While almost everything in the Catalan capital stops whenever its biggest two teams, FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol, meet in LaLiga action, the city also lives and breathes football 24/7 on the 363 days a year when the derby isn’t being played!
The centre-point of most football fans’ visit to the city will be Barcelona’s Camp Nou or Espanyol’s RCDE Stadium home grounds, whether to take in a match in person or visit their impressive museum and tours.
There is much more football to experience throughout Barcelona, however, and not just on LaLiga match days. Most of the most popular tourist spots have links with one or both of the city’s two biggest football clubs, while visitors who know where to look can learn lots more about the history of both the city and the sport.
1. Las Ramblas / Canaletes
Barcelona’s central Las Ramblas avenue, which links the commercial and shopping areas with the Mediterranean Sea, is an ideal place to soak up the city’s atmosphere on arrival.
Las Ramblas has outlets where you can easily buy Barcelona or Espanyol match tickets, jerseys or souvenirs, while you might also get to meet the ‘Ronaldinho of Las Ramblas,’ a local personality who happily juggles his ball while posing for photos with visitors.
At the city end of Las Ramblas sits the Font de Canaletes, a modest fountain which comes alive whenever Barcelona win a trophy with fans congregating to celebrate into the night. The tradition dates back to the 1930s, when the city’s first sports newspaper La Rambla had its offices right here. The fastest way in those pre-internet days to learn your team’s results was to gather outside and wait for the editors to hang out a blackboard with the score scribbled on. How times change!
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A short five-minute walk away is Barça striker Luis Suarez’s ‘Chalito’ restaurant, at Rambla Catalunya, 12, where fans of all clubs are welcome to tuck into South American-inspired fast food.