What do you think of when you hear the words ‘Nou Camp Barcelona’? If you love football (soccer in USA) the response is pretty simple…if you live in Spain the response is obvious…if neither of these, well you should still have a pretty good idea that the Nou Camp is one of the most famous football stadiums around the world.
It’s safe to say that the majority of Brits have football running through their veins and I certainly fall into that category. Any opportunity that I have to watch a football match, I am all for it! Whether it’s on the TV or preferably in person, I am always eager to watch 11 vs 11 regardless of who is playing.
In most places around the world, football is one of the most popular sports for fans and aspiring stars to watch and play. I have grown up watching English teams but visiting Spain earlier this year, I wanted to experience Spanish football and this is exactly what we did during our time at the Nou Camp Barcelona.
Non-League to World Cup Final
Heather may not have the same passion or love for the game of football, but I try my hardest to ensure she enjoys every match that we watch together. From the grassroots level watching non-league in England to the World Cup Final on TV, Heather has been right by my side watching these encounters over the last few years. So, heading to Barcelona the opportunity to visit the legendary Nou Camp was far too good to pass up!
The argument over which is the best league in the world is an ongoing battle between the Spanish and English leagues. Many believe that the strength in depth of the Premier League is far superior yet others suggest that the footballing powerhouses of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid ensures that La Liga is the best.
Regardless of which philosophy you follow, I think you will agree that both leagues provide extremely entertaining football so any opportunity you get to purchase tickets, you should go for it (at least once in your lifetime, even if you don’t like football!)
The Nou Camp Experience
Even though I am NOT a Barcelona fan, in fact I generally have a strong dislike against the Catalan giants, I do love football so heading to the Nou Camp to watch Barcelona play Getafe was certainly something I was looking forward to. The Nou Camp is one of the iconic football stadiums around the world similar to Wembley, San Siro and Santiago Bernabeu.
With a seating capacity of just under 100,000 that frequently sells out, the first challenge is actually getting to the stadium. Thanks to our trusty Hop On, Hop Off city bus tour ticket, we headed to the stadium in what we believed would be plenty of time to arrive prior to kick-off.
This was clearly a tourist mistake because we didn’t arrive at our seats in the Nou Camp until 10 minutes into the match.
Walking around the outside of the Nou Camp, the buzz of the Catalonians preparing to head inside the stadium is obvious. The folks in Barcelona have a unique love of football but even more so of their team. Expectations are understandably high and there are not many teams around the world that have succeeded as much as FC Barcelona in meeting these lofty expectations.
Barcelona’s Sexy Football
Ruud Gullit once coined the term ‘sexy football’ while describing the attractive style of play of teams around the world, and Barcelona certainly meet the criteria to adopt this phrase. The current crop of players are all equally at home passing the ball around the field waiting for the moment to penetrate the opposition’s defence.
With the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez leading the line, Barcelona is a team adept at controlling the pace of play and preventing the opposition from time on the ball.
Back to the encounter we had tickets for, a home match against Getafe who were struggling towards the lower echelons of La Liga. Surely three points and a convincing win for the Catalans? Perhaps this exact message was shared with the Barcelona players because immediately the referee blew his whistle, this was a definite encounter of ‘men against boys’.
We took our seats in the upper decks of the Nou Camp with Barcelona already leading 1-0 thanks to an early Leo Messi penalty after only 9 minutes. The quality of football on display was unbelieveable and it was clear that there was only one team going to win this La Liga encounter.
By half time Barca were 5-0 up thanks to a brace from their Uruguayan ace Suarez and further goals from Neymar and Xavi. A further goal from Messi early in the second half left the final score 6-0 and to rub salt into the wound, it really could have been more!
Although watching the Catalan giants was an entertaining spectacle, the real enjoyment factor was being present inside the Nou Camp stadium. The atmosphere is electric and even when the crowd is not at full capacity (a little under 70,000 attended the Getafe match), the Barcelona fans really get behind their team and create a lively environment for everyone in attendance.
Another interesting topic of conversation is your seat location. We were near the very top of the Nou Camp which are of course the cheapest tickets available. However, I don’t think there are any bad views inside this stadium. A word of caution that if you are afraid of heights, it’s pretty high up from the top but the views are breathtaking.
The beauty of being near the very top is that you have a birds eye view of all the pitch but also you can see beyond the stadium and take in the gorgeous evening sky around Barcelona.
By the time we decided to leave the Nou Camp, there were just a few minutes left on the clock and given the scoreline was so one-sided we beat the onslaught of rushing fans trying to escape the stadium and head home. We enjoyed a late evening walk back through this beautiful Spanish city and it was easy to know when the final whistle was blown given the huge roar that emerged from inside the Nou Camp.
For the football lovers around the world, the Nou Camp is a must-see attraction. This is more than just a football stadium, in fact it is a landmark that truly reflects everything that Barcelona has to offer. The passionate Catalan fans along with the distinctive atmosphere you feel as you watch the likes of Messi et al ply they trade, makes this an incredibly rewarding experience.
Regardless of whether you are a Barcelona fan or not, experiencing Spanish football inside the Nou Camp is money and time well spent. We are both grateful for our opportunity to watch Barcelona and to see them score six was just an added bonus. The beauty about watching a match at the Nou Camp is that it really doesn’t matter about the scoreline, instead it’s the whole experience and memories that you will savor.
The next time you head to Barcelona, forget about exploring Gaudi’s famous architectural masterpieces or wandering around Las Ramblas neighborhood, head on over to the Nou Camp for a really enjoyable experience. Even if there is no match, you can take a tour of the stadium which I imagine is awesome as you will get a ‘behind the scenes’ look at everything that takes place at the home of FC Barcelona.