With the World Cup in full swing, every soccer fan in the world is either in Brazil or wishing they were there. And who can blame them! With displays of intense athleticism combined with the electrifying energy of diehard fans, the appeal of a good soccer game is undeniable. Beyond the draw of the dynamic atmosphere within the stadium, the hosting country of this year’s World Cup has many excitable sites of its own, and here at TripIt we can think of few things better than pairing travel and soccer. That’s why we created this itinerary for the ultimate soccer world tour.
First stop: Argentina. With 90 percent of Argentines declaring a loyalty to one of their country’s soccer teams, you know they take this sport seriously. Buenos Aires is home to two of the world’s greatest soccer stadiums, as well as one of the world’s biggest soccer rivalries–Boca Juniors vs. River Plate. Some say the Superclásico, the name for the match between these two fierce competitors, is the top sporting event to attend before you die.
Beyond experiencing some world-class soccer, Buenos Aires offers sites and adventures every world traveler should indulge in. So, while you’re there, tango the night away, and in the morning, enjoy some coffee and medialuna, an Argentine croissant.
Your next stop obviously has to be the home of this year’s World Cup–Brazil! This soccer mecca has sent a team to every World Cup, bringing home a record five titles from this tournament. With soccer etched deeply into their culture, visiting Brazil is a must for every soccer lover. Likewise, it’s a dream destination for every travel lover. Being the world’s fifth largest country, Brazil is a stop on our world tour that you’ll want to give yourself ample time to explore. There are many beautiful beaches and people to be seen, and visiting the Christ the Redeemer statue and the luscious rainforest are musts as well.
Next we’ll head up to North America, landing in Mexico. In Mexico City, you’ll find the home of some very iconic moments in soccer history–Estadio Azteca. In this stadium, more than 100,000 screaming fans were able to witness the “Hand of God Goal,” the “Goal of the Century,” and the “Game of the Century.”
Beyond the history within the stadium, Mexico offers tons of culture-rich sites to see when the game is over. Explore Mexico by visiting the Basilica of Our Lady Guadalupe and the Mesoamerican pyramids in Teotihuacan. And if you’re looking for a little down time in between games and sightseeing, we recommend catching a movie in one of their VIP theaters, where you can lounge in a leather recliner and be served food and an ice-cold beer.
Okay, we know what you’re thinking. America? They can’t even get the name of the game right! But whatever you call it, we all know this sport isn’t engrained in America’s culture like it is in other countries around the world, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t catching on. And the Seattle Sounders provide a perfect example of the sports growing popularity in the United States. This young team, playing their first MLS season in 2009, has had no trouble gaining a strong fan base. Just after their first season, CenturyLink Field had to increase their max capacity by more than 11,000 to meet demand.
To complete your Seattle travel experience, make sure to take in the gorgeous views of the Pacific Northwest on Seattle’s new Ferris Wheel, and don’t forget to enjoy some fresh local seafood.
Next we’ll hop on a transatlantic flight to Spain, home of one of, if not the, world’s biggest rivalries. Forged by a turbulent political history, the rivalry of Real Madrid and Barcelona represents far more than competitive soccer. So, if you get to witness the duel between these two teams, known as El Clásico, you’ll need to choose a team, and choose wisely.
You’ll also have to choose your activities outside the stadium. In Barcelona you can visit the nightclubs or take in a classic example of art nouveau at Park Güell, and in Madrid eat chocolate con churros or calamari sandwiches.
Finally, we’ll head to the home of modern soccer–England. With such a long history, it’s no surprise that you can find some of the world’s best stadiums, fans, and rivalries here. From Liverpool to Manchester to London, you wont’ be able to escape world-class soccer … not that you’d want to. While on your English tour, you’ll need to make at least a little time for museums and fish and chips.
Sadly, our world tour has to come to an end, but not before visiting Italy. Italy is yet another country known for housing fierce soccer rivalries. Turin, Milan, and Rome are all cities divided by colossal competition. While team loyalties are usually decided for most Italians at birth, visitors will have to make some tough decisions. Luckily, that’s the most difficult decision you’ll have to make while visiting this country, because when it comes to authentic Italian pizza, pasta and wine, you don’t choose … you have it all!
Don’t forget to download TripIt Pro to manage your soccer world tour itinerary to keep your trip organized and to stay one step ahead, with real-time flight alerts and notifications.