The Camp Nou makes a great trip for the football connoisseur. Here's our advice on how to make the most from a visit...
The Camp Nou came second on our list of the Top 100 stadiums in the world. And almost all of the FourFourTwo team has visited the home of Barcelona at some point, pretty much all outside of work such is the pull of Messi & Co.
Barcelona also happens to be one of the best cities in the world, so it also makes a great trip for non-football fans too. A weekend away with the other half, boys' football trip, stag do or a football jaunt for all the family, we heartily recommend it and have pooled together our best advice here.
1. Get to the stadium very early (obviously). It'll give you time to find your seats and the way in, as well as savour the atmosphere and take your obligatory pictures. We last got tickets for Gate 88, Entrance 2 with seats in the lower tier right behind one of the goals.
This can be great for getting a close-up view of Messi or Neymar scoring, but you'll need to be fortunate that the main action, or some at least, takes place down your end.
2. Put your tickets on your smartphone – this saves any worry about losing them or paper print-outs. If you're worried about losing your phone, then you can always get a print-out too. You can also store up to four tickets on your phone if you're getting the tickets for friends too. Entrance to the stadium was easy, with the security staff just checking your phone.
3. We recently went to Camp Nou and found that having a beer or soft drink at the club shop after the match was a good idea to avoid being caught in the rush for the metro. Local fans tended to avoid the cafe and there were also TVs and food available, where you could watch highlights of the game until the traffic had died down afterwards.
We've marked some places on the map above to help if you make a visit; click on the markers for points of interest
4. If you get to the stadium early and want to stop for a drink we recommend getting the L3 green Metro line to the Les Corts station (you can also go on to the Maria Cristina station). You can then stop at one of the small bars or buy something from the shops on the walk down Travessera de les Corts to Camp Nou.
5. Beware: book your match tickets as early as you can but it's not until some 14 days before that league fixtures are ultimately confirmed. We know people who booked flights only for La Liga to reschedule the matches so that there wasn't a match that weekend. They lost around £30-50 changing their fligths to another weekend.
Also bear in mind that Barcelona can be scheduled for one TV coverage, meaning that their match can be moved from the Sunday 4pm (UK time) default slot to a Saturday slot. La Liga also schedules matches for Friday and Monday nights, but in reality Barcelona rarely play on these days.
6. Which match to go for? It can be a good idea to see a match against a middle rank team: the ticket price won't be the highest, you should get goals, but a competitive match all the same.
7. Which seats to go for? Get seats behind the goal or up high for good views; also if you go later in the year be aware that it gets cold in the stadium, especially as you're open to the elements. It can be warm but chilly when the sun sets in November-March time.
8. Book your flights as early as possible, obviously, to save cash. Vueling or EasyJet are good option for flights from the UK. At the airport you can get a shuttle bus into the centre of the city, while a taxi will set you back between €30-40.
9. It's alcohol-free beer inside the stadium on match day and in the club shop bar before the match. Don't be fooled when you get in there and see the locals watching the game with a pint.
10. Don't buy from the Barcelona club shop unless you really must – everything is mega expensive. The opposite is true if you go for a likely counterfeit replica shirt being sold near the beach from one of the market sellers. Go for a well-chosen retro shirt from online if you want to fit in with the crowd. It's always a good conversation starter and is a bit different.
11. Be sure to check out the sights too, such as: Gaudí's Sagrada Familia (now in its final stage of construction, more than 100 years after it began) and Parc Güell that overlooks the city, the Gothic Quarter (especially brilliant local hangout Bar Manchester, which plays Joy Division, the Smiths and more), the beach and more. If there's a big group of you, it'll be all the better.
FFT's 100 best stadiums
12. Do the club tour before your match, but not on the matchday as the tour isn't open then. That way you'll know where to head for the big game. It'll also whet the appetite for seeing Messi & Co. The club trophy cabinets are vast so ensure there's plenty of room for pictures on your phone/camera. You get to go down to pitch level, see the changing rooms and TV camera views from up high. It'll take around 40 minutes to go around everything, at least.
13. AirBnB can be a cheap option for accommodation, especially if there's a group of you going. If you stay in one of the central flats available for rent, be wary of the strict noise restrictions late at night around town. We've heard tales of groups of (no doubt rowdy) Brits being turfed out of their apartments by the local authorities.
#FFT100Stadiums: The list
#FFT100Stadiums: The features
• How we chose the list
• A brief history of football grounds, by Simon Inglis
• The greatest stadiums that never were
• Who the hell is Santiago Bernabeu? Named stadiums explained
• QUIZ How many of our 100 have you visited?
• Archibald Leitch: the man who invented the football stadium
• The world's biggest stadiums
• QUIZ Higher or lower? Take our stadium capacity quiz
• How to build a football stadium, by those who did
• The 11 weirdest stadium names
• In memoriam: Britain's great lost grounds
• QUIZ Name that stadium
• Coming soon: The new stadiums being built and planned
• The most beautiful grounds in the world
• GALLERY 9 of the best from the '90s