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Official Review by Rik Sharma, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Mestalla is terrifying. It can be terrifying for opponents or Valencia themselves, depending how results are going. The stands are incredibly steep, the noise created by supporters is tremendous and, having been given a lick of paint, looks the business once again.
On March 18, 1919, Valencia was formed, playing at the Campo de Algiros, by the Turia river which used to run around the city. But just a few years later that 5,000-capacity ground was deemed not big enough, so they moved to Mestalla, which began with a capacity of 17,000. The first match was against Valencia's local rivals, Levante.
By June 1939 they had upgraded to a capacity of 22,000, and in 1954 work started on a replacement for Mestalla's main stand. It held 12,000 alone, across two tiers. Towards the end of the 1950s, the capacity was increased to over 50,000.
After that, beyond some re-touches and maintenance, it hasn't changed too much, and in November 2006 the club revealed they wanted to build a new stadium, to the north west of the city. Work began on that in 2007, but stopped when the club's debts rose hugely, with no work done on it since 2009. The new stadium, if ever completed, will likely be more comfortable and significantly more modern, but will it have the fear factor and feeling this beautiful beast generates? Unlikely.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is nothing out of the ordinary here, and like at most Spanish football grounds, you'd be better off eating before or after the game.
If that's not an option, go for a bocadillo - long sandwich - with ham, cheese or Spanish tortilla. There are also snacks, like pipa seeds, crisps and a few chocolate bars. Hamburgers are also available.
There are the usual fizzy drink options, with Coke as the main cola beverage. Zero-alcohol beer is available, but that's your lot on that front - unless you are in one of the private boxes.
Valencia supporters can create a huge atmosphere. If you see the stadium during big games, the visits of Barcelona or Madrid, or in important cup clashes, it can be thunderous.
A roof covers just one part of the stadium, with the rest open to the elements. Luckily the weather is usually excellent, so that's not too much of a problem. If you get there early, before seats start to fill, you can see the symbol of a bat painted across some seats in the main stand.
For the best atmosphere, it's recommended you sit in the Gol Sur stand, where the most hardcore fans sit. For a good view, the best position is probably the centre of the Av Suecia stand.
The actual area of the stadium doesn't have much to do or see. However, the rest of the city is not far, and it's beautiful. As long as you stay in or around the old town, or the Rusafa district, you will find plenty to do.
Near the stadium there are plenty of cafes, serving the same, usual Spanish cafe food. One interesting option is 'Manolo el del Bombo,' which is partly run by one of the most famous football fans in the world. He's a Spain supporter often seen banging his drum. The cafe is interesting because it has a lot of football memorabilia and scarves from teams all over the world.
Further away, near the top of the old town is an excellent pasta restaurant called La Carbonara. And a cafe that does near-perfect cakes and pastries is Dulce de Leche, based in Rusafa.
There are some good beaches in Valencia, albeit a journey away from the city centre. In the city itself is the Turia garden, which used to be the river, running across the top of the city and is worth walking or cycling in. The Arts and Sciences centre is nice to see, and feels futuristic. There is also an aquarium nearby.
The old town is a good area to stay in if you also want to enjoy the tourism options. Even if you want to go, it's best advised not to lodge near the beach but to travel there from the centre of town instead.
When they want to be, Valencia fans are raucous and fearsome. Unfortunately they also have a habit of turning on their own players and coach when things aren't going well.
The stadium is full for the bigger games and will regularly see crowds of 40,000 plus.
Like in many grounds in Spain, sometimes fans are most loud when screeching at the referee. Apart from that, Valencia fans usually sing and often show banners in the south stand.
You can walk from town in 20-25 minutes, or take the metro, or the bus. Don't bring a car, there aren't many places to park.
The easiest way to get there is to walk, if you don't mind the stroll from the old town. Aragon is the nearest metro stand, on line five.
Sometimes the football isn't great, especially in recent years, but if it's not, the fans will let the team know about it and that's interesting in itself.
The general cost of tickets ranges considerably, from 20 euros up to 115. These prices can rise for the biggest matches in the calendar.
Like with all of the biggest stadiums, tours are offered, taking in the usual sights and experiences. This stadium is still an old gem, and it is well worth a visit.
Valencia's new stadium may never be completed, but if it is, make sure you've been to this wonderful, imposing stadium before they move.
Member Review by Stephan Hoogerwaard on Jan 03, 2015
It all started in 1919 when two friends were at a Torino bar in Valencia having a drink. They talked about football in Spain and found it very unfortunate that Valencia had no football club. During the conversation the idea was born to start a football club and so arose the Valencia Club de Fútbol (Valencia CF).
The first games were played in the old stadium Algiros, but the club was increasing rapidly and gained more and more popularity in the Orange City. It was decided to build a new stadium in the district of Mestalla.
Estadío de Mestalla was opened on the 20th of May 1923 with a friendly match between Valencia and local rivals UD Levante (1-0). At that time the Mestalla Stadium was the largest stadium in Spain. It could initially hold 17,000 fans, but the popularity of the club was still rising so the stadium was expanded a few years after opening to 25,000 places.
Since then the stadium has been expanded many more times. Nowadays the Mestalla Stadium holds up to 55,000 spectators. The stadium is very steep, which gives spectators a feeling that they are always close to the action on the field.
In 1982, the stadium was host for three group matches during the World Cup.
Back in August 2007, the club began construction of a new stadium called ‘Nou Mestalla.’ This new stadium will be state of the art with three tiers and should hold about 73,000 fans when it is finished. Unfortunately for the club the completion of the new stadium has been delayed due to financial problems.
Plaza del Valencia Club Futbol, 5
Valencia, Valencia 46020
+34 963 93 04 60
Carrer de Dalt, 28
Valencia, Valencia 46003
+34 963 15 63 77
Calle de Finlandia, 7
Valencia, Spain 46010
+34 963 93 63 00
Av. del Professor López Pińero, 7,
Valencia, Valencia 46013
+34 902 10 00 31
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