The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship promises to be one of the most innovative and inclusive sporting events in recent years. Shifting away from the tradition of having one or two nations host the tournament, Euro 2020 will span across several countries in the continent. In a sporting sense, this will likely create more passionate atmospheres and will allow teams to experience a wide range of cultures within one tournament. This extends to travellers as well, with Euro 2020 providing an exciting opportunity for the most ardent football fans to follow their team across several locations in the same summer tournament.
UEFA’s motivation to have multiple host cities is to take the competition to countries that would not necessarily be able to sustain a whole tournament individually. There are 12 cities selected to host the tournament, each in a different country. 7 of those countries have never hosted a European Championship match before (Azerbaijan, Denmark, Hungary, Romania, Republic of Ireland, Russia, Scotland).
With the qualification process ongoing and the draw not until 1st December 2019, fans may want to abstain from making concrete plans just yet. Fans of traditional footballing powerhouses like France can feel more confident than most in booking their tickets. The World Cup champions are 4/1 favourites in football to add Euro 2020 to their trophy collection, so French fans may feel more emboldened to expect qualification and start planning their European adventure.
Each city will host three group stage matches and one knockout round, with the exception of Wembley in London which will additionally entertain the semi-finals and final. This means that fans can choose to spend the entire group stage at a certain venue. Some of the host countries may not necessarily spring to mind when it comes to tourism or football, but Euro 2020 will give these nations their moment to shine.
Azerbaijan may not be a conventional tourist destination, but its capital Baku has become increasingly prominent when it comes to hosting major events. The city has hosted Eurovision, Formula One and the European Games in recent years, which ensures that the infrastructure is well-prepared for the influx of football fans. The 69700-capacity Olympic Stadium is impressive enough, but the city’s eclectic architecture and its nightlife that was rated 8th in the world by Lonely Planet means that there can be a balance between sport and exploration.
Budapest will have much more to offer than football during Euro 2020. Source: Visit Budapest via Facebook.
Budapest is a more traditional holiday venue than Baku, but football fans may not have had the chance to experience international football in a nation that has great heritage in the sport. Hungary’s venue in Euro 2020 is the Ferenc Puskas Stadium, named after one of the finest footballers of all time. Frequently mentioned in discussions of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Budapest has something for everyone. The extensive collection at its Museum of Fine Arts is stunning, while the classification of the central area of the city by the Danube River is an indication that it is packed with historical significance and beauty.
Euro 2020 will give fans a unique chance to explore new cities with the backdrop of major tournament football. The tournament is the perfect invitation to head to new locales and experience the familiar thrill of football in an unfamiliar place. Even if your team doesn’t qualify, Euro 2020 will be an event like no other.