As host country to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil showcases 12 stadiums in cities across the country. Held in a mix of well-known and previously-unheard-of cities, we look at what these 12 stadium cities have to offer visitors. Travellers to Brazil will find that LAN Airlines is one of the main airlines to Brazil while its partner, TAM Airlines, offers the same OneWorld Alliance benefits for intercity flights.
1. Everyone knows Rio de Janeiro, home to the largest stadium in South America at Estadio de Maracana,. Rio also boasts the world’s largest Carnival and arguably its hottest beachgoers on nearby Ipanema and Copacabana beaches. Must-sees include samba dancing, colonial architecture and taking the funicular up Corcovado Peak for breathtaking views from the iconic Cristo Redentor statue.
2. Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, is home to impressive street art and the 70,000-seat Estadio Nacional. The city’s modern architecture has earned it UNESCO World Heritage status. Look for the extraordinary modernist Cathedral and visit Three Powers Square to see Congress, Palacio do Planalto and the Supreme Court.
3. Arena Pantanal in Cuiabá is in the heart of Brazil’s rainforest. This former gold-mining town welcomes adventurous travellers heading to the Amazon, the Cerrado Savannah and the Chapada dos Guimares Mountains.
4. Recife is already on most tourists’ maps for its beaches and Carnival. Home to the Arena Pernambuco, Recife has Brazil’s longest city beachfront, Boa Viagem, and the delightful UNESCO-listed town of Olinda nearby.
5. Sao Paulo is the largest city in the southern hemisphere. As well as the brand new Arena de Sao Paulo, it has countless museums, parks, art galleries and upscale restaurants.
6. Head south to Curitiba to find the newly expanded Arena da Baixada. Tour the city by bus using the hop-on, hop-off Tourism Line network and see the Wire Opera House, Botanical Garden, Tingua Park and Japan Square with its cherry trees and teahouse.
7. Fortaleza is already on the tourist trail with its fabulous beaches. After watching a match in the revamped Estadio Castelao, enjoy fresh seafood from the beachfront stalls, watch local fishermen launching their wooden boats and sample the nightlife along Beira Mar.
8. Natal is known as “Sun City” for its year-round sunshine. The main attractions, apart from the Estadio das Dunas, are the beautiful sandy beaches and huge sand dunes which provide excellent buggy rides.
9. The coastal city of Salvador will host six World Cup matches in its Arena Fonte Nova which also has an interesting Soccer Museum. Visitors will appreciate the old Pelouinho district with its thriving art galleries, shops and live street musicians.
10. Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s third largest city, is home to the renovated Estadio Mineirao. Tourists visiting “BH” as it is known, can shop in the Mercado Central, explore the trendy Lourdes neighbourhood or attend a concert at the Palacio das Artes.
11. Located in southern Brazil, Porto Alegre has the sizeable Estadio Beira-Rio. Celebrate a win with the local drink “mate”. Located on a huge lagoon this Portuguese-influenced city offers the Piratinit Palace, Farroupilha Park and lively SoHo nightlife.
12. The remote Arena Amazonia is in Manaus where the black waters of the Negro River meet the mighty Amazon – an amazing sight. Jungle tours are the main attraction in this rainforest city which can only be reached by plane or boat.