The Best And Cheapest Last Minute World Cup Trip Ideas

I am in a relationship with a football fanatic. Paul spends as much of his free time at football games as physically possible, whether at his home support team, the relentlessly unlucky Partick Thistle, or more recently, attending Scottish junior games. Since we began travelling he has tried to go to a football game in every country resulting in him attending games in Laos, Nicaragua, Lebanon and many many more (you can follow his football adventures on his Instagram account – I’m always on at him to do a blog of his own!)

Another way he combines his love of football and travel is by visiting a country while they are playing in the World Cup. The idea for this was borne in 2010 when we were living in South Korea and they had qualified for the World Cup in South Africa. We went up to Seoul’s City Hall to watch the opening game against Belgium and the atmosphere was one neither of us will ever forget; hundreds of thousands of fans taking up the centre of the city cheering their country on. The last time Scotland qualified for a World Cup was in 1998 so this experience of watching our country play in a collective euphoric mob is one which may elude us for some time. Visiting another country while they are playing in the World Cup is how we’ve tried to get around this.

In June 2014 during the World Cup in Brazil, we visited Berlin and watched their game against Ghana on a big screen at the Brandenburg Gate alongside tens of thousands of other fans who took up the entire Unter den Linden boulevard. As with Korea, the experience was phenomenal, largely due to how brilliant the German fans are. For this World Cup in Russia we are going to be in Tours in France for their game against Peru (we are actually going to France for a friend’s wedding but of course Paul planned it so we would be there when a game was on).

Germany World Cup 2010 Brandenburg Gate Germany vs Ghana

If when the World Cup starts on Thursday and you feel like you’re missing out it is not too late to become a part of the fun. Being in Russia itself would no doubt be very expensive (Paul actually looked into purchasing tickets for the games when they were released and they were so ludicrously expensive he didn’t even consider it) so why not book a last minute trip to a country which has qualified? The initial group stages of the World Cup last for two weeks and those games have already been scheduled. Some of the countries I have listed below will almost definitely make it to the latter stages, with one possibly even making the final (Germany and France the most likely possibilities). Watching a country win the World Cup while being surrounded by their home fans is an experience I imagine would be unforgettable. Here’s five trips to countries playing in the 2018 World Cup which don’t cost a fortune.

Denmark

Paul and I are actually visiting Copenhagen at the end of July which I am very excited about. Copenhagen is supposed to be a fantastic city and I think watching Denmark play France in the last of their group games on Tuesday 26th June would be amazing. Get the Viking hats ready

How I would get there:

Ryanair and Easyjet have multiple dirt cheap direct flights from the UK to Copenhagen, London and Edinburgh being cheapest. Edinburgh would obviously suit me best. I would go for the Easyjet flights from Edinburgh to Copenhagen leaving at 7.15am and arriving at 10am on Monday 25th June and back on Thursday 28th June leaving Copenhagen at 9.15pm and arriving in Edinburgh at 10.10pm. Both flights, at the moment, cost a staggering £108 (per person).

Where I would stay

Accommodation in Copenhagen is not particularly cheap during June. The hotel we are staying at in our upcoming trip is Wakeup Copenhagen – Cartsen Neiburhs Gade. It gets great reviews, is basic but clean and modern and in a great location. Staying there for three nights from Monday 25th to Thursday 28th costs £423.

Total cost for World Cup trip to Denmark (for two people) £643

Germany

Germany definitely could win the World Cup. Remember their victory in 2014 which included that astonishing 7-1 defeat over hosts Brazil? Watching Germany play at the Brandenburg Gate, as described above was a incredible experience. You could go along for one of their group games or take a risk and hold out for the final?

How I Would Get There

Pretty much every large city in the UK has budget flights to Berlin. I would fly from Glasgow and go for Germany’s match against Sweden on Saturday 23rd June on Easyjet leaving at 7.15am and arriving at 10.30am on Thursday 21st June and back on Monday 25th June leaving Berlin at 2.20pm and arriving in Glasgow at 3.40pm. Total cost of return flights (each) are just £121.

Where I Would Stay

On our last trip to Berlin we stayed in the hip neighbourhood in Neukolln (which I wrote more about here). The hotel we stayed in is sold out after that weekend, but the Ibis Hotel in Neukolln looks good. It costs £263 for four nights from Thursday 21st June to Monday 25th June.

Total cost of World Cup Trip to Germany (for two people): £505

Sweden

I have never been to Stockholm but would really like to go. Its archipelago looks so beautiful and basically every scene in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo makes it seem really cool. And there’s ABBA, of course.

How I Would Get There

There are ridiculously cheap Ryanair flights from London to Stockholm during June. I would go for Sweden’s game against Mexico on the Tuesday 26th June and fly back on Friday 29th. The cost of the return flights: £59! The only catch is the flight times aren’t ideal – you’d either need to fly out at 8.30am in the morning meaning if you don’t live in London you’d need to stay overnight in a hotel by the airport or fly out on the 5.40pm flight which means you wouldn’t arrive in Stockholm until 8.55pm.

Where I would stay

Stockholm is not particularly cheap for accommodation but the Motel L is modern, has great reviews, and is close to the hip neighbourhood of Sodermalm. Three nights there from 26th June to 29th costs £175

Total cost of trip (for two people): £294 (flying from London)

Belgium

Belgium are actually an outside bet to win the World Cup so maybe it worth holding off until the final? Or if you go earlier then they reach the final you could go again – it’s cheap enough! Paul and I visited Brussels in 2010 and loved it; it is a beautiful city with great pubs.

How I Would Get There

There are flights under £100 to Brussels from Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London. I would go to watch their 28th June game against England and fly out on 26th June at 11.45am and back on 30th June at 2.25pm on Ryanair for just £51.

Where I would stay

This Brussels airbnb and this Brussels airbnb are both reasonably priced and located in the centre of Brussels.

Total cost of trip (for two people): Approximately £300

France

France is another favourite to win the World Cup so you could take a risk and hold out for the final, or a later game. There’s certainly enough to do in Paris to keep you busy aside from football.

How I would get there

Fly Ryanair from Edinburgh on Wednesday 20th June and back on Sunday 24th June to watch France’s game against Peru on Thursday 21st June. Return flights cost £118 each.

Where I would stay

This airbnb in Montmartre is an amazing price. Four nights there cost just £186.

Total cost of trip (for two people): £426

P.S. How To Travel On A Budget and My Photography Prints Shop

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