Sports travel is a unique niche within the travel industry that caters to enthusiasts who are passionate about experiencing sports culture and events around the world. From iconic stadiums to historic arenas, each destination offers a distinct blend of athletic tradition, fan fervour, and local flavour.
In this feature, Nounouche Managing Editor Celine Abrahams explores some of the top destinations known for their sports culture and events, providing travel tips and recommendations for sports enthusiasts seeking unforgettable experiences.
1. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is a paradise for football (soccer) fans, home to the legendary FC Barcelona and its iconic stadium, Camp Nou. Visitors can tour the stadium, visit the FC Barcelona Museum, and even catch a live match featuring some of the world’s top football talent.
Beyond football, Barcelona offers a vibrant sports scene with opportunities for basketball, cycling, and water sports along its picturesque coastline.
Travel Tips: Plan your visit around a FC Barcelona match for an electrifying experience. Explore the city’s rich sports history through guided tours and visits to local sports bars where fans gather to cheer on their favourite teams.
2. Tokyo, Japan
As the host city of the 2020 (now 2021) Summer Olympics, Tokyo is a must-visit destination for sports enthusiasts. The city boasts state-of-the-art venues, including the National Stadium, where athletes from around the globe compete for Olympic glory.
In addition to the Olympics, Tokyo offers a diverse range of sporting activities, from sumo wrestling tournaments to traditional martial arts demonstrations.
Travel Tips: Plan your trip during the Olympic Games to witness the world’s top athletes in action. Explore Tokyo’s sports culture through visits to sumo stables, martial arts dojos, and sports-themed izakayas (Japanese pubs).
3. Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne is often referred to as the sporting capital of Australia, thanks to its passion for a wide range of sports, including cricket, Australian rules football, and tennis. The city hosts major sporting events throughout the year, including the Australian Open tennis tournament and the Melbourne Cup horse race.
Visitors can also explore iconic venues such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and the Rod Laver Arena.
Travel Tips: Time your visit to coincide with the Australian Open for a chance to see tennis greats compete for Grand Slam titles. Experience the city’s vibrant sports culture by attending an Australian rules football match or taking a guided tour of the MCG.
4. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is synonymous with passion, energy, and a love for sports, particularly football. The city’s Maracanã Stadium is a temple of football, having hosted iconic moments such as the FIFA World Cup final and the Olympic Games opening ceremony. In addition to football, Rio offers opportunities for beach volleyball, surfing, and capoeira, a Brazilian martial art.
Travel Tips: Immerse yourself in Rio’s football culture by attending a match at Maracanã Stadium, where the atmosphere is nothing short of electric. Explore the city’s beautiful beaches and participate in beach sports activities, such as volleyball and footvolley.
5. London, United Kingdom
London is a global hub for sports, with a rich history and a diverse range of sporting events and venues. From Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world, to the historic Wembley Stadium, which has hosted iconic football matches and concerts, London offers something for every sports enthusiast. Visitors can also explore the city’s sporting heritage through museums like the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and the Arsenal Museum.
Travel Tips: Plan your visit to coincide with Wimbledon for a chance to see the world’s top tennis players compete on grass courts. Take a guided tour of Wembley Stadium and relive iconic moments in football history, or catch a Premier League match at one of London’s historic football stadiums.