berlin - olympiastadion football stadium

Berlin Football Stadiums: Home of the Action

Are you traveling for Euro 2024 next year and planning on catching some of the action at the Olympiastadion? Or perhaps you’re going to Berlin on vacation and would love to take in the atmosphere of a Union Berlin game at the Stadion An Der Alten Försterei? Whatever the case, we’ve got all the information you need on Berlin’s two major football stadiums, including their history, how to get to each on public transport, and some tips to make the most of your visit. 

1. Olympiastadion

The construction of the Olympiastadion in Berlin was undertaken between 1934 and 1936, with the cost estimated to have been in the region of 27 million marks. Built to host the 1936 Olympic Games, the stadium saw 3,956 athletes from 49 countries take part.  The first final of the Football German Championship was played at the Olympiastadion on June 20, 1937.

Immediately following the war, the stadium required intensive repair work. The stadium terraces were largely in ruins, and bomb craters pocked the site. Previously known as the Reichsportfeld, the stadium was renamed the Olympiastadion in 1950.

Today, the Olympiastadion Berlin is one of the country’s top sports venues, hosting a wide range of sporting and entertainment events every year. The stadium’s commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility covers endeavors as diverse as the settlement of bee colonies to the installation of a photovoltaic system on the stadium’s roof.

Events hosted at the Olympiastadion

When it comes to Berlin football venues, the Olympiastadion is the gold standard. The venue hosted the 2006 FIFA World Cup – six matches were played here, including the legendary quarter-final between Germany and Argentina. The year 2009 was a record-breaking one for the Olympiastadion. The World Championships in Athletics Berlin saw around 400,000 visitors flock to the stadium and saw three world records smashed as well as a slew of national records broken over the nine days of the event. A further record was made in terms of spectator numbers when U2 played here in front of 90,000 fans in the same year.

Moving forward to the present day, Berlin’s Olympiastadion – widely regarded as the sports metropolis of Berlin –  is set to host five matches of the Euro 2024 tournament this year.

15 June 2024 at 18:00Spain v Crotia
21 June 2024 at 18:00Play-off Winner A v Austria
25 June 2024 at 18:00Netherlands v Austria
29 June 2024 at 18:00Round of 16
06 July 2024 at 21:00Quarter-final
14 July 2024 at 21:00Final

Interesting facts about the Olympiastadion, Berlin

The Olympiapark, of which the stadium is part, contains other structures built for the 1936 Olympic Games held here. These include the huge lawn – the Maifeld, which is used today for concerts, and the swimming stadium.

Near the stadium, you’ll find the Bell Tower. This replica of the original tower, which once held the Olympic Bell, is 77 meters tall and was designed to exactly match the original building which was demolished in 1947. The original bell can be seen, also located near the stadium.

The stadium’s playing field was lowered by around 2.65 meters during its renovation in the early 21st century. As a result, 90,0000 cubic meters of sand was excavated. Virtually a beach!

What visitors need to know

Whether you’re traveling for sports specifically or planning to catch a football match during your planned vacation to Berlin, then it’s helpful to get an overview of the facilities available at the venue. Broadly, the Olympiastadion is divided into three areas: the outer area, the lower tier, and the upper tier.

There are plenty of restrooms and kiosks in each area of the stadium, and a restaurant can be found on the lower tier. And for those looking for an extra special experience, VIP facilities are available, too!

Tech specs

As the most notable of the Berlin football venues, it’s not surprising that the Olympastadion boasts some serious tech. The venue was the first in the country to use full-color floodlighting with innovative reflector technology along with unique, colored architectural lighting.

As well as the three stunning video walls, visitors can also enjoy the spectacular sound produced by the 180 loudspeakers, which incorporate digital amplification technology.

Access options

The stadium is located around four miles to the west of Berlin – getting here from the city takes around 25 to 40 minutes on public transport. For those who are planning on driving to the venue, there is limited parking on match days that can be found on Olympischer Platz. The stadium is well served by the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, and a variety of bus routes.

In terms of disabled access, there are several entrances located throughout the stadium that can be used. Seats for disabled people and those accompanying them can be found in the inner gallery in row 41. Near this area are a number of kiosks with disabled access and non-barrier restrooms.

Tips for visiting the Olympiastadion, Berlin

If you’re interested in finding out more about the fascinating history of this venue, guided and non-guided tours are available most days. The guided tours take in the locker rooms, underground training hall, and VIP lounges. On non-event days, opening hours are 9 am to 7 pm and 10 am to 4 pm in the winter (November to March).

There is plenty to see on a trip to the Olympiastadion, so be sure to arrive early on matchday to make the most of the sights and experiences on offer. The Langemarck Hall is a memorial that commemorates a battle fought in WWI, and there’s an exhibition on display in the basement of the building that showcases the site’s history from 1909 to 2006. Be sure to drop in on the DFB Wall and Walk of Fame, too. This 40-meter-long stretch of graffiti provides a striking visual representation of key moments in the stadium’s long history.

Fancy a bike tour to the Olympiastadion? The Fussball Route Berlin is highly recommended; it goes from the Brandenburg Gate to the venue. There are eleven stops along the way, providing a fascinating insight into Berlin’s footballing history.

The Olympiastadion’s website is comprehensive, and it’s worth prospective visitors taking a look at. Here, you’ll find seating plans and maps of the venue to help you plan your visit and make the most of match day.

Take a look at Viator to find the best tour to see Olympiastadion

viator berlin

2. Stadion an Der Alten Försterei – the Home of FC Union Berlin

The largest purpose-built football stadium in Berlin, its story begins in 1919 when the original stadium used by the football club SC Union Oberschoeneweide no longer met the team’s requirements. Just a few kilometers away, a perfect new site was identified, and the club played its first match here – at what would become the Stadion an der Alten Försterei in March 1920. From the 1950s onwards, the venue enjoyed several significant renovations, expansions, and upgrades, and by the 1980s, the spectator capacity had increased to 23,000 seats.

A modern main stand was constructed from 2012 to 2013, inaugurated with a win by the Unions (now FC Union Berlin) in a friendly match against Celtic Glasgow in a sold-out stadium.

Events hosted at the Stadion An Der Alten Försterei

Although football matches are the mainstay of this stadium’s schedule, it occasionally hosts non-sport events, such as the 2015 concert by Linkin Park, which saw the band perform in front of 35,000 fans.

In 2003, an unofficial Christmas Carol event was held at the venue. Although just 89 attendees turned up for this initial gathering, by 2015, the annual event saw 28,500 visitors make their way to the stadium for a festive communal singalong.

And let’s not forget the legendary World Cup Living Room event of 2014, in which fans were invited to bring their own sofas to the stadium for the whole of the tournament. This resulted in the awesome spectacle of 800 sofas being placed in rows on the pitch in front of the big screen.

Interesting facts about the Stadion An Der Alten Foersterei

Ready for an interesting fact about this venue? It hosted the first international match of the newly-formed East Germany national team in 1952. As well as being a major milestone for the team, it also marked the importance of the stadium for football matches.

The stadium is famous for its dedicated standing area behind one of the goals. Known as the Waldseite (Forest Side), this section of the stands is where the most passionate of the Union Berlin fans gather to chant, and wave banners and flags. 

FC Union Berlin

The Stadion An Der Alten Foersterei is the home of FC Union Berlin. The club became Bundesliga table-toppers for the first time in its history in 2022/2023 following a spectacular campaign. As a result, Union will compete – also for the first time – in the UEFA Champions League. Just five years ago, the club was playing in the second tier of German football.

FC Union is entirely fan-funded; it’s financed by over 40,000 support memberships. Members make crucial decisions, such as the appointment of the chief executive and board members. The club and its community have always been intrinsically linked. To this end, keeping ticket prices affordable remains a priority for Union. As well as affordable mini-tickets, the club offers 1,000 free tickets for Champions League games for fans in need.

What visitors need to know

If you’re keen to watch some Berlin football matches during your time in Germany, then the  Stadion An Der Alten Försterei is a must-visit. Tickets for Union Berlin matches can be purchased at the stadium itself, at the club shop in nearby Kopenick, or online. Standing places cost between 11 – 13 euros, while seats in the main stand range in price from around 28 to 40 euros.

Stadium tours are available most weekends, and participants will get to see the dressing rooms, players’ tunnels, press rooms, and VIP areas.

Tech specs

While not quite on the same level of technical magnificence as the Olympiastadion, the Stadion An Der Alten Foersterei has everything needed to enjoy a comfortable, exciting trip. Plus, the innovative organic pitch heating system ensures optimal playing conditions. This allows the pitch to remain in excellent shape, even in the colder weather.

Access options

This stadium can be found in the southeast of the city. It’s about 14 kilometers from the Alexanderplatz in the center of Berlin. The venue can be reached on the S-Bahn, line S3 – depending on from which part of the city you’ll be coming, the journey takes around 35 to 55 minutes, and the walk from the station to the stadium takes about ten minutes.

It’s important to note that, in general, there are no car parking facilities at this stadium – although there is parking available for wheelchair users and their companions. The main grandstand is barrier-free on every floor and has disabled restrooms. Disabled restrooms are also available in the near vicinity of the disabled parking spaces.

Tips for visiting the Stadion An Der Alten Foersterei, Berlin

This stadium is one of the best places to spectate Berlin football matches – the atmosphere is unbeatable! It’s advisable to arrive early on matchday to soak up this immersive atmosphere and witness the warm-up sessions.

Another great tip is to make the most of the delicious German food on offer, such as currywurst and bratwurst – perfect for refueling at halftime. And don’t forget to pay a visit to the Fan Shop to support the club and bag some merchandise to take home with you.

The takeaway: Berlin’s footballing legacy

Both the Olympiastadion and the Stadion An Der Alten Foersterei represent the importance of football in German culture and the legacy it’s left in the city. If you’re traveling for sports, perhaps to take in one or more of the Euro 2024 matches, or are visiting Berlin and would like to catch a football game, then these stadiums are the venues to head to. Both are rich in history and promise a unique matchday experience that you’ll always remember.