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There are few experiences more gratifying than seeing FC Barcelona in action at the Camp Nou. But of course that’s not the only way you can enjoy seeing your heroes in action. If you feel the temptation to catch Barça playing away from home this season, then it doubles as the chance to discover some amazing cities around Spain. So here’s our whistle-stop guide to the places Barça’s Liga travels will take them in 2015/16. But do beware, the visit of last season’s treble winners and their star-studded squad is always a huge occasion wherever they travel, and getting tickets for these games is never easy.
The North Coast
Barça travel to Galicia, up in the northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula, twice this season, to play Deportivo (April 19/20) and Celta (September 23). The region has its own language, which is similar to Portuguese, a proud Celtic heritage and a climate and landscape that’s more reminiscent of the British Isles than the typical image of Spain. La Coruña (home of Deportivo) and Vigo (home of Celta) are two historic seaports on the Atlantic coast, where you can enjoy some of the finest seafood not just in Europe, but anywhere in the world!
Barça visit Sporting on February 16/17, who hail from Gijón, the largest city in the region of Asturias on the north coast. It’s another bustling seaport with plenty of reminders of a history that dates back to medieval times.
Further along the north coast is the Basque Country, with its own totally unique language and culture. Barça have already played Athletic Club, from the largest city in the region, Bilbao, but will be back to play Real Sociedad (April 9/10) and Eibar (March 5/6). The former are from San Sebastián, one of the most beautiful cities in Spain in its delightful setting around the Bay of La Concha. It’s also 2016’s European Capital of Culture. Meanwhile Eibar is a manufacturing centre about 50km inland. The smallest city with a top flight side this season, the local people are immensely proud to have been put on the map by the amazing rise of their football club.
Madrid, capital of Spain, needs little introduction, with its Prado Museum, Retiro Park, Royal Palace and a host of other monuments. The trips to face Real Madrid (November 21/22) and Atlético Madrid (September 12) are two of Barça’s highest profile games of any league campaign, but they will be in the city for two other league fixtures as well. Rayo Vallecano (March 1/2/4) are from the working class district of Vallecas in the southeast of the city and Getafe (October 31/November 1) is a neighbourhood on its southern extreme.
Mediterranean Coast and Andalusia
The Valencian Community on the Mediterranean coast has some of the finest beaches in the country, and as well as being home to its most famous dish, paella, is also home to three of the teams in La Liga this season. The vibrant city of Valencia is the third largest in Spain and Barça will not only be there on December 5/6 to play Valencia, but also on February 6/7 to be entertained by the lesser known team from the same city, Levante. The other club in the region, Villarreal (March 19/20), are based about 60km up the coast in the city of the same name.
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Andalusia is, in many minds, the region that typifies the ‘real’ Spain, with everything from flamenco to gazpacho and the hottest beaches en Europe. Its largest city, Seville, is an amazing place to visit, with La Giralda and a host of other monuments in the third largest old town in Europe. And there are two chances to catch Barça playing there, in a re-match of the European Super Cup against Sevilla (October 3) and also against their fierce rivals Betis (April 30/May 1), who are back with the best after a season in the second division. Barça will also be heading to Andalusia to play Málaga (January 23/24), which lies right in the heart of the Costa del Sol, one of the most popular places for sun, sea and sand seekers in the world. And they’ll be back a fourth time for the very last game of the season, on May 14/15, when they’re in another hugely popular tourist destination, Granada, with its young, studenty atmosphere and Moorish history crowned by the stunning Alhambra.
The Canary Islands
For those of you that prefer the long haul, for the first time in thirteen years, Las Palmas are playing in the First Division. And that means a trip to the Canary Islands on February 20/21. On the island of Gran Canaria, just off the coast of Morocco, the subtropical climate means that even at that time of year there’s a pretty safe guarantee that you’re going to get warm weather!
Barça’s first away fixture of 2016 on January 2/3 will be on considerably more familiar territory. That’s when they’ll be travelling up the road for the local derby with Espanyol.
So, there are some wonderful places to enjoy if you do decide to follow Barça away this season. Wherever you’re going, have a great trip and fly the team colours with pride!
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