Barcelona has long had a reputation as a sport lover’s paradise. Whether you’re one for supporting the home team or participating yourself, there’s plenty to do here, including an Olympic legacy to explore and a vibrant football scene. Flights to Barcelona from the UK remain some of the cheapest in Europe and if you’re going hand luggage only, you can cut down even more on the costs. For our handy guide on how to make the most of your sporting time in the city, see below.
1. Explore the Olympic legacy
Barcelona hosted the Olympics in 1992 and the year is often looked upon as a watershed moment for the city. Its beach and port received a much-needed facelift, while the promenade Las Ramblas also became a household name. Despite the fact we are now more than twenty years away from the Olympics, it is still possible to discover the marks it left upon the city. Visit the Olympic and Sports Museum Joan Antoni Samaranch, which opened in 2007 and includes some of the most fascinating sporting-related exhibits on the planet. Also worth seeing is the Olympic Village itself, which is credited with opening up Barcelona’s seafront and transforming a deprived run-down area.
2. Football stadium
If there is a sport Barcelona is known for, it is football. And with good reason – it is celebrated with enormous gusto by the city’s residents. On the days when the home team plays, the pubs and bars are lined with thousands of supporters chanting the name of their messiah – ‘Messi! Messi!’ If you experience one sport in Barcelona, make sure it is football. Tickets can be notoriously difficult to get hold of to a home game, but if all else fails, you can always join the barflies. Most of the pubs in the centre of town understand the appeal of the sport and set up projections so that the game can be watched cinema-style on a screen against the wall. If you can’t see a game in the stadium, it is worth experiencing the Barcelona FC Stadium tour, which allows you to witness the splendour of this extraordinary building.
If watching sport isn’t for you, then why not participate? Amateur football clubs are very popular throughout the city and some do welcome holidaymakers who might only be there for a game or two. The beach is also populated with dozens of watersports clubs should you wish to try your hand at windsurfing or kitesurfing, and there are a number of establishments offering Scuba diving for newcomers and professionals alike.
Failing that, the city is a magnificent place to go for a jog, although it’s better to go in the morning or the evening during the summer months to avoid the worst of the heat. The beautiful old buildings make for ideal eye candy – you never know when you might next spot a fantastic example of the famous Gaudi architecture.