The World Cup is almost over, which means the end to my month long trek through Brazil. It has been an amazing experience, and having the chance to experience so many different cities has been something I won’t soon forget.
If you have never been to Brazil, and are curious what the cities are like, the reality is you can pretty much find a perfect Brazilian city for any kind of preference. Well, any warm weather preference. If you’re looking for snow, this isn’t your country.
Looking for beautiful beaches? Want to see impressive mountains? Always wanted to see the jungle? Does the hustle and bustle of a big city make you feel at home? You name it and the World Cup host cities probably were able to provide it.
I wasn’t able to make it to every host city in Brazil, but did manage to visit seven of the cities which hosted matches. Here is how I ranked these cities based on my experiences, and what I feel they offer tourists visiting from abroad.
It is last on the list, but still didn’t come anywhere near to being as bad as reports suggested this Amazon city would be. There is no denying that it is very hot and humid, and if you can’t take that then coming here is probably a deal breaker. However, if you don’t mind some heat, and you’re a fan of the jungle and have always wanted to experience the Amazon river, this place is for you.
Might have wound up higher if it didn’t rain badly most of my stay, which led to serious flooding around the USA-Germany match, but a good nightlife and the beach still make this a good place to come visit.
Similar to Recife in many ways, though you could argue Natal has better beaches and a bit more to do. Opinions may vary on these two cities, which aren’t that far from each other, but Natal gets the edge in my book.
For a city less than 60 years old, the Brazilian capital has plenty of personality and a fair amount to do if you ever visit. There is plenty of touristy stuff to see, great nightlife, and the weather is warmer here than in the south. The lack of a beach is a drawback, but is worth spending a few days here if you are passing through Brazil.
3. Sao Paulo
If you’re a fan of the city life, then you can’t do much better than Brazil’s largest city. You can see everything from amazing architecture to museums to great food and also a very happening nightlife. If big cities overwhelm you, then this isn’t the place to go, but if you’re a fan of places like New York City, then you want to spend some time here.
2. Salvador, Bahia
The most beautiful of all the beach cities, Bahia has a very laid-back vibe and warm-water beaches that will make you want to extend your stay. The food varies from interesting local fair to more familiar dishes like pizza, and the people are friendly and love to party until the wee hours of the morning. This is a place I definitely want to come back to.
1. Rio de Janeiro
If you take the best elements of all the other cities on this list, and throw them into a pot, you will come out with Rio, the perfect city and honestly one of the best cities in the world to visit. Yes, you have to be wary of crime and keeping yourself safe, but that goes for any big city in the world. Rio has amazing beaches, food, nightlife and is a must-visit for any soccer fan because of its rich history and passion for the sport.