Photo by Rik Sharma, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
Camp Nou Avinguda Aristides Maillol Barcelona, Spain 08208
Year Opened: 1957 Capacity: 99,354
Camp Nou: Barcelona's Theatre of Dreams
Barcelona are giants in the Spanish league and having outgrown their old home, they created a new one in the 1950s. It took a few years to build, costing much more than originally anticipated, leaving the club in debt for a while.
Originally Camp Nou held 93,053 spectators, but that has since been extended, to become the largest capacity stadium in Europe. UEFA gave it five-star status in the 1998-99 season, when it hosted the Champions League final. Although from the outside it isn’t much to look at, inside it’s a very impressive sight.
During its operation, the Camp Nou has not only hosted games played by FC Barcelona, but was also the venue for the World Cup, the 1992 Summer Olympics as well as home games for the Catalan national team. It has also hosted numerous concerts, including Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, and U2.
Food & Beverage 3
There are various types of food and drink, all your standard stadium fare. The concession lines are mixed too, depending on when you queue. The lines at half-time can be long. Most of the servers are friendly enough.
There are a few sandwiches, from tortilla to ham and cheese. They come in the traditional Spanish baguette form. There are also a few other options, like popcorn and Toblerone chocolate.
Coffee and water are available, along with a few types of fizzy drink. The sodas are served in bottles with the lids taken off, as is the norm at many football grounds in Spain.
Any arena of this size filled with people is going to be atmospheric, but the Camp Nou is only sometimes electric.
The stadium is huge and iconic. The grass is perfectly cut, short, and suitable for the quick, passing football that Barcelona like to play. Before matches start they play music and then the famous club anthem – which they repeat at the end as well.
There isn’t usually much entertainment at the ground – they save that for the football itself. However, on some special days they have stalls outside and face painting for kids.
Almost all seats have clear views of the pitch. But given how large the stadium is, if you sit in the top rows the players will appear very small. It’s probably best to avoid those seats, though from up there you will have a good tactical overview.
The stadium is not in Barcelona’s city centre, but it is easy to reach with various metro lines or bus routes. It’s only a few kilometres away from all the tourist attractions you can dream of in the centre of town. Although the immediate area around the stadium isn’t full of fun places to go, it’s not hard to reach them in the city.
Close to the stadium there are various bars and restaurants of the usual “Spanish” type, i.e. places with lots of tapas and fish and meat dishes. However, if you want something a bit different, there is a good pizzeria called De Angelis about 10 minutes walk away from the stadium, by Collblanc metro.
Near the stadium there’s not a lot, but you are only a short ride on the metro away from the beach, the Sagrada Familia and all the city’s tourist attractions.
There’s no point basing your location in Barcelona around the Camp Nou, because it’s easy to get there, so you may as well be where the fun is. Try staying in the Born district, or Barrio Gotico.
Barcelona’s stadium is often filled with tourists, which isn’t great for the atmosphere. There is almost an air of expectation there, that the goals will come, and often they do. Only when things go wrong do the fans start to get loud.
Camp Nou attendances range from 70,000 for smaller games to full capacity for the biggest clashes.
Barcelona fans chant for independence in the 17th minute of both halves, as well as singing along to the club anthems. For some of the more important games, the club helps create a mosaic or “tifo,” with a message on, the supporters holding up coloured cards to display it. Apart from the odd song, there isn’t a lot of chanting. However they do like whistling the referee and some opponents.
The stadium is easy to move around in when you are inside and accessible from many parts of the city.
Metro tickets are relatively cheap, with a T-10 option for around 10 euros giving customers 10 journeys of any distance. The blue line goes to Collblanc and the green to Les Corts or Maria Cristian. Depending on where you are sitting, any of these might be the best option. Various bus routes will take you to Camp Nou too.
Return on Investment 5
Ticket prices vary depending on the opponent and the importance of the game. As a football fan it’s definitely worth taking in a game here once. To watch Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest player of all time, in his “home” is a recommended treat.
Watching the Argentine, along with Luis Suarez and Neymar, is something that it is difficult to put a price on. To see three sporting stars with such a level of synchronicity is rare. If you can get in cheaply for a cup match then it could be a great deal, though they are not all guaranteed to play.
The Camp Nou “experience” costs €23 and concessions are available for kids and people over 70.It is worth it, because you also get access to the museum and at a historic side like Barcelona, there is plenty to see.The museum also displays several other historically significant pieces, like boots from players as well as Ballon d’Ors.It really is a must see location whether you’re a fan of FC Barcelona or not.The entry is not free, but it won’t set you back much.On days when matches are not played you can also access the press boxes and visit the locker room.You even get to walk down the tunnel from the locker rooms down to the pitch.
If you consider yourself a football fan, you must take in a game at the Camp Nou. A legendary venue with legendary players, set to be one of Europe’s top stadiums for a long time to come.