Europe as a continent is a sports enthusiast’s dream. Aside from boasting the steep slopes, vast bodies of water and mountain-passes that have inspired some of the most challenging sporting events known to man, its countries also happen to produce exceptional sportsmen and -women who continually baffle us with their incredible skill and talent. While it’s all good and well to watch iconic sporting events on the telly, nothing quite beats the thrill of being there in the flesh, so here’s our pick of 2017 sport events that make people flock from all over the world to Europe and the United Kingdom.
The Championships, Wimbledon: London & the world’s oldest tennis tournament
2 – 15 July 2018
The Championships, Wimbledon, most commonly referred to simply as ‘Wimbledon’, has been held on the outdoor grass courts of the All England Club in Wimbledon since 1877 and is rated as one of the most prestigious tennis events the world over. This premier Grand Slam tournament takes place over the course of two weeks in late June and early July and draws visitors from far and wide who come dressed to the nines to watch the main, junior and invitation events and rub shoulders with the who’s who of UK royalty and celebrities.
Related: Join us for a week-long holiday in England!
IAAF World Championships – Birmingham, England
2 – 4 March 2018
The IAAF World Championships, commonly known as the World Championships in Athletics, is an athletics event organized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and takes place once every two years. This year the 10-day event will be hosted by Great Britain at Arena Birmingham – the second time in IAAF World Championship history. Visitors can look forward to an enormous selection of track and field events that showcase the talents of some of the world’s foremost athletes – riveting to say the least!
London Marathon: The UK’s foremost long-distance running event
22 April 2018
The Virgin Money London Marathon is a very popular long-distance running event that takes place in London each year and forms part of the World Marathon Majors – which means it is on the bucket list of just about every serious runner out there. The marathon is run an on almost entirely flat course that loops around the River Thames, spans just over 42 kilometres (26 miles), and has three different starting points that converge after the first 4.5km (2.8 miles). The London Marathon also attracts thousands of spectators who come to cheer on the runners. If your interest in the event is more along this vein, here’s some great advice about the best locations to watch from, etc.
Monaco Grand Prix: The world’s most glamorous F1 event
27 May 2018
Raced on the winding, cobbled streets of Monaco off the coast of France, the Monaco Grand Prix is not your average car race. This prestigious circuit is frequented by the who’s who in the automotive industry and also happens to one of the most demanding F1 tracks in the world, despite the low average speeds. The many elevation changes and tight means it’s one of the most dangerous places to race, which, of course, makes for nail-biting viewing. There are tickets available to view the spectacle from a variety of glamorous locations throughout the city, including a yacht if your budget allows!
Palio di Siena – Siena, Italy
2 July + 16 August 2018
The Palio di Siena is an epic biannual event that has been taking place in Siena since 1644. What in essence boils down to a 90-second horse race in which ten horses and bare-back riders challenge each other to three laps around the Piazza del Campo is actually so much more than that – it’s a civic institution. The ten horses and riders each represent a Sienese contrade, or ward. There are 17 contrades in total, and lots are drawn to see which wards compete in this historical spectacle each year. Visitors can look forward to plenty of colourful decorations and (mostly) friendly rivalry as the contrades dress up their neighbourhoods to support their challenger, and a boisterous carnival atmosphere permeates the streets – lots of fun!
Related: Saddle up for a true Italian experience with one of our tours to Italy.
Tour de France – France
7 – 29 July 2018
The Tour de France is an epic, annual multiple-stage bicycle race that takes place throughout France, but also occasionally segues into nearby countries, and has been a proud French institution since 1903. This year’s challenging route kicks off in Dusseldorf, Germany and finishes in Paris France after 21 gruelling stages. The 2017 route traverses Belgium and Luxembourg, skirts down the east of France, transfers to the Pyrénées, crosses the Massif Central into the Alps and finishes with a time trial around Marseille in lieu of the deciding penultimate-stage summit finishes that characterised the past few races. In short – there are plenty of beautiful areas in which to cheer on the Tour de France racers this year. Just check the schedule ahead of time and coincide a leg of your European trip to meet up with a route touchpoint.
And the big wait is over for the 2018 FIFA World Cup – Moscow, Russia
The FIFA World Cup™ tournament (yes, it’s so huge that even the name is trademarked!) is the world’s most-watched sporting event. Held once every four years, the tournament features the talents of the senior men’s national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The upcoming tournament will be hosted by Russia, with Luzhniki Stadium in the Moscow Olympic complex as the main venue and location of the opening and closing matches. If you’re a soccer fan, seeing at least one FIFA World Cup™ match should be at the top of your bucket list – the sheer electricity and spirit of the crowds alone are enough to give you goosebumps, and then there’s the incredible soccer of course!
Here’s to a year jam-packed with iconic European sporting events! Keep your eye on the blog for more annual event inspiration to motivate your next travel adventure.