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10 Of The Most Unique Stadiums In World Football


Estadio Municipal de Braga – Portugal

Home to Braga, Portuguese football’s sixth most successful football club, this stadium was first opened 20 years ago in December of 2003 as a venue for Portugal’s hosting of Euro 2004.

The stadium was designed by architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, who would be awarded the internationally-renowned Pritzker Architecture Prize for his design work on the stadium. With a capacity of just over 30,000, it is the seventh-largest in the country, and is referred to as “A Pedreira” (The Quarry) by the locals, and that is because the stadium is built into the side of a mountain.

The scoreboard was placed on to the mountain, and the two 15,000-seat main stands are held together by wires that go from one stand’s roof to the other. The side opposing the cliff is open-ended, providing views of the city below. It is a unique stadium that took advantage of its location to provide access to not only football, but some pretty good views.

Estadio BBVV Bancomer – Mexico

The second stadium on this list that is renowned for the beautiful view that it provides, C.F. Monterrey play their home games at the Estadio BBVV Bancomer.

The ground was opened in 2015 amid huge controversy that its location in the shadow of the nearby Cera de la Silla mountain would have a harmful effect on the local wildlife. Ultimately, construction of the stadium still occurred, and the end result was Monterrey ending up with one of the biggest stadiums in the country, with a capacity of 53,500 (4th largest).

The stadium’s unique selling point is the view that it provides of the nearby mountain, with a 2017 Twitter post that showcased the impressive view when sat in the top tier of one of the stands going viral. Expect to see this stadium in the near future, with the stadium confirmed to be hosting matches at the 2026 World Cup.

Bursa Metropolitan Stadium – Turkey

Notorious for its exterior appearance of a huge crocodile, the stadium’s designers have managed to create one of the most unique yet more unknown stadiums in Europe.

Snaking around the entirety of the ground via outer cladding and the stadium’s roof is the main body of the crocodile design, with the head attached to the stadium’s northern end.

Opened in 2015, the stadium is home to Turkish club Bursaspor, who currently play in the third tier of Turkish football. The stadium can seat 43,761 fans, and the reason why the stadium is crocodile-inspired is linked to the history of the club. Bursaspor’s nickname of “Yesil Timsahlar” means “The Green Crocodiles” in English, hence the interesting stadium design.

While this stadium is not known to the masses in European football due to the poor performances of the club, we could see it soon in an international tournament format. Despite failing in a bid to host Euro 2024, Turkey are expected to launch another bid for hosting rights for Euro 2028, which is where we could see the stadium.

Igraliste Batarija – Croatia

Croatian side HNK Trogir play at a tiny stadium with a capacity of just 1,000 that is located just off the Adriatic coast, but it is what sits at both ends of the ground that makes it unique.

The ground is located in the vicinity of not one, but two UNESCO World Heritage sites. Two 15th-century protected buildings sit on opposite ends of the stadium – at the south end of the pitch is the Venetian-built Kamerlengo Castle, while at the other end is the Tower of St. Marco. And sat in between, is the club’s small ground. It means that in the past, people have managed to watch matches at the stadium while sat at the top of the tower or castle. The club became fan-owned in 2009 and are currently fighting their way back up through the non-league system in Croatia.

Estadio Hernando Siles – Bolivia

Located 3,601 metres, or 11,932 feet above sea level, Estadio Hernando Siles in Bolivia is one of the highest stadiums in world football.

Named after former Bolivian president Hernando Siles Reyes and located in the city of La Paz, it is the country’s biggest stadium with 41,143 seats, and is the home of many different teams. The national team, two of the country’s major clubs (rivals Club Bolivar and The Strongest), and several lower-league sides all play their home-matches there.

What makes the stadium unique is its aforementioned location high above sea level, which has caused opposing teams to struggle to cope in the conditions. The air is so thin at such an altitude that opposition teams have found it hard to breathe when playing.

The most famous examples of this are when Lionel Messi reportedly vomited on the pitch and Angel di Maria had to be given oxygen during a World Cup qualifier in 2013, while Neymar criticised playing at the stadium as “inhumane” in 2017.

Ottmar Hitzfeld Arena – Switzerland

The Ottmar Hitzfeld Arena is the highest stadium in Europe, located around 2,000 metres above sea level. The stadium is home to amateur team FC Gspon, who play in the Swiss Mountain League.

A variety of things make this ground unique, especially because like the Estadio Hernando Siles in Bolivia, its high location means that it is very difficult for opposing teams to play here due to the thin air. But where it differs to its Bolivian counterpart is its scenic location, with its beautiful setting among the mountains of the Swiss Alps meaning that anyone who makes the journey will be rewarded with breath-taking views.

The pitch has a safety net to prevent any balls from being kicked into the valley below, and the pitch is smaller than most others, due to the lack of flat land available in the area. Travel via cable car is required to get to the ground.

Vozdovac Stadium – Serbia

The final entry on this list of stadiums that are at high altitudes, the Vozdovac Stadium in Serbia is ever so slightly different to the other two stadiums mentioned. Because although it is higher than the majority of other stadiums in football, it is for a different reason.

At 24 metres above the street below, this stadium has actually been built on top of a shopping centre in the Serbian capital. FK Vozdovac, whose ground has a 5,200 capacity, moved into their new stadium in 2013. The shopping centre below is, as you would expect, home to many recognisable stores and brands, such as McDonalds and KFC.

And amazingly, if Vozdovac were to ever qualify for European football (an unlikely feat due to the sheer dominance in Serbian football of Red Star and Partizan Belgrade), their ground actually complies with all of UEFA’s entry regulations, meaning that this stadium located on top of a shopping centre would actually be able to host Europa League and Champions League matches.

Kaohsiung Stadium – Taiwan

The stadium of the Taiwan national team is found in the southwestern city of Kaohsiung, and, similarly to Turkish club Bursaspor, is noticeable for the design of its stadium that gives the appearance of an animal – in this case, a dragon.

The stadium was originally built in 2009 for the purpose of the 2009 World Championship Games, but is now mainly used for football matches. At a capacity of 55,000, it is the biggest stadium in Taiwan, and its design was done by famed Japanese architect Toyo Ito.

The stadium’s curled appearance in looking like a dragon is stunning to look at, with a large gap in-between the “head” and “tail” serving as the entrance for spectators. Further adding to the dragon appearance is the solar panels on the stadium, which look like scales from a birds-eye view.

The roof of the ground is covered with 8,844 solar panels, meaning that the entire stadium runs completely on its own energy. On days when the stadium isn’t being used, the government can feed the extra energy into the local power grid, providing almost 80% of the local area’s energy requirements.

Kenilworth Road – England

Kenilworth Road is widely considered to be one of the worst stadiums in the country, and that is largely due to how away spectators actually have to make their way to the ground.

Luton Town have played at the ground for over 100 years, and it can hold just over 10,000 people. But for the away fans following their team to the ground, they have an interesting journey to make. Visiting supporters have to enter the away end by making their way through some converted terraced houses and a fire escape that overlooks houses in the area, meaning that, quite literally, you have to go through people’s back gardens to make it to the away end of the ground.

Luton have been talking about looking for a new ground for years, with a new, 23,000-seater stadium reportedly edging closer to completion after the recent sale of land needed for the project.

Mmabatho Stadium – South Africa

The final stadium on this list is somewhat of an oddity, in more ways than the very strange architectural decisions made in its construction.

The stadium has a capacity of 59,000, meaning that it is the fourth-largest in the country. But it also has no permanent tenant – playing at the stadium would surely be a huge financial coup to any side financially due to the number of seats it has, so why is it that only the occasional exhibition match is played there, and the local university uses it just as a training ground instead of making full use of the large stadium?

That is due to the very peculiar design of the stadium – it is built in a diamond shape, and the stadium’s stands have been built in differing directions that don’t necessarily face the pitch. Therefore, it is not very aesthetically pleasing, and fans of any permanent team there would surely get frustrated at how the stands are built.