Whether you’re coming for the soccer or scouting out a South American trip in the future, check back daily for Yahoo Travel’s quick guides to visiting all the World Cup host cities.
With contributions from Yahoo Brazil editors Cassiano Gobbet, Fernando Vives, and Tainah Fernandes.
A double rainbow over Brazil’s “Happy Port” (Photo: Anderson Vaz/Flickr)
Games: June 15 (France vs. Honduras), June 18 (Australia vs. Netherlands), June 22 (South Korea. vs. Algeria), June 25 (Nigeria vs. Argentina), June 30 (Final 16)
Estadio Beira-Rio, under-construction, in December. (Photo: Getty Images Sport)
Known For: More than a million trees over 308 square miles, a freshwater lagoon (Lagoa dos Patos) fed in by five rivers, and Chafariz Imperial fountain
Lowdown: Comparatively low-key destination for tourists, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul in southern, sub-tropical Brazil built its current success on the export of beef. The very walls of the old stadium embody the local football spirit: Fans donated building materials in the 10-year building effort.
Santuário da Mãe de Deus (Photo: Jose Alfred/Flickr)
Best View: Take in the city sights over a cup of coffee at the cultural hub Casa de Cultura Mario Quintana (Centro) or wander over to the church Santuário Mãe de Deus (Bairro Cascata). A boat ride on the Guaiba River can give you a cityscape perspective from the waters.
Sunset over the Guaiba River (Photo: Gilmar Mattos/Flickr)
Sleep: A villa renovated in 2013, Hotel Laghetto Viverone lies in the wealthy Moinhos de Vento neighborhood. Large rooms and the old-city environs make Harbor Hotel Regent Suites a good deal. Just a straight shot from Parque Farroupilha, Hostel Porto Tche throws in a pool for good measure.
Hotel Laghetto Viverone (Photo: hotellaghettomoinhos.com.br)
Eats: Yerba Mate tea has made its way west, but try the chimarrão the way the Gaúchos drink it: sipped through a bomba (metal straw) from a cuia gourd. Try the local wines: Porto Alegre is less than 100 miles from the vineyard that had the honor of providing the World Cup’s official wine, Faces. As for eats, churrasascarias are widespread throughout Brazil, but Porto-Alegreses’ preference to grill the meat directly on the charcoal wins culinary points.
Beef, it’s what’s for always at the Mercado Público (Photo: Casa FdE Porto Alegre/Flickr)
Buy: The Mercado Público (Centro Histórico), and the city’s many flea markets, such as Brique da Redencao (Farroupilha), offer native handicrafts. Consider picking up a spirit image used in Umbanda, the local Afro-Brazilian religion.
Best Pickup Line: “Would you like a sip of my chimarrão?”
Chimarrão, ready a sip. (Photo: Jeferson Sigales/Flickr)
How to Avoid a Fight: Wait for your turn when the chimarrão’s being passed around — and don’t add any sugar. And praise beef — even if you’re a vegetarian.
When Football Gets to Be Too Much: Journey towards spiritual peace — or at least Chagdud Gonpa Khadro Ling, a mountaintop Tibetan Buddhist temple — about two hours north.
Chagdud Gonpa Khadro Ling (Photo: renata miyagusku/Flickr)
Want more like this? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and keep coming back every day for Yahoo Travel’s series on the #WorldCup, with guides to the host cities, advice on safety, and great tips and insider information you won’t find anywhere else. You can also check out all our World Cup coverage here.
Parque Farroupilha, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil (Photos: André Bispo/Flickr)