FIFA 2014 – What you must not miss in Brazil!

Before I tell you how to plan your trip to Brazil for FIFA 2014, it’s time to get your tickets to this sporting extravaganza right here.

FIFA 2014 Dates – June 12, 2014 – July 13, 2014


Groups – Eight; 32 Countries


Host Country – Brazil!


Host Cities – 12 (Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Sao Paulo)


1) Belo Horizonte


Photo Courtesy – Official Website – Vale



Memorial Minas Gerais – Vale – what can be cooler than a museum with audiovisual installations and interactive galleries that are decked with relics of Minas from 17th to 21st century.


Gruta do Maquine – the most fabulous of all the caves in the region. A must visit for nature lovers; goes great with guided tours. 





Cafe Com Letrasevenings that touch a high with Jazz music, delightful food and rows and rows of books. 


Casa Cheiatraditional Brazilian cuisine, cooked by women folk of the region. Go early in the day to avoid getting stuck in long queues that are a normal feature of this fabulous place.

Photo Courtesy – Official Website Xapuri

Xapurigorgeous Mineira food (cooked on traditional wooden stoves!), activities for children makes it a perfect picnic spot as well. 


2) Brasilia




Palacio da Alvorada – a visit to this presidential palace is a must for anyone who loves architecture. Palacio do Planalto is also a must visit too.


Catedral Metropolitana – get your trip a religious twist by visiting this cathedral that has aluminium angels and statues carved by Ceschiatti!


Vale do Amanhecer – take a culture dive at this village that lets you take part in rituals from far off Egypt, Greece, India and more including some from Incans, Trojans and Afro-Brazilians.




Nossa Cozinha Bistro a bistro like no other, this one has some of the best chefs offering gourmet treats.  

Photo Courtesy – Official Website – Nossa

Aquavit – Simon Lau turns master chef at Aquavit, which sits overlooking Lago Paranoa. Fresh food served with everything grown nearby. 


3) Cuiaba 

Photo Courtesy – Wiki Commons



Jaguar Trails – ahh, yes. You read that right. Join a camp near Porto Jofre and you might be able to set your eyes on the mighty one. 


Museu Historico de Mato Grosso – a must visit museum, housed inside an impressive colonial building that has different rooms representing different time periods!


Museu Rondon – interested in an amazingly colourful, vast collection of headdresses? Well, who wouldn’t be! More so, with this museum having it all. 



Photo Courtesy – Official FB page – Tom Choppin


Tom Choppin – celebrate your team’s victory with a drink at Tom Choppin. Astonishing views, brews that will take you as high as you can think of. Need I write more!?


Pizza na Pedra – ridiculously sweet pizzas here. It might not taste that great, but then, food is more about experimentation. Don’t miss it.


4) Curitiba




Botanical Gardens – Brazil’s native plants, astonishing greenhouses and a twin to London’s Crystal Palace, Botanical Gardens at Curitiba are a must visit. 


Jardim Botanico – stretches of flowers, vast greenhouses, interesting flower shows – this one is for the most ardent of nature lovers.  


Opera de Arame – don’t consider your trip to Curitiba complete unless you have visited its most loved theater.




Manu – give yourself a Brazilian treat as Manoella Buffara turns chef for you here. For Italian fare, don’t forget to dine at Barolo. 


5) Fortaleza




Mercado Central – a must visit for shopaholics and souvenir hunters; this is where all the FIFA goers are heading for retail therapy. 


Centro de Turismo – fancy visiting a 19th century jail that’s turned into a museum now, complete with handicraft stalls and a gorgeous collection of artworks. 



Photo Courtesy – 50 Sabores

50 Sabores – love it or hate it, ice creams are going to stay in every foodie’s list. And then, nobody has ever hated ice creams. More so, after a visit to 50 Sabores at Fortaleza. 


Coco Bambu – a 14 page menu, impromptu performances, and lush green tropical garden settings. This place is Fortaleza’s food heaven. 


Cafe Pagliuca – a perfect place if you love a place’s ambience as much as you love its food. Jazz, tango and more draws in the hippest, coolest crowd of the town. 


6) Manaus


Photo Courtesy – flickr



Teatro Amazonas – an opera festival awaits you at this gorgeous theater, made partially out of rubber(!), during the FIFA months. Need I write more? 


Encontro Das Aguas – think natural wonder, think Encontro Das Aguas. Watch the differently colored water of Rio Negro meeting Rio Solimoes. Get ready to get amazed. 


Bosque da Ciencia – a patch of wilderness in the middle of the town, Bosque da Ciencia lets you meet huge otters, sloths, antlers and even ant eaters! 


Photo Courtesy – flickr

Praia da Luacity’s best beach, it also has a lot of shacks serving the best of smoked fish and lots of beer! Worth celebrating your team’s win here. 


7) Natal


Photo Courtesy – flickr



Beaches, and more beaches – Natal is littered with so many gorgeous beaches that you’ll have a tough time picking one; my word goes for Praia do Meio and Praia dos Artistas. 


Forte dos Reis Magos – this fort on the reef (!) will get you the best views of the whole town and the Ponte Nova bridge. 


Photo Courtesy – Official Website – Choperia


Choperia Portopolis – rather than being a cosy, dimly lit cafe, this one is more than just a few tables on the sidewalk. The food here has hot favorites like spicy bean soup, pork legs and cold chope. Instrumental music is thrown in to add to its lure. 


Cipo Brasil – the most delightful crepes, more than 30 types of pizzas and a lovely jungle theme for the ambience. Don’t skip this one 🙂 


8) Porto Alegre




Cathedral Metropolitana – this one sits pretty on the top of a hill; a gorgeous specimen of neoclassical architecture. A perfect getaway for the lovers of architecture. 


Parque Farroupilha – a 91 acre, lush green park that turns into a flea market on Sundays, Parque Farroupilha is a treasure trove for souvenir hunters. 




Mercado Publico – one of the best bets for seafood and other exotic dishes. Most of the stuff is made fresh, with rows of foodies waiting for their turn in queues that often meander! 

Photo Courtesy – Atelier das Massas

Atelier das Massas – a must visit for everyone in love with pasta and art. Yes, for the place has one of the most astonishingly rich pasta menu and artwork strewn for decor! Some mix that! 


Dirty Old Man – try regional beer here! One of city’s most loved bars, it has the hippest crowd and loads of soccer fans to add to the soccer fever.


9) Recife




Museu do Homem do Nordeste – a must visit if anthropology holds some interest for you. A unique experience, it’s a museum like no other. 


Patio de Sao Pedro – interesting architecture, zero traffic, cozy pubs and more, this square is one of the most peaceful areas of Recife. Great for a lazy evening. 




Chica Pitanga – other than the regional fare, do not let go of delicacies like bacon filet mignon, carrot mousse, tabouleh salad, shrimps and the huge variety of salads. 


Photo Courtesy – Official FB page – Bistro & Boteco

Bistro & Boteco – picture perfect views of the harbour accompanied by some of the tastiest salads and grilled dishes. A perfect break if you find yourself going hoarse from all that cheering at FIFA 2014. 


10) Rio de Janeiro


Photo Courtesy – Wiki Commons


Christ the Redeemer – this one needs no words, for we all fell in love with this well crafted wonder on the Rio mountains. A night time visit adds to the fun though. 


Delta Flight – a must do for the lovers of extreme adventure. Take a bird’s eye view of one of the most beautiful cities on the Earth as you fly away, fly free. 


Escadaria Selaron – one of the world’s most interesting artwork installations, the 215 steps of Escadaria Selaron are a sight that will make you gasp and wonder in delight. 


Copacabana Beach – FIFA fever touches a new high at this beach in Rio, with fans turning the beach to football ground. A huge variety of sizzling snacks add to the fun of this gorgeous beach. 


the Ropeway – oh yes, you simply cannot skip this one. A thrilling rope way ride from Corcovado mountain will get you a thrill that you would have never experienced before.   




Espirito Santa – seafood and meat dishes from the nearby region and Amazon(!), this restaurant is ably seated in Santa Teresa mansion to get you the best views too. 


Photo Courtesy – Wiki Commons


11) Salvador


Photo Courtesy – Wiki Commons



Pelourinho – if you thought it’s a simple village, think again. Fascinating, ancient architecture, UNESCO stamp on its colourful colonial buildings and impressive churches. It’s more than just village tourism at Salvador. 


Museu Nautico da Bahia – interested in pirates, ships or anything “sea” that you can think of? If yes, then this museum is just the place for you. Relics from the days of Portuguese seafaring await you here. 


Bale Folclorico da Bahia – walk in for one of the most interesting mix of folklores and ballet! You will go back with nothing less than a tale to tell back home. 




Cafelier a perfect place for coffee lovers, it’s more like a secret well kept by the locals. Atop a cliff, gorge over sparkling wine, chocolate cakes, and the richest cappuccino that you would have ever tasted. 


Pereira – fancy Japanese food? If yes, then this one is for you. Some of the most expertly prepared Japanese dishes, aptly served with the choicest of wines is what you will find here. 


12) Sao Paulo




Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo – this is for the culture vulture in you. Sao Paulo’s pride, this museum houses one of the biggest collection in the whole of Latin America! Don’t miss. 


Mercado Municipal – more than shopping, you will be amazed by the interesting architecture that dots this market side. An array of coloured domes, stained glass buildings and much more, it’s more like an experience. 


Bansepa – hop on the elevator to reach the top of this 162 mt high rise. Get ready to get astonished with the most astonishing, panoramic views of the city. A must do. 


Caos – read ALERT for the souvenir hunters. Antiques, FIFA keychains, old baseball caps, legendary jerseys and more. Name it and you have it. 




Feijoada da Lana – taste a whole new flavour of Feijoada, Brazil’s national dish, here, with journalist Lana tossing the pans here! 


Now that you have got the top things to do in every host city in Brazil during FIFA 2014, it’s time to kick some. Choose a team, sport a jersey, scream yourself hoarse, or do anything that fits your bill, just don’t let go of this chance to explore the wonderland that is Brazil. 


About the author 

Shikha Gautam loves to play with steering wheels, roads, words, flute and guitar among other things. Not necessarily in that order! You can contact her on twitter @ShikhaGautam