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    The Ultimate European Road-Trip Experience for Soccer Fans

    The Women's World Cup is over. After a long and memorable tournament, the United States Women's National Team conquered once again for their 3rd consecutive and 4th overall Women's World Cup Title. While we all remember the exciting elimination matches, heroic goals from the likes of Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle and our celebrations as the final whistle blew, many new (and old) fans of the beautiful game are wondering - what's next? Although the World Cup only happens every four years, you will be happy to know that the world of international soccer doesn't wait quietly for the next tournament. So, allow us to outline the ultimate road-trip experience for soccer fans this fall.

    Soccer. Football. Fútbol – the beautiful game. A language to some, a pastime for most and a borderline religion for others – soccer is the one game that connects sports fans worldwide. However, soccer culture is arguably most prevalent and thriving in Europe, the continent that birthed the great game we know and love. From the excellence of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League matches to the excitement of clashes between local rivals, Europe is home to some of the greatest events and fixtures in the soccer and greater sports world. Whether you are drawn to the pace and physicality of England’s Premier League, the masterful defensive tactics of Italy’s Serie A or the mesmerizing attacking play of Spain’s La Liga, there is something for all soccer fans to enjoy across Europe’s iconic soccer leagues. To fully experience some of the most exciting match fixtures, stadium atmospheres, local pubs for watching the big game and more, follow our road-trip plan across Europe for the ultimate soccer road-trip.

    Start: Spain

    El Classico - FC Barcelona v. Real Madrid C.F. at Camp Nou or Santiago Bernabéu StadiumMadrid - Santiago Bernabéu Soccer Stadium

    Let us begin our trip with Spain’s most iconic rivalry and one of the most exciting match-ups in the world – El Clásico. Beginning at the turn of the 20th-century, Spain’s two largest cities have been competing against each other fiercely on the pitch for over 100 years with Madrid representing the pride of Spanish nationalism and Barcelona representing the plight of the Catalan people. With both political and sporting opposition contributing to each match, El Clásico has become a hard fought battle from start to finish and a must-see match-up for fans across the world. Over recent years some of the world’s biggest stars made history in this clash, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Carles Puyol, Xavi and Andres Iniesta showcasing the intricate attacking play of Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Raul and David Beckham competing for Madrid. Whether you decide to attend this match in Madrid or Barcelona, the stadium atmosphere is guaranteed to be unforgettable. Enter Barcelona’s Camp Nou with the locals, sing with the people of Madrid at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium or watch at a local pub such as the Irish Rover – just be sure not to miss El Clásico.

    How to Reach your Next Destination:

    If you arrive in Barcelona:

    In Barcelona, there are several car rental pick-up locations and major transportation hubs available to get you to your next stop on the road trip. To make the most of your road-trip experience, we recommend that you book a car rental to reach your next destination but if you are looking to travel by rail or air, below are a few popular options in Barcelona:

    Car Rentals at Barcelona El-Prat Airport Barcelona El-Prat Airport Car Rentals at Barcelona Sants Railway Station Barcelona Sants Railway Station

    If you arrive in Madrid:

    Similar to Barcelona, Madrid offers several car rental pick-up locations and major transportation hubs to get you to your next stop on the road trip. To make the most of your road-trip experience, we recommend that you book a car rental with Auto Europe. Wheil behind the wheel, you can drive along the stunning coasts of Spain and France, stop to visit popular tourist destinations such as Nice and more! But if you are looking to travel by rail or air, below are a few popular options in Madrid:

    Car Rentals at Madrid Barajas Airport Madrid Barajas Airport Car Rentals at Madrid Atocha Rail Station Madrid Atocha Rail Station

    Second Stop: Italy

    Derby della Madonnina at San Siro - AC Milan vs. Inter MilanMilan - San Siro Soccer Stadium

    Next stop - Milan and Derby della Madonnina! Unlike El Clásico, this rivalry is confined to a single city and uniquely, a single stadium. Beyond the high level of play on display in this Derby, what makes this match special is that San Siro is the home stadium for both AC Milan and Intern Milan - making this an inter-city clash like no other. Historically, this match represented a clash between social classes with AC Milan representing the working class of the city and Internazionale representing the affluent, upper class. However, today, this match is about bragging rights across the city and supporting each respective club's heroes. All you have to do is decide which club to support. With soccer legends such as Ronaldinho, Kaka, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and many more competing in past derbies - this truly is the match fixture you will not want to miss during your time in Italy. While we recommend you experience the energy and excitement of this match from within San Siro, there are several pubs for passionate supporters and casual fans across Milan. A few of our recommendations are the Offsides Sports Pub and the Friends Pub Milano, which are perfect for both passionate supporters and casual, neutral soccer fans.

    How to Reach your Next Destination:

    Whether you plan on arriving by rail, air or rental car, Milan has many transportation centers that are ideal for reaching your next destination. However, in regard to travel to our next stop, Munich, Germany, we recognize that traveling by rental car can get expensive - especially, with the extended international travel and potential one-way fees. So, depending on your overall travel plans, consider two separate rental bookings for your time in Milan and Munich. Below are some of the major transportation facilities found in Milan:

    Car Rentals at Milan Malpensa Airport Milan Malpensa Airport Car Rentals at Milan Linate Airport Milan Linate Airport Car Rentals at Milan Centrale Station Milan Centrale Station

    Third Stop: Germany

    FC Bayern Munich at Allianz ArenaMunich - Allianz Arena Soccer Stadium

    Congratulations and welcome to Germany, you have made it to the halfway point of the road-trip! For a change of pace, this stop will be taking a break from the famous rivalries of Europe to simply appreciate one of Germany's finest clubs - FC Bayern Munich. As the largest soccer club in Munich and the most successful club in German history, FC Bayern Munich (or Bayern) is one of the top competitors in Europe and their matches are surely not to be missed. From domestic championships to UEFA Champions League Finals to a rich history of world-class players and coaches, you would be hard pressed to find a higher level of professional soccer than this. Playing in one of Europe's largest stadiums, there is truly no experience comparable to seeing a match at Allianz Arena. During your time in Munich, you can join over 70,000 supporters into the stadium to cheer for current club legends such as Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng as they compete in the famous Bundesliga. For those looking to enjoy a match outside of the stadium, Stadion an der Schleißheimerstraße is an excellent bar to join the locals on match-day.

    How to Reach your Next Destination:

    With Paris as our next stop, there are a number of possible modes of transportation to reach the city from Munich. Per usual though, we recommend you travel by rental car. On your way to Paris you can travel through the beautiful French and German countrysides, visit popular cities such as Stuttgart, Metz and Reims or simply enjoy the freedom of the open road. However, if you do not plan on travelling by rental car, here are a few of the major transportation centres in Munich:

    Car Rentals at Munich Airport Munich Airport Car Rentals at Munich Central Rail Station Munich Central Rail Station Car Rentals at Munich Pasing Station Munich Pasing Station

    Fourth Stop: France

    Le Classique - Olympique de Marseille v. Paris Saint-Germain F.C. at Parc des PrincesParis - Parc des Princes Soccer Stadium

    Welcome to France! Although this country is internationally renowned for its rich history, iconic art and incomparable culinary culture, don't let that fool you - France is home to some of the most competitive and elegant soccer in Europe. One of the most exciting on-field rivalries across the nation is Le Classique, featuring the French soccer giants of Paris Saint-Germain F.C. and Olympique de Marseille. While this fixture is not an inner city derby, this clash represents a fierce battle for national pride between the two largest cities in France. Over the course of this storied rivalry, fans have been able to watch several of the world's top stars including Neymar, Thiago Silva, Didier Deschamps, Marcel Desailly and more. As one of the most well-attended matches in Europe each season, the stadium atmosphere at Paris's Parc des Princes is truly unforgettable. However, more casual and neutral soccer fans may want to consider enjoying Le Classique from the comfort of a local pub - as this contest is notorious for annually being the most violent match in France. In Paris, we recommend 'The Moose' in the city's Sain-Germain-Des-Prés district and 'Bar de la Plaine,' if you happen to be traveling to Marseille!

    How to Reach your Next Destination:

    From Paris, there are several convenient ways to reach our final stop - London. The most popular means of travel can be found in the form of short flights across the English Channel from major airports such as Charles de Gaulle or Orly and the convenient high-speed rail service on the EuroStar line, which operates out of Gare de Nord. However, before you make your way into England, be sure to explore all Paris and surrounding region has to offer. While behind the wheel of your rental car, venture into the famous wine regions of Northern France, embark on a day trip to the spectacular Palace of Versailles or simply take in the iconic sights of Paris. BUT, be sure not to miss out on our final match - The North London Derby.

    Car Rentals at Charles de Gaulle Airport Charles de Gaulle Airport Car Rentals at Paris Orly Airport Paris Orly Airport Car Rentals at Paris Gare du Nord Paris Gare du Nord

    Final Stop: England

    North London Derby - Arsenal F.C. v. Tottenham Hotspur F.C. at Emirates StadiumLondon - Emirates Soccer Stadium

    Here we are, the final match - set in the place where it all began, England. As the birth country of soccer, no 'Ultimate European Soccer Road-Trip' would be complete without visiting England and more specially, London. London is one of the top soccer cities in the world and is the home of 13 major professional soccer clubs. Five of these clubs are currently featured in the United Kingdom's Premier League, which is debatably the most competitive professional soccer league in the world, and each district of the city is home to unique local rivalries. The most exciting rivalry and the final match on our list is between London's Arsenal F.C. and Tottenham Hotspur F.C. - the North London Derby. Beginning in 1909, this clash between two of London's most historic and successful clubs is the pinnacle of sports rivalries. With both clubs located within a 5 mile radius of one another, they have battled for control of North London in nearly 200 matches. Regardless of what is happening during their respective seasons, on Derby Day, only one thing matters - will North London be Red (Arsenal)? or Blue (Spurs)? In recent years, this rivalry has been an absolutely stunning sporting spectacle with both Arsenal and Tottenham displaying the highest levels of play in the soccer world - featuring club legends such as Harry Kane, Ian Wright, Thierry Henry, Gareth Bale and more. Whether you are joining the ranks of over 60,000 supporters into Arsenal's Emirates Stadium or enjoying the match in a local pub such as the 'Famous Three Kings,' be sure not to miss out on the North London Derby during your time in England.

    How to Reach your Next Destination or Return Home:

    Car Rentals at London Heathrow Airport London Heathrow Airport Car Rentals at London Gatwick Airport London Gatwick Airport Car Rentals at King's Cross Railway Station King's Cross Railway Station

    There you have it, the "Ultimate European Road-Trip for Soccer Fans." We hope you enjoyed this unique trip across Europe's exciting soccer landscape and we recommend that you check out more of Auto Europe's Travel Blog articles, for additional road-trips and travel tips, before you embark on your next trip!

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