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12 incredible stadiums with best football atmosphere

There are some football atmospheres renowned across the world for their intensity, colour and noise. Here, Football Ground Guide picks out 12 incredible atmospheres that any football fan must hope to witness one day…

Incredible football atmosphere in Europe

A great stadium is always known for its history and its supporters. There are plenty of such in Europe but we have narrowed it down to only the best in this post.

Karaiskakis Stadium – Olympiakos (Greece)

The football atmosphere at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium is one of the world's most intense
Photo by Icon Sport

We start the list off with the Greek club, Olympiakos. The Greeks are known for their passionate support of their football clubs, and while we could have selected any number of clubs from the country, including Panathinaikos F.C., AEK Athens, or PAOK, it is the ‘Thrylos' that have gotten the nod.

Despite the Karaiskakis Stadium only having a capacity of 33,334, it is one of the most intimidating atmospheres for away fans and players to visit. The Red and White banners and flares that are shot up on matchday give the impression that they are ready for war instead of a football match, especially when they are playing their big rivals Panathinaikos in the ‘Derby of Eternal Enemies'.

While Olympiacos suffered a huge setback of a 1-4 home defeat in the first leg of the 2023/24 Europa Conference League round 16 against Maccabi Tel Aviv at the famous Karaiskakis Stadium, they turned the tables in the second leg. A 1-6 thriller in the second leg of the campaign in Backa Topola, Serbia, secured the Greek club a place in the quarterfinals. With that, we are looking forward to an incredible atmosphere against their next opponents in the campaign, especially in the leg that will be played at Karaiskakis Stadium.

Marshal Jozef-Pilsudski Stadium – Legia Warsaw (Poland)

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Photo by Icon Sport

In Eastern Europe, the Marshal Jozef-Pilsudski Stadium is home to Polish club Legia Warsaw whose fans have had plenty to shout about throughout the years, being their nation's most successful football club.

Their ultras, who can be found in the ‘Zyleta' part of the stadium, are known to be spontaneous, loud, and sometimes a bit over the top, particularly when it comes to politics. Away from that, they are certainly one of the most devoted fanbases in Europe, and the atmosphere at the Marshal Jozef-Pilsudski Stadium is as good as anywhere, no matter which team is visiting.

Millerntor-Stadion – St Pauli (Germany)

St Pauli in Hamburg is one of the most amazing football atmospheres you'll find in world football
Photo by Icon Sport

The 2. Bundesliga club St Pauli and their Millerntor Stadium is a bucket list visit for many football fans, thanks to the incredible atmosphere that it presents to matchgoers every matchday.

St Pauli fans are some of the most vocal in Europe, with their famous off-pitch left-wing political views. Inside the ground, the atmosphere is incredible. The club has registered more season ticket holders than some Bundesliga (top-flight) clubs and they put on awe-inspiring displays with flags carrying the skull and crossbones on them.

The Millerntor Stadion may only have a capacity of 29,546, but it's always full and noisy, despite the fans not having much to shout about throughout the years in regards to winning silverware. If you are ever visiting Germany and want to take in a game, this is a must-visit.

Stadio Olimpico – Roma & Lazio (Italy)

Lazio fans create one of the best football atmospheres
Lazio fans | Photo: Fabrizio Corradetti/LaPresse/Icon Sport
AS Roma fans creating an intense football atmosphere
AS Roma fans | Photo by Icon Sport

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Italy boasts some of world football's most passionate supporters with a wonderful variety of atmospheres across the peninsula. In Rome's Stadio Olimpico, two clubs both with fanatical supporters create some of the best atmospheres you'll come across.

The fans of Roma and Lazio share the Stadio Olimpico, with both sets of fans having different styles of support. Flag waving, flares, and a whole lot of colour mean the atmosphere at the Stadio Olimpico is something that needs to be experienced by any football fan, especially when these two clubs play each other and the atmosphere is cranked up a notch or three.

Stadio Olimpico has hosted big games, even this year. And the atmosphere is often memorable. You could say, it always feel like either Roma or Lazio fans at the Stadio Olimpico are the twelfth player in a match staged at the iconic venue.

This year, Roma played a crucial match at Stadio Olimpico against Brighton and Hove Albion, winning 4-0 in front of a charged fanbase. Despite losing 1-0 away from home in the second leg, the massive first-leg victory at Olimpico secured them a place in the quarterfinals of the Europa League.

Best football atmosphere in Africa

Cairo International Stadium – Al Ahly & Zamalek SC (Egypt)

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Al Ahly fans | Photo by Icon Sport

One of the most hostile places to play football in the world is the Cairo International Stadium. This is not for the faint-hearted, especially when its two occupants play with each other. Al Ahly and Zamalek fans are known to be, individually, some of the most passionate and craziest fans in football, creating atmospheres that are so intense that when these two clubs play each other, the referee has to be flown in from a different country to officiate the game.

With a capacity of 75,000 (the 69th largest stadium in the world), if you ever get the chance to visit Egypt, and want to catch a game, this is the place to go. That's if you like loud noise, flares, and 75,000 crazy football fans contesting every ball their players kick.

More great European football atmospheres

Celtic Park – Celtic FC (Scotland)

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Celtic fans on a UEFA Champions League night | Photo by Icon Sport

The first on the list from the UK is Celtic Park, the home of Scottish club Celtic FC. With a capacity of 60,411, Celtic Park is famous for its atmosphere on a big European night, or for an Old Firm game against their biggest rivals, Rangers FC. The rendition of ‘You'll Never Walk Alone' makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and this can be confirmed by some of the world's best players who have played there.

Lionel Messi said: “The games against Celtic were special and I want to remember them.”

Wayne Rooney commented on the atmosphere saying: “Celtic Park is inspiring and intimidating. It's a stadium with a particular atmosphere you want to experience as a player.”

If you can get to Celtic Park, you'll be treated to a brilliant tifo display by the ‘Green Brigade' in one corner of the ground.

Signal Iduna Park – Borussia Dortmund (Germany)

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Photo by Icon Sport

Into Germany again, and this time it is the Signal Iduna Park, the home of Borussia Dortmund. The magnificent single-tier Yellow Wall is world-famous in the football world and another one to add to your footballing bucket list.

The atmosphere created by the Dortmund fans is unbelievable and is probably helped by the fact they have the highest average attendance of any football club in the world. Add in the vibrant yellow colour of the club, and it creates a spectacular atmosphere.

Stadio Diego Armando Maradona – Napoli (Italy)

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Photo by Icon Sport

Back in Italy now, we are going to what used to be called the San Paolo and is now the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

The atmosphere here is intimidating, to say the least. On both ends of the stadium, the Napoli ultras wave flags, light flares, and chant throughout, even when their side are not playing well. The two sets of fans, known as Curva A and Curva B can appear to shout at each other, trying to outdo one another, which creates a hostile atmosphere for visiting fans and players. While the stadium itself needs upgrading in terms of facilities, the fans more than makeup for it in regards to making the match day experience memorable.

De Kuip – Feyenoord (Netherlands)

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Photo by Icon Sport

De Kuip, the home of Dutch giants Feyenoord, is a stadium with a capacity of 47,500 and one of European football's best places to watch football. The Feyenoord fans are well known, not only in the Netherlands but worldwide for their match-day atmosphere and it has been recognised by the club itself. How? Well, Feyenoord never issues a player with squad number 12, leaving that for the ‘Het Legioen' or The Legion as they are known in English.

It doesn't matter how their club is doing on the field, they turn up in their numbers, making noise, waving flags, and setting off smoke bombs. If you ever find yourself in Rotterdam, then a visit to De Kuip is a must. Just make sure you aren't wearing an Ajax jersey!

Rams Park – Galatasaray (Turkey)

Galatasaray Stadium - Rams Park Stadium - great football atmosphere - Football Ground Guide 1 | Galatasaray fans
Photo by Icon Sport

Rams Park, as it is known now for sponsorship reasons, has one the most intimidating and hostile atmospheres anywhere in the world. It is created by the various ultra groups that support Galatasaray, the Turkish giants that play their home games there.

The main group who are responsible for all the displays, chants, and choreography at the matches are known as ultraAslan. Ultra is the fan group and Aslan due to the ‘Lions' being their nickname. Pyro is often used at matches, making it look as if the stadium is hell on earth, which tells you all you need to know really. The games against their big rivals Fenerbahçe are when the atmosphere is at its peak, with big European nights also showcasing to the world what is like to visit Rams Park.

Anfield – Liverpool (England)

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(Photo by Steve Flynn/News Images/Sipa USA/Icon Sport

This may be a controversial one, as Anfield has been accused of only having a brilliant atmosphere on a big European night, or when they play one of the bigger clubs in the Premier League. Even if that is true, it still has a special atmosphere, with ‘You'll Never Walk Alone' being sung by the fans before every game.

The famous Kop stand has also played its part in creating some memorable nights at Anfield, including the game against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final when it is said the Kop sucked Luis Garcia's effort over the line. We all know that didn't happen, but it just gives you an idea of how well-regarded the atmosphere is in the stadium. While it is growing in capacity every year, there has been a real effort to make sure the Anfield atmosphere is not affected by any changes made.

La Bombonera – Boca Juniors (Argentina)

Boca Juniors fans create one of the best football atmospheres in the world at La Bombanera
Photo by Icon Sport

If this list were to have a number one, this would probably be it. A dream destination for any football fan, La Bombanera is home to Argentinian club Boca Juniors.

Outside, the ‘chocolate box' stadium is painted in the blue and yellow colours of Boca, making it stand out before you even get into the ground. And when you do, everywhere you are is filled with colour, noise, and passion. Boca has the third highest of members in any football club worldwide, only behind Bayern Munich and Manchester United.

Every game is treated like a cup final, but it is the Superclásico that makes this stadium number one when it comes to atmosphere. The games against their fierce local rivals River Plate are known to be the best and most intense games in world football, with the Boca Juniors fans making La Bombonera a place no visiting team wants to go to. For any football fan, it is a dream to attend a game here, as the atmosphere is unrivalled anywhere else in the world.

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Photo: Nayra Halm/Fotoarena/Sipa USA/Icon Sport
Boca Juniors are one of the big five football teams in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Photo by Icon Sport

Philip O'Rourke

Philip O Rourke is a Dublin-based journalist and author of Forgotten Football Clubs, 50 Clubs Around the World. He appears on the Forgotten Football Clubs podcast and, in his spare time, travels around Europe to different football stadiums, trying to watch as many different clubs as he can.

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