Each year thousands of football fans from all over the world flock to Camp Nou - the home of Barcelona FC.
|Barcelona FC's Camp Nou Stadium|
With the stadium's capacity of almost 100,000 people, the grounds are a Mecca for football fans around the world. I visited the stadium on a normal Thursday afternoon in February to find out all about the now infamous Barcelona FC Stadium and Museum Tour. This tour is the most popular of all tours in Barcelona. There was no match taking place on the day that I visited, but still crowds of fans were at the stadium, paying their respects to the 'shrine to football' in Barcelona. It's true to say that Camp Nou is more than just a stadium, just as Barcelona FC is said to be 'more than just a club'.
What I realised after taking the Barcelona FC stadium tour was that you get a real feel for what it must be like behind the scenes at the club. You can see exactly what is would be like from the players and managers point of view which adds a whole new dimension to your experience when watching a match or interview.
|Sit in the VIP chairs|
The Barcelona FC Camp Nou Experience tour ticket gives you access to the 'behind the scenes' action at the club as well as access to the FC museum and the multimedia centre.
The tour is 'self-guided', meaning that there are no tour guides. Rather, you will be guided through the museum by bright yellow barriers, ensuring that you go the right way around the tour. Security guards/attendants are dotted along the route and can direct you if necessary, however they are unable to answer fact-based questions about what is on show.
|Club photos on display|
Information about the tour is provided on boards along the route. However if you want to gain a more in-depth knowledge of everything on the tour, audio-guides are available and I recommend you get one of these. These can be purchased at the start desk of the tour. For more details on the audio-guides, please see below.
Stops on the Camp Nou Experience Tour - Self-Guided Tour of Barcelona FC's stadium:
- 'Virtual Experience' - a ten minute 3D putting the FC stadium tour into context.
Inside the 3D Virtual Experience
There is a 3D show at the start of the FC Stadium tour. This is most likely to appeal to children, who will be excited by the 3D effects. Presumably, to appeal to all nationalities, no words are provided. It is intended to give you a sense of what it is like to be on the pitch during the match - images of famous football matches are shown in this 3D show.
Football player visitor's changing room.
Here you have an opportunity to walk around the stadium's away team changing room facilities. You may be surprised at how basic they are. I think the idea might be not to give the away team too many advantages!
The communal bath
I would like to have been able to see the changing rooms of the home team. According to the audio-guide these are far more impressive, including a meeting room, a spa, a treatment room and a pharmacy.
This was inaugurated in 1958 and blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1982. A last minute chance for the players to say a prayer or two.
- Players' tunnel to the pitch.
Walking up the tunnel gives you a rush of excitement. It is an opportunity to feel how the players feel as they run up onto the pitch before a big game with 100,000 roaring fans at the end of the tunnel. Of course the stadium is empty on the day but with a little imagination you are there.
- The Benches (or 'Dug Out') - The Benches at the side of the Pitch.
View from the press box
If you are like me then this may be considered to be the most exciting part of the tour. This is the closest that you will get to the pitch itself - as if in the shoes of the team managers. Unaware of how impressive this would be, I was wowed by the 105 by 68 metre pitch and the 48 metre high stands. Imagine this filled with 100,000 passionate fans and you have an awesome back-scene perspective to a match at Barcelona FC from the eyes of the team leaders.
- Barcelona FC press room.
This area seats 120 journalists. It is where press conferences happen before and after matches. Two players face the press after each match, chosen in relation to what has happened in their lives both on and off the pitch.
- Mixed Zone - the press area for post-match comments from the teams.
The site of those interview moments that you've seen a thousand times on the sports news. "Well, Alan, I think we played a good game". Here you will recognise the blue background and the sponsor's logos. It is a buzz to see it in the flesh.
- Foundation room - corporate hospitality area.
The area where sponsors mingle in comfort before and after the match.
- Miró lithograph.
Miró 'Barcelona FC' lithograph
A piece of art produced by the artist Miró in honour of Barcelona FC.
- 5 star plaque.
This was awarded to the stadium in 1999 for its facilities. Similar to a 5 star hotel rating, but for the sporting world.
- Barcelona FC presidents plaque.
This plaque displays the names of all of the Presidents of the club, from its beginnings to the present day.
- Presidents box
This is an opportunity to get the best views of the pitch. This is the area of the stadium where the President sits with his guests of honour. What an opportunity to feel like the club president or Victoria Beckham.
- Press boxes
View from the press box
These 29 cabins sit 35 metres above the playing field. They are where the commentators broadcast from a match. Whilst there you can really picture the commentators discussing the game or going crazy when a goal is scored.
- Barcelona FC Museum
Classic posters inside the museum
Review of museum.
It is worth noting that the tour of the stadium, minus the museum is comprehensive and could take a couple of hours. If you plan on doing a thorough visit of the museum as well you may want to bring a snack for energy.
Review of FC audio-guide
|The audio guide handset|
You can purchase the audio-guide at the entrance to the Barcelona FC Camp Nou Experience Tour.
The audio guide consists of a small pack that can be hung around your neck and one earpiece that is hooked around your ear. The tour is controlled in the same way that you can control a CD Walkman - each stop of the tour has a number that correlates to a number on the audio-guide. It is your job to press play and scroll to the number of your choice when you reach that correct location. It is also possible to listen to each section as many times as you choose to. This is useful if there is information that you have missed and would like to hear again.
When hiring the guide pack you will be asked to provide some kind of I.D. to act as a deposit. It may be worth ensuring that you have a bankcard so that you don't have to hand over your passport.
I found the audio-guide to be a welcome addition to the trip. It helps to put into context what you see at each stop. It also provides you with more detail than what is available on the information boards.
Barcelona FC Museum and Stadium Tour Price:
Languages: Catalan, Spanish, English, French, Italian, German and Dutch.
Review of Museum
The Museum is split into three sections:
- The Historic Museum section of FC Barcelona Museum.
This is the largest part of the museum. It leads you on a chronological journey through the history of the club, starting with its birth in 1899.
One of the many trophy cabinets
If you are more interested in cups than history, you won't be disappointed. Cabinets crammed with all of the club's major achievements are on show are here.
The all-important Champions League Cup is also there. It can even be touched, for a price. There is a photograph opportunity in the museum, where you and your friends can hold the cup aloft for a photograph. This will cost €13.00 and can be purchased at the exit to the museum.
European Champion's League Cup
- 'Futbol art' Collection section of FC Barcelona Museum
This section is slightly more vague. It houses much memorabilia to do with sport - everything from old table football tables to football memorabilia and artworks.
- Temporary Exhibition section of FC Barcelona Museum
This section of the museum constantly changes. On my visit there was an exhibition about Joan Gamper - the man who founded Barcelona FC.
Overall, the museum is focused on visual displays. I felt that a careful balance had been struck to ensure that information is provided without an overload. It covers all aspects of the club in detail and follows a logical order.
Purchasing FC Tour Tickets Online:
Tickets can be purchased most easily online. Tickets for Barcelona FC Stadium and Museum Tour (Camp Nou Experience).
Once you have made your booking it is necessary to print out your confirmation form. Make sure that you bring photographic I.D with your voucher in order to collect your tickets from the ticket office specified on the booking voucher.
If you want to brave the queues purchase tickets on the day from the ticket booth at Access 9.
Opening Hours for Access 9:
Monday - Thursday: 10:00 - 18:30 and 10:00 - 20:00 (until 28 October)
Sundays: 10:00 - 14:30
The Camp Nou Experience tour will satisfy football lovers from all over the world. The tour gives you unfettered access to 'behind the scenes' action - you will see where it all happens during the matches. The Museum tour is concise, entertaining and will appeal to a wide range of fans of all ages. On my visit it was easy to see why Camp Nou is one of Barcelona's number one tourist attractions and a must visit for any serious football fan visiting Barcelona.
If you are interested in attending a football match at Barcelona FC and would like to find out how to purchase your tickets in advance of your trip see our article on How to purchase Barcelona FC match tickets.