My Favourite Stadium: Estádio da Luz
Simply translated to “The Stadium of Light” in English. Sitting on the edge of Europe, in the lively streets of Lisbon, the Estádio da Luz is S.L. Benfica’s fortress and home for the multiple time champions of Portugal. A modern stadium with an old coliseum feel to it, gives it a unique atmosphere that’s hard to compare to any other in Europe. Especially with a full house.
Completed in October 2003. Purpose built not only to replace Benfica’s old stadium, which had a capacity of 120,000 until 1994 but to also become the final venue for the 2004 UEFA European Championships.
The stadium had to be something spectacular and modern, but keep the feel of the old da Luz, as well as tying in with the culture of a club the size of Benfica. It’s fair to say they did a pretty good job, and the stadium lived up to expectations. With a 65,000-seat capacity making it one of the biggest stadiums in Europe, the ground surpasses imagination.
I chose the da Luz as my favourite stadium of choice because I’m still in awe of how the stadium enlarges the atmosphere on game day, something like no other stadium I have been too.
I first went in the summer 2016 and took the tour around the stadium, taking in the history and sights of arguably Portugal’s biggest club. The stories of Eusébio and co, and the golden age of Portuguese football. The tour gave me a real insight into how the club keeps its identity and follows tradition even to this day.
I had a huge desire to return, but this time hopefully on game day. In early March 2017, I went back to the stadium to watch league leaders Benfica play against the struggling Belenenses.
I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was excited all the same. Walking up to the stadium before the game, I could feel the energy building, and the passion of the gathering supporters begun to show. The atmosphere inside the stadium was electric. Huge waves of fans signing together in unison to a backdrop of flares, flags, and scarves. If you could put it in easier terms, I'd say "Not far off looking like a scene from Mordor." It was intimidating, to say the least.
Unsurprisingly the game ended 4-0 to Benfica, with fans from both teams signing all the way through.
The passion and atmosphere that I experienced on my trip to Benfica and also Lisbon, has been rivalled by no other stadium so far. The fans are electric and really create the feeling that you were part of this intimidating roar towards the opposition. It was something that’s clearly been hard to beat, and comes with my highest regards as a must visit European football destination.
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As already stated I'd advise visiting Lisbon and the Estádio da Luz if you get the chance to. At Sporting Holiday Group, Lisbon is one of the destinations we look at visiting. You can view all of our Portuguese destinations here.
If you would like to learn more about the Estádio da Luz, you can do so by clicking on any of the following links: