The start of a new year always gets us thinking about where we might travel to in the months ahead. Part of the enjoyment of holidaying is the preparation, after all. There are many different factors to consider when it comes to choosing a location – but one that has become more prevalent in recent years is the sports on offer.
With more sports from around the world being broadcast internationally, there is more awareness of leagues in other countries. That is something that has helped fans with their sports gambling, as well as inspiring dreams of visiting sports stadiums on other continents. Here are six of the best cities to visit if you want sports to be part of the decision.
The capital city of England obviously has a lot going for it and plenty of tourist attractions to keep anybody busy. But there is also a lot to do if all you are really interested in is sports. The EPL is one of the biggest soccer leagues in the world and London is home to seven of the 20 teams.
But there is much more to London than just soccer. The Wimbledon tennis championships are a huge draw for anyone wishing to experience elite sport, while there are two test cricket venues for those wanting to understand the grand old game. With rugby, basketball, and just about every other sport played in London, this is a must-visit destination.
Picking out a US city above all is a tough task. Not only do people have intense loyalties to their own cities, but there are also just so many to choose from that there are good reasons to highlight cities across the nation. But we have gone for Chicago as the one sports city in the country that you should definitely visit.
The Windy City has championship-winning teams in all four of the big sports – and can also boast a soccer champion too. Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, is one of the most iconic sports arenas in the country and has to be on a long list of sports-related destinations for anyone’s visit.
This is a city that straddles continents and is the largest in Turkey, even if it is not the official capital. Home to almost 16 million people, Istanbul loves its sports but sometimes gets forgotten when it comes to the listing of the world’s best sports cities. We decided to right that wrong.
If you are after passion you should definitely get along to watch one of the city’s soccer teams. The rivalries are legendary. If you are thinking of making a trip in 20123 you might want to see if you can get a ticket for the Champions League final at the Ataturk Stadium. But basketball is also huge here and Istanbul has hosted some of the biggest hoops events outside the US.
When you realize that Melbourne is home to 27 different professional sports teams, you understand why it is regarded as the home of sports in Australia. The Olympics have been held here, but it is the everyday relationship between Melbourne and sports that makes this place so special.
You may not even be too familiar with some of the biggest sports played here, but a visit to some of the stadiums will make any trip worth it. The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) has to be on the to-do list and you can watch cricket (unsurprisingly) as well as Aussie Rules there.
5. Rio de Janeiro
You can watch incredible surfers and local martial art, capoeira, in this most beautiful of cities. But the main draw for any sports fan has to be soccer. The sport may have originated in England but many would suggest that it was perfected in Brazil – and in Rio de Janeiro specifically.
If you are planning a trip to Rio you absolutely have to include a visit to the world-famous Maracana. It was opened for the 1950 World Cup and has hosted big games ever since. You should be able to get to see a game at any time though, as four of the big soccer teams in the city play games there.
For a sports vacation that may be a little closer to home, Toronto is waiting with open arms. Just over the U.S.-Canada border, this city has a lot going for it and attracts millions of tourists every year. It also has a full range of sports options – including many that you will probably be very familiar with, as the teams play in the big American leagues.
Like most of Canada, hockey is the big draw – and you don’t get much bigger than the Maple Leafs. Founded in 1917, the Leafs are one of the Original Six and have won the Stanley Cup 13 times. The team is starting to come back after a slump, so get along to the Scotiabank Arena in downtown for one of the great Toronto experiences.
We really like the idea of traveling the world just to take in the great sporting events that are on offer. By checking out the local teams in cities around the globe, visitors can immerse themselves into the culture of the place and experience what it must be like to be a die-hard fan. Watching a game could even lead to a life-long affiliation.
The six cities we have profiled obviously have much more going for them than just their sports teams and venues. But sports is one of the things that binds all people and getting to know a city should include the basics, we believe. It is up to you whether you make sports the central core of a vacation – or just an element of your trip. But it should always be something that is considered when you start dreaming of where you are going to go next.