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What Not to Do in Barcelona

by Suzanne Wales

Don't…
Try to Get Tickets for a Barça Game

"Where can I get tickets for a match?" Locals would love to have a euro for every time they hear that question. Obtaining tickets to see the big soccer games (especially between Barça and its archrival Madrid) used to be a matter of hanging outside Camp Nou (Barça's home stadium) waiting for a shady señor in a gray overcoat. While the 111-year-old club has finally arrived in the 21st century by offering tickets online (see Barça's Web site) or the ticket sales portal ServiCaixa), don't expect to score a spot easily. Good seats are all but monopolized by the club's members. They might choose to release them (through the club's "free seat" program) at any time before kickoff, but getting your behind on one is highly unlikely.

Instead…
Watch a Match in a Barrio Bar

It may not equal the electric atmosphere of Camp Nou, but for a next-best thrill, seek out a local bar showing the match on TV: In summer, owners pull their TVs outside, so you can watch the game from the sidewalk. Alternatively, go see Espanyol, the city's other football team. Espanyol's always-the-bridesmaid reputation has been shed somewhat, thanks to the team's new stadium in the outlying suburb of Cornellà. With seating for 40,500 Espanyolistas, it's less than half the size of the mighty Camp Nou and sees far fewer foreign visitors, too—which, some would argue, makes for a more welcoming soccer experience.

Next: When temperatures and tempers flare >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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