Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid

If you're a Euro footy fan, you've already heard of Santiago Bernabéu, one of the most famous stadiums in the world, and an absolute must-visit for any football lover. Even if you're not a fan of the beautiful game, this place is still amazing; it's a modern, multi-tiered, magnificent structure with enough room to hold up to 81,000 cheering fans. Santiago Bernabéu is home to Real Madrid, one of the greatest football teams on the planet.

Construction on the stadium first began in 1945, and it was officially opened for a match against the Portuguese champions, OS Belenenses, two years later in 1947. If you get the chance, it's well worth trying to bag yourself a ticket to watch a match while you're in Madrid; the atmosphere's absolutely electric.

Take a stadium tour

Football fans will have the chance to take a self-guided tour around the iconic home of Real Madrid. You can learn all about the history of Santiago Bernabéu as you follow a set route through the stadium. As you make your way around, you can explore the ins and outs of the stadium and learn about one of Europe's most celebrated clubs. You'll have access to the dugouts, the presidential box, press room, changing rooms, players' tunnel and the stunning trophy room, where Real Madrid's impressive collection of silverware is on proud display.

You'll finish off in the club shop, where you can pick up your souvenirs.

You'll also be lucky enough to have the opportunity to walk along the pristine pitch to stand where many football greats have once stood. You don't need to book your tickets in advance, you can buy them when you get there. But if you're planning in advance, you can buy your tickets online and dodge the queues.

When can I take a tour?

Tours of the stadium take place every day except Christmas day and New Year's Day. You can even take tours on match days, up to five hours before kick-off time. This is an amazing chance to experience the electric match-day atmosphere, even if you don't have a ticket for the game.

But it's worth keeping in mind that you won't be able to go into the dressing rooms on match days, as security is tight. If this particular part of the stadium is important to you, make sure you book your tour for a different day.

Whenever you're planning on visiting, it's best to give yourself plenty of time to take in everything the Santiago Bernabéu has to offer. The tour itself lasts around an hour and a half, but you're welcome to stay for as long as you like (although this may be different on a match day). Many people spend much longer wandering around the stadium, so don't feel you have to rush around and cram everything in.

Where to eat and drink

You'll find the stadium in central Madrid; it's located on the Paseo de la Castellana, which is one of the city's best-known streets right in in the heart of the business district. There's a good mix of bars and coffee shops all around the stadium where you can grab a bite to eat.

La Esquina del Bernabéu is a good place to stop off before or after the match or your tour; this shopping centre is located right next to the stadium, and you'll find a small food court and a handful of fast food outlets for an on-the-go snack.

If you walk southwards from here towards the centre of Madrid, you'll find a wider choice of bars and restaurants to choose from if you prefer more of a sit-down meal and a glass or two of the local vino.

How do I get there?

Santiago Bernabéu is easy to get to from virtually anywhere in the city. If you're taking public transport, you can take the metro, bus or train.

By metro:

The quickest and most convenient route to the stadium is on metro line 10. You can travel direct from Plaza de Espa ña or Tribunales and stop off at Santiago Bernabéu metro stop, which is right next to the stadium.

By bus:

If you're planning on taking the bus, you can use any of the following lines to get to the Bernabéu stadium: 14, 27 40, 43, 120, 126, 147 and 150.

By train:

Nuevos Ministerios is the nearest train station, and it only takes around 10 minutes to walk to the stadium from here.

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