Brazil: FIFA World Cup Cities Tour 2014

Explore the cities that will be hot destinations for the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Salvador, Recife, Natal and Porto Alegre.
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Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

Photo By: Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

1. Sao Paulo

Brazil’s economic and financial center, Sao Paulo is the richest and most populous city in the country, with more the 11 million residents. There are more than 70 nationalities living in the city, and it’s known as the gastronomic capital of Brazil, with over 12,500 restaurants serving a variety of tasty cuisines.

Ponte Estaiada (Sao Paulo)

Visit Sao Paulo’s attractions, including Ponte Estaiada (pictured), the Sao Paulo Art Museum and the Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art. Sao Paulo state is a popular spot for leading international events like Sao Paulo Fashion Week, Formula 1 Grand Prix, Formula Indy and Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade, attracting around 2.5 million people each year.

2. Salvador

The city of Salvador is known for its Portuguese and African influences on the city and for the region’s mixture of races, religions and flavors. Explore Pelourinho -- the historic center of Salvador -- to see Portuguese colonial architecture and monuments dating from the 17th through the 19th centuries.

Porto da Barra (Salvador)

Itapua, Artistas and Porto da Barra are popular beaches in Salvador, but there’s also much to see in a city that’s rich in culture and history. We recommend visiting popular attractions, including Forte Santo Antonio da Barra, Municipal Market, Convent of St. Francis and Elevator Lacerda, used to connect the upper and lower parts of the city.

Capoeira (Salvador)

In Salvador, the African influence in many cultural aspects of the city makes it the center of Afro-Brazilian culture. Developed by African descendants with native Brazilian influences, capoeira is a martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and berimbau music. Public squares and parks are popular places to watch an entertaining match that’s full of kicks, spins, cartwheels, flips and back-and-forth, foot-to-foot movement.

3. Rio de Janeiro

Welcome to Rio de Janeiro! Host to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio is full of major tourist attractions, including Christ the Redeemer (pictured), Tijuca National Park, Sugarloaf Mountain and Outeiro da Gloria Church. For adventure travelers, take a day trip to see Paraty, Angra dos Reis or Buzios, one of the most famous resorts in Brazil.

Rio Carnival (Rio de Janeiro)

Attend a big party at the Sambadrome! Held before Lent every year, Carnival in Rio is filled with up to 4,000 revelers, elaborate floats and samba dancers from more the 200 samba schools from around the region. One samba school is usually represented by up to 6 to 8 floats, but each school has ala das baianas, which is a group of at least 100 women who do not ride the floats. These women strut their samba moves marching between the floats.

Beautiful Beaches (Rio de Janeiro)

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the beautiful beaches of the “Wonderful City.” Relax, sunbathe, play soccer or just mingle with the locals on Rio’s famous beaches, Ipanema and Copacabana. Don’t forget about the lesser-known beaches like Leblon, Barra da Tijuca Beach, Prainha Beach and Praia Vermelha.

4. Recife

Located where the Beberibe River meets the Capibaribe River, Recife is often referred to as the “Venice of Brazil” because of its rivers and more than 50 bridges, a few of which connect the city’s various districts. A boat excursion on the Capibaribe River allows visitors to get a great view of the city’s Portuguese architecture and the neighboring city of Olinda.

White River Plaza (Recife)

Take a stroll through Recife’s White River Plaza or “Praca do Marco Zero” (pictured), which is the zero-point marker from where all highway distances are measured in the state of Pernambuco. Visitors should also stop at the Shopping Center Recife, the first mega-mall in northeastern Brazil, with 465 stores, 10 movies theaters and 4 food courts with 57 fast-food restaurants.

5. Porto Alegre

Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state, is considered to be one of the capitals with the most trees, having over a million trees throughout the city. It is also full of green areas, such as Redencao Park and Parcao. This city is also the birthplace of renowned Brazilian writers, such as Mario Quintana and Erico Verissimo.

Catedral Metropolitana (Porto Alegre)

Visit Catedral Metropolitana, one of Porto Alegre's most photographed landmarks, a model of Italian Renaissance architecture and a symbol of the city's Jesuit missionary heritage.

6. Natal

Natal is known as “Sun City” because it sees more the 300 days of sunshine each year. See some of the city’s main sites like Alberto Maranhao Theatre (pictured) in Old City Natal.

Morro do Careca (Natal)

The star attraction of Natal are its beautiful beaches. Take a famous buggy tour on Morro do Careca (pictured) -- a 394-foot-high dune located on Ponta Negra Beach. Forte and Artistas are other popular beaches in Natal.

7. Fortaleza

Fortaleza is known for its beautiful coastline and 15 beaches, including Raceme Beach, which was named after a character in a romantic novel by famous Brazilian writer Jose Alencar. Because of the strong winds, the coast of city is an ideal place for water sports.

Buoni Amici's Pizza (Fortaleza)

Pull up a chair and sample some of the “best pizza in Brazil” at Buoni Amici’s in Fortaleza. Local gastronomy, similar to other cities of the northeastern region of Brazil, includes everything from seafood to carne-de-sol -- meat (usually beef) lightly salted and sun dried, which is a typical cuisine from the Ceara state.

8. Curitiba

Arame Opera Theatre, the Guaira Theatre, the Railway Museum, the Historical Centre, Largo da Ordem and the Oscar Niemeyer Museum (pictured) are recommended places to visit when you’re in Curitiba, located in Parana state. Explore the various cuisines in the city’s Santa Felicidade district and shop -- day or night -- at the stores located along Rua das Flores.

Botanical Garden of Curitiba

Curitiba has over 30 parks and forests. We recommend visiting the Botanical Garden of Curitiba for a leisurely stroll through the French Gardens and the main greenhouse. The garden also houses part of the Federal University of Parana’s campus. While you’re in the Parana state, we recommend visitors make a trip to Iguazu National Park to see more 275 waterfalls that are an average height of 206 feet.

9. Cuiaba

Cuiaba is intersected by the Cuiaba River, one of the main tributaries of the Paraguay, a river that surrounds 4 countries: Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia Bolivia and Argentina. Recommended city attractions include the Rondon Museum of the Indian, Cathedral Square, the Geodetic Center of South America, the Ramis Bucair Stones Museum and the Church of the Rosary and St. Benedict.

Alta Floresta (near Cuiaba)

Cuiaba is located in Mato Grosso do Sul state, the largest flood plain in the world, with an abundance of wildlife. Spend a few days far north of Cuiaba in Alta Floresta to explore Cristalino State Park, known for its diversity in fauna and flora; it’s also considered one of the most important centers for bird watching.

10. Brasilia

The capital of Brazil, Brasilia is the first city built in the 20th century to be considered a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site, designed by town planner Lucio Costa. Visit some of the city’s most important sites like the Supreme Federal Court and the Planalto Palace (pictured), the seat of the government.

National Congress Building (Brasilia)

In addition to important attractions like the National Congress Building, Brasilia has its fair share of amazing attractions, including architectural gems Alvorada Palace (the president’s official residence), the National Theatre, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia and the National Museum.

11. Belo Horizonte

In Brazil’s Minas Gerais State, Belo Horizonte is known as the “Garden City.” It’s also known for its lively cultural life, including contemporary dance and street theatre. Surrounded by the Serra do Curral Mountains, this city has much to offer visitors, like Pope’s Square, the Museum of Arts and Crafts (pictured) and Mangabeiras Park -- one of the largest urban parks in Latin America.

Liberty Square (Belo Horizonte)

Enjoy the beauty of Belo Horizonte’s Liberty Square. This cultural hub includes various museums, exhibitions, a cinema and a theater. After a trip here, we recommend visiting the Lagoa da Pampulha architectural complex, designed in the 1940s by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.

12. Amazon - Manaus

Located in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, Manaus is the largest city in the northern region of the country. It is considered the gateway to the Amazon Rainforest -- a gigantic reserve spread over 1,544 square miles, across 9 Brazilian states. Amazonas state is also where almost all of the indigenous peoples of the country live.

Amazonas Theater (Manaus)

There are many things to see in Manaus, including the famous Amazonas Theatre (pictured), the Amazon Natural History Museum and Port Quay. The city offers several boat excursions, including numerous Amazon River cruises. For those who enjoy keeping their feet on solid ground, tourists can book walking tours accompanied by a guide at various hotels.

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