Footy travels #2: Barcelona

The Catalan capital. To put it quite simply: this is a footballing Mecca. Yet not only is Barcelona famous for it’s football, it’s an enormously popular city with tourists. And as you are probably aware – there’s more than one club in this wonderful city.

How do I get in?  Aer Lingus fly daily from Cork and Dublin to El Prat – the city’s main airport. Ryanair have recently begun flying there also. But the latter also advertise Girona and Reus as Barcelona – those airports are a good 70km away. Buses, taxi’s and a train will bring you from El Prat into the city.

What teams can I watch?  The obvious team is, of course, Barça – one of the most recognizable clubs in footballing history. Espanyol (a club Steve Finnan once, barely, played for) are the second most popular club – supported by mainly locals of non-Catalan descent. A mention must go to forth tier side CE Europa – a small club with a deeply impressive following.

How do I get to the stadiums?   The best way to the stadiums is the best way around the city – the underground metro. Check out the map of the metro system. Don’t bother with taxis. You’ll be stuck in more red lights in Barcelona on match-days than in Dublin on St Patrick’s Day. The Camp Nou can be found beside either the Maria Cristina (line 2) or Collblanc (line 5) stops. Espanyol’s nearest stop is Cornellá Centre, while Joanic stop (line 4) is located close to CE Europa.

How do I get tickets?  FC Barcelona attract approximately 7,000 tourists every week into the 98,000 capacity Camp Nou. Don’t worry about getting a ticket – games rarely sell out (except for el Clásico that is). Pick them up at their website or at the ticket offices located at the ground. Same procedure with Espanyol – except they might sell out games more frequently than Barça. As for Europa, well, they opt for the aul cash-at-the-turnstiles. Gotta love the old school approach.

What else is there to do?   Come on…it’s Barcelona. You won’t be bored.