Where a dive could see you sent off… the side of a mountain, the beautiful game just got even more beautiful
We ask you the simple question – when was the last time you enjoyed watching a game of football? The Premier League seems intent on continuing their infuriating love affair with the video assistant referee (VAR). The action may be lacking from football at the moment, but the adventure can very much be found pitchside.
“The only video assistance you’ll be needing here is from your GoPro”
The only video assistance you’ll be needing here is from your GoPro Max Action Camera. Join us as we take your breath away by taking you on a journey to the most breathtaking football pitches from around the world (seriously, one of the pitches is 7,500 feet above sea level).
Russia (Meshchersky Park Pitch, Moscow)
Fun Fact. Football and green pitches are a match made in heaven. We owe a debt to the groundskeepers of this world who make them look so pristine, but let’s face it, a small army would struggle to clear this football pitch of leaves during the fall season.
Although this is one of the most striking football pitches on the list, totally submerged in a sea of trees, it would also make for an entertaining kickabout. If you wish to make a visit to this peculiar pitch, then you’ll have to get yourself to Russia.
This forest football pitch can be found in Meshchersky Park, a popular recreational site in the Russian capital Moscow. We can’t confirm if Putin spends his time here practicing his corners and set-pieces, but what we can tell you is that you’ll need to bring about 100 balls if you ever wish to finish a game of footie. Can you imagine the painstaking task of trying to retrieve your ball if you lost it? They’d get David Attenborough to narrate the whole sequence.
“We can’t confirm if Putin spends his time here practicing his corners and set-pieces”
We reckon English League club Forest Green Rovers should uproot and start playing their football in Russia. Meshchersky Park would be an ideal new home for them. However, they should expect competition from Nottingham Forest in their bid to call it home. Don’t be too surprised either if Queens Park Rangers try their luck as well.
Iceland (Hásteinsvöllur, Vestmannaeyjar)
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The game of football has given us many a fiery moment during its long existence. You can be assured that tempers flare on the pitch of Icelandic team IBV Vestmannaeyjar. The reason? Oh, it’s nothing really. Only the small matter of a football pitch being next to a living and breathing volcano.
That’s right, this Icelandic team plays their football matches in the shadow of lava and liquid hot magma (a truly scary thought). The island’s population of Vestmannaeyjar is just over 4,000, and is within close proximity of between 70-80 volcanoes – with the majority of these being active.
The island suffered heavily in 1973 with the eruption of the Eldfell volcano. It destroyed houses and gave the population no choice but to evacuate the area. But not knowing when they’re beaten, the town came back and rebuilt. In the present day, it’s a fishing Mecca and a noteworthy spot for any visiting tourist.
You can forget about football formations. This place is all about lava formations, and people travel far and wide just to get a glimpse at the show-stopping site.
Norway (Henningsvær Stadium, Lofoten)
We are not worthy. Should we kneel before this messiah of mud or instead grovel to the goddess of grass? This is surely up there as one of the most spectacular football pitches across all seven continents. The fishing village of Lofoten, in Norway, is home to the picturesque Henningsvær Stadium. A natural beauty that looks like it could have been handcrafted by Odin himself.
The football pitch doesn’t have a single stand or seat – mainly due to the fact only 500 people inhabit the area. But that’s not all bad news, locals use it as a place to enjoy a good kickabout, and it acts as a training facility for local amateur club Henningsvær IL.
The village has noticeable wide bays and sea green grassland that do wonders to complement the surrounding pitch. The Lofoten seas boast an array of different fish, with seabirds flying freely and nesting in nearby cliffs. The Arctic Sea in the backdrop is an absorbing sight that brings some Scandinavian beauty to the beautiful game.
To Norwegians, it may only be Henningsvær Stadium. To the rest of us, it’s simply one of the most stunning locations to play a game of football.
Faroe Islands (Eidi Stadium, Eidi village)
What is it about small populations and wondrous football pitches? Next up is the formidable Faroe Islands and the village of Eidi with their minuscule population of fewer than 700 people. This stadium was the home for EB/Streymur before they were forced to move due to it being located only a few metres away from the North Atlantic Ocean. The strong sea gusts meant many balls were getting lost at sea. Therefore, the club built a new inland stadium called Við Margáir, where their equipment is kept safely away from the water.
EB/Streymur’s loss has turned out to be a good thing if you consider yourself to be an eager adventurer. The old Eidi Stadium has now been converted into a campsite that offers other-worldly mountain and ocean views. Truly, a camping spot like no other. If you got a thing for deep-sea diving, then get down here and help the team regain some of their lost balls.
Slovakia (Janosovka Stadium, Čierny Balog)
TJ Tatran Čierny Balog is a football team that takes their training a little bit too seriously.
The Cierny Hron Railway is thought to be the only railway in the world that travels around the perimeter of a football stadium. The Janosovka Stadium in Slovakia has a steam train chugging through the pitch and stands. Is it some sort of tactical ploy to put visiting opposition off their game? We wish. Nope. Instead, the station was built in the early 1900s, originally used to transport wood and other cargo.
The idea for a football pitch came much much later, and TJ Tatran Čierny Balog’s fans have become quite accustomed to it. Sure, they might have to mind the gap and check that they’ve got all their personal belongings, but that’s a small price to pay for this once in a lifetime experience.
“Sure, they might have to mind the gap and check that they’ve got all their personal belongings, but that’s a small price to pay for this once in a lifetime experience.”
The Janosovka Stadium may be small in stature. However, it has one of the most unique claims to fame a ground could ever have – it’s own train. These days it’s a massive tourist hotspot, yet, we can’t help feeling a big opportunity is being missed here. This stadium needs to be the host of the Public Transport World Cup.
Imagine the scenes, Transport for London in an all-out bout with the guys from Great Western Railway. You’d hope each team would conduct themselves with grace and decorum, but you just know ticket prices would be extortionate.
Greenland (Tasiilaq Stadium, Tasiilaq)
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Next up is a little slice of football pitch paradise. With a remarkable backdrop, this 90×65 metre volcanic spot is a prominent piece of land. It’s overlooked by the snowy peaks of the tongue-twisting Qimmeertaajaliip Qaqqartivaa mountain. A more picture-perfect scene you’d be hard pushed to find.
The Tasiilaq Stadium was brought to light in 1960 as the town’s inhabitants felt like they needed a place to host football matches. Tasiilaq is Greenland’s seventh largest town with a population of over 2,000 people.
The pitch, which was pretty sketchy before, got a very nice, professional looking, update two years ago. Beyond the touch-line, we don’t think you’ll find more refined scenery in the world of football. Spectators of matches here usually occupy nearby rocks due to the fact that the Tasiilaq Stadium doesn’t have any terracing.
Switzerland (Ottmar Hitzfeld Stadium, Swiss Alps)
Great news. You’re going on a trip to Switzerland, but don’t worry about packing the skis. It’s all about the football boots or, in this case, snow boots. The Ottmar Hitzfeld Stadium, in the Swiss Alps, is home to FC Gspon, who play their football in the Swiss Mountain League. The Pitch is over 2,000 metres above sea level and is the highest football stadium in all of Europe.
Close to the resort of Zermatt, it seems the perfect place to live if you have a passion for kicking balls and shredding slopes. In fact, it sounds quite blissful – go skiing on the fresh stuff in the morning and then, when the slopes have been turned to mush, warm down by scoring a hat-trick. This one might be the most appealing on the entire list.
Bhutan (Changlimithang Stadium, Thimphu)
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Some football pitches have nothing of interest, just a green mess whose only purpose is to host a game of football, and that’s fine. It’s important to remember that not every pitch grows the same.
The Changlimithang Stadium in Bhutan isn’t any regular old football pitch. It’s one of the highest stadiums in world football, standing loud and proud at 2,300 meters above sea level. An out-and-out masterpiece, this gladiatorial looking piece of grass is home to the Bhutan national side. They might find themselves low in the Fifa rankings at 189th, but my word they are number one when it comes to having the coolest looking stadium
Lionel Messi has already proven himself at the Nou Camp, but can he do it on a cold rainy night 2,300 metres above sea level at the Changlimithang Stadium? Messi moving to South Asia is a move we’d all be stoked to see
“Lionel Messi has already proven himself at the Nou Camp, but can he do it on a cold rainy night 2,300 metres above sea level at the Changlimithang Stadium?”
Oman (Al Hajar Football Field, Al Hajar)
If you think this looks out of place, then congratulations, you’re completely correct. Having a football pitch plonked in the middle of the Al Hajar Mountains is bound to raise some eyebrow-raising questions. Luckily they can be answered by German car manufacturer group Audi.
It was all for an Audi commercial that aired in 2016. It depicted a young football fan who dreams of one day becoming a professional football player ( how original, eh?). Although, you’d be a bare-faced liar if you didn’t admit to wanting a game on this football pitch.
The Al Hajar Mountains are the highest in the eastern Arabian peninsula, with an elevation of 3,009 metres. So, adding a football pitch to this already epic landform is quite the picture.
Portugal (Estadio Municipal de Braga, Braga)
The biggest team on this list just so happens to be the proprietors of the most mind mind-boggling football pitch. This one will rock your world as we carve out a little piece of footballing history with the Estadio Municipal de Braga.
Don’t worry, those eyes aren’t deceiving you. That really is a football stadium carved out the side of a rock. We can’t believe it either. Everyone should take off their ‘construction hat’ to Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, who did a majestic job with the design of Braga’s football stadium.
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The stadium can fit up to a capacity of over 30,000 spectators and was used during the Euro 2004 tournament. The stadium is just a stone’s throw away from Braga’s city centre. So as you can imagine, it sees a fair amount of curious tourists pass by.
One for the rock climbing enthusiasts, this one.
Scotland (Eriskay Pitch, Island of Eriskay)
Get the party poppers because the UK has finally got a football pitch on the list. God, this is the closest to Eurovision we’ll probably ever get. The island of Eriskay on Scotland’s Atlantic coast is one of the most bizarre locations to place a football pitch.
Recognised by Fifa as one of the eight most unique places to play a game in the world, this Scottish pitch might just be one of the toughest places to play the beautiful game.
The blustery conditions are usually the toughest opposition for Eriskay FC, who are part of the Uist and Barra League. One of the biggest struggles for the team is trying to rally up enough players with only 140 people actually living on the island.
Even when they do muster up a team, then Eriskay FC needs to brave the elements from the nearby coast that makes conditions unplayable. The clubs’ player-manager Sean MacKinnon was once quoted saying, “We could probably get Barcelona down to our level on that pitch.”
This presses us to ask the all-important question once again, could Messi do it on a cold rainy night on the island of Eriskay?
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