Fans from around the globe visit the Catalan capital for their chance to support FC Barcelona, considered by many to be one of the most successful football teams of all time, in their home stadium, the iconic Camp Nou. It’s the largest stadium in Europe, with a whopping 90,000-person capacity, so making your way to and around Camp Nou can be a bit tricky if you don’t know what to expect. Here are our insider tips on how to beat the crowds and enjoy a Barça game like a local.
Buying your tickets
The easiest and safest way to buy your ticket is direct from the FC Barcelona website, which will also provide you with a view of all upcoming home fixtures. The site shows you available tickets, and the earlier you book, the more likely you are to be able to get seats together – but do note that you can buy only up to six tickets in one purchase.
Alternatively, you can buy your tickets through Ticketmaster, which is an official FC Barcelona partner. Buying tickets off another third party is not recommended – aside from it being a legal grey area – as you run the risk of the ticket-seller disappearing and being left high and dry.
If you’ve left it to the last minute and happen to be in Barcelona, there are often tickets being resold at the entrance of the stadium before the match kicks off. Usually, these are genuine ones being passed on because someone couldn’t make it at the last minute — see the point about date changes below — but be wary of fakes and professional resellers who will often inflate the ticket price.
Choosing your seats
The stadium is renowned for being particularly steep, but despite this, most seats will offer you a good view of the game. Ultimately, you’ll probably need to choose between cost, atmosphere, and visibility.
The seats with the best visibility (General and Lateral) tend to be the most expensive (category 1) but are often lacking in atmosphere. Brazilian defender and former Barça player Dani Alves reportedly said that playing at Camp Nou was ‘like playing away,’ because there was such a lack of atmosphere and fan support in the stadium.
On the other hand, the die-hard fans tend to sit behind the goals on the lower tier – especially in Gol Nord – where the visibility is not as good, but this is also reflected in the price. So you need to think what you value more: a good atmosphere, or a good view of what’s going on on the pitch.
Booking your trip
Although all match fixtures are released at the beginning of the season — except in the case of a few major competitions – in Spain, the exact date of the match can be changed up to 14 days before the match itself. These days, the most common reason for this is television scheduling, which means that a big game may be rescheduled from its normal Saturday slot to a Sunday or even a Monday or Friday slot.
In order to avoid any last-minute disasters, therefore, book your flights so as to leave room for changes, and plan on spending both the Saturday and Sunday nights in Barcelona if you can. It’s mostly unheard of that a Barça match would be rescheduled to a Friday or Monday slot, but a change to a Sunday slot may occur a few times every season.
Be aware that you need to check the confirmed fixture time and date ahead of the match, as you will not be emailed or informed about the change. There are many disappointed fans every year who find all too late that the game started earlier than they thought, or even the day before.
Arriving at the stadium
Although Camp Nou is relatively close to the city center compared to other major cities, getting there can be a little tricky. One of the cheapest and most straightforward ways of making your way to Camp Nou is via the metro — either on Line 3, in which case you will get off at Les Corts, or on Line 5, where you will get off at Collblanc. If you’re planning on getting a drink in the area before the match, get off at Les Corts and walk down the Travessera de Les Corts. You’ll find lots of bars to choose from, many of which will be broadcasting live sport to help you get in the mood.
Bear in mind that traffic on a match day is going to be hectic, and finding a taxi will be nearly impossible. If you need to rely on a car for transportation, leave plenty of time to arrive, and book your taxi a few days before.
Generally speaking, always plan to arrive at the stadium approximately half an hour before the start of the game, avoiding any last-minute panicking to find your seat or grab a drink. If you need to pick tickets up at the stadium, be sure to leave much earlier — an hour at least. If you have your tickets already, remember to put them on your mobile phone if you can, as this will avoid messing around with paper tickets and risking losing them.
Seeing the players
Meeting the players on game day is tough, as they arrive on their own by car, and there are few opportunities to see them or speak to them. If you’re really keen to try and see them enter the stadium, you could try waiting on Avinguda Joan XXIII around two hours before kick-off time.
Alternatively, you could wait outside the Joan Gamper training stadium on a training day and arrive a couple of hours before training begins. There are four entrance doors, and players could enter through any one of them, so it’s up to chance whether or not they pass by where you are standing. However, the players have been known to take pictures and sign autographs for friendly fans.
Getting a shirt and souvenirs
If you want to buy a FC Barcelona jersey to wear to the game, the best option is to shop for one online ahead of time. There is a huge official FC Barcelona store at the Camp Nou which spans over three floors, but items here tend to be very expensive and in many cases can be bought more cheaply elsewhere. Expect to pay at least €90 for an adult shirt at the shop on match day.
On the other hand, beware the knock-off shirts available from the street sellers outside the stadium and throughout much of the city. These are almost certainly counterfeits and not only will they probably not feel as good or last as long, buying one could also get you in trouble with the police.
Enjoying match day
One thing to keep in mind at Camp Nou is that the stadium has no roof, so in the cooler months it can be quite chilly if the sun is not out to warm you up. Always bring plenty of warm clothes if you don’t want to end up buying an overpriced sweater from the club shop at the stadium.
While you will see people with pints in the stadium, do note that these are all non-alcoholic, as Camp Nou and the club bar are all alcohol-free on match days. But don’t let this deter you: alcohol-free beer is quite popular here in Spain, and does not come with the stigma that is attached to it in other countries.
Some feedback from guests who booked the VIP Experience suggest that it wasn’t necessarily good value for money at €45 per person for access to a private bar near the Player Zone. It’s best to have a drink outside the stadium before the match, and then make your way straight to your seat around 30 minutes before kick-off.
Finally, if the game goes well and the team celebrate a big victory, be sure to make your way over to the Canaletes fountain after the match. This unassuming water spout on the Ramblas is the gathering point for all fans after an important victory, and here you’ll get a real sense of just how much Barça are loved by their home city.