For many visitors to Barcelona, a trip to the Nou Camp is as essential as taking a stroll down Las Ramblas or marvelling at the architectural wonder of the Sagrada Familia. In fact, even those who don’t consider themselves devoted football fans will often treat the famous stadium – the second largest in world football with a capacity of almost 100,000 – as a must-see tourist attraction in its own right. Some will satisfy themselves with a museum tour, but for others only seeing an actual game in the flesh will do. Luckily, tourists are well catered for by FC Barcelona when it comes to match tickets.
The vast interior of Barcelona’s iconic home stadium Camp Nou (Photo: Jose Antonio Gallardo via Flickr)
Like their English counterparts, the Spanish football season runs from August to May. However, unlike in England, Spain down tools for two weeks in December for a hard-earned winter break. Barcelona play 19 home league games a season and there are normally also a handful of cup fixtures on top of that, depending on how far the team progresses. Barcelona are also regular participants in Europe, with at least three European home games a season too.
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At Camp Nou all the seats are held by season ticket holders so, in theory, no seats are available for the general public. However, not all season ticket holders attend all matches and that’s where the free seats system (Seient lliure) kicks in. For every home game, season ticket holders can free their seat if they decide not to attend and once it’s freed the seat goes on sale to the general public. This is certainly the best way to get tickets through the official challenges, though there are also other options you may wish to pursue. We’ve produced a full summary of them all, which you can read below.
Unusually, the exact day and the kick-off times in Spain are only set about 10 days before the match. Under the aforementioned Seient lliure scheme, seat holders tend to start releasing their seats 10-14 days before the match, though most do it in the last few days. This may not be ideal for visitors coming from overseas, but the system tends to work pretty well and is popular with both locals and tourists alike. Although it’s possible to buy tickets in person once in Barcelona, we would recommend that you try to buy them online via the official club website, as the match may be sold out by the time you arrive, or all the good seats might be taken. The website is user friendly and tickets can be printed at home for maximum convenience.
Ticketbis gives you the opportunity to snap up a ticket at extremely late notice, as the website advertises tickets all the way up to kick off. The service is, to all intents and purposes, an online ticket exchange platform that allows people to buy or sell tickets for major sports and entertainment events across Europe. Sellers can set the price of tickets (and change it at any point) and anyone seeking a ticket can weigh up whether they are happy to pay that price. Naturally, the consequence is that tickets for big games tend to be priced far above face value, but if you’re seeking for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Barcelona take on, say, Real Madrid, and are happy to pay for the privilege, then Ticketbis might just help you strike it lucky.
If you’re planning to attend a game at Camp Nou, you may want to stay in a hotel near the stadium. Thomas Cook Sport offer packages that combine official Barcelona match tickets with hotel accommodation to suit a range of budgets. Among the hotels available are the 3-star Catalonia Albeniz, the 4-star Catalonia Ramblas and the 5-star Grand Hotel Central Barcelona, all of which are a short metro ride from the stadium. As well as a match ticket, these packages also include a number of benefits that guests can enjoy across the city, such as a glass of wine and a tapas at “El Corte Ingles” shopping centre, access and welcome drinks at “Casino Barcelona”, and a 10% discount on selected city tours and activities. A full stadium and museum tour is included too. Pricing for these packages begin at £199 for a minimum 2-night stay.