FC Barcelona: the match day experience

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Claire Bloomfield visits one of the most spectacular venues in world sport.

 

The chance to watch FC Barcelona at their iconic Camp Nou home is probably at the top of the bucket list for football fans all around the globe.


With its capacity just short of 100,000, a visit to the home of the Catalan Giants promises to deliver stunning goals and an electrifying atmosphere on match days.


Aside from the most fiercely contested fixture in La Liga – El Clásico – it’s easier than you might think to purchase tickets to watch Luis Enrique’s side. Tickets go on sale around 10 days before each game and can be purchased via the club’s official website or their ticketing partners.


Seats behind the goal and closest to the pitch are surprisingly some of the cheapest, approximately €70 (US$80), and there will be a much better buzz than elsewhere in the ground.


There are several metro stops that will take you within walking distance of the Camp Nou. Take either Collblanc and Badal on Line 5 or Les Corts and Maria Cristina on Line 3.


You should really aim to arrive at the stadium within two hours of kick-off to soak up the atmosphere, so put down the map and follow the army of fans decked out in the club’s famous red and blue colours.


Despite the enormity and steepness of the ‘cauldron’, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. The absence of a roof in much of the ground means you’re exposed to the weather, so dress accordingly.


Hearing Barça’s hymn ring out around the ground (‘Bar-ça! Bar-ça! Barrrr-çççça!) is a spine-tingling moment for any sports fan. With the likes of Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suárez in the line-up, this team are entertainingly unstoppable, so there will be plenty for you to cheer about.


As with lots of major tourist destinations, Barcelona is known for its pickpockets, and although the Camp Nou is not a hot-spot for thefts, it’s wise to keep an eye on your belongings.


Take a look around the club’s FCBotiga Megastore at full time (open Mon–Sat 10am–8pm; Sun 10.30am–2.30pm; extended hours on match days). It’s a huge two-floor Barcelona merchandise heaven, selling everything from kitchenware and dog accessories to games, along with the usual souvenirs and replica football shirts.


Stadium tours

No trip to Camp Nou is complete without a stadium tour and a visit to FC Barcelona’s in-house museum, where you can view the 23 La Liga and five Champions League trophies that the Catalan Giants have won over the years.


The experience lasts around an hour and a half, with adult admissions starting at €23 (US$27). You can book your tickets either via the club’s official website or in person at the ground on arrival.


You’ll be guided through the most emblematic areas of the stadium, including the players’ tunnel, away team dressing room, Messi Zone, pitch side, and a unique vantage point offering panoramic views of the stadium – so don’t forget to take your obligatory selfie!


Tours are available in multiple languages, but it’s worth noting access is restricted on La Liga, Copa del Rey, and Champions League match days.


They say the club’s museum is your chance to explore the history and values that make Barça ‘more than a club’, and they’re right. Rich in history, records, and trophies, the interactive displays and memorabilia are enough to keep the whole family entertained.


For die-hard fans without a budget, the Camp Nou Tour of Excellence is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Your personal guide takes you to the venue’s most exclusive behind-the-scenes areas, and the package even includes a photo on the pitch. Prices for groups of up to 30 people start from €2,500 (US$2,880).


A new Camp Nou

Earlier this year FC Barcelona announced a £278 million (US$400 million) project to transform the iconic Camp Nou.


Leading Japanese architecture firm Nikken Sekkei and Barcelona studio Pascual i Ausió Arquitectes submitted the winning plans to renovate the stadium that was originally designed in 1957 by Francesc Mitjans Miró.


Dubbed the ‘Nou Camp Nou’, the arena’s third tier will be extended, and a roof covering more than 47,000 sqm will be added to make sure all seats are sheltered from the weather.


Already the largest stadium in Europe, the capacity will be increased from 99,350 to a staggering 105,000 in the president’s bid to ensure the home of FC Barcelona is the best in the world.


In true Champions style, the club has now also unveiled a stunning new video giving fans around the world the chance to experience the ‘finished’ project through the architect’s animations. Look out for the impressive tiered balconies!


The building work is expected to begin during the 2017/18 season, and although it will not be finished until 2022, developers promise not to interrupt the club’s home fixture commitments.


For Barcelona supporters, these are exciting times, and we’re delighted that the club will remain at its spiritual home for many years to come.



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Distance: 4,865 km
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