As I’ve already covered a trip to Barcelona’s Camp Nou, for balance it’s time I wrote about Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. During my time in the Spanish capital, I did the Real Madrid Stadium Tour. Here I’ll outline a description of the tour and give some extra tips.
Practical travel information on Spain can be found on my Spain Travel Tips post.
REAL MADRID STADIUM TOUR PRACTICAL DETAILS
All practical details you need for the self-guided tour are outlined here on the Real Madrid Stadium Tour page including online ticket booking, public transport directions and what the tour entails. Note the limitations of visiting on match days.
I would highly recommend booking tickets online in advance. I visited in June and was queueing for over 30 minutes for a ticket. That is my primary tip for the tour.
The stadium began life in 1940s as the New Chamartin Stadium, holding its first match in December 1947. In 1950s it was named after Santiago Bernabeu, the club president whose vision it was to initially build the stadium.
The stadium has hosted several European Cup/Champions League Finals, a selection of matches in the 1964 European Nations Cup tournament including the final, and four matches in the 1982 FIFA World Cup including the final between Italy and West Germany. The stadium’s capacity is 81,044.
The tour begins at the top tier of the stadium where you’ll get a panoramic view of the pitch and stands. Next up is the history and memorabilia section along with the trophy cabinet area. l counted ten trophy cabinets such is the astonishing success of the club. It has won the European Cup/Champions League a record 13 times.
The boots of former players was an interesting part of the memorabilia display. I was surprised at the small size of the boots of Roberto Carlos. Clearly this physical feature wasn’t an impediment to his game as he’s considered one of the greatest defenders and free-takers of all time.
The jerseys of the then current first team players were on display as were awards won by Cristiano Ronaldo. A few weeks after my visit, Ronaldo moved to Juventus so I would love to know what’s stored in that cabinet now.
Real Madrid has a professional basketball team and their trophies and awards were on display as well.
The downstairs area had specific displays for past noted players. At the time of my visit, Real Madrid were the current Champions League winners, having only won the competition a couple of days earlier. The trophy was manned by security and having your picture taken with it cost extra. You could also get your photo taken with a superimposed image of a player at a cost as well.
The tour moved further downstairs and we found ourselves on the pitch near the dugout area and the tunnel. Considering Real Madrid is the wealthiest club in the world, I was surprised at how ordinary the dressing rooms and shower area looked.
The press room was the final part of the sightseeing tour. The exit was via the shop where you had a final opportunity to splash the cash.
IS IT WORTH DOING THE STADIUM TOUR?
Real Madrid is considered the most successful football club in the world and was named FIFA Club of the 20th Century. So this tour is a must for any football fan and well worth the time and money. My trips to Spain rarely coincide with the La Liga season so this stadium tour was the next best thing.