5 Places for a Dream UEFA Champions League Holiday in Europe - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Friday, April 27, 2018

5 Places for a Dream UEFA Champions League Holiday in Europe

St Peters Square, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

Summer is that perfect time for a special European holiday with family and/or friends. Not only is the weather absolutely gorgeous at this time in that part of the world, the pleasant, bright and long days ensure that you get maximum time for exploration followed by action packed nightlife. Add to this the ongoing UEFA Champions League and you have what I think is a dream holiday in Europe.

Starnberg near Munich, Germany

If you are a football lover or even a sports lover, this could be a lip smacking holiday proposition for you. Watching your favorite players play in iconic football stadiums amidst colorful and noisy fans and then rejoicing that experience over some freshly brewed beer and exploring these amazing European destinations during non football time is kind of like a perfect sports holiday. These days, sports holidays seem to be the in thing in the world of travel. Whether it is the Olympics, the recently completed Gold Coast Commonwealth games, a pan Europe Champions League in this case or the upcoming football world cup in Russia, they offer the best of two fantastic worlds – sports and travel. I would opt for such perfect combo trips in a heart beat.

Royal Palace and Almudena Cathedral, Madrid, Spain

If you are a die-hard football fan and money is not an issue, I would say plan a Champions League Europe road trip where you travel between the various UEFA Champions League locations. This way, you get to enjoy the semi finals and finals up close and live, you get to live that European road trip, you get to explore some of the best cities of Europe and you get a taste of the amazing European countryside and its various attractions. If the road trip sounds a bit too much for you, you could opt for a specific UEFA Champions League match location (Kyiv, Rome, Madrid, Munich or Liverpool) and plan your entire holiday around it. Either ways, the below tips and ideas will help you make the best of your dream sports holiday to Europe. Before you read any further, make sure you plan properly to get a solid travel insurance plan and a good multi-currency forex card like the ones offered by Axis Bank to ensure that are fully equipped to handle crowds, safety issues, finance issues and any possible medical contingencies.

Pokrova Nunnery, Kiev, Ukraine

Here is the handy UEFA Champions League Schedule to help you plan your trip:

Date: 25-April-2018 | Location: Liverpool, England

Semi final 1st Leg | Liverpool vs Roma | Liverpool won 5-2

Date: 26-April-2018 | Location: Munich, Germany

Semi final 1st Leg | Bayern vs Real Madrid | Real Madrid won 2-1   
Date: 2-May-2018 | Location: Madrid, Spain

Semi final 2nd Leg | Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich

Date: 3-May-2018 | Location: Rome, Italy

Semi Final 2nd Leg | Roma vs Liverpool

Date: 27-May-2018 | Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Final | TBD vs TBD
And here is the dope on all the five locations where the semi finals and the finals of the Champions League will be held.

Kyiv, Ukraine

Vydubychi Monastery, Kyiv, Ukraine

The location of the UEFA Champions League final and the capital of Ukraine is one of the lesser explored hotspots of Europe. I call it as one of the top unlikely holiday destinations in Europe. This inexpensive destination, which happens to be one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe dating back to the 5th century, is a treasure trove when it comes to cave monasteries, churches, cathedrals, palaces, monuments and historic buildings.

San Miguel Monastery, Liev, Ukraine

I would start my Kyiv exploration with the gorgeous St. Sophia’s cathedral, a UNESCO World heritage site and one that houses the world’s largest ensemble of frescoes and mosaics. And once I have climbed its bell tower and soaked in the city’s spectacular aerial view, I would head to Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, one of the oldest and most important monasteries in Ukraine. After visiting this 11th century cave monastery that has immense religious significance, I would make my way to the beautiful St. Michael’s gold domed cathedral. This working monastery dates back to the 12th century. Other interesting places worth exploring are the Open-Air Museum of folk architecture and rural life, Andrew’s descent, Mariyinsky palace, Museum of the toilet’s history and last, but not the least, FC Dynamo Kyiv, Kyiv’s local football club and stadium. For souvenir shopping, old communist stuff and matrioshka dolls, visit the market at Andrew’s descent.

Rome, Italy

The mighty colosseum of Rome, Italy

The eternal city and the home of the gladiators, Rome offers an eclectic mix of culture, history, fashion, shopping, food and nightlife. With a UNESCO world heritage site in its historic center, you are never too far away from grand ruins, ornate statues and fountains, ancient churches and beautiful palaces. One of my favorite cities in Europe, this is the land of the pizza and gelato, it is home to the mighty Colosseum, Vatican, the catacombs and about 900 churches and it also hosts some of the best musical theatres in the world.

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

Like everyone, I would recommend the underground Colosseum and gladiator tours. Once you get through these two, explore the old Rome city by foot and get lost in its medieval atmosphere that is full of uneven cobblestones, roof gardens, fountains, sculptures, paintings, old houses, baroque buildings, churches, narrow streets, squares and viewponts. Key highlights of this walking trip would be Trevi fountain, St. Peter’s Square, Piazza Navona, Tiber riverside, Piazza della Rotonda and the piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere. If you are into viewpoints, I would heavily recommend climbing to the top of the Vittoriano or to the top of the Janiculum hill.

Panorama of the Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Catholic Rome is a treat to the eye. There are so many churches to explore that you might need a few months to cover all of them. But, for a quick, yet great experience, I would recommend visiting St. Peter’s Basilica, St Paul Outside the Walls, Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni.

Bernini's statues and Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy

For Rome’s top haute couture, via Condotti and via Cola di Rienzo are the places to go to. If you feel like a flea market, head to the one at Porta Portese, but do be warned that this place gets quite crowded.

Madrid, Spain

Fountain and statue on the streets of Madrid, Spain

This capital city of Spain packs so much cultural and artistic heritage that you can see it almost everywhere, right from its landmarks and architecture to its museums and art galleries. This city also lives and breathes football, so a trip to Santiago Bernabeu, the home of local club Real Madrid is not to be missed. It’s food scene and nightlife is also top notch, so you have pretty much a lot to see and do both during the day and night.

Calle de Alcala, Madrid, Spain

Madrid feels like a young and high energy city, so as a traveler, you are bound to have a spring in your step as you explore its key landmarks such as Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Mercado de San Miguel, Palacio Real, Plaza de Oriente, Museo del Prado among many others. For something more action packed, catch a flamenco show or a bullfight at the Las Ventas Bullring and if you are into music, head to the nearest opera theatre. For a gastronomic experience, opt for a old Madrid Tapas and Wine tour and for nightlife, the iconic joints are La Esquina de Eusebio Tapas Bar, the El Rincon de Fogg bar and the Joy club.

Munich, Germany

The inner city of Munich, Germany

The birthplace of the Oktoberfest and the home of Bayern Munich, Germany’s most famous football club, football and beer is an integral of this capital of Bavaria. While you might not be able to indulge in the Oktoberfest during the UEFA Champions league, you can certainly soak in the culture, shopping, fine dining, nightlife and Bavarian beer hall atmosphere. Munich’s baroque architecture is a treat to the eye. Whether you are at the four grand royal avenues (Briennerstrabe, Ludwigstrabe, Maximilianstrabe, Prinzregentenstrabe) that run through Munich’s inner city, Schloss Nymphenburg or at the churches of Frauuenkirche and Theatinerkirche, the bavarian architecture of this South German city is bound to dazzle you.

Altstadt - Landshut, Munich, Germany

Munich as a city is all about appreciating art, football and beer. It is home to many theaters and music venues showing different plays and performances. So, do catch a show when you find time. And typically, there are summer festivals. Do keep an eye and ear open for dates and locations so that you can experience the true Bavarian festival where beer never stops. If you are a hardcore beer lover, spend a lot of time in its many beer halls and beer gardens and get the best experience of Bavarian beer culture.

Liverpool, United Kingdom

Chinatown, Liverpool, England

Liverpool, the city that lies within the historic county boundaries of Lancashire is famous for its cultural heritage, football teams, music and nightlife. The birthplace of ‘The Beatles’ and the home to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, every music lover is bound to want to visit this uber friendly city. And that's not it. There is the UNESCO World Heritage Pier Head Waterfront that is living testament to Liverpool’s successul seaside trade and maritime history. Then there is Europe’s oldest Chinatown and Liverpool and Everton, two of England’s most successful football clubs. Then, there is the World Capital City of Pop. There is the European Capital of Culture. As you can see, Liverpool wears many different hats.

Liverpool lives and breathes football

As a sports lover, we are bound to visit the Liverpool and Everton Football clubs and then I would recommend taking a walk through the streets of Chinatown, Canning and Ropewalks to see Liverpool as it was hundreds of years ago and then winding it up with a trip to the Beatles museum on Albert Dock. For shopping, there is Bold street, Lord street and MetQuarter and for an interesting shopping and dining combo, immerse yourself in the place called Liverpool One.

So, what have you decided? Are you embarking on that Champions League road trip across Europe or do you prefer to spend your time in one city or country? Whatever is your decision, this trip is bound to be a dream European holiday with plenty of top class sporting action. All you need to remember is to get yourself a good travel insurance coverage (for all medical and logistical contingencies) and a solid forex card to get the best of both safety and great exchange rates. Axis Bank with Mastercard is currently running an offer on their forex card where they are offering a fully sponsored trip to the UEFA Champions League finals in Ukraine along with other branded merchandise. Do give them a look. Who knows? May be, you might be the lucky winner! Go on and have a fabulous sporting holiday in Europe this summer.

Photo Courtesy: All photographs have been borrowed from wikimedia commons. Each photo has been linked to its host page on wikipedia.org.

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