World Cup Brazil - It's Not Just About Football


World Cup Brazil - It's Not Just About Football

As the World Cup comes closer, excitement mounts in the 12 cities hosting the games. There is no doubt that the chief attraction during this time will be the contest, but if you are in Brazil during the tournament, you also have a good opportunity to enjoy the tourist attractions offered by these wonderful cities.

You have great local food, night-life and activities to enjoy and the scenic beaches, rainforest and historical attractions to visit. You can also take part in the local celebrations.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro
The Maracana stadium will host seven matches, including the final. This stadium is also the Mecca of Brazilian football, the home ground for some great clubs and is the place where some great players reached important milestones. It has just gone through a major renovation and is now designed to accommodate about 78,000 people. A subway link connects it to the city center and other popular localities.

The tourist attractions of Rio are well known. You have a city that stands among some of the most beautiful landscape, forest, islands and natural formations in the continent. It is a treat for those who love hiking and adventure. There are many lovely beaches, which are excellent for spending time during non-match days. You can also enjoy great food while listening to Samba or Bossa nova music.

Salvador (Bahia)

Estadio Fonte Nova Stadium Salvador
The Estadio Fonte Nova will host four group matches, a round of 16 match and a quarterfinal. Although there was a setback in 2007 when a terrace collapsed, the stadium has been finished in time and can accommodate 55,000 people. It is just a short walk away from the bus station and the Pelourinho (old city). The design is unique in that one end of the stadium is open and gives a view of the lake.

The Pelourinho is sufficiently close and filled with bars and restaurants, which is perfect if you want to kill some spare time or have a quick drink or meal. The months of June, July and August receive heavy rainfall and it would be wise to pack umbrellas.

Temperatures are comfortable at about 20 degrees. Salvador is a great place to be during the World Cup due to the number of options for sightseeing and enjoyment. The city has a large bay and some good urban beaches. Towards the north, you have some excellent beaches at Praia do Forte, Boipeba and Imbassai.

Salvador and nearby areas like Praia do Forte are a treat for nature lovers, people interested in water sports, beach lovers, shopping enthusiasts and those who have a keen interest in history. The famous carnival is in February, but a smaller version is planned during the tournament for the benefit of World Cup visitors.

If you have the time and budget, a trip to the southern port city of Porto Seguro and the surrounding places like Arraial d' Ajuda and Trancoso is an excellent idea. You can reach these places by bus or a short flight. Another great place within reach is the national park at Chapada Diamantina. It is a great place for nature lovers with its lakes, waterfalls, rock formations and hiking or trekking options.

Recife (Pernambuco)

Arena Pernambuco Stadium
The Arena Pernambuco will host five games, including a round of 16 match. It can accommodate about 46,000 people. Although it is about 20 km away from the main city, you can reach it easily using the metro railway system. The temperatures will remain comfortable and you can also expect heavy rains. There is a long beach in the city itself, but it is not safe for swimming due to the danger from sharks.

The city has some great restaurants, which serve local delicacies and a number of bars make the night-life enjoyable. There are quite a few historic places to visit, especially the nearby city of Olinda. If you are a beach fan, some good beaches are available just a short drive from the city along the coast. Porto de Galinhas is a good place to visit.

Fortaleza (Ceará)

The Arena Castelão is one of the biggest stadiums in the country and has been fully renovated. It has a capacity of 67,000 and will be hosting four group matches, a round of 16 match and a quarterfinal. The area near the stadium is close to the airport and is not the best place to stay. It is better to stay in the main city or in one of the residential localities near the beach areas.

During the World Cup period, Fortaleza is likely to be on the hotter side and it is better to be prepared for warm weather. June is a month of celebration and you can expect to join Forro (dance) parties. The beaches are the main attractions of the city. If you prefer quieter surroundings, you will find more peaceful and less crowded beaches a few miles drive from the city along the coastline.

São Paulo

São Paulo
Sao Paulo will kick off the World Cup with the inaugural ceremony and the first match will be taking place here on June 12. The Corinthians stadium, which will be hosting the World Cup events, has recovered from the accident when a crane collapsed last year. It will host four group matches, a quarterfinal and a semifinal. The stadium is designed for 48,000 people, but the capacity can be easily enhanced to about 65,000. It is about 20 km away from the city and has to be reached by metro or train.

The temperatures in Sao Paulo can vary widely and the days can be quite hot, while it can get cold at night. Rain is unlikely. The city is one of the largest in the continent and has all the facilities you would expect in a large city. There is no difficulty with either food, accommodation or night-life. There are many parks, which make up for the absence of beaches, which you find in most other cities.

Cuiabá (Mato Grosso)

With its capacity of 45,000, the Arena Pantanal is one of the smaller World Cup venues. It will host four group matches. There are many bars and eating outlets near the stadium and some of them are famous for barbecued food.

The weather here is warm and the days are likely to be hot, but at nighttime, it will be cooler and more comfortable. The other attractions here are wild life, music, crafts and food (especially fish). There is a museum worth visiting. The city is relatively small and is driven by an agriculture based economy.

Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais)

The Mineirão stadium will be hosting one of the semifinals apart from five other matches. It has a capacity of 67,000. There are many places to eat and drink close to the stadium, but if you go a little further, you will come across several exotic restaurants. The weather is likely to be pleasant throughout the tournament, but it may get a little cold at night.

If you have spare time, you can take a bus to visit the colonial towns of Ouro Preto, São João del Rei and Tiradentes. You will be able to see colonial buildings and these towns also have some famous restaurants.


The Estádio Nacional will host a round of 16 match, a quarterfinal and four other matches. The stadium has undergone major renovations for the World Cup. It is at a walking distance from the area where most of the hotels are located.

The weather in the capital is very dry. In winters, the days will be hot and it can get quite cold at night. Most of the attractions of the city are located at Esplanada dos Ministérios. The city is well planned and is divided into different zones. The architecture of the buildings is impressive and the city also has UNESCO world heritage status.

There are some historical places to be visited. Other areas within the 250 km range that are worth visiting are the historical town of Pirenópolis and the Chapada dos Veadeiros national park.

Curitiba (Paraná)

The Arena da Baixada stadium, with a capacity of 43,000, will be hosting four group matches. Rains are not a problem here, but the weather can be dry and cold. Curitiba is not a coastal city, but it compensates for the absence of beaches with parks, gardens and green areas. This makes it pleasant to walk and explore the city and its cycling tracks are inviting. The Oscar Niemeyer Museum is worth a visit.

Visiting the colonial town of Morretes is a great option for non-match days. The train journey will take you through amazing jungle covered mountains. You have great entertainment and leisure options there. If you are willing to go a little further to Ilha do Mel, you will find great beaches and charming fishing villages.

Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul)

Beira-Rio Stadium
The Esátdio Beira-Rio stadium is located by the riverside inside a park. It was totally renovated and now has a capacity of over 50,000. Five World Cup matches will be hosted here. The temperatures fluctuate and it can get quite cold on some days, but in general, you can expect comfortable weather.

The local steak houses are the specialty here serving a variety of barbecued foods. There are several museums and art galleries, which you can visit in your spare time. If you love trekking or are a nature enthusiast, you must find time to visit the Aparados da Serra and Serra Geral national parks. A visit to the Vale dos Vinhedos region, which produces the best wine in the country, is also a good option.

Manaus (Amazonas)

The location and architecture of the Arena da Amazônia stadium, which is set in a green area, is truly impressive. The stadium with a capacity of 44,500 will be hosting four group matches. The weather is likely to be hot and humid with very little possibility of rain.

Due to its location and climate, precaution against mosquitoes is a must. It is better to wear long sleeved clothes and to make use of mosquito repellents. Up-to-date immunization and yellow fever vaccination certificate is essential.

Manaus is located at the meeting point of two rivers. On off-match days, you can consider taking a guided tour in a boat or getting an Amazon jungle experience in the army training center. The training center also has a very good zoo, where you can see the Amazonian wild life. For adventurous people, a trip to Manaus is a great opportunity for jungle adventure trips.

Natal (Rio Grande do Norte)

Arena das Dunas
Arena das Dunas at Natal will host four matches. It is a new stadium that has a capacity of 42,000. The weather will be warm and you can expect light showers.

Near the city, you will find great beaches and sand dunes, where you can take buggy rides. Natal is a great place to watch or learn the popular Forro dance. The nearby town of Morro do Careca is an excellent place for strolling and shopping for handicrafts. The other good place to visit is Pipa, a village where you can watch dolphins.

If you are in Brazil during the World Cup, enjoy the matches, but don't forget to make the best use of your spare time by enjoying the attractions in the host city and nearby places. Every place in Brazil is unique and has something unforgettable to offer. Don't miss the local food, culture and great beaches and other attractions of Bahia if you are visiting Salvador.

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