Euro 2024: The cheapest ways to follow England and Scotland in Germany next summer

Final countdown: Olympia Stadion, Berlin, where the Euro 2024 final will be played on 14 July (Olympia Stadion)
Final countdown: Olympia Stadion, Berlin, where the Euro 2024 final will be played on 14 July (Olympia Stadion)

On Saturday 2 December, all football eyes will be on Hamburg, where the draw for the Euro 2024 finals will take place – starting at 5pm. That is when the teams who have qualified for the region’s greatest football tournament will find out where and when the group games – the first three matches – will take place

England and Scotland qualified emphatically for next summer’s tournament in Germany, and will find out who they are playing – and, crucially for fans, where and when?

Wales fans will have to wait a while longer, until March, to see if the national team can make it through a Baltic battle in the play-offs against first Finland and then either Poland or Estonia.

But if you’re planning a midsummer’s dream trip to support your team or just soak up the atmosphere, acting now could be a way to beat the travel algorithms.

Where are the matches being played?

  • Berlin Olympiastadion (capacity 70,000)

  • Munich Football Arena (67,000)

  • Dortmund BVB Stadion (66,000)

  • Stuttgart Arena (54,000)

  • Gelsenkirchen Arena AufSchalke (50.000)

  • Hamburg Volksparkstadion (50,000)

  • Cologne Stadium (47,000)

  • Düsseldorf Arena (47,000)

  • Frankfurt Arena (46, 000

  • Leipzig Stadium (42,000)

What are the basic travel mechanics?

There’s a wide choice of flights on budget airlines from across England and Scotland to Germany, but they won’t be low-cost next summer. Many people will take cars across, and the Dover-Dunkirk or Harwich-Hook of Holland ferries are probably best – though Newcastle to Amsterdam and Hull to Rotterdam are also feasible, if expensive.

It could be smart to fit to somewhere close to Germany. For example, to reach Stuttgart, one of the key venues, you could fly to Strasbourg in France or Basel in Switzerland and get a cheap train from there. Eindhoven in the Netherlands is a good location for the western venues around Cologne and Dusseldorf.

You could also buy a cut-price Interrail pass (currently 25 per cent off until 28 November) and use that in conjunction with the discounted Eurostar fares it offers to Brussels.

Why does it make sense to book travel before we know where teams will be playing?

Because as soon as teams’ fixtures are known, transport and accommodation prices will soar, as the travel firms’ algorithms kick in. Right now you can fly from London City to Frankfurt on the morning of the match and back next day for £145. Were England to be drawn in Group E, that fare will multiply.

Committing now won’t necessarily be cheap: Glasgow to Frankfurt on the same dates is £290 return on Lufthansa. But as soon as the draw takes place you will see prices rising by the second as the algorithms kick in.

Where would you head for?

The Ruhr in western Germany, and the place I have computed to be the most favourable location for the Group stage of the tournament: Essen. It isn’t actually a venue, which will keep costs down. But it is a a fascinating city less than 30 minutes by train to three host venues – Dortmund, Düsseldorf and Gelsenkirchen – as well as under an hour to a fourth venue, Cologne, which is also a magnificent city.

If you book now, there’s a very good chance England and Scotland will be playing at least one match each nearby. The Ruhr is also the heart of German football –and the industrial archaeology is remarkable. And the German Football Museum is just minutes away in Dortmund.

Accommodation is easy, too, with many decent hotels available for under £100 double in Essen during the tournament.

Part of the joy of a tournament like this is travelling around the host nation – is that going to be easy?

Yes, because German Railways has a vast, high-density network, with low fares if you don’t take the fastest expresses. No real need to book anything in advance – you can buy tickets on the day. It will feel the strain on match days, but trains will be supplemented by long-distance coaches. If you’re driving your own car, the autobahns will be busy – and you will also find parking in cities and near venues difficult.

Last week the authorities said that all ticket holders will get 36 hours of free local transport around each match.

Which brings us on to the thorny question of tickets …

Tickets are scarce: a total of 2.2 million tickets will be made available for fans, according to Uefa, but 1.2 million of those have already been allocated by lottery in the first tranche of sales in October – effectively, fans were buying “blind” for random fixtures rather than supporting their team.

Of the remaining million tickets, most will go on sale following the draw on 2 December. Demand is expected to be extremely strong because England, Scotland and every other team will know where and when they will be playing in the group stages. But that works out at just 40,000 tickets per team for all three group games that are guaranteed.

A few tickets will be held back for supporters of the teams that qualify through the play-offs in March.

If you’re prepared to pay thousands then you can book through the official “hospitality provider” who will guarantee you tickets for all England’s or Scotland’s group matches and the final, for slightly over £9,500.

Or you can settle for the fan zones – which will be in locations such as Cologne’s old town, the Altstadt.

What about waiting until the knock-out stages?

Another valid strategy is to do nothing now to see if England, Scotland and possibly Wales progress beyond the Group stage. From then onwards everything becomes easier – pressure on transport and accommodation eases because lots of fans sadly go home.

Over the four-day spell of the quarter finals from 29 June to 2 July could be prime time to be in Germany.

And, if you are feeling optimistic, you could even book a cheap flight to Berlin for the final on 14 July. Ryanair is currently selling flights on the morning of the match, returning the next day, for just £145 from Edinburgh to the German capital.

While many Berlin hotels are sold out on the night of the final, a very good hotel room in Leipzig (the Amano Home) is only €79 (£69) on the night of the final, with trains taking 75 minutes to reach the German capital.