Experience FIFA World Cup 2014 with some Brazilian style

This year's World Cup will be hosted in 12 cities throughout Brazil. Here's a guide to explore the unique charm of each of these destinations when it's not game not.
by Kathleen McAfee

Experience FIFA World Cup 2014 with some Brazilian style

World soccer fans, UNITE! The 2014 FIFA World Cup matches will be played in cities throughout Brazil from June 12 to July 13, and it’s revving up to be one of the most exciting moments in the country’s history. While the soccer matches will take center stage in Brazil during this time, each of the 12 hosting cities have unique attractions that are worthy of exploration. Here’s a breakdown of some exciting ways to spend your free time in these cities – each with a different climate and cultural vibe – when it’s not game time.

Sao Paulo: An urban jungle of eclectic style

The first World Cup match (between Brazil and Croatia) kicks off on June 12 in Sao Paulo, the most populated city in all of South America. In total, there will be 6 matches played at Arena de Sao Paulo over the 31 days. The games start at  5:00 pm local time, which gives you plenty of daylight to get a taste of this sprawling and pulsating metropolis.

Sao Paulo, BrazilSao Paulo is a picture perfect example of Brazilian culture and the country’s 21st century economic growth.
Photo provided by Latin America For Less

Predominantly a city of immigrants, Sao Paulo is a richly diverse urban jungle. Artists and visionaries are free to pursue their dreams and give life to this eclectic haven. Often described as the “beating heart” of the city and a symbol of the city’s dynamic, Paulista Avenue located in Cerqueira César is lined with tall skyscrapers, hotels, museums, restaurants, churches, and countless shopping venues. For a taste of the city’s historical roots, visit the Monastery of Sao Bento and the Igreija de Sao Francisco de Assisis, which are two of the only remaining structures of the 17th Portuguese Empire. Even amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, a sense of tranquility is achieved in the lush gardens of the city’s 32 parks.

Natal, Salvador, Fortaleza, Recife: Brazilian coastal paradise

A grand total of 21 World Cup matches will be hosted in 4 cities along Brazil’s scenic Atlantic coast: Natal, Salvador de Bahia, Fortaleza, and Recife.


In Natal, 4 matches will be held at Arena das Dunas beginning on June 13. Located in the region of Rio Grande do Norte on the coastline, Natal is known for its clean air and beautiful beaches. In between games, you can take a dune buggy ride along to shoreline edged by the turquoise-colored water.

Arial view of Salvador de Bahia, BrazilSalvador de Bahia is a cosmopolitan blend of coastal views, skylines, and green parks.
Photo provided by Latin America For Less

Salvador de Bahia

Another northern coast city is the beautiful Salvador de Bahia, where 6 matches will be played at Arena Fonte Nova. Salvador is famous for its lively street carnivals, tropical beaches, music, food, and architecture. The Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985 due to the prevalence of Portuguese colonial architecture and 17th, 18th, and 19th century historical monuments.


In Fortaleza, there will be total of six matches played at Estadio Castelao beginning on June 14. Fortaleza is one of Brazil’s largest cities and is located on the coast about 310 miles (500 kilometers) northwest of Natal. It is a popular Brazilian destination that offers ample nightlife and shopping. A popular place to experience this thriving city is Beira Mar Avenue, which is lined with restaurants, bars, shops, and live entertainment. It is commonly said that there is never a dull moment at Beira Mar!


Also beginning of June 14, there will be 5 matches held at Arena Pernambuco in Recife. The city is a little less 190 miles (about 300 kilometers) south of Natal and often called the “Brazilian Venice” because of the large number of waterways that weave throughout it. The metropolis sprawls of Recife over a few coastal islands as well as the mainland, boasting some of the best beaches in Brazil. One of the main attractions is the site of the oldest synagogue in the Americas, Kahal Zur Israel, which is now a museum as well as a place of worship.

View of the Atlantic Ocean in Recife, BrazilEnjoy the pristine beaches while visiting Recife.
Photo provided by Latin America For Less

Cuiaba and Manaus: Gateway to the Amazon

Beginning June 13, there will be a total of 8 games played in Cuiaba and Manuas. Located deep within the wetlands and jungle region of western Brazil, these cities are symbols of how modernity and pristine nature coexist.


When in Cuiaba, you can take a day trip to the Pantanal wetlands just southwest of the city to experience a diverse ecosystem of birds, fish, invertebrates, and plants. The city is also a rich melting pot of culture, blending Portuguese, African, and Amerindian traditions and customs. Visit one of the many museums in Cuiaba and definitely sample the region’s unique local cuisine.


An arial view of Manuas, BrazilBetween games at Arena da Amazonia in Manuas, experience the mysterious Brazilian Amazon.
Photo provided by Latin America For Less

Manaus, a jungle metropolitan paradise, is Brazil’s gateway to the Amazon. A trip to Manaus would not be complete without a jungle excursion to Jaú National Park, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. The city also offers plenty of restaurants to eat delicious local cuisine and go out at night. 

Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Porto Alegre

A total of 15 matches will be played (beginning June 14) along the county’s east central coastal region in Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, and Porto Alegre. Each of these cities have different climates and countless attractions.

Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte is about 200 miles (320 kilometers) from the beach and located at a slightly higher elevation, which mean the temperatures are a bit cooler than its surrounding cities. June and July are the coldest month of the year and will be around 66°F (19°C) , but since Belo Horizonte is in a subtropical climate, you should experience mostly sunny days. In your spare time, you can visit the city’s numerous museums, such as Oscar Neimeyer’s project the Palacio das Artes, or take a relaxing stroll through one of Belo Horizonte’s beautiful parks.

 Praca da Liberdad in Belo Horizonte, BrazilBelo Horzonte is beautifully landscaped with lovely parks and gardens.
This photo of Praca Da Liberdade is courtesy of TripAdvisor


Curitiba is located about 250 miles (400 kilometers) south of Sao Paulo and is situated about 3,000 feet (915 meters) above sea level on an altiplano. Similar to Belo Horizonte, it might be a bit chilly in June and July, so bring a light jacket. Curitiba is known for its lovely parks and cultural heritage. While visiting this city, check out the Oscar Neimeyer Museum and the Panoramic Tower for a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city’s skyline from more than 300 feet (90 meters) high.

Porto Alegre

Porto Alegre is located in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, which is infamous for its vast petrified forests and dinosaur bone excavations. The city itself also boasts a diverse and eclectic nightlife and music scene. Go to Parque Farroupilha  after the World Cup matches to get a taste of what this city is all about.

Brasilia: A modernist’s utopia

Brazil’s capital city of Brasilia is hosting 7 World Cup matches at the Estadio Nacional beginning June 15. They city became the country’s capital in 1960 when officials decided to move the administrative center from Rio de Janeiro to a more central location. Originally designed by the famous Oscar Neimeyer and Lucio Costa, the city is described as having a “utopian” layout, sporting large grassy parks and plazas amid modernist architecture.

One of the best places to spend your afternoon is in the Monumental Axis, or the Eixo Monumental in Portuguese. This area divides the city into north and south sectors and encompasses the main architectural attractions, such as government buildings and its uniquely designed Basilica Brasilia.

Brasilia CathedralKnown for its modern architectural style, the Cathedral of Brasilia is a true representation of the city’s unique planning.
Photo by Carlos Reis/Flickr

Rio de Janeiro

An arial view of Rio de Janeiro, BrazilRio de Janeiro is a lively city offering beautiful beaches, rich culture, and endless festivities.
Photo provided by Latin America For Less

Situated on the Atlantic coast of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is a city of endless possibilities. Known for its lavish Carnival parades, Rio is a hotspot for entertainment, culture, and recreation. Once the capital of Brazil, Rio is still a hub for Brazilian culture and economy. There is never a dull moment in Rio de Janeiro.

Games in Rio begin on June 15 at the iconic Estadio Maracana, but during your free time you can explore the city’s richness. Spend the afternoon at the famous Ipanema Beach or take the cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain for some spectacular panoramic views. After dark, hit the town for some authentic samba rhythms.

Get ready to experience Brazil

Latin America For Less offers fully customizable packages to visit all the best cities and attractions of Brazil. Contact us now to speak with an experienced travel advisor to make you trip unforgettable and uniquely yours.

Check out the FIFA official website for the latest 2014 World Cup news and match schedule!

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