Published on February 22nd, 2014 | by iDidGo Blog Team

World Cup Guide: Rio de Janeiro

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We’d love to visit Rio de Janeiro even if there wasn’t to be a World Cup this summer; but there is, and it’s home to more games than any other host city. Here’s how to make the most of it and save money…
City – Rio de Janeiro

Stadium name – Estadio do Maracana
Stadium capacity – 78,000
World Cup games – 7
Time zone – 3 hours behind GMT


Group F – Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina
Group B – Spain v Chile
Group H – Belgium v Russia
Group E – Ecuador v France
Round of 16 – Winner Group C v Runner-Up Group D
Quarter-Final – TBC
Final – TBC

The city

Rio de Janeiro achieves worldwide fame and acclaim for its weather, its lifestyle and its beaches. The city is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the imposing statue of Christ the Redeemer atop soaring Corcovado Mountain.

Nearby, Sugarloaf Mountain (not the one in Wales) is one of the most-visited attractions in the world. Unfortunately, World Cup visitors won’t be there during the infamous Rio Carnival but you can check out the nightlife in Lapa for a taste of the party atmosphere.

There are just the one or two “well-known” beaches: Copacabana, Barra da Tijuca, Ipanema, Leblon… but luckily you don’t have to arrive by sea. Rio has a major international airport that you can fly into direct – but still check for flights routed via Miami, Lisbon and elsewhere in case these prove cheaper.

Rio de Janeiro stadium

The Maracana is the spiritual home of Brazilian football and freighted with every bit as much history and mythology as Wembley Stadium, the San Siro, the Camp Nou – take your pick.

The stadium’s full name is officially Estadio Mario Filho but no-one really cares. The Maracana-hosted 1950 World Cup Final was attended by more than 173,000 fans, although this time around its capacity is restricted to 78,000.

The World Cup venue has its own station (creatively, Maracana station) about 2 miles from Rio centre and 7 miles north of the beaches. It’s on metro line 2 which ferries people in from downtown, Flamengo and Botofago. A commuter train also stops there – take the red Ramal Deodoro line.

Rio de Janeiro World Cup hotels

There’s not much around the Estadio do Maracana; a few taxi-able hotels only in the Gallant Hotel and Hotel Villa Tijuca. You’re more likely to find something in the touristy areas and downtown, but it gets more expensive towards the beaches.

TripAdvisor recommends Miramar Hotel, Copacabana Palace Hotel, Windsor Atlantica Hotel, Porto Bay Rio Internacional Hotel, Arena Copacabana Hotel and Hotel Sesc Copacabana.

World Cup tickets

Thomson is the FA’s partnered World Cup travel agency and the only way you can guarantee tickets.

Otherwise, you’ll need to try FIFA’s final two ticket phases to get your Maracana football tickets. They’ll be available in two final windows from 12 March to 1 April and 15 April to 13 July.

England won’t play in Rio during the World Cup Group Stages so you’ll need a few quirks of fate to see them at the Maracana – in either the Round of 16 or the Final, or both.

Plan your travel to Rio de Janeiro

Getting to Rio de Janeiro is no mean feat – it is half a world away after all! Compare flights (including all combinations through Lisbon, Madrid etc) to gauge cost, and compare prices to the official Thomson Follow England packages. You can then decide if you want the surety of a package, or the flexibility of self-booking.

If you don’t want Thomson’s full monty, you can look for savings with flights-only packages via Thomas Cook or multi-stop round the world flights from any number of travel agents.

Add travel insurance for your World Cup odyssey straight after booking to make sure you’re protected, plus look into ways to keep your phone bill down and save money on Brazilian currency. Currently you can get nearly $4 Brazilian Real per £1.

Local knowledge

Such is its cache everyone wants Rio de Janeiro as their base for the 2014 World Cup. And there’s plenty to go round with arts, history, music, museums, theatre; no few restaurants either. TripAdvisor recommends Cachambeer, Hachiko, Rio Scenarium, BB Lanches, Rio Brasa, Jaee, Fiorino and more.

It’s well worth going hang-gliding on the beaches while you’re there – if you get the chance. Incredible!

Rio de Janeiro average temperature (June): 22°C 
Rio de Janeiro average rainfall (June): 3.2 inches

Football hipsters

Ronaldo, Romario, Zizinho, Zico, Didi, Leonidas, Zico, Carlos Alberto, Amarildo, Tostao… the list goes on, and both Rio and Brazil just keep on churning out world class talent.

However, just as much fun is the talented and mercurial Edmundo. His nickname was “Animal” and coincidentally he was once accused of getting a chimpanzee drunk on beer and whisky, later proved false. Much more entertaining!

If you want to throw your lot in with one of Rio’s many top-level clubs, you’ll need to choose between Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense, America, and Vasco da Gama (of Edmundo-fame).

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