Whether you are a huge Barça fan or not, going on a Camp Nou tour is one of the most fascinating things to do in Barcelona.
Since 1968, FC Barcelona motto has been “Mes que un club”, which translates into More than just a club, and this sentence embodies the philosophy and spirit of the club and hints at the fact that you are not only going to learn about football if you go on a tour of Camp Nou.
Visiting Camp Nou is learning more about one of the oldest, most popular, wealthiest and well-known sports clubs in the world, and also learning a bit more about Catalonia and Barcelona.
Plus, what about seeing Europe’s largest stadium which can accommodate almost 100,000 people through a pair of virtual reality goggles?
Or seeing the changing rooms where the players get ready before every match (Pst: there are jacuzzis and secret exhibits in there too)?
Have you ever wondered how a football game is broadcasted and where the journalists sit? Or how the players get into the stadium?
In this article, you are going to learn everything you need to know to prepare for your Camp Nou Tour and, if you fancy, a bit of background on the club and its history by the hands of a fierce “culer” (that’s how we call Barça fans and it alludes to butts – more on that later) who has been to the stadium dozens of times to watch the games live.
Let’s get started, shall we?
- Tips for your Camp Nou Tour
- A brief history of Camp Nou
- An introduction to Barça’s history
- Barça’s “Mes que un club” motto
Tips for your Camp Nou Tour
Hundreds of thousands of people visit Camp Nou every year, exactly 1,7 million, and the precinct can become pretty crowded. However, despite its popularity, I found that there isn’t that much detailed information out there about what to expect on a Camp Nou tour, so I wanted to give you a few tips to make the most of it.
Consider these hacks to avoid crowds and make the most of your visit.
1. Don’t just show up
Many people show up at the stadium without much thought. If you do that, you will only be able to visit the museum or go on a self-guided tour, or might have to wait for the next available tour. Maybe not even that, because it can be sold out.
If you then want to join one of the VIP experiences, you will not be able to as those need to be booked ahead.
Don’t get me wrong, the museum is great and gives you a lot of insight into the club, Catalonia and football. But the club now offers some amazing experiences that show you the changing room, the media space, the player’s tunnels, etc. and it would be a shame to miss them.
I really enjoyed my Players Experience Tour which includes some of the closed-off backstage parts of the stadium only open to the players and the team.
But there are several other tour options at more affordable prices and which are equally amazing. Check out below the list of Camp Nou tour options.
|Tour||What’s included||Book it||Price|
|Museum entry||Barça Museum|
|Basic tour||Barça Museum and tour of Camp Nou||Book it here||28 EUR|
|Camp Nou guided tour||Barça Museum, guided visit and tour of Camp Nou||Book it here||45 EUR|
|Camp Nou tour Plus||Barça Museum, virtual reality experience, audio guide and tour of Camp Nou||Book it here||35 EUR|
|Match day tour||Barça Museum, Press zone, VIP terraces, personalized pass, private tour with official guide, exclusive players zones, walk on the pitch, Barça gift||Book it here||119 EUR|
|Players experience tour - VIP tour||Barça Museum, Sit in the press zone, personalized photo, virtual reality experience, private tour with an official guide, Changing room, walk along the pitch, Barça gift, audio guide||Book it here||149 EUR|
The above table lays out the details of all the Camp Nou tours but I wanted to tell you a bit more about the two premium experiences because they are quite unique.
The Match day tour takes place on the day of a La Liga match and because of this, you will get the chance to see the press room ready with all the cameras and the media space filled with the journalists waiting to start broadcasting the game.
To note that if you want to visit the stadium on match days, you can ONLY do it with this tour, other than that, only the museum will be open when there is a game.
This is a very unique experience to see what goes behind the scenes at one of the largest stadiums in the world and for one of the most popular sports globally. The experience is pretty exciting. You will also be shown to the VIP area for those with premium tickets and will get a personalized pass and a gift.
The Player’s experience tour is the one I took and it is really cool. What makes this one more amazing than the rest is the chance to see the changing room of the Barça players. This is the most sacred part of the stadium and is off-limits to anyone but the players, unless you are an exclusive participant on this tour.
It is also the only tour that affords you the chance to walk along the pitch, not in the small section that everyone gets to see but also along the empty part only open to the tour participants (like in the picture above). You can also sit in, not just see, the press zone and take a photo as if you were the club’s manager (like mine at the top).
Another great add-on (which you can also buy separately with any other tour) is a souvenir photo with the players behind. This tour also includes the virtual reality goggles which are pretty cool if you have never been to a game, you put them on and see the stadium full, on match day, as if you were a spectator!
2. Don’t miss watching a game live
It doesn’t matter if you are a huge football fan or have never watched a match in your life, Camp Nou is an experience like no other and seeing 100,000 people cheer on the team and chant is magical, no matter how much you love or hate football.
Camp Nou is one of the largest stadiums in the world, for years it was just the second-largest after Maracana in Brazil now after the one in North Korea, it is also the largest in Europe.
Long gone are the days of standing areas in the goals where the ultra-right Boixos Nois (our version of hooligans) would stand and chant relentlessly, now all tickets are seated and Camp Nou is about to engage in a massive refurbishment of the stadium called Future Camp Nou.
Don’t miss the chance to see the world’s greatest team play live (ok I might be a bit biased but many agree with my statement).
How to get tickets?
Getting tickets to see FC Barcelona play live is really easy. However, bear in mind that games against eternal rivals Real Madrid or FC Espanyol are usually sold out weeks ahead and pretty pricey.
Buy your ticket to see FC Barcelona live here.
3. USe the Turistic bus
Most visitors to Barcelona don’t realize that Camp Nou is pretty far from the city center and that there is little to do or see around it, and so a visit is a dedicated effort just for the Camp Nou tour. But don’t let this deter you, be smart and make the most of it.
To make the most of your trek to Camp Nou, and hit some of the Gaudi Barcelona landmarks and other Barcelona attractions that are on the way, use the Hop on Hop off Bus Turistic which has a line that covers Camp Nou.
The Blue line stops at other places in the periphery of Barcelona such as Park Guell, the tram stop for Tibidabo amusement park, the Monestir de Pedralbes with the largest Gothic cloister in the world and the Guell Pavilions (near another Gaudi sight) from where you can walk down to the stadium as I did.
Book the hop on hop off bus here.
See the next point on this list to read about the sights you can visit on your way to Camp Nou.
4. Don’t miss the Gaudi sites near Camp Nou
As I was telling you, there isn’t much to see or do near Camp Nou.
The stadium is in the Les Corts neighborhood which is a primarily working neighborhood with lots of offices, hospitals and the faculties of the University of Barcelona but with few of the traditional tourist attractions.
However, there are a couple of places worth checking out if you come all the way for a Camp Nou tour, and some of the Gaudi Barcelona sights.
The first one is Monestir de Pedralbes, at the top of Av. Pedralbes. This stunning medieval monastery in the city has the world’s largest cloister and offers audio guides that are super interesting.
After a visit, you could wait for the next Turistic bus to go down Av. Pedralbes, but you might as well walk, this is a steep tree-lined avenue that goes down all the way to Camp Nou and makes for a pleasant walk.
On the way, stop at the Guell Pavilions dragon gate which is the next stop on the Bus Turistic. Go check the scary and quite unique wrought iron gate. The pavilions are closed to the public for renovation (they are in pretty bad shape) but the gate is extraordinary.
Then cross Av. Pedralbes and check out one of the least known Gaudi works, the entrance to a former estate that is now a condominium. Walk along Carrer Manel Girona (sharing a name with the city Girona) away from Av. Pedralbes until you see it on your left, you can’t miss it because there is a small statue of Gaudi himself.
Before you leave, stop by the gardens of the Palau Reial, the residence of the royal family in Barcelona, that is not used much since the King is not welcome to the city. This park used to be part of the Guell Estate and was donated to the King before Guell’s death.
5. Avoid the crowds
When I was preparing for my tour, I knew that Barça and Camp Nou were popular, especially since tours started to be offered in 2016. I have been to see the games dozens of times as my dad has seats and my entire family are members.
Plus, living abroad, I always got stopped at immigration by eager officers keen to mention the names of the popular Barça football player of the time. Barça is a universal brand.
I knew people loved Barça, in Catalonia and in the rest of the world. The club has over 150,000 (paying) members who contribute every year to making the club great and the many fantastic players we have had through the years have made Barça even more famous than it already was.
But its popularity goes beyond anyone’s wildest dreams and over 1,7 million people visit Camp Nou every year. In the summertime, the area around the stadium is crowded with people taking selfies with Cruyff’s statue.
I visited last in the winter when it was calmer, and there were still many visitors taking funny selfies and photos imitating the player’s moves in front of the stadium.
To make your visit more enjoyable, I highly recommend coming early in the morning or later in the evening. Check the opening times of the museum and the tours and come before that to take photos of the exterior.
Bonus points if you can travel to Barcelona in the winter when you can even be lucky and enjoy one of the VIP Player’s Experience tours almost privately for your travel party only.
6. Decide if you should come on match day
Have you ever wondered what 100,000 screaming excited fans sound like?
The quick answer is: loud.
It would definitely be more exciting to visit Camp Nou on game day, particularly if you visited close to the time of a match. Seeing the fans get to the stadium and hearing them cheer on from outside would be electric.
However, tours are not available on match day and the museum and panoramic viewpoints close 3h before the game, so if you are around the stadium there will be little for you to do. The situation is even worse on Champion’s game day when the entire area is closed for the day.
Check the schedule before turning up.
Pro tip: If you are booking tickets for tours online ahead of time, you won’t be able to select match days so you can easily avoid disappointment if you plan ahead.
Buy tickets ahead of time here.
7. Allow for enough time at the museum
Barça Museum is a full-fledged museum split into several spaces and across two floors that was inaugurated in 2010. There is a lot to see and a lot to read so if you are a Barça or football fan, you can easily spend an hour or longer there.
It would be a pity not to allow for enough time in your tour of Camp Nou to see everything. But if you are pressed for time, here are a few highlights you can’t miss.
The history of Barça is told through exhibits and interactive screens. If you didn’t know, this is the second oldest football club in Spain (after Seville) and one of the oldest football clubs in the world, founded by a German migrant, Mr. Gamper, in 1898, 40 years after the first football club was founded in the UK.
Find the exhibit that explains why Barça fans are called culers. Did you know this was our nickname?
That is right. Barça is more than just a Club and for Catalans, it is a symbol of our history and identity. The word culer comes from cul and refers to the fans’ bums.
Some of the exhibits, objects and interactive screens at Camp Nou Museum
This is because, in the 1920s, when the club started to expand in fans, the small stadium in Carrer Industria, became too small and when the seats were not enough, fans would sit on the wall that surrounded the stadium. From outside, passers-by would only see their asses and so they started to call them culers.
The museum has all of Barça’s trophies won through the years, there are some that are several decades old and even a few that were awarded by Franco like the Copa del Generalisimo (which has been replaced by the King’s Cup), now a relic that reminds us of the 40 years of dictatorship that ended in 1975.
Some of the club’s most emblematic and historical objects are on display at the museum, many donated by the players themselves.
For example, you can see Ronald Koeman’s boots when he scored the goal that gave Barça the first Champions League Cup in 1992, I still remember that day and get emotional every single time I think of it! Or look out for legendary Maradona’s shirts.
Of course, all of Messi’s Ballon d’Or collection, he already has 6, the most any player ever got, the last one was awarded in 2019. Since his football career is nearing the end, this may be the last one he wins. Messi has a space dedicated to him at the museum.
The other person to have a dedicated space is Johan Cruyff. He died in 2016 and is one of the club’s most beloved players and coaches. Here you can see many of his famous quotes and contributions to Barça as a player and as a coach.
Outside the stadium is a statue in his honor and the new stadium in Sant Joan Despi with his name is the new home for the second team and the women’s team.
Barça also owns several art pieces by famous Catalan painters such as Dali and Miro dedicated to the club for its 75th anniversary and which are on display at the museum. Can you spot them?
8. Browse the shop, it has amazing stuff
Ok, I am a huge Barça fan, and an even bigger Catalanist, but I may not necessarily care too much about football in general, or sports for that matter.
So why am I suggesting to browse a sports shop?
It sounds strange, I know, but the shop is really amazing, it is impossible to leave without buying something. If you are a compulsive shopper, you might want to run for the hills at the end of your tour and avoid the store altogether.
If you can, stop by, there are a lot of cool items, branded Barça merchandising and such, but also many really awesome sports clothes and apparel. And the store’s design is pretty cool.
9. Check out Tapa 24
Tapas 24 at Camp Nou & Signature bikini at Tapas 24
If all the touring around Camp Nou opened your appetite, I can highly recommend a stop at Tapas 24 by Carles Abellan.
The Michelin awarded chef’s casual tapas bar in Camp Nou (he has several other outlets in the city) is a great place to savor amazing tapas. I am a big fan of his work and have enjoyed it at various places including W Hotel Barcelona.
On top of traditional dishes, Abellan has several signature dishes that elevate the humble tapas to another level.
You will find the usual suspects which he has perfected like bomba, patatas bravas, ous estrellats (broken fried eggs) and fried calamari rings (so soft they melt in your mouth). And then variations on classics like the potato omelet with jabugo ham, the bikini with truffle or the crispy cereal breaded chicken nuggets that are so delicious. Make sure to order bread with tomato to go with the meal.
A great way to end your visit to Camp Nou for sure.
Pro tip: Come here at vermouth time (12pm to 2pm) to honor the local tradition of enjoying a glass of vermouth (or any other drink) with some olives, potato chips and anchovies.
A brief history of Camp Nou
Now that you have read all the tips for the best Camp Nou tour, what about learning a bit more about the stadium and the club before your visit?
As I mentioned before, the stadium’s name translates, simply, to New Stadium, Grounds or Field (the word camp means lots of things in Catalan).
This was not the original name, the stadium opened in 1957 at the height of Franco’s regime, as Estadi del FC Barcelona or FC Barcelona Stadium as ratified in the 1965 referendum.
This was a rather generic name that was the result of the political situation at the time. The club wanted to name it after its founder, Joan Gamper, but the political establishment, and Franco in particular, would not have approved of a pro-Catalonia, liberal, foreigner and Protestant man’s name to be used and expressed its dislike towards the choice of name.
In time, the fans started to refer to it as Camp Nou, because it was a new field built in Les Corts, and the name stuck. I have always heard this name and I am a child of the 80s.
Eventually, in the 2000-2001 season, a new referendum was carried out and the name Camp Nou was officially approved.
Camp Nou has been one of the largest stadiums in the world in terms of capacity for many years. It used to be second after Maracana in Rio, before this one was modernized and its size reduced drastically to just over 78,000 for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Today, it remains the second-largest football stadium after the one in Pyongyang. It is also still the largest in Europe seating almost 100,000 fans when full.
This large size, 110mx73m, the maximum legally allowed, was a deliberate decision aimed at difficulting the strong defensive strategies of its adversaries and it is said to have also had an influence in Barça’s football style, never a defensive club.
Camp Nou has evolved through the years and it has expanded and then slightly retracted in the number of seats when the standing positions were removed.
It is now in the process of undergoing a major renovation which will be completed in 2025 and has been planned to happen while the stadium continues to be in use. Quite a feat if you consider the major work that will take place.
An introduction to Barça’s history
All major football clubs have a long history often intertwined with the local town or city they belong to but FC Barcelona’s history is a very unique one because of its origins and its structure.
FC Barcelona was founded by Swiss Hans Gamper, locally known for his translated Catalan name, Joan Gamper, and his expat friends in 1899 when the sport was starting to take off across Europe.
When he arrived from Switzerland for professional reasons he started to play football with some friends and eventually decided to found the club of which he would be the coach and president for many years.
As an immigrant to Catalonia, Gamper wanted the club to have a lot of the values that represented the city, a place that was thriving at the time: democracy, universality and a love for sports in general, not just football. He also gave the club the city’s emblems.
These same values have been preserved until today and make the club very different from other sports institutions.
FC Barcelona’s club structure is unique in the world of elite football. The club is a real club, meaning it is run by its members. Anyone can become a member by paying an annual fee, and this gives you the right to vote at the general elections and in other matters. All members are the same.
Barça stands strong with almost 150,000 paying members, each with a valid and individual vote to decide the club’s future, approve its budget and elect its President.
Unlike other well-known clubs in the French and British leagues who are owned by millionaires and companies, Barça is owned by its fans. It always has been and always will be. It is self-financed and it is not at the mercy of an individual. All its profits are reinvested, never paid out to shareholders.
In case you didn’t know, for many years, Barça carried the UNICEF logo on its t-shirt, not because the charity was a sponsor of the club, but because the club donated to the charity. Since 2006, Barça has contributed over EUR15 million to projects run by UNICEF.
After its foundation, the club struggled to find a stadium for many years, land was scarce as a result of the city’s expansion and development (these were the years of Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, La Pedrera and Eixample).
In the 1910s, it finally managed to open a stadium in Carrer Industria and the first victories against Madrid, interest in football and in the club increased.
Fans started to congregate at the Canaletes Fountain to see the result of the games announced on the board outside the newspaper kiosks, a tradition that has been maintained, not to watch the results, widely available on the radio and TV, but to celebrate the club’s triumphs.
Today’s badge was also designed then, with the Catalan flag and the cross of Saint Jordi, Patron Saint of Catalonia, and the colors of the club.
Barça’s importance and victories continued to expand and a new stadium in Les Corts, where it is today, was built in 1922. Spanish La Liga started in 1929 and Barça won the first year.
The 1930s were dark in Barça’s history with the Republic, the Spanish Civil War and the assassination, by Franco, of the club’s President Sunyol, a Catalan MP, for opposing the regime. The Joan Gamper committed suicide. Franco’s troops also dropped a bomb on the stadium that destroyed it.
During Franco’s times, Barça struggled but remained a core element of Catalan culture and heritage. In the 50s, it saw bright years thanks to Hungarian player Kubala, a beloved football hero that brought home many titles. In 1957, Camp Nou opened as the largest stadium in Europe, a top spot it has maintained.
Towards the end of Franco’s dictatorship, Barça started to thrive again. It was in 1974, for the 75th anniversary of the club, that the anthem was written and many members of the Catalan society (Dali, Miro, Tapies) came to celebrate and donated pieces. Cruyff was also signed on as a player.
When Franco died, Camp Nou first displayed the largest amount of Catalan flags since the Civil War. One month after his death, against R. Madrid, the stadium was colored in yellow and red.
With democracy, Barça entered into its golden period, stars like Diego Armando Maradona, President Núñez, the Dream Team of the 1990s who finally won the club’s first Champion’s League in 1992 at Wembley Stadium. Cruyff’s last words to the players before jumping on the field that day, “Go out and enjoy it”, are inscribed at the bottom of his statue outside Camp Nou.
Today, Barça is a club with fans all over the world. It is the wealthiest club in the world by revenues, over EUR800 Million in 2019, 10% more than the next club on the list, Real Madrid.
It is also one of the top-2 football clubs with the largest number of social media followers (when all social media platforms are included beyond just IG, Facebook and Twitter FC Barcelona may overtake Real Madrid), more than the entire NFL league.
The club’s prominence gives a voice to Catalonia’s political aspirations and its rivalry with Real Madrid reaches a climax every season in two games that are some of the most-watched in the world with the new timetable earlier in the day in recent years accounting for the growing Asian fan base of both clubs.
I have visited 120+ countries and traveled extensively for work and pleasure in Africa where the club has fierce fans, and the love for the club does not understand of politics or history, it is the pure love for beautiful football played with grace and elegance.
Barça’s “Mes que un club” motto
If you ever watched a Barça game, it is likely that you will have seen the club’s motto somewhere on the stadium or even on the colorful mosaics that fill the seats in key matches.
“Mes que un club” translates to More than just a club and it alludes to the club’s links to Catalonia and Catalan traditions, history and heritage, and to its commitment to sports at large.
The motto was first coined by the club’s president in 1968 and it has stuck. It is the closest way to express what the club means for the region and for its people and it is generic enough that it could survive Franco’s regime censure.
On its website and the museum, Barça states that the motto means “We are more than a team of great stars, we are more than a stadium full of dreams, we are more than the goals we’ve scored and more than the trophies that we’ve won throughout our history”.
Barça is much more than the famous football club that most people will recognize it for. It is the several other sports at which the club excels at such as hockey, basketball or the women’s teams.
The club is more than sports, it is a symbol of Catalan cultural identity, a political and historical referent for Catalonia, our ambassador in the world, and the place where the Catalan flag has always been raised and flown freely, even during Franco’s dictatorship.
It was during that time that Camp Nou became one of the few places where people could speak Catalan in public. Franco banned the use of the language and repressed our heritage but he could never appease the fans on their own turf.
The stadium was too big and there were too many fans for the Guardia Civil to take action, so they would stay outside and not come in. People felt safe, and they felt this was the only place where they could be among equal Catalanists even if grand displays of Catalan identity at the stadium only started in the 70s with loudspeaker announcements using again the Catalan language.
In more recent times, Barça continues to be a political symbol of Catalonia. Famous players such as Pique, husband of Shakira, is regularly seen at rallies with his two sons (and probably wife, although hidden from the cameras) in support of Catalonia’s independence.
Shakira herself shot the 2014 video clip for Empire, one of her most popular songs, against the background of famous holy Montserrat Mountain, where the statue of Our Lady of Montserrat, Patron Saint of Catalonia, is.
Guardiola, first a player under Cruyff and later coach, called for people to go to the polling stations during the 2017 referendum and was seen as a major proponent of the Catalan independence vote.
At every game, on minute 17, the stadium erupts in chants for Independencia, recalling the year 1714 when Catalonia lost its independence and identity during the War of Secession, the beginning of the region’s struggle for recognition.
If you visit Camp Nou, I hope that you will also feel this motto during your tour.