The 1992 Olympics cemented Barcelona’s reputation as a sports-mad city. Barcelonians are wild about Barça, their much-revered championship football club, but they are also avid spectators of basketball, tennis, handball, golf and motorsport.
They’re also active sports enthusiasts, eager to escape the city for cycling, sailing or even skiing. Skiing in the Pyrenees is popular in the winter, so if you’re here at the right time of year, why not combine some Mediterranean sun with some powder action? Most resorts are within two hours of Barcelona and some are accessible by train.
The great spectator sport in Barcelona is football, and a match involving Barça, one of Europe’s perennial champions and revered for their Tiki-taka brand of the Beautiful Game, can bring the city to a standstill.
The club’s Camp Nou stadium, in the Les Corts area near the Diagonal, is the largest in Europe. Match tickets can be purchased ahead online at the club’s website or on the day at the ticket office on Travessera de les Corts, but tickets can be scarce for big matches. If you can’t scare up tickets, tours of Camp Nou and Barça Museum are hugely popular and give you an insight into this extraordinary club.
Barça’s local rivals, Espanyol, are based at the RCDE stadium in the suburb of Cornella de Llobregat; match tickets for their games are a fair bit easier to get hold of.
The city’s second favourite spectator sport is basketball. FC Barcelona Bàsquet play at the Palau Blaugrana, on the same site as Camp Nou. They share the facilities with the roller hockey, futsal (indoor football) and handball teams. The season runs from September to May and tickets can be purchased directly online on Barça’s website or at Palau Blaugrana.
Tennis is also popular, and the prestigious Real Club de Tennis Barcelona-1899 off Av. Diagonal near Pedralbes, with seating for some 8,400 spectators, stages the Barcelona Open APT World Tour tournament each April.
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Recreational cycling and jogging on Montjuïc and Tibidabo is very popular, and of course swimming – whether at the city beaches or along the Costa Daurada and Costa Brava – is a prime activity.
City cycling is also popular and tourist offices can provide a map showing recommended routes and bike lanes and advice about taking bikes on public transport. Or contact Amics de la Bici.
On Tibidabo, the Carretera de las Aiguas, a path that winds along the mountain with spectacular views of the city below, is a great place to walk, jog or cycle. Barcelona by Bike offers easy-going tours around the city. Bikes can be rented from Biciclot at Pere IV, 58, where there is easy access to the Parc de la Ciutadella and the waterfront (tandems and child seats are available).
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