You want to see some sights and sample some flavours too, right?
Expedia’s guide, called The Fan’s Guide to European Away Games, answers all these questions and more. Think of it as your go–to resource when planning a European football trip. With this guide you’ll know exactly how to get to the stadium in time for kick–off, the best local hotels and the lowdown on all these is to see and do in the new city you’re calling home for a few days.
Few nations compare to Spain, where each region and each city has its own unique identity, culture and history entrenched in its DNA.
Seville – capital of Andalusia – is renowned for its rich heritage, colour and vibrancy but also for its ferocious devotion to football. Home to both Sevilla FC and Real Betis Balompie, the city is divided right down the middle into red and green.
Locals demand to know if you are a Sevillista or a Betico; if your devotion lies with Sevilla – the uptown club located in the city’s swanky and central Nervion district – or with Real Betis – the traditional team of the city’s dockworkers, located in the southern barrio of Heliopolis.
Every match day of Spanish football action sees one of the two eternal rivals play at home, but on two very special weekends a year the two face each other in ‘El Gran Derbi’.
This is an occasion not to be missed as it captures the South American–inspired atmosphere of Seville – on a night when its passion, noise and sound are evident throughout the city.
Sevilla’s Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan is nicknamed ‘La Bombonera’ as recognition of the similarity to the cauldron–like home of Boca Juniors which is no surprise given the southern city’s reputation for street carnivals.
Tickets for derby matches should be bought well in advance as games quickly sell out, despite both stadiums holding in excess of 45,000 [Sevilla] and 51,000 [Real Betis].
Both clubs now offer online ticketing facilities but – as is the case across the country – these are often unreliable and, if possible, tickets should be bought directly from ticket offices at the stadiums.
Sevilla’s Sanchez Pizjuan is most accessible – located in central Seville, it is easily accessible from the city’s old town by foot [approximately 30 minutes from the Cathedral] and it is served by the Nervion and Gran Plaza stations on the city’s metro system, while trams and busses also drop you nearby.
A shopping centre has been built into the stadium, which is also surrounded by cafes, bars and restaurants, ensuring food and drink are easily accessed.
A long–held grudge of Betis fans was the feeling the authorities deliberately cut off their stadium and Heliopolis stronghold off from central Seville – the metro system does not cover this area of the city, and their ground is approximately 3km south of the centre, walkable along the scenic and tranquil setting of the Rio Gualdaquivir [named Betis Baetis by the Romans, hence the club name].
Alternatively, various bus routes leave you at the door of the stadium, which is coliseum–like: grand in stature but badly outdated, in need of renovation and a lick of paint. Fan–packed bars are located close by, although fans tend to congregate in the street.
Beer and food are reasonably priced outside both grounds – a caña and tapa should set you back no more than €4, and is a great way to soak up the pre–match atmosphere.
With this season’s Champions League already throwing up some classic games and testy encounters – whether it was Manchester City and Celtic’s thrilling 3–3 draw or Premier League champions Leicester City’s better–than–expected debut – you don’t want to miss out on a second of the action.
So whether you’re off to Monchengladbach, Munich, Manchester or somewhere else entirely, get hold of the guide so you know which bus you need to get to the stadium and where the best place is for a pre–match pint.
Start planning your Champions League trip today.