With Schalke's Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen set to host games at UEFA Euro 2024 in Germany, get clued up on the stadium and the city in our guides.
One of Germany's most modern stadia and, consequently, one of its most atmospheric, the Veltins-Arena is a must-see venue if you find yourself in the Ruhr region next summer. With a total capacity of 62,271 and a stadium design that locks in sound to optimise the noise levels, live football at the Veltins is a unique experience.
Add to that the venue's retractable pitch (it is often used for music concerts) and roof, and four-screen video cube to ensure every fan has a fantastic view of the pitch itself and the replays, and you have a stadium that is the envy of clubs around the world. The Veltins-Arena played host to five matches at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, as well as the 2004 Champions League final.
Watch: Inside the home of Schalke
Matches to be played there:
Group C – 16 June.
Group B – 20 June
Group F – 26 June
Round of 16 – 30 June
How to get to Gelsenkirchen:
The closest major international airport is Düsseldorf, which is the fourth largest in Germany with regular flights around Europe and to the Middle East. Once you’ve landed, getting to Gelsenkirchen could hardly be simpler, with regular train services from the airport’s station taking passengers to Gelsenkirchen Hauptbahnhof in just 35-40 minutes.
For more options, Cologne-Bonn Airport is a further 30 minutes train ride away, while Frankfurt Airport – the largest in Germany with numerous daily flights to North America – is roughly two hours away with regular high-speed train services from the airport to Düsseldorf and nearby Essen and Dortmund.
How to get to the Veltins-Arena:
Situated in the north of the city, the stadium is a mere 16-minute ride on the 302 tram from the Hauptbahnhof (towards Gelsenkirchen-Buer), and is just 40 minutes by car from Düsseldorf airport.
Once in Gelsenkirchen…
Things to see and do (apart from the football!):
While the material influence of the coal-mining industry on Gelsenkirchen has long since waned, its legacy is one and indivisible with the city and its surrounding areas. Old refineries have been re-moulded into event halls and ice-skating rinks, and cycle paths now line the roads where rail tracks once led.
In the north of the city, amid a designated lowland nature reserve set with 300-year-old oak trees, lies Haus Lüttinghoff, a moated castle. First documented in 1308, it is the city's oldest historic monument and is well worth a visit. Further towards the city centre you can find the neo-gothic church of Saint Urban, built relatively recently in 1893, partially damaged in World War II and rebuilt in its modern-day grandeur.
Proximity in the Ruhr means inter-club and city rivalries, but it also means there are many options for things to do in nearby towns and cities, which may be where you choose to base yourself for greater hotel and transport options. Just whatever you do, don’t wear yellow and black in Gelsenkirchen. Conversely, don’t wear blue in Dortmund…
The local cuisine:
Your food options tend to be similar across the Ruhr, with Himmel und Äd (black pudding with stewed apples and mashed potatoes) a local classic. But the culinary king is usually a Bratwurst (fried sausage). Take it up a level and opt for a Currywurst (sausage in spicey ketchup sauce) to really fit in.
Check out the rest of our Euro 2024 city guides:
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