Camp Nou (often referred to as the Nou Camp in English) is the home stadium of FC Barcelona since its completion in 1957. With a seating capacity of 99,354, it is the largest stadium in Spain and Europe, and the third largest football stadium in the world in capacity.
It has hosted two European Cup/Champions League finals in 1989 and 1999, five UEFA Super Cup final games, four Copa del Rey finals, two Copa de la Liga final games, twenty-one Supercopa de España final games, five matches including the opening game of the 1982 FIFA World Cup.
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Camp Nou was built between 1954 and 1957, and officially opened on the 24th of September 1957 with a match between FC Barcelona and a selection of players from the city of Warsaw. The stadium replaced Barcelona’s previous ground Camp de les Corts, which, though it could hold 60,000 supporters, was still too small for the growing support of the club. Camp Nou initially consisted of two tiers that could hold 93,000 spectators. It was first called Estadi del FC Barcelona, but got soon referred to as Camp Nou.
The stadium was, together with Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, playing venue of the Euro 1964 Championships. The stadium hosted two Cup Winners’ Cup finals in the following decades, the first in 1972 between Glasgow Rangers and Dynamo Moscow (3-2), and the second in 1982 between Barcelona and Standard de Liège (2-1).
Camp Nou got expanded with a third tier for the 1982 World Cup, which raised capacity to 120,000 places. In the early 1990s, Barcelona started converting various standing areas into seating, which reduced capacity, though additional seats were created by lowering the pitch.
Until the late 1990s, Camp Nou still had some standing areas at the top of the third tier, but these were finally eliminated, reducing capacity to just below 100,000.
In contrast to the Bernabéu, Camp Nou has changed relatively little since its inauguration and lacks many of the modern facilities common in most stadiums these days. For the last decade, Barcelona have therefore been investigating either redeveloping Camp Nou, or even building a completely new stadium. In the mid-2000s, the club presented plans for a renovated Camp Nou, designed by Norman Foster, but a lack of funding prevented realisation. The club next started studying a move to a new stadium, but finally decided in 2014 to redevelop the current stadium.
The redevelopment will entail the reconstruction of the first tier resulting in a steeper tier with better views, the extension of the top tier over the whole of the stadium, the construction of a roof to cover all seats, and expansions and improvements to the interior of the stadium aimed at providing better facilities. The resulting capacity will be slightly higher at a little over 105,000 seats. Works are planned to start in 2017 and gradually performed over four seasons to finish in 2021.
Visiting supporters who make their way to Nou Camp either for a big European fixture or domestic clash are usually housed in the south-east corner of the ground within the highest tier of seating. If you’re scared of heights it can certainly make for an interesting experience, as these seats are well and truly in the clouds with the views of the pitch somewhat distant!
Barcelona often collaborate with the visiting team to offer fans early access to the ground between 6.00 – 7.00 pm at Access Gate 21 in order to ensure that fans have plenty of time to find their seats well before kick-off. If you’re feeling more confident however, entry for the rest of the general public is available from 19.15 onwards, with Access Area 19 (Gates 46, 50, 51, and 52) the closest to the away section.
Camp Nou is located in the east of Barcelona, at about 5 kilometres from Barcelona’s historic city centre. The stadium is part of a sports complex that also includes Barcelona’s Mini Estadi.
The stadium is easy to reach by metro. Various stations lie close to the stadium and from all of them it takes an approximate 10-minute walk to reach the stadium.
From Barcelona’s city centre one can take metro line 3. Take the metro in the direction of Zona Universitària and get off at station Les Corts. The next two stations, Maria Cristina and Palau Reial, are equal alternatives. The journey from the centre takes about 25 minutes.
If coming from the area around the Sagrada Familia, one can take metro line 5. Take the metro in the direction of Cornellà Centre and get off at station Badal or Collblanc.
If arriving by car from the Ronda da Dalt (the motorway that runs west of Barcelona), take exit 11 and follow the Avenida Diagonal (B-23) toward the city. Keep right on the Avenida Diagonal (right of the tram tracks) and after almost two kilometres turn right onto the Calle de Sabino Arana (follow the FC Barcelona signs). Follow the bend to the left (don’t take the tunnel), and turn right onto the Gran Via de Carlos III.
Follow for a few hundred metres and turn right onto the Travesía de las Cortes. After another few hundred metres you will see the stadium on your right. If coming from the A-2 (west), take the B-23 into the city, which will automatically flow into the Avenida Diagonal
As its name indicates it, Futballarium is the temple of the amateurs of football within a walking distance from Camp Nou stadium. The evenings of FC Barcelona match this pub and restaurant is taken by storm in an environment more than friendly.
The owner of this place is fan of football, you will discover in his bar his collection of more than 100 shirts and 400 scarves bearing the effigy of its preferred teams. To hold its row of fans of football it will present also his collection of alcoholic beverages: all kinds of draught beers, bottle beers with in particular its own beer « Futballarium » of course, of irish whiskeys, scottish wiskeys. The list is without end.
Within the stadium and around the ground you can find vendors who sell the usual type of match day fast food such as hot dogs and chips. Camp Nou is situated in a rather dense urban area (especially toward the east and south), and one can therefore find the typical local Spanish bars and restaurants in the vicinity of the stadium.
The options pale, however, in comparison with what can be found in the centre, which is a short metro ride away. Most eating and drinking in Barcelona are centered in the historic centre (Gothic Quarter, El Born, and Raval), and there is more nightlife in the nearby beach and port areas.
There is a wide selection of hotels, hostels, and rental apartments in the area around Camp Nou. Most are the typical tourist hotels and reasonably affordable.
I have been to Camp Nou once, this was for a Stadium tour.
Check out the Grounds Hub to view in depth fact files on each Ground.
Check out the timeline to see all the away games I have been to.
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