Brazil: The Non-Footballers Guide
So you are lucky enough to get dragged all the way over to South America by your football-mad partner? Never fear, our Non-Footballers Guide to Brazil is here! Although Brazilians live and breathe all things football, the country offers a lot of distractions off the pitch too; from the tablelands and mountains of the country's beautiful national parks, to the rich culinary pedigree in its vibrant cities. Here are a few things you can do while your partner is in a bar arguing about a referee’s bad call…
Brazil: The Basics
Before we get into the guide, here are a few facts about Brazil:
- Population: Over 194 million people
- 5th largest country in the world
- Official language: Portuguese (not Spanish!)
- Currency: Brazilian Real
- Driving: Right-hand side of the road
- Ethnicity: A very diverse country (54% European, 39% mixed European-African, 6% African, 1% other)
- Home to 60% of the Amazon Rainforest
Non-Footballer Activities in the Top Stadium Cities
Below is a list of a few unique experiences and must-do activities in some of the most popular ‘stadium cities’ in the country.
One of the most vibrant, animated and exuberant cities on Earth! Located in south-eastern Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city of South America due to its famous mountains, landmarks, beaches and Carnival festival.
- Christ the Redeemer – Clichéd or not, viewing this monument up close and in the flesh has to be on top of your list when visiting Rio de Janeiro.
- Harbour Cruise – Although Rio’s beaches are beautiful, you will find beaches like this all over Brazil. Rio de Janeiro’s harbour, on the other hand, is truly one of a kind.
- Jardim Botânico – Home to more than 6,000 different species and dotted with historical buildings, sculptures, fountains and monuments, this garden is known as one of the ten most important Botanical Gardens in the world.
Not only is São Paulo the largest city in Brazil, but it is also one of the largest in the world according to population. São Paulo is known for its skyscrapers, gastronomy and robust culture scene.
- Bird’s Eye View – For one of São Paulo’s best panoramas, head to the top of the 161 metre-high skyscraper Banespa, Brazil’s version of the Empire State Building, completed in 1939.
- Casa da Vila – This gorgeously-preserved 1929 mansion on a quiet residential street walking distance from Metrô Vila Mariana is São Paulo’s best spot for high-quality, affordable Fair Trade handicrafts.
- Theatro Municipal – Known to many as São Paulo’s most splendid construction. Go on a tour, or catch up with some top classical music, opera and ballet performances.
Nice beaches, dynamic shopping and lively culture all make Fortaleza, Brazil’s fifth largest city, a wonderful place to visit.
- Brazilian Feast – Fortaleza is home to many large, festive eateries. Head to Coco Bambu in the city’s north. But don’t forget to wear your ‘large belt’.
- Mercado Central – This three-story Central Market has good prices at more than 500 stalls selling everything from colourful palm baskets to cashew nuts.
- Lunch by the Beach – Head down to one of Fortaleza’s many picturesque beaches, visit a food stall and order some of the region’s fresh seafood!
Salvador is a historic Old City with gorgeous beaches, lively culture and one of the world’s biggest Carnival celebrations. Arguably one of Brazil’s top spots to visit.
- Beaches – Salvador is a city of beautiful beaches. Put on your swimsuit and get down to the water!
- Pelourinho – Historical and beautiful, this town was formerly used for buying and selling of African slaves in the days up until 1835.
- Music Scene – Get down to Bohemia Music Bar in the heart of the city for a taste of Salvador’s vibrant cultural scene.
The capital of the Amazonas state in north-western Brazil, Manaus is an important tourist destination because it serves as a gateway to the Amazon rainforest.
- Meeting of the Waters – This phenomenon occurs where the Rio Negro meets the Rio Solimões to form the mighty Amazon River. The waters do not immediately mix, creating a spectacular vision.
- Rainforest Adventure – Go on an Amazonian escapade! There are a number of companies operating jungle adventure trips from Manaus.
- Amazonian Museum – Visit Museu do Homem do Norte (Museum of Northern Man), which contains an incredible array of artifacts and multimedia exhibits on Amazonian indigenous groups.