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As much as we would love to be in the front row of every game, face painted, voice box absolutely destroyed, sweating our country’s colors, visiting the host country out of the question for the vast majority of us. However, we’re not content to sit on our couches at home and watch the games as if they were any other match. We want to get out there and watch each match in the best environment possible, surrounded by other fans just as passionate as us.
So where do we go? First, let’s assume you’re up for some travel. Maybe the World Cup overlaps with a vacation you already have planned. Maybe you want to plan a vacation around it. Whatever the case, we want to set you up at your dream world cup-viewing destination. Without further ado, here are our top picks for the best destinations in the world to watch the world cup.
1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
As far as soccer history goes, Brazil is tough to beat. And as far as soccer in Brazil goes, Rio is the epicenter. Unlike many of the other cities on the list, Rio’s best match-viewing locations are in the streets or on the beach. Bars are fine, but the party is outside. Live music, excellent food and drink and a festive atmosphere is the formula. Join the crowd and find the biggest screen you can find. Rio is also an excellent place from which to launch a South American tour, just in case you had that in mind.
2. Madrid, Spain
Spain always ranks among the elite in terms of soccer-crazed nations. Every four years the Atletico and Real fans can take a quick break from their diehard club fan responsibilities and cheer on Spain in the World Cup. The city is filled with soccer bars, pubs and public viewing places that will give you plenty of options come match days. Once again, Madrid is a great place to begin a European vacation. If your team loses, you’ll have a quick escape.
3. London, England
England’s fans are nothing short of legendary in the soccer world. They’re passionate, knowledgeable and up for mixing a little partying in with watching the world cup. As far as individual locations go, the capital is, of course, packed with classic English pubs that make for some of the best watching venues on the planet. Expect big screens TV’s showing every game and plenty of kegs to keep everyone hydrated. Another bonus in London is that with such a diverse population, you’re bound to encounter fans from all over the world cheering on their teams. And of course, when England suits up, it will feel like everyone in the city is packed into a pub.
4. Buenos Aires, Argentina
From Maradona to Messi, you could say Argentina knows a thing or two about “The Beautiful Game”. While the country has produced some of the greatest players the world has ever seen, it also provides some of the greatest places to catch the action. Of those, Buenos Aires is unbeaten. As far as places to go, you can find bars and outdoor viewing areas where the games are projected onto big screens, or just local neighborhood spots. You can’t go wrong. The most important aspect is the city’s passion for the game.
5. Mexico City, Mexico
Another capital of another soccer-crazed nation, Mexico City is one of the most exciting places to watch the World Cup on the planet. The city always has a busy, uptempo feel to it and that energy carries through to the World Cup. Grab a seat a local bar or restaurant, order some beers and tacos for your crew and watch the city go crazy around you. Time-wise you’ll be way behind the games in Russia so you’ll have plenty of early games and will likely have to find spots in the city serving up special breakfast options. Naturally, the best days are when Mexico takes the field. We recommend you grab a jersey.
6. Munich, Germany
There’s an added excitement to watching the matches with fans of the defending champs. The German squad has decent odds to repeat their success and this southern city is the country’s soccer capital. Aside from a good home team, Munich is built for soccer watching. Grab a beer with friends in a local bar and soak it all in.