For anyone who’s a fan of football (and we’re talking soccer here, not NFL), then this month and next are exciting ones in terms of international football, as qualifiers are taking place for next year’s Euro 2016 finals, which will be held in France.
If you happen to be in Europe, you’re unlikely to be too far from a qualifier match taking place somewhere. Last weekend, San Marino played England, Spain played Slovakia and Montegro played Liechtenstein, to mention but a few. Even if you can’t get tickets for the matches, just being in a city while an international fixture is being played can be pretty exciting.
So perhaps now is a good time to start planning a trip to France next June and July. Although getting hold of match tickets is not going to be easy, you could pick to be in any one of the nine host cities during the Euro 2016 finals and soak up the atmosphere, watching the games in any local sports bar, and having a great time exploring the local area the rest of the time you’re there.
This will be the third time that France has hosted the Euro finals, and looking at international football betting, France is currently second favourite to win the tournament. Ahead of them are last year’s World Cup winners, Germany, at odds of about 3/1. Still, it might be a good time to take a contrarian position and bet on one of the outsiders to win the tournament; the odds are only going to get shorter as the finals approach.
— UEFA.com (@UEFAcom) September 8, 2015
If you’re not sure which part of France to head to, you can narrow it down by looking at the host cities, and the attractions and things to do in and around each of them. The best idea is to mix in the footy with other things you enjoy, be that culture and history, or outdoor sports such as canyoning or cycling.
The nine host cities are Paris, St-Denis (also in Paris), Lille, Marseille, Toulouse, Lens, Bordeaux, St-Etienne and Nice; all of which have their charms. If you’ve never been to France, perhaps Paris would seem like the obvious choice, but bear in mind that it will be the height of summer – not necessarily the best place to be in a major European city.
Nice and Marseille are both on the Mediterranean coast, so you could mix the excitement of the football with some great times on the beach. Nice isn’t far from the mountains either, which make for great climbing, abseiling and canyoning country in the summer months. Bordeaux gives you access to the Atlantic surfing beaches, but it’s also within easy reach of beautiful countryside in the Dordogne, with its majestic river (also called the Dordogne) and its beautiful villages. And, of course, there are plenty of vineyards to visit in the area.
Related post: 4 Must See Cities in Mainland Europe