As soon as I booked flights to Madrid, I started researching cool things to do in the city. I wanted to find things to do that Mr ESLT would love – the trip was to celebrate his birthday, after all. I know he loves a football stadium tour, having previously done them at both Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona and the San Siro Stadium in Milan. So when I saw that you could take a tour of the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, I knew I was onto a winner! Now, I’ll be honest, I can write what I know about football on the back of my hand, so, I prior to our trip, I really didn’t know that the Bernabéu is actually home to one of the biggest football teams in the world – Real Madrid!
I bought tickets in advance via Viator (£17.50) ,which I thought would save us time when we arrived at the stadium – how wrong I was!! We jumped of the hop on, hop off bus directly opposite the stadium, thinking the paper printouts would be our ticket in. Unfortunately not, in fact we had to stand in the same queue as everyone who was buying tickets on the day, therefore saving us no time whatsoever. So after waiting around 30 minutes, we eventually swapped our paper ‘tickets’ for real ones and headed inside. At this point, Mr ESLT couldn’t contain his excitement.
This is a self-guided tour, so once inside you can see as much (or as little) as you want. Some places are out-of-bounds, but the signs and the cordons make it easy to see where you can and cannot go. As you enter the stadium, you must pass all your belongings, and yourself, through airport style security then take the escalators all the way to the top. The first view of the pitch you get is phenomenal looking down from the god’s I image that the players would look like ants from up there!
Taking our time, we wandered around the stadium, learning the history of the world-famous Bernabéu through watching interactive videos and reading the plaques accompanying the exhibitions on show. We admired the team shirts and all the trophies Real Madrid have won throughout the years. You can even get your photo taken with the European Cup, although we were dubious as to whether it was in fact the real European Cup. Regardless, a great souvenir to take away from your visit to the stadium.
Once out in the seating area, we walked around the stadium, viewing it from many different angles. We even got to sit in the Director’s Box with their plush padded seats. We ventured onto the pitch and took a seat in the dugout, seeing the pitch from the same viewpoint that the players and manager get to see during the match. Walking down the tunnel, we hit the home and away dressing rooms, and got to see where both teams prepare and psych themselves up for the game. The stadium comes complete with cafe area and the obligatory shop, of course. So, in summary, I’ll be honest – this was the best stadium tour we have done. We spent around 3 hours exploring to our hearts content, and I think it is safe to say Mr ESLT absolutely loved it. It’s just a shame we didn’t get the opportunity to watch a game whilst in Madrid, as I imagine the atmosphere would be electric, and the roar of the spectators deafening.