Local's guide: Barcelona
Sun, sea and splendid football make Barcelona a fitting home for the planetÃ¢ÂÂs finest team Ã¢ÂÂ and player.
And from GaudiÃ¢ÂÂs gorgeous architecture to a buzzing nightlife, the Catalan capital is a hugely popular short break destination. BarÃÂ§a estimate 9,000 foreign football tourists flock to weekend games (which can be on Saturday, Sunday or Monday with timings only announced Ã¢ÂÂ¨11 days beforehand), while Espanyol are excelling in their new Ã¢ÂÂEnglish-styleÃ¢ÂÂ stadium on the cityÃ¢ÂÂs outskirts.
Getting aroundBarcelona is well served by budget airlines. Buses from the airport to PlaÃÂ§a Catalunya run continuously and cost Ã¢ÂÂ¬5.05. Best bet is a T10 travel card costing Ã¢ÂÂ¬7.85 Ã¢ÂÂ 10 trips on the excellent metro. The Nou Ã¢ÂÂ¨Camp is near many stations: Badal, Collblanc, Les Corts, Maria Cristina and Palau Reial.
Pre-match drinkA strip of bars line Diagonal, close to Maria Cristina metro, to the north of the stadium. ItÃ¢ÂÂs a 10-minute walk past the Princess Sofia hotel (which Terry Venables once called home) to the Nou Camp.
Place to eat the local dish Quinze Nits is a top value first-come, first-served restaurant in PlaÃÂ§a Reial: a three-course meal and drinks is just Ã¢ÂÂ¬20. Avoid La RamblaÃ¢ÂÂs overpriced tourist tapas traps and head instead to El Born. Local tip: during the week most restaurants have a Ã¢ÂÂmenu-del-diaÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ a three-course menu of the day for Ã¢ÂÂ¬8-17.
Where to nurse a hangover Go for a walk on the beach Ã¢ÂÂ¨by Barceloneta and get your hangover fix at Buenas Migas at the end of Passeig de Joan Borbo, or enjoy a full breakfast at one of the cityÃ¢ÂÂs many Irish bars. The best is DunneÃ¢ÂÂs on Via Ã¢ÂÂ¨Laietana by the hip Born area.
Where to go with mates The Nou Camp museum and stadium tour is CataloniaÃ¢ÂÂs most popular tourist attraction, with over a million visitors per year. Alternatively, take partÃ¢ÂÂ¨in one of BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs training camps. The Costa Dorada resort is about an hour away from the city, and is ideal for Ã¢ÂÂ¨a pre-season workout. Via Nickes.com you can request Ã¢ÂÂ¨a tailor-made training camp package to Costa Dorada, including watching a game at the Nou Camp or Espanyol.
Yeah, it's all right...
Where to go with your other halfThe hop-on, hop-off tourist buses take in most of the sights. They run on three circular routes from PlaÃÂ§a de Catalunya for Ã¢ÂÂ¬20 per day.
Football shrine Drink from the unassuming Canaletes fountain Ã¢ÂÂ itÃ¢ÂÂs where all the celebrations Ã¢ÂÂ¨for any BarÃÂ§a trophies start.
Best thing to do for free Walk down the glorious Passeig de Gracia Ã¢ÂÂ SpainÃ¢ÂÂs grandest street Ã¢ÂÂ then La Rambla to the sea. Follow the coastline to the Olympic village: in total itÃ¢ÂÂs three fantastic hours.
PlayerÃ¢ÂÂs favourite placeDani Alves: Ã¢ÂÂA lot of the lads visit an Italian called Da Greco in Gracia. I really like Botafumeiro, a fish restaurant there.Ã¢ÂÂ The seafront CDLC, Ã¢ÂÂ¨a cool club/bar/restaurant once owned by Patrick Kluivert, remains popular, while several player functions have been held at the W Hotel.
DonÃ¢ÂÂt make this mistake... Get blind drunk and walk around La Rambla in the early hours. YouÃ¢ÂÂll be relieved of your cash by someone pretending to be your mate.
Check out FFT's Barcelona city guide.
Three top BarÃÂ§a deals at travelshop.fourfourtwo.com
Bicycle sightseeing toursTwo wheels good, four wheels bad. For an extra ÃÂ£35 we offer a guided sightseeing tour of the city, with a bike, bottle Ã¢ÂÂ¨of water and free drink at the beach. Helmets Ã¢ÂÂ¨and raincoats on request. Tassles on bike handles, not so much.
Take on local oppositionWe can arrange a game against an amateur side. Write your requirements in the Ã¢ÂÂspecial requestÃ¢ÂÂ box on the booking page when ordering via travelshop.fourfourtwo.com and weÃ¢ÂÂll organise a game before or after your Nou Camp trip.
Fancy stadium toursAnyone staying for Ã¢ÂÂ¨more than four nights in Barcelona with the FFT online Travel Shop will have a free tour of the glorious Nou Camp stadium thrown in for free. All of these great offers apply if you order before October 1, 2011.