Monthly Wrap: 5 Best European Cities to Watch the World Cup
Currencies Direct November 23rd 2022 - 3 minute read
It may seem strange to be gearing up for a World Cup in the middle of a northern hemisphere winter, but here we are. Beer gardens and cider will be switched out for steamed up pubs and mulled wine. The World Cup will be taking place in Qatar this year, and the first time the tournament has been scheduled in the middle of the European football season, which also happens to be in the middle of the European winter.
If you haven’t been able to make the trip to Qatar to watch the action live, or even if you just want to enjoy a lively atmosphere a bit closer to home, there are still plenty of exciting places to visit to watch the World Cup. A short flight and you can experience the most electric atmospheres and best cities to enjoy the biggest sporting event in the world.
With 32 countries competing in a total of 64 games spread over a month, with a very friendly European time zone difference with Doha; all games will be 10am, 1pm, 4pm or 7pm UTC. Here are the five best European cities to watch the World Cup.
Madrid, home of Real Madrid and ‘La Decimocuarta’; 14 times winners of the UEFA Champions League, you’d be hard pressed to not find a bar to watch the World Cup. Spain has the highest rate of bars per capita in the world, and combined with incredible food and architecture, Madrid makes it a perfect city to catch the World Cup.
One bar gets a special mention, the Toñín El Torero bar, home to one of the most historical Real Madrid supporter groups. Adorned with Real Madrid memorabilia from floor to ceiling, including newspaper clippings of when Real players have visited the bar. One of the most prized possessions is a signed shirt from Raul, former Real Madrid captain. Just be careful if you try stepping foot inside with a Barcelona shirt.
If you miss the warmth of a summer world cup, then Marseille might just have you covered. Arguably the sunniest location on this list, and officially France’s sunniest city, Marseille has both the weather and the atmosphere. Renowned for being the home to some of Europe’s most passionate football fans, Marseille is also home to incredible architecture and of course, the beaches.
Marseille’s Vieux Port (Old Port) has long been the Mediterranean gateway to France’s second biggest city, and its historic surroundings make for a stunning backdrop to the World Cup. With a plethora of bars and restaurants concentrated around the Old Port, it shouldn’t be difficult in finding bars or restaurants showing games. Even if your team does end up crashing out of the tournament in the group stages, at least the scenery is nice.
Ever since Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006, ‘fan miles’ have remained a major staple in every international tournament since. Fan parks sprung up all over the country, attracting huge crowds at every tournament. 2022 will be no different. Despite the cooler weather of a German winter, that hasn’t stopped the latest iteration of fan parks to fully cater for fans. Outdoor heaters and shelter from any rain or snow, Munich will offer the finest Bavarian hospitality as Germany hopes to make it out of the group stage this time.
Despite the Netherlands holding the undesirable record of playing the most finals without ever winning, the Netherlands’ passion remains unmatched. The Oranje and their army of orange-clad fans, travel to all four corners of the Earth to watch their team, but the fans at home will still ensure an unrivalled atmosphere.
One of the best places to catch the action, but highly dependent on the weather, is the Museumplein. A huge public space that is home to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, the Museumsplein transforms from a green and serene area into a vibrant sea of orange as fans descend to watch the games on huge screens.
London might not be on everyone’s winter getaway list. But with an abundance of traditional pubs and no shortage of atmosphere; London, the birthplace of football, is up there when it comes to watching live football. You won’t be able to kick a football in London without hitting a pub or bar that’s showing the World Cup. Big screens, outside seating with plenty of shelter and heating, London will be providing all the atmosphere and excitement, just don’t expect much sunshine.
The Boxpark, with locations in both Croydon and Shoreditch, offer the kind of atmosphere and hospitality to make you forget it’s a cold and windy December evening. It’s Outdoor spaces, are fully covered and heated, while the shipping container aesthetic of Boxpark makes it a unique venue. It is advisable to book ahead to make sure you nab a spot, the further England manage to go in the World Cup, the larger the crowds will grow.