The Ultimate Sports Lover’s Guide to Beautiful Barcelona

Antoni Gaudí, incredible food, and stunning beaches—even if you aren’t a fan of sports, Barcelona is an incredible place to visit. And if you are a fan of sports, it’s even better! Check out my guide to Barcelona’s top events, attractions, restaurants, and bars for sports fans traveling to this stunning Catalan cultural paradise. 

Top Sporting Events on the Barcelona Calendar 

Barcelona is one of those cities where there’s always going on. No matter what time you visit, you’re bound to stumble across some sort of event, festival, or party. For sports fans looking to visit Barcelona, here are some dates to mark in your calendar—these are the city’s top sporting highlights. 

La Liga and UEFA Champions League 

The most popular sport in Barcelona is, of course, football, and the most storied, famous team in the city (and arguably the world) is FC Barcelona. Playing their home matches at the incredible Camp Nou (and now the Estadi Olimpic Lluís Companys while Camp Nou undergoes construction), you can catch FC Barcelona during the regular La Liga season, which usually runs from August until May the following year. Check out our Camp Nou match experience guide if you want to see a FC Barcelona game.

If you’re extra lucky, you might happen to be in town for one of those famous Champions League nights, when the best teams from Europe’s top leagues face each other. The Champions League group stage runs from October to December, with the knock-out rounds taking place after that. 

Spanish Grand Prix 

For Formula 1 fans, the F1 Spanish Grand Prix is can’t-miss viewing. Usually held each year over a weekend in June, the race takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, just outside Barcelona. The track, built in 1991, is famous for its long straights and varying corners, making it quite the spectacle. 

Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell

If tennis is your cup of tea, don’t sleep on the Barcelona Open. Held each year at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona on those striking red clay courts, the tournament takes place during April. Second only in size (and price money) to the Madrid Open, it’s the next-most prestigious tennis tournament in the country. 

Barcelona Marathon

Held in March each year, the Barcelona Marathon takes participants on a grueling course throughout the city. While it might not be much fun to run that course, it’s brilliant for spectators, as it weaves through some of the city’s most iconic streets and attractions. Make a fun sign, check out the city’s best sights, and cheer on the runners who somehow find pushing their bodies to the limit enjoyable. 

Barcelona’s Top Sports Teams 

There are plenty of sports teams you can catch in action in Barcelona, including, of course, FC Barcelona. But they’re certainly not the only ticket in town—here’s a look at Barcelona’s top sports clubs if you’re looking for a fun gameday experience. 

FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona really needs no introduction. The club has been around since 1899 and is fan-owned and operated to this day. Worth over $5.5 billion, Barca is the third most valuable club in the world. The club has won a record 77 domestic titles and 22 European/international titles, including five UEFA Men’s Champions League trophies. 

FC Barcelona play their home matches at the historic Camp Nou, a venue and matchday experience that will send chills down your spine. With the venue under construction for the upcoming season, Barcelona will temporarily call Estadi Olimpic Lluís Companys their home. Tickets are, of course, hard to come by, but if you’re lucky enough to lock in a seat, this is an absolute bucket list experience. 

FC Barcelona Femeni 

FC Barcelona Femeni is so hot right now. The Barcelona women’s team are on top of the world after winning both the 2023/2024 Liga F domestic title and the 2023/2024 UEFA Women’s Champions League. Their roster is packed full of Spanish and international talent, and their intelligent, action-packed playing style makes them incredible to watch. 

FC Barcelona Femeni plays most of their home games at the Johan Cruyff Stadium in Sant Joan Despí, just north of Barcelona. Larger matches expected to exceed the 6,000 capacity are often moved to Camp Nou or the Estadi Olimpic Lluís Companys. 

FC Barcelona Handbol 

If you’re not from a country where handball is a mainstream sport, I highly recommend checking it out, and there’s no better place to do that than in Barcelona! FC Barcelona Handbol is one of the world’s most successful handball clubs. Their domestic league, Liga ASOBAL (which Barcelona has won every year since 2011) runs from September to May. 

FC Barcelona Handbol plays their home matches at Palau Blaugrana, where the basketball team also plays. If you’re unfamiliar with handball, it’s similar to basketball, except that the ball is smaller, sticks to your hand, and instead of shooting into a basket, there’s a goal with a goalie in front of it. Got it? Good. 

FC Barcelona Bàsquet

Barcelona’s top-flight basketball team also plays at Palau Blaugrana, a 7,600-capacity stadium just outside Camp Nou in Barcelona’s west. These games are another fun match-day experience—the team is quite good and fell to Madrid in the playoffs this year, and the atmosphere at the games is great. A must-see for the b’ball fans out there. 

RCD Espanyol de Barcelona

If a FC Barcelona match is too crowded, hectic, or expensive for you (or if you can’t get your hands on those coveted tickets), you’ll be happy to hear there’s another team in town. RCD Espanyol de Barcelona currently plays in Spain’s second division, the Segunda División, which makes their matches somewhat more affordable. The team plays at Stage Front Stadium, a 40,000-capacity venue south-west of the city center. 

Other Barcelona Highlights for Sports Travelers 

If you have some extra time to kill during your stay in Barcelona, here are some of the must-see spots for sports lovers. 

Camp Nou

Even if you’re not going to a match at Camp Nou, you can still tour the stadium, visit the museum, and completely blow your travel budget at the team megastore. The historic stadium closed for construction at the end of the 2024 football season, and is expected to be under construction until 2026. However, during that time, it’s expected to stay open for tours, museum visits, and shopping. It’s well worth checking out while you’re in the city. 

Montjuïc Hill

Another must-see stop is Montjuïc Hill, which has three main sights worth checking out. The first is the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, Barcelona’s temporary home while Camp Nou is being renovated. It’s also the venue of the 1992 Olympic Games, and offers tours and spectacular views of the city. 

Montjuïc Hill is also home to Palau Sant Jordi, a versatile arena hosting various sports events, concerts, and other activities, and the Museu Olímpic i de l’Esport Joan Antoni Samaranch, which is a museum dedicated to sports and Olympic history. 

Barceloneta Beach

You don’t really need a reason to visit the beaches in Barcelona, in my opinion, no trip to the city is complete without at least two days spent on the sand, soaking up the sun with a good book. There are hundreds of different beaches to choose from, but if you’re looking for the action, you’ll find it at the bustling Barceloneta Beach. It’s also one of the best places to try (or at least watch) sailing, windsurfing, and other water sports on the Mediterranean coast.

Where to Stay in Barcelona for Sports Fans

Millions of tourists visit Barcelona each year, and as a result, the city has thousands of accommodation options to choose from, ranging from flashy 5-star luxury hotels on the waterfront to hostels for backpackers and those on a budget. For sports fans, there are tons of choices. 

If you’re looking for somewhere near Camp Nou, the Hotel NH Barcelona Stadium is a great option, as are the 08028 Apartments. If you’re looking for budget-friendly accommodation, you’ll find plenty of hostels in the city, but one of the best is the Barcelona Bed and Bike Hostel. And, if you’re looking to live it up on the beach, my top choice would be the W Barcelona. You won’t regret it. 

Best Barcelona Bars and Restaurants for Sports Fans 

Barcelona has some absolutely incredible food, and the restaurant scene throughout most of the city is refreshingly relaxed. For modern Catalan cuisine, Berbena is a great choice. Amar Barcelona is the perfect choice for seafood lovers, while Petit Tapas is one of the most fun, atmospheric (and delicious) spots in the city. 

If you’re looking to catch a game at a bar while you’re in Barcelona, your best options are the many sports bars across the city. The Dublin Bar and Flaherty´s Irish Pub Barcelona are two great choices. For cocktails and drinks in general, I personally love some of the rooftop bars in Barcelona. There are so many to choose from, but you can’t beat 360 Degrees, which is located on top of the Hotel Barcelo Raval, or La Terrassa De La Duquessa. For more places to eat near Camp Nou, have a look at our top suggestions.

Tips for Sports Travelers Visiting Barcelona

First time in Barcelona? No worries! Keep these tips in mind as you’re exploring your way through the beautiful Catalan capital:

  • Be prepared to walk! You’ll see so much more of the architecture on foot 
  • There are two official languages: Spanish and Catalan. Most locals speak both
  • Check opening hours—lunch is usually around 2:30pm, and dinner starts around 9pm
  • Don’t expect speedy service—there’s a very laid back, relaxed vibe in Barcelona 
  • Be prepared for crowds at major attractions, and book tickets in advance 
  • Use the public transport system of buses, trains, and trams, as it’s well connected
  • Entry is free for most beaches, but you’ll have to pay if you want a chair, umbrella, etc.

Also, when it comes to tipping, it’s appreciated, but not essential. If you want to tip as an appreciation for good service, you can round up your coffee or cocktail to the nearest Euro, or tip 10-15% on a restaurant bill. It’s up to you! 

Soak Up the Sun (and the Sports) in Barcelona 

Barcelona is a unique, stunning, atmospheric city that gives you a different look at Spanish history and culture. It feels quite different to other parts of Spain, almost as though Catalonia is a country of its own. 

For sports travelers, visiting Barcelona has so much to offer (beyond FC Barcelona itself!). Enjoy the culture, soak up the sun, and cross some bucket-list items off with a visit to the Catalan capital.