The regional qualifying tournaments for the 2014 FIFA World Cup are winding down. People are starting to think about visiting Brazil next year to attend what many consider to be the biggest sporting event on earth.

Matches will be held in cities all around Brazil, from the cultural capitol of Rio and the booming metropolis of Sao Paulo to the Amazonian city of Manaus and the Northeastern beach town of Recife. If you are planning to attend the World Cup, or at least thinking about it, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with Brazil’s cities beyond the one that everyone knows about, Rio.

Here are cities besides Rio that you can visit during next year’s World Cup (or beforehand if you want experience Brazil without all the crowds of football fans).

The regional qualifying tournaments for the 2014 FIFA World Cup are winding down. People are starting to think about visiting Brazil next year to attend what many consider to be the biggest sporting event on earth.

Matches will be held in cities all around Brazil, from the cultural capitol of Rio and the booming metropolis of Sao Paulo to the Amazonian city of Manaus and the Northeastern beach town of Recife. If you are planning to attend the World Cup, or at least thinking about it, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with Brazil’s cities beyond the one that everyone knows about, Rio.

Here are cities besides Rio that you can visit during next year’s World Cup (or beforehand if you want experience Brazil without all the crowds of football fans).

Brasilia

Brasilia
Photo: Romulo Botero / Flickr

Brazil’s capitol city will host some important games during the World Cup. This is a very unique place, it is not like anywhere else in the country. Brasilia is basically a planned city. It is modern, with much of it built in the 1950s and early ’60s. The architecture is the star here, with many modernist buildings and wide plazas creating an uncrowded feel. The nightlife scene in Brasilia is more laid-back than in the coastal cities, but there is still some fun to be had, and there will surely be a full slate of concerts and parties on match days during the World Cup. Brasilia is in the central highland area of Brazil, so the temperatures usually are not very extreme, so you will be comfortable in casual lightweight clothing.

Fortaleza

Fortaleza
Photo: Roberto Faccenda / Flickr

Fortaleza is a vibrant city on the northeastern coast of Brazil. Not as widely buzzed-about as the country’s southern metropolises, it is certainly a great alternative, with some awesome urban beaches, a great nightlife scene, and plenty of festivals, many of which will be in full swing during Cup month. If you plan ahead, you may be able to book one of the many rental apartments that can be found in Fortaleza. This is a popular destination for holiday-makers from Europe, but also for domestic tourists. This means that accommodations can be found in Fortaleza all over the price spectrum.

Curitiba

Curitiba
Photo: Francisco Anzola / Flickr

Curitiba is an underrated destination. According to both international and domestic tourists who do visit this southern city, it is one of the most pleasant destinations in the whole country. Wide streets, massive public parks, and a super-efficient public transportation system are the highlights of Curitiba’s infrastructure. There is even a useful network of bicycle paths. Curitiba has a vibrant nightlife scene, great restaurants, and plenty of cultural attractions. Things will probably be a bit more chaotic and crowded than usual during the Cup, but if you are looking for an especially pleasant place to spend their football-themed holiday, Curitiba is it!

Recife

Recife
Photo: guilherme jofili / Flickr

This is another Northeastern city that has great beaches and a laid-back lifestyle. Like Fortaleza, Recife boasts attractive urban beaches that draw both international and domestic tourists. It also has a lot of well-kept historic buildings, so history buffs will surely enjoy sightseeing beyond the football stadiums. For tourists looking for a “well-rounded” vacation with world-class beaches, sightseeing, restaurants, and nightlife in the same city, Recife is a good option.

Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo
Photo: Diego Torres Silvestre / Flickr

Brazil’s most populous city doesn’t have the same allures as nearby Rio, but it is arguably the most energetic and cosmopolitan place in the country. If you want a real “big city experience” with an endless list of places to explore, then Sao Paulo is definitely your best option. Numerous neighborhoods, a diverse population including Brazil’s largest concentration of first and second generation immigrants, world-class restaurants, modern architecture, and numerous nightlife options really make this “the” city in Brazil for those who want a truly cosmopolitan urban experience.

Manaus

Manaus
Photo: copagov / Flickr

Manaus is the urban heart of the Amazon. A city of more than 2 million people, it is a teeming and cosmopolitan place with historic architecture. If you are interested in the natural side of Brazil, this is a great base because it is a hub for people who want to take “serious” (multiple day) ecotours along the Amazon and into the surrounding rainforests. The main drawback to Manaus is that it is quite hot and humid throughout the year.

What are your recommendations for travel in Brazil? What cities should we add to our list of places to visit during next year’s World Cup? Let us know in the comments section below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *