With football’s world governing body reportedly set to make a tidy profit from Brazil 2014, according to this article in the Daily Mail, the World Cup is perhaps as well known now for its cynical commercialisation as it is for the football. However, for many, the global tournament is still just one big celebration of the beautiful game, the perfect excuse for a football themed road trip and one huge, unforgettable adventure!
A road trip may sound like a romantic idea, just a group of friends with nothing for company but each other and the open road. If you’re based in the UK, you’re not going to drive there directly, obviously – between Lizard Point in Cornwall, the most south-westerly point in the British Isles, and Fortaleza, on the east coast of Brazil, lies 4,200 miles of unforgiving Atlantic Ocean waves. Fortunately, flights direct to Brazil from the UK are available. The busiest airports in the country are on the south east coast in Rio and Sao Paulo. From these two huge cities you’ll be able to start your World Cup Road Trip.
What you’ll need
In Brazil you can use a full UK driving licence for a maximum of 180 days, if your road trip lasts any longer than this you’ll need to apply for a Brazilian licence. Although the weather is unlikely to get bitterly cold in Brazil, it would still be a good idea to take warm clothing for the chilly nights down south at this time of year. Up north and in the jungle meanwhile, you’ll need plenty of sun cream and mosquito repellent. It is also worth noting that in Brazil, the water is not potable, so you’ll either need to buy bottled water or have some means of purifying tap water in you intend to drink it.
The Road Trip
There are a couple of ways that you can plan a World Cup road trip: one is to follow a team, the other is to make a route for the final. One problem with following a team is that Brazil is so large that it could be difficult to keep up. England, for instance, played their first match in Manaus in the Amazon before setting off for a game over 1,600 miles away in Sao Paulo just five days later. The teams will be flying, so you’ll need to do some serious logistical planning if you want to tag along.
If the schedule for your favoured team is too brutal you could always try to follow a team with a less punishing draw; Argentina for instance, have to travel relatively little in the group stage. On the other hand, driving around Brazil, visiting towns you may not have heard of before, is all part of the experience.
Simpler may be a route to the final, taking in the many iconic football destinations in Brazil. Some of the most famous sights associated with the beautiful game include Estádio Urbano Caldeira in Santos, the Museu do Futebol in Sao Paulo and Pele’s home town of Três Corações in Minas Gerais. Finally, you can get back in time for the end of the tournament, taking place in the most iconic footballing monument of them all, the 200,000 capacity Estadio Maracana in Rio.
If you can’t actually make it to Brazil while the tournament is underway, you can always plan a trip later in the year and travel around, soaking up the post World Cup atmosphere.