A Day at the Famous Camp Nou Stadium
My husband and I are huge sports fans, and soccer is one of our favourite sports to watch. He's a huge fan of the Premier League, always cheering for Manchester United, but there's no denying that Barcelona is one of the best and most well-known football clubs around, and we watch a ton of La Liga and Champions League games too. Our oldest son is also a sports fan, and plays soccer with his school friends pretty much every day. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a tour of the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona and get an insider's view of the inner workings of one of the most famous stadiums in the world.
We arrived early on a pretty hot day, so we were lucky to get our tickets without waiting in line. Most people would go through the experience before heading to the souvenir store, but our oldest really wanted to go into the stadium with a Messi jersey on, and since we had promised to buy him one anyway, we started there. The store is huge, spanning several stories. Every type of souvenir you can think of is available for sale, from jerseys, to towels, balls, key chains, colouring books, and even dolls!
We bought both our boys jerseys (one has Messi, the other Xavi), a ball, and a Barcelona workbook that has reading and writing activities for kids. If you want a particular name on the back of your jersey, for an extra fee they will put it on while you wait. The store is a well-oiled machine, and the kids were mesmerized by everything to look at. We got them changed into their jerseys, and then made our way inside.
Trophy Room, Museum, and Exhibits
Whether you are a Barcelona fan or not, if you or your kids like soccer, they will love the Camp Nou Experience. Our youngest son is two years old, and there was even enough to keep him entertained for over two hours as we made our way through. The display room with all the trophies is fascinating, as are some of the more interactive displays. The museum traces the history of the club, while the listening area allows the visitor to hear the official song that fans chant at games.
We didn't linger to read every piece of history, but we did learn a few interesting facts. What I found the most interesting was that the stadium name "Camp Nou," or "Our Camp" was supposed to be a temporary name. When the stadium was built, there was so much disagreement over what it would be called that they temporarily called it Camp Nou, and it stuck!
Behind the Scenes Access to the Stadium
The tour continues by allowing fans access to the Visiting team dressing room, the press room where the coaches are interviewed by the media, the small chapel, and travels along the hallways the cover the parts of the stadium that fans rarely get to see. Before heading to the stands, fans even get to walk down the stairs you always see the players coming down before matches. My son thought that was pretty cool.
In the Stands and On the Field
The Camp Nou experience continues out in the stands, where visitors can sit in the press boxes, or wander around several sections of the stands. I got some great shots of the field and of the team slogan "Mes Que Un Club", or "More Than a Club." Following along the stands, fans are allowed to walk along a section of the sidelines, where the turf begins. It was a whole different experience checking out the field from that angle, and my son pretended he was getting ready to go out and play a match. for a six year old, it was pretty magical!
One of my favourite parts was taking a family photo. There is an area set up where a photographer takes a few photos of you against a green screen. On your way out of the stadium, you can preview and purchase the photos. We purchased the package which included a family photo that looked like we were in the locker room, another family photo of us digitally inserted into a team pic, a keychain, a fridge magnet, and a photo album with room for our own photos. It's a great memory to have, and the kids have the photo album on display in their room. We also took several of our own photos!
There are several places to eat, including an outdoor beer garden. We opted for a quick snack, and were pleased to see that the chips were labelled gluten free. There was also fresh fruit and juice. Spain is pretty Celiac aware, so there is a possibility that there could be other gluten free items available in the outside cafes. There is also an Estrella Damm Hal, and they make a gluten free beer, so it's possible that it would be available for purchase. Click HERE for the food options.
For the sports fan, the Camp Nou Experience is worth the price. We spent almost three hours there, with a six and two year old in tow. With older kids, you could easily make almost an entire day of it. Just be prepared to shell out for souvenirs!
The Camp Nou Experience is open most days of the year with the exception of New Year's Day, Christmas, and Game Day. In high season, tickets are better off being purchased in advance to avoid line-ups. Check out the official website for more information on pricing, opening hours, and specialized tours or VIP packages.