Football stadiums come in all shapes and sizes, so how do we go about deciding which ones are the best looking?
Many factors need to be considered: the scenery, the stands, the ambience and that most elusive of characteristics, a wow factor.
Below are 30 stadiums that satisfy these criteria, ranked in order of their beauty. Enjoy.
Named after the legendary Brazilian, the Mane Garrincha is a real gladiatorial arena.
Seemingly held together by a series of concrete matchsticks, it is architecturally fascinating.
Located at five minute walk from the train station, Fratton Park is a wonderfully old school English football ground.
Two stands even back onto terraced streets and, for many years, the away end did not even have a roof.
The Estadio Hernando Siles is located 3,637 metres above sea level.
More importantly though, it is completely stunning. Set in a bustling area of La Paz, views of skyscrapers and mountains can be enjoyed by spectators.
Home to Mexican side C.F. Monterrey, the outside of the Estadio BBVA consists of glistening steel.
The scenery is not bad either, with the arena surrounded by trees and rolling hills.
Surrounding by houses, Goodison Park has been the beating heart of the Walton area since 1892.
However, it is not quite as beautiful as Everton’s proposed new stadium at Bramley-Moore docks.
If you are ever lucky enough to visit the Groupama Stadium in Lyon, we recommend getting there a bit early.
This will allow you to fully appreciate the stunning red, white and blue seats that make the arena standout, before everyone packs in to create its famously loud atmosphere.
Located on the banks of the River Thames, Fulham supporters are sometimes subjected to biting winds.
It is worth it for this incredible location though. The stadium also has an old timey feel, first opening its doors all the way back in 1896.
It’s a football stadium that floats.
What more really needs to be said?
It’s called the Theatre of Dreams for a reason.
Old Trafford is steeped in footballing folklore and meshes traditional and modern architecture seamlessly.
Capable of seating over 80,000 spectators, the Santiago Bernabeu has been Real Madrid’s home since 1947.
Its newest development will see it equipped with a 360 degree screen and a retractable roof. Nice.
Home to Croatian lower league side NK Imotski, the Stadion Gospin Dolac is situated amid terra cotta roofs and stunning cliff faces.
Why don’t more ex-pros retire here?
Another gem from the Croatian lower leagues, you will struggle to find sapphire bleu water quite like the stuff located at Igraliste Batarija.
With a stadium as beautiful as this, it is a mystery why UEFA took so long to accept Gibraltar into the federation.
Matches are played in the shadow of a rocky hill, while the Arena is also just a stone’s throw from the coastline.
The Central Coast Mariners Stadium has just three stands. Why you ask?
To give fans views of Brisbane Water, through a row of palm trees of course.
Featuring powerful red arches on all four sides, Estadio de Luz in Lisbon has housed Benfica since 2003.
It was also one of the venues used for last summer’s Champions League mini tournament.
The Pancho Arena seats over 3,5000 and is located in the Hungarian village of Felcsut, which has a population of around 2,000…
Questionable capacity aside, the stadium is a real beauty, featuring ornate detailing that would not look out of place in a cathedral.
Iceland is one of the most picturesque countries in the world, so it makes sense that its football stadia would be beautiful too.
Hasteinsvollur is located on the island of Heimaey and what it lacks in seating it more than makes up for in surroundings.
Few sights in football are more iconic than the Wembley arch.
The home of English football since 1923, the current version of the famous ground was opened in 2007.
It is impossible to feel anything but zen-like calm at the Faroe Islands national stadium.
Perhaps that’s why they keep coming back for more, despite being Europe’s whipping boys for several decades.
The Maracana is perfectly round and incredibly satisfying to look at.
Add to that the stunning Rio de Janeiro skyline visible from the stands and it no surprise it appears on this list.
Estadi Comunal d’Andorra la Vella. It is quite a mouthful, but once you see the stadium, it will no doubt leave you speechless.
Surrounded by luscious greenery and towering hills, it hosts the majority of games in the two two tiers of Andorran club football.
Designed in the shape of a calabash – a type of African pot – the FNB Stadium, also known as Soccer City, was the venue for the 2010 World Cup final.
Not even violent flashbacks to unpredictable match balls, Frank Lampard ghost goals and Vuvuzelas could distract us from the beauty of this stadium when we compiled our rankings.
The main selling point of the Allianz Arena, home to Bayern Munich, is the fully customisable lights on the outside of the stadium.
The possibilities for this are endless.
This is the definition of a footballing cauldron.
Housing River Plate since 1938, El Monumental’s bowl like stands extend up into the clouds with views Atlantic visible from the very highest seats.
Stade Louis II looks more like a stately home, than a football stadium.
Located on the Monaco coast, it more than makes up for its small size with its jaw-dropping design and surroundings.
The stands at the home of Boca Juniors seems to slope up at close to a 180 degree angle.
That, combined with its vibrant colour scheme, make it one of the most distinct stadiums in South America.
To understand the ridiculous scale of Camp Nou, you really need to visit it yourself.
Don’t go to the very top if you are scared of heights though…
As the name suggests, Marseille’s home ground was initially used for cycling events.
Although this has stopped now, the influence of the track can still be seen in the wavy roof.
Featuring the largest standing terrace in Europe football and a sleek design, Signal Iduna Park sees the traditional and modern collide.
Also, its got a solar panels on the roof, which is really cool and saves the planet.
The San Siro somehow manages to meld together brutalism, futurism, art deco and 15 other styles, to create one beautifully mad piece of architecture.
In recent years, there have been rumours of both Milan clubs moving out of the historic arena. We think we speak for everyone when we say: please, please don’t.