The 5 Best Cities for Sports Travel

One of my favourite things about all sports is the fact that you can go anywhere in the world and either see how a different culture plays your favourite game and supports their teams or discover a new sport altogether. But which cities across the globe truly stand out for the sports traveler?

Here are the 5 best cities to explore:

London

I couldn’t start this list with any other city than the one I’ve spent the last ten years of my life in. Biassed? 100%! London is an absolute hub of all things sport.

One of my many favourite things about living here is the buzz on a Saturday morning in any of the major train or underground stations during the football season. With 17 clubs based in London and seven of them being in the Premier League, you’ll spot thousands of fans wearing their teams’ shirts exuberantly making their way to the pub pre-game.

Talking of pubs, some of my favourites to watch a game in are De Hems Dutch Cafe Bar in Soho, Crooked Billet in Clapton, and The Faltering Fullback in Finsbury Park.

For a taste of London on a game day, check out our Matchday Experience at Chelsea FC – Stamford Bridge article.

With the 17 football clubs comes the chance to visit their various grounds, the iconic Wembley Stadium and the must-visit spiritual home of Sunday League – Hackney Marshes. Every Sunday morning during the footy season, you’ll see dozens of amateur teams battling it out all at the same time. It’s truly a unique spectacle for every sports traveler.

London has much more to offer than just its football culture however. Ruby fans will want to head to Twickenham, the home of English Rugby Union. For all things cricket, you’ve got Lords and The Oval, which are spectacular venues steeped in history. Alexander Palace is the home of the World Darts Championship, each Christmas. And of course, in tennis there’s The Championships, Wimbledon and the preceding grass court tournament The Queen’s Club in West Kensington. 

New York

It’s difficult to choose just one US city as a sports travel hotspot but with honourable mentions to Los Angeles and Chicago, the Big Apple had to win out. This is mainly due to the amount of pro teams you’ve got per American sport and the iconic venues the city boasts. In NYC, you’re spoiled for choice if you want to watch basketball, baseball, ice hockey,  American football, and the ever-growing soccer league.

There’s always a healthy amount of local rivalry between fans of different sides in the same sports. In basketball you’ve got the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, in baseball it’s the Yankees & Mets, NFL has the Giants & Jets, NHL has Islanders & Rangers, and the MLS has New York City FC & NY Red Bulls.

As for venues to visit, you can’t go wrong with Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden. The former, which can be found in the Bronx, is a 46,537 capacity baseballing mecca that’s home to the Yankees (obviously) and NYC FC. Midtown Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden is the home of the Knicks and Rangers and is one of the most famous venues in the world. It’s been the setting for everything from “The Fight of the Century” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1971 to Frank Sinatra’s “Main Event” concert and John Lennon’s final live appearance in 1974. You can learn about the 150-year history of MSG by booking onto the Madison Square Garden Tour Experience.

NYC’s first purpose-built soccer stadium has recently been announced and will be NYC FC’s home ground. Seating 25,000 in Queens, the $800million UAE-funded venue is set to open in 2027. 

Find out more about the interconnections between NYC and its neighbour of New Jersey in our article: Traveling to New Jersey: Tips for Sports Fans.

Barcelona

Barcelona makes the list due to its rich athletic and cultural heritage, world-class venues, and electric atmosphere. It’s obviously best known to the sports traveler as the home of FC Barcelona, one of the most recognizable football brands across the world.

FC Barcelon’s Camp Nou stadium is set to reopen at the end of 2024 after lengthy delays to its renovation, but when it finally welcomes crowds again it will be one of the most cutting-edge stadiums in the world. It’s also home to the FC Barcelona Museum, where visitors can delve into the club’s famous history. Stay tuned to our site for more info on when the Camp Nou reopens and what the rebuild has to offer.

Beyond football, Barcelona has many other sports to check out. It hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics, which left a lasting legacy on its sports infrastructure. The Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium, located in Montjuïc and where FC Barcelona have played since the Camp Nou closed, offers tours that provide insight into the history of the games. A quick six-minute walk away is the Palau Sant Jordi, another Olympic legacy venue that regularly hosts international basketball and handball tournaments along with major musical events.

For F1 fans, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a major highlight. It hosts the Spanish Grand Prix and offers a whole range of activities, from tours and driving experiences to cycling and even driving lessons!

The city’s climate and location on the Mediterranean coastline not only provides the chance to soak up the sun but also makes it an excellent destination for water sports such as sailing, windsurfing, and paddleboarding.

Melbourne

Sydney may have more to offer when it comes to Rugby League, but Melbourne is undoubtedly Australia’s sporting capital and often gets overlooked in lists of the world’s top cities for sports. It hosts the country’s biggest events in cricket, tennis, F1, and Australian Rules Football (known domestically as the Australian Football League [AFL] or just footy).

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), hosts the AFL Grand Final and international cricket matches, including the famous Boxing Day Test. Read about why the AFL Grand Final is one of the best events for sports travel in The 6 Best Sporting Events to Travel to in 2025.

The AFL is deeply ingrained in Australian culture and is something unique to the country. Melbourne is home to several AFL teams, and catching a live game is relatively easy thanks to the huge 100,000 capacity of the MCG and the Marvel Stadium also being in the city.

I’m going to be living in Melbourne from March 2025, just in time for the footy season to start. As a fan of Port Adelaide, my team is not from the state of Victoria that Melbourne is in. Luckily, due to so many games being played there, out of state teams offer Victorian Memberships. These include tickets to all your team’s Victorian games, usually two tickets to home games, a membership pack, club store discount, and many other perks for around AU$150-180.

Melbourne hosts the Australian Open, one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, at Melbourne Park with the main focal point being the Rod Laver Arena. Each January, this festival of tennis draws famously rowdy crowds and I am beyond excited to be there in 2025!

For motorsports fans, the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix is the pinnacle. Held at the Albert Park Circuit, this race combines the action with stunning views of the city skyline and the park’s lake.

Munich

Munich is much more upmarket and affluent than the grungy capital of Berlin and arguably is better for sport, too. Our comprehensive guide to Munich gives you all the in depth info you need but my own personal experiences of watching sports 

Football is definitely what first springs to mind in any conversation about sports travel to Munich, being the home of German powerhouse FC Bayern Munich and their iconic Allianz Arena ground. I prefer to go to TSV 1860 Munich, however, thanks to local friends taking me to see them in the Grünwalder Stadion. The ground is very central in comparison to the Allianz and makes for a great day of exploring and seeing the atmosphere build in the city.

There’s more to sports in Munich than just football, however. For basketball, Bayern Munich Basketball are one of the best teams in the Basketball Bundesliga and compete in the EuroLeague. What’s most exciting about this year for sports in Munich is that Bayern Basketball and fellow championship winning ice hockey side, EHC Red Bull Munich, are both set to share the same brand new SAP-Garden state-of-the-art facility this year. 

The new complex, a stone’s throw from the Olympiastadion in the Olympiapark mentioned in our EURO24 Fans Travel Guide will seat 11,500 fans. Having had a great experience at the Olympiastadion for the European Athletics Championship in 2022, I have no doubt this new arena will be a massive success.

Top Tip: The Olympic Tower provides panoramic views of the city and the Alps

Cities of Sports

Wherever you travel to, you’ll be sure to find sports, both different and familiar, all with their own subcultures shaped by the local population. Honorable mentions go to Tokyo, Japan, with its world-famous sumo wrestling scene; Mumbai, India, has the Indian Premier League T20 cricket; and Honolulu, Hawaii, for consistently ranking as one of the best cities for surfing. At Travelingforsports.com, you will find sports travel tips about for more cities such as Berlin, Miami , Los Angeles or Dusseldorf. Just check our website and decide on where will you go next?