Sports fans today have tons of ways to catch up on the action. Between satellite and cable TV channels, websites, and live streams, you can view events and highlights in real time and 24 hours a day. However, there are some events with an atmosphere so unique that they have to be experienced live and in-person to fully appreciate. Here are 5 must-see destinations for every sports fan.
The Monaco Grand Prix: Monte Carlo
Unlike other Formula 1 races, the Monaco Grand Prix does not take place on a purpose built racetrack. Instead, the streets of Monte Carlo are closed for the day and become the stage for one of the most prestigious races in motor sport. Luxury yachts crowd into the harbor to catch a glimpse of cars hurtling past at speeds approaching 200 mph, and some of Europe’s most exclusive hotels have to be booked years in advance. The legendary Brazilian Ayrton Senna is the race’s most successful driver with six wins over 11 seasons.
The El Classico: Madrid or Barcelona
Soccer is a national passion in Spain, and La Liga is dominated by two historic clubs. Real Madrid are known as the Galacticos due to their practice of buying the world’s most exciting and expensive players. Barcelona also make marquis signings, but many of their greatest stars are products of their academy. The Catalan powerhouse currently has the edge with a team including Lionel Messi. Many consider the Argentine maestro to be the best player ever. The El Classico is without a doubt the greatest club soccer match in the world. It is renowned both for the quality of the talent on display, and for the caustic atmosphere of the Camp Nou and Bernabeu stadiums.
Dubai World Cup: Dubai
There are older and more prestigious thoroughbred horse races, but there is nothing in the world like the Dubai World Cup. The race has been held on the last Saturday in March since 1996, and the winning purse is a cool $10 million. This makes it the richest race in the world and a magnet for the best horses and the most sophisticated crowds. The Meydan Racecourse has a five-star hotel which features a grandstand over a mile long. The facility also includes shops, restaurants, a nine-hole golf course, and a racing museum.
If the Dubai World Cup has a nouveau riche feel about it, The All England Tennis Club is definitely old money. The annual championship has been held in London since 1877, and it is known as much for etiquette and decorum as it is for great tennis. The biggest matches take place on Centre Court, which had a retractable roof added during renovations in 2009. Now even the fickle English summer weather can’t spoil the strawberries and cream.
The Tour de France: France and nearby countries
The world’s greatest bicycle race takes place over three weeks in July and spans most of France as well as briefly taking in some surrounding countries. Fans can gather alongside steep mountain passes in the Pyrenees and Alps or crowd into Paris for the final sprint down the Champs-Élysées.
Which other must-see destinations would you add to the list? Add your ideas below!
Jason Kane is an avid sports fan and traveller. He recommends Travel Docs for any of your travel documentation needs.