Sun. May 19th, 2024

The Primeira Liga is the top professional football league in Portugal, consisting of 18 top-flight clubs. The league has been around for 89 years, and has had its current 18-team structure since the 2014-2015 season.

The three clubs that gain a lot of attention both at home and abroad are known locally as the “Big Three” of Sporting CP, FC Porto and SL Benfica. The league is always hotly contested between at least two of these three clubs, and many of the world’s greatest footballers have played for them.

Another attraction of the league is the fact that there are many wonderful stadiums that add intrigue to any visit, as well as adding to the excitement when watching in person and on TV too, or even for fans following and betting on football matches online. Below is a list of the most emblematic and arguably the most exciting stadiums to watch the sport in Portugal’s top football division.

Estádio Municipal de Braga

We will start with the home of a club outside the “Big Three” The Estádio Municipal de Braga was opened in advance of the Euro 2004 tournament that was held in Portugal. It’s the home for Sporting Clube de Braga.


It’s a stunningly beautiful stadium, both in terms of its engineering and architecture. It’s also built embedded into the hillside of the region of Monte Castro, and it faces the Cavado River, it’s open rock faces earning it the nickname of “The Quarry” in Portuguese football parlance.

In the years after the stadium opened, the Estádio Municipal de Braga received the Secil Award both in 2004 in the category of Architecture as well as in 2005 in the category of Civil Engineering.

It has a highly unusual design not only because of its setting but also because it has only lateral stands in relation to the pitch, with no spectators behind either goal, making it a must-visit for avid football travellers.

Estádio do Dragão

The Estádio do Dragão is the home stadium of Porto, one of the most successful clubs in the Primeira Liga. It holds 50,100 fans, making it one of the largest stadiums in Portugal.

The stadium opened back in 2003, replacing the old “Antas” arena. There are plenty of gardens and green areas in the complex, in addition to commercial and residential areas around it.

The Estádio do Dragão is extremely active in the cultural scene of the city too, making it a huge attraction for visitors from all over the country.

Estádio da Luz

The Estádio da Luz is the home stadium of Benfica, or to give Portugal’s most popular club its full name, Sport Lisboa e Benfica. It was also opened in 2003 as a replacement for its older stadium in preparation for the Euro 2004 tournament held in the country.


The stadium can hold more than 65,000 fans and was designed by a company that builds many modern facilities that meet the most stringent security regulations set out by UEFA and FIFA.

The layout and seating configurations of Estádio da Luz have been designed to ensure the noise generated by the fans is an authentic cauldron.

Estádio José Alvalade XXI

The Estádio José Alvalade XXI is the home stadium of Sporting Clube de Portugal, more commonly referred to simply as Sporting. The stadium can hold 50,000 fans. Just like the two stadiums before it on this list, it was designed as a replacement for an old stadium in advance of the Euro 2004 tournament.

This stadium is actually the first one in the entire world that UEFA gave a five-star rating. In addition to the stadium itself, there’s a shopping centre, clinic, office building and multi-sport complex as part of the whole venue.

The seating was originally multi-coloured, but under pressure from fans the club reverted to all green seats in line with the club’s traditional colours.

Estádio Nacional do Jamor

The Estádio Nacional do Jamor (pictures in the introduction above) is a historic stadium on the outskirts of Lisbon built in the midst of a wood. It is the venue of the Portuguese Cup final every year, the match that brings the curtain down on the domestic season.

It hosted the 1967 European Cup final when Celtic beat Inter Milan to lift the trophy, and is thus a mecca for fans of the Scottish club.

It has also hosted Portugal’s national team on many occasions and has recently been a temporary home to top-flight Lisbon clubs Belenenses SAD, and this season Casa Pia.

Originally built and opened way back in 1944, it has been modernised since but remains an atmospheric and old-style stadium that is dripping in history. The nostalgia attached to Jamor is one of the reasons why this stadium is so special.


These are five of the most exciting stadiums to watch football in the Portuguese Primeira Liga. There’s something unique about each one of them, and a visit to Portugal to watch a Primeira Liga match will be all the more enjoyable for the stunning arena hosting the game in any of these venues.



By Lala