The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil has been causing quite the stir amongst football fans (or soccer fans if you prefer) and everyone from around the globe seems to want to hop on a plane to Rio. If you’re not that big of a fan of this sport and you just want to spend some quality time with your family or are looking for some peace and quiet for you and significant other, then Brazil isn’t going to be a good choice.
This is unfortunate, since Brazil has many beautiful sights to offer, particularly Rio de Janeiro, but there are still plenty of great summer vacation spots where you won’t have to worry about huge crowds or football hooligans. Let’s look at some of the most beautiful vacation spots you can explore this summer instead.
A sunny and beautiful city in the world down under, Sydney boasts wonderful weather, over a hundred beaches caressed by the wide open ocean, some truly magnificent sights and a very friendly atmosphere. While the Australian team will be playing in the World Cup, the most hardcore fans will have left for Brazil or will be contained to bars and pubs. The Aussies are a welcoming people, as long as you don’t cause trouble, they’ve got good beer and they can make some very fine coffee. From great restaurants and coffee joints for the food and drink enthusiast, to shopping, clubs and beaches for those who like to have fun or museums, the world famous Sydney Opera House and galleries if you are interested in some fine culture – Sydney has got it all.
Nice is a veritable jewel for anyone looking for a slice of that classy French Riviera experience. Although France has a long history of football prowess – they hosted and won the 1998 World Cup – in the south it is more about laying on the sandy beaches to get some sun on your skin, enjoying fine wines and French cuisine and breathe in a bit of culture. It was and still is a playground for the rich and famous, but you can have a lot of fun even on a more reasonable budget.
The Italians have won the World Cup four times already, so saying that the nation is excited about the tournament is an understatement. However, the romantic city of Venice is focused on tourism and you’ll be able to enjoy your stay without running into too many avid fans. You can take a gondola ride, have lunch in the open air at Piazza San Marco and a visit some of the many mask shops and get an authentic mask for next Halloween. These are just some of the many great things that you can do in Venice.
Greece is a very popular summer destination, and for a good reason. Crete is the biggest Greek island and combines modern commodities with beautifully preserved nature. It has tons of ancient historical sights, incredibly healthy and tasty Mediterranean cuisine, pristine beaches and truly wonderful weather for most of the year. With two aquariums and incredible flora and fauna, the island has plenty to offer to nature lovers as well. There are still relatively secluded areas to be found on the island, making it an ideal destination for couples.
The capital of Hawaii, Honolulu is a small city, but is densely packed and quite modern. It relies mostly on tourism and so has a lot to offer its visitors. You aren’t likely to hear too much about the World Cup or find an overexcited atmosphere. Some of the best features include near perfect weather – temperatures remain pretty much the same throughout the year, barely dropping below 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the coldest months and rarely going above 90 degrees in the hottest months – excellent beaches, plenty of surfing, great food and incredibly hospitable people.
This is another island paradise where the weather is warm and the people come to enjoy the sun, clear waters and some privacy. The islanders are more interested in cricket and horse racing than football, so you don’t have to worry about World Cup fever, and will have plenty of opportunity to enjoy some windsurfing, play golf, go for a submarine ride and explore the breathtaking island fauna at Hunte’s Gardens.
You won’t see this Japanese city on many summer destination lists, which is a shame. The city has a long and storied past, with plenty to see in terms of history and elegant eastern architecture. Also known as “The City of Ten Thousand Shrines” it provides visitors with a unique opportunity to go on a spiritual pilgrimage or simply marvel at the serene and beautiful shrines, monasteries and castles. There are also plenty of museums and festivals with a tradition spanning over a millennium, several of which are in the summer. A great way to explore the city is on a bicycle – there are numerous routes that allow you to see some of the best sights and easily navigate the narrow streets.
You will see cafés and pubs packed with football fans cheering on when the national team is playing – Spain won the last World Cup – but this hardly detracts from the many incredible feats of architecture, great beaches and the creative Catalan cuisine that mixes food from the Mountains and the Sea. Barcelona has large pedestrian areas, some charming narrow side streets and an incredible number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A great way to go around the city is on a back of a scooter, as rentals are relatively cheap and you have much more freedom to explore and don’t have to get stuck with large groups of tourists. If you are new to the city you won’t know where to go first and will be constantly turning your head to take in the sights.
This is a charming little Croatian city on the Adriatic coast. It was closely linked to powerful Italian cities like Venice over the centuries and remained a fairly autonomous city state due to its wealth. There is a certain characteristic laid-back atmosphere you’ll find in most places in this region and the people are quite friendly. The old town is incredibly charming and the narrow, cobblestoned streets with lovely stone house walls towering above will leave you breathless. You have a lot to see in Dubrovnik, and there is plenty of great food and drinks to enjoy during your stay.
Amsterdam is incredibly popular with the younger crowd, and although it is a place where people from entire Europe – and other parts of the world as well – like to come to blow off some steam, it is still surprisingly well-organized and a relax place overall. A lot of people come for the legal marihuana and the crazy parties, yet become enchanted with the culture, architecture and the free-spirited atmosphere. There are plenty of great festivals you can visit as well, and this summer is packed with exciting things to do. Amsterdam is a great place for those who like to socialize and have plenty of fun.
This summer will be marked with huge crowds flocking Rio to see the world cup, and a lot of destinations around the world will have tons of excited fans watching the games in bars and even cafes, but, as you can see, there are still plenty of incredible locations for those looking to avoid the crowds.