European football weekend breaks don’t come any bigger than flying to Barcelona to watch a match at the iconic Nou Camp Stadium. Once you’ve checked out the fixture list you can get down to the business of planning your FC Barcelona football trip. Thanks to the intelligent ticketing process which is operated by the ticketing office at the Nou Camp you can be confident of getting tickets for most regular league matches. Tickets for games against Real Madrid are an altogether different matter. In this article we’ll provide you with practical advice on travel to Barcelona, stadium tours and how to get FC Barcelona tickets.
Getting There: The best arrival point for football fans visiting the city is Barcelona’s El Prat International Airport which lies just 12km south-west of the city. Transport into the city by means of the Aerobús service is cheap, secure and efficient. Some fans may prefer to fly into Girona airport which is about 90km to the north and is well served by a number of budget airlines. the frequent Barcelonabus service transport new arrivals directly to Barcelona. Check out our Barcelona Travel Guide for a comprehenive guide to the city.
Where to Stay: If you’re visiting Barcelona as part of a general city break then there’s no point booking a hotel near the Nou Camp, you’d be far better off staying somewhere nearer to the Ramblas and the tourist centre. However, if you’re only in town for a match then there are a few very nice hotels near the stadium. The 5-star Princesa Sofia Gran Hotel (Plaza Pio XII) is the stand out property lying less than a ten minute walk from the ground. A number of more economical options are also in the vicinity.
Nou Camp Stadium
The history of FC Barcelona dates back to 1899 when it was founded by a Swiss businessman called Joan Gamper. In the early days the club began by playing their matches on a number of makeshift pitches around the city. In 1909 the club found a permanent home at the 6,000 seater Camp de la Indústria. Fans approaching the stadium on match-day would see a row of bottoms sat along the outer wall which gave FC Barcelona the nickname of ‘Culés’ (someone who displays their bottom). This nickname exists to this day.
By 1922 FC Barcelona had won the Spanish Cup five times and had over 20,000 members who helped raise the funds for a new stadium at Camp de Les Corts. The initial capacity of Les Corts was 30,000 which was expanded to 60,000 but by the late 1940s it was clear that this wasn’t sufficient to satisfy the demand for football in the Catalan capital.
All FC Barcelona Stadiums
Velódromo De La Bonanova (1899-1900)
Campo Del Hotel Casanovas (1900-1901)
Campo De La Carretera De Horta (1901-1905)
Campo De La Calle Muntaner (1905-1909)
Campo De La Calle Industria (1909-1922)
Campo De Les Corts (1922-1957)
Camp Nou (1957-Present)
With no way of expanding this ground the club president, Francesc Miró-Sans, began preparing plans for a move away from Les Corts to a new stadium for the club. His vision became a reality in 1957 when Barcelona played their first match at the Nou Camp with an initial capacity of over 106,000.
Major redevelopment of the Camp Nou took place in preparation for the 1982 World Cup where almost 122,000 fans watched Belgium beat the holders Argentina in the opening game. This enormous capacity was significantly reduced in the late 1990s to around 98,000 as UEFA banned standing areas at football arenas. Today Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium is the largest in Europe with an official capacity of 99,354.
Another major redevelopment known as ‘Espai Barça’ has been approved which will see the stadium’s capacity increase to 105,000. However, the project has been delayed by political issues and the Covid-19 pandemic so is unlikely to be completed before 2025 at the earliest.
FC Barcelona Museum and Stadium Tours
The FC Barcelona museum was opened in 1994 thanks to the foresight of ex-President Josep Lluis Nuñez who was in charge of the club when they won their first European Cup in 1992. Today a visit to the museum is combined with a stadium tour in what is called the Camp Nou Experience. It is one of Catalonia’s most popular tourist attraction with almost two million annual visitors.
After browsing the museum’s fascinating exhibits and viewing its excellent multimedia presentations visitors can also take guided or self-guided tours of the Nou Camp’s facilities. This allows you to visit the changing rooms, the player’s tunnel and the side of the pitch. You also get access to the substitute’s bench, the altar, TV studio, press rooms, directors area and get a panoramic view of the stadium.
Getting There: Many visitors to Barcelona buy a day ticket for the northern route of the hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus. This service has a bus stop at the Nou Camp Stadium which is just 200m from the club’s museum. Details of how to get to the Nou Camp by metro, public bus or taxi appear below.
Entrance Tickets: You can purchase tickets for the Nou Camp Experience on the day of your visit at the ticket booths outside the museum. Alternatively, you can avoid any queues by ordering tickets online and downloading them to your mobile phone.
Getting to the Nou Camp
FC Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium lies about 5km west of Plaça de Catalunya which is at the top of the Ramblas in the tourist centre of the city. The excellent Metro service is the best way of getting there on match day although bus and taxi services are also available:
Getting to the Nou Camp by Metro
If you’re staying near the Ramblas you can get on the green Metro line 3 at Plaça de Catalunya or at Liceu (right outside the Opera House and on the same side of the Ramblas) heading in the direction of Zona Universitaria. Get off at Maria Cristina Leaving the underground by the exit marked “Sortida: Av. Diagonal”. As you come out of this exit you will see two huge black towers owned by La Caixa on the other side of the road. Keep them to your left and walk about 200m along Avinguda Diagonal where you’ll see a road sign for FC Barcelona and Joan XXIII.
On the other side of the road you’ll see the Hotel Princesa Sofia. Cross the main road (the Avinguda Diagonal) here and take a left after the hotel heading down Joan XIII. You will see the stadium about 200m ahead of you. Some fans prefer to get off at Les Corts which is slightly closer, just follow the crowd.
An alternative route by Metro is to take the blue line 5 heading for Cornella Centre then get off at Collblanc and follow signs for the stadium.
After the match with thousands of people looking for transport the metro is by far the best way to get back to the Ramblas area if that’s where you’re staying. You can get a beer at a bar on the way to the station to let the crowds die down a little as the Metro operates until 2am.
Getting to the Nou Camp by Bus
The following bus lines serve the Nou Camp Stadium: 7, 15, 43, 67, 68, 74, 75, L12, L50, L60 and L62, however, with all the traffic on match days it’s a much better idea to use the very fast and efficient Metro system.
Getting to the Nou Camp by Taxi
A taxi to the stadium from around the Ramblas area shouldn’t cost more than €15, however, the traffic can be so bad that the meter creeps up even further. After the game there are no taxis available for a long time after the final whistle and all the streets near the Nou Camp are packed with traffic making the Metro the best public transport option.
FC Barcelona Fixtures 2020-21
|13/12/20||FC Barcelona v Levante UD|
|20/12/20||FC Barcelona v Valencia CF|
|30/12/20||FC Barcelona v SD Eibar|
|20/01/21||FC Barcelona v Real Sociedad|
|31/01/21||FC Barcelona v Athletic Club|
|14/02/21||FC Barcelona v Deportivo Alavés|
|21/02/21||FC Barcelona v Cádiz CF|
|14/03/21||FC Barcelona v SD Huesca|
|04/04/21||FC Barcelona v Real Valladolid CF|
|21/04/21||FC Barcelona v Getafe CF|
|28/04/21||FC Barcelona v Granada CF|
|09/05/21||FC Barcelona v Atlético de Madrid|
|16/05/21||FC Barcelona v RC Celta|
Date and Time of FC Barcelona Matches
When making your travel plans please bear in mind that weekend games take place on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday whilst midweek fixtures can take place on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. As a rule FC Barcelona are very rarely involved in Monday or Thursday games and it’s fair to say that the vast majority of visitors have no problems provided they are in the Catalan capital between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning. Champions League fixtures always take place on a Tuesday or Wednesday, usually with an 8.45pm local kick-off time.
Unfortunately, the matchday and kick-off time for Spanish league matches isn’t confirmed until around two weeks before the game. The first place to post match details is on the official La Liga website.
How to Get FC Barcelona Tickets
Intelligent Ticket Sales and ‘Seient Lliure’
In spite of the Nou Camp’s enormous capacity, FC Barcelona has approximately 103,000 ‘socios’ (season ticket holders) which means that the ground cannot accommodate all its members. Even though you might see empty seats when watching a match on television this doesn’t mean that tickets are available. It simply means that some of the club’s members did not attend.
Fortunately for fans planning a FC Barcelona football trip the club operates a system known as ‘seient lliure’ which allows members to free up their seat when they can’t attend. These seats become available to the general public and are sold through the ticket offices at the stadium and on the club’s official website.
Members who release their seat more than 72 hours before kick-off time are guaranteed payment from the club even if their seat isn’t sold. If the seat is only released within the 72 hours before kick-off the member only receives payment if the seat is re-sold. The main downside of this system is that many of these seats are only released to the public in the 72 hours before the game and few are available in pairs. As such it has proven very difficult to plan FC Barcelona football breaks through official ticketing channels.
The new, data-driven, intelligent ticketing now in operation at the Nou Camp enables the club to predict when members will release their seats through the ‘seient lliure’ system. This allows the club to sell tickets to the public before they have actually been released by members and makes them available to overseas fans in advance. So far this system has increased attendances by 15%.
Please note that the system works well for standard league games but no tickets will become available through ‘seient lliure’ for the biggest matches such as El Clásico against Real Madrid.
Where to Order FC Barcelona Tickets
FC Barcelona Website: If you’re planning a football weekend in Barcelona you should book your FC Barcelona tickets online at the official club website. You can print out your tickets before travelling.
FC Barcelona Ticket Office: Some tickets may be available in the days before a match at the Nou Camp ticket office located at Access 15 of the stadium. It may be worth phoning the office on (+34) 902 1899 00 to check availability.
Online Ticket Brokers: There are a number of websites which refer to themselves as a secondary marketplace for tickets. They usually have genuine tickets available but at heavily inflated prices.
Ticket Touts: Outside the Nou Camp on matchday you’ll find ticket touts hanging around the ticket windows. One of their favourite tricks is to show you a postcard of the stadium and point out where the seats are located that they’re trying to sell to you. It goes without saying that their information is not to be trusted.