Soccer is revered in Europe and it’s especially true in Belgium. Belgium is home to the Belgium Red Devils and the Belgium National soccer team. Seeing one of these games is an experience like no other and I was lucky enough to do it twice!
I was living in Belgium around World Cup time. The Belgian national team was just gearing up for competition. I was fortunate enough to see them defeat Iran and Costa Rica in friendly football matches. It was so great to see Belgium play because they ultimately ended up taking 3rd place in the 2018 World Cup!
Securing tickets to these matches is not the easiest task to accomplish and can be increasingly difficult if you do not speak the host country’s language. We found tickets on the Royal Belgium Football Association website, which fortunately can be changed from French to English. Tickets are only available to the most current upcoming game, it isn’t like most American websites, where you can browse every game to come.
After securing tickets, it’s important that you print them out prior to going to the stadium. You can have them just available your phone, but the process goes much smoother when you have physical tickets. Upon arrival at the stadium you will have to go through the gate that is specified on your ticket and there is serious airport style security that you must go through.
There are a few important things that you should know before going:
Parking – You should not park in the parking directly at the stadium. Although this will be the closest, it is going to be the biggest headache when it is time to leave. When we went to the Iran contest, we were stuck in the parking structure for two hours after the game had ended! The Belgian Police prioritizes the safety of their citizens before people getting home in a timely manner.
There is plenty of parking spots around King Baudouin Stadium and if you are more interested in getting out of the fray immediately after game end you should park far away. We parked about .7 miles away and only paid 10 euro for parking, which wasn’t bad at all. To put things in perspective, parking right at the stadium to wait after was six euro.
Food – The food inside the stadium is not the greatest and the selection is small. However, walking up to the stadium there is a plethora of food trucks lined up on the streets and you can get it all–hamburgers, kabobs, and even churros. In my opinion, eating outside the stadium not only saves you money, but it also tastes better.
One of the best things about Belgium and Europe in general is that you can drink in public. The best thing I remember is parking and then cracking open an ice cold Juplier beer on the walk down to the stadium. And when it was time to get a refill, grabbed another ice cold one for two euro at one of the food trucks!
Seats – One thing to note is that you cannot purchase tickets on the visiting teams side of the stadium. Not sure why anyone would want to do that because sitting on the side of the host country with the die-hard fans is an experience like no other.
Also, you can only purchase tickets on the second level when you use this website. This was a bit of a bummer because when we went to go see Costa Rica it was a surprise for my dad and wanted the best seats in the house. So, to be limited to the second level wasn’t the greatest, but it still ended up being an excellent seat.
Ultimately, I recommend this experience to any sports fan because it is truly unlike any American sport experience. Despite not being able to get the best seats or having to spend hours in a parking lot after the game, it didn’t take away from the experience at all.