Having four Premier League teams in the two European football finals is simply unprecedented
And it’s putting an unprecedented strain on travel for the supporters.
Getting to Madrid for the June 1 Champions League clash between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC (disclaimer: Reds fan for 50-plus years) is one thing…but travelling to Baku in distant Azerbaijan for the Chelsea and Arsenal Europa League showdown on May 29 is quite another.
It’s 2,500 miles from London – as far as Newfoundland in Eastern Canada!
There are very few direct flights around the time of the final at the Azeri capital’s Olympic Stadium (and they look to be full anyway) so it’s going to be via Istanbul, Kiev, Bahrain or Frankfurt and anything from 8-16hrs each way.
Train is a feasible option, though it will take at least four and a half days travelling through Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Russia – and driving it will take an immense 57hrs, not including overnight stops and border crossing queues.
So, to the big one. It’s said up to 100,000 Spurs and Reds fans will head to the elegant Spanish capital for the showpiece match at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium – travelling by planes, trains and automobiles (and even ferry too!)
Obviously, prices for flights from the Northwest and London airports have gone through the roof as demand completely outstrips supply (I’ve seen an insane £1,192 return for what can normally be around £145).
However, there could be a smart money-saving solution if you can take a whole week off.
Here’s what to do: book the holiday starting on, say, Tuesday May 28, Wednesday May 29 or Thursday May 30 on the costas around Valencia and Alicante.
I did some online searches across onthebeach.co.uk, icelolly.com and loveholidays.com yesterday afternoon and found seven-day self-catering and B&B holidays in basic two and three-star hotels from as little as £157 per person with flights from Gatwick (for Spurs fans) and £274pp from Leeds (for Liverpool fans).
At least you’re now in the right country and you get a bit of beach time too!
Then, from both Alicante and Valencia main line stations, there are regular express trains to Madrid, taking around 3hrs and 2hrs respectively.
Buses are cheaper but a little less frequent and will of course take longer: around 4hrs 45mins and 3hrs 40mins.
Of course, you’ll need a taxi or hire car trip of up to an hour from your hotel on the costas to the station (though I did see one two-star hotel in Alicante itself for under £341pp from Leeds, avoiding the need for a journey along the coast).
Good hunting. Unfortunately, I can’t help you get a match ticket! And best of luck to all four English teams! (#YNWA)
Prices based on two adults sharing and correct at time of writing and subject to change.