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10 Days to Explore Europe and its Football


It’s almost a year to the date since I traveled to England for a 10-day EPL Talk tour taking in six matches on a grueling journey from Miami to Manchester and then through the cities of Liverpool, Blackburn, London and back to Manchester.

Along the way, I released a daily audio podcast, snapped hundreds of pictures and wrote passionately on my blog each day. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

And now I’ve got that travel bug again (as if I ever lost it)!

I’m considering taking a journey in the early part of next year to Europe for 9-10 days on a similar mission, but this time in search of the soul of European football. I’m contemplating traveling through Europe to find myself among the football crowds in places such as Prague, Berlin, San Sebastian, Amsterdam and other towns and cities.

But, just as with the first EPL Talk tour last year, I’m asking for your opinion and recommendations of what cities (and clubs) you’d recommend I visit. I’ve been to continental Europe several times but have never experienced a football match in person on that soil.

One option is to go during a Champions League week (first knockout rounds are scheduled February 19-20 and March 4-5). Of course, we won’t know who will be playing who until late December.

But looking at a trip between February 15-24, here are some of the interesting matches that will be available throughout Europe (of course, feel free to suggest any that aren’t listed here):

Saturday, February 16: Bundesliga, Eredivisie, FA Cup 5th Round, Czech league
Sunday, February 17: Serie A, La Liga, Eredivisie, Ligue 1
Monday, February 18: None
Tuesday, February 19: Champions League matches (TBD)
Wednesday, February 20: Champions League matches (TBD)
Thursday, February 21: UEFA Cup matches (TBD)
Friday, February 22: Eredivisie
Saturday, February 23: Bundesliga, Eredivisie, Ligue 1, Premier League, Czech league
Sunday, February 24: Serie A, La Liga, Eredivisie

My gameplan is to mix travel with soccer so I can explore the sights and atmosphere of towns and cities by day and watch football in person by night (or during the day for weekend matches). And of course report back to you regarding my findings.

I welcome any and all suggestions/recommendations.

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  1. Anonymous

    November 20, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    I just finished a mini-tour akin to yours. Taking in sights around the football. My itinerary was as follows:

    Nov 2. Lincoln City v. Chester,

    Nov. 3 Arsenal v. ManU
    Nov. 4 West Ham v. Bolton

    Nov. 5 Manchester City v. Sunderland

    Nov. 6 Rotherham v. Bury

    Nov. 7 Slavia Prague v. Arsenal

    An exceptionally enjoyable trip. Worked out to 6 matches in 7 days.

  2. LemmusLemmus

    November 15, 2007 at 11:35 am

    For the best atmosphere in the Bundesliga, I recommend Dortmund and Schalke. The places theselves are rather ugly, but nearby Cologne is worth a visit. Plus it’s close to the Dutch and French borders for traveling convenience.

  3. H.U.

    November 15, 2007 at 3:53 am

    I would try to watch Lyon play. They have a new 19 year old super striker, Karim Benzema, who has 11 goals and 3 assists in only 14 games this season. Moreover, you’ll be able to see their other players that make them the best team in France and one of the best in Europe. Germany seems like an excellent place to catch a game. I would like to watch Hamburg’s Diego play live. He has been the best offensive player in Germany the past few years and is still quite young. In Holland, I would love to watch Louis van Gaal’s AZ Alkmaar. They have many good players and a challenging team along with a small 17,000 capacity stadium.
    Enjoy the trip,

  4. Anonymous

    November 14, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    all i can say is i envy you greatly…i would love to travel europe and watch football, regardless of the weather…whatever you decide, live it up, gaffer, live it up…

  5. eplnfl

    November 14, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    All I can say is`you must have a great wife. My wife always forces me to travel to Europe only in the height of the tourists season, when football is not found.

    I would push the trip back a month for some better weather.

  6. is this betting

    November 14, 2007 at 9:56 am

    I can recommend an excellent ground to visit on Saturday 23rd February. Rot Weiss Essen (Germany’s sleeping giant) play Dortmund II. It’s a great little staduim – very old school and charming. You can stand on the terraces and experience a great atmosphere.

    A few days later (February 26) is the quarter-finals of the German Cup so there should be games played in the region.

    Essen and the surrounding area is a great place to visit and watch soccer. Dortmund, Bochum and Schalke are the Bundesliga clubs in the region. It is very common that they all play on different days -Friday, Saturday, Sunday – so there is always football being played and all the grounds are fairly close to each other.

  7. The Gaffer

    November 14, 2007 at 6:21 am

    The second round of the first knockout stage of the Champions League is March 4-5. Would that be better?

    The Gaffer

  8. Anonymous

    November 14, 2007 at 1:22 am

    Too freezing cold in Feb, unless you limit yourself to southern Spain…

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