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Top 10 World Cup destinations


Discover more about the countries competing to win football’s ultimate prize: to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Vibrant, exotic and buzzing, Brazil is South America’s largest country and one of its best loved. Explore verdant rainforest deep in the Amazon, dance the samba at street bars or relax on sweeping golden beaches in the shadow of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

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Australia has a long association with P&O Cruises, with millions of ‘10 pound Poms’ voyaging on our ships in the mid-20th century to begin new lives in cities such as cosmopolitan Sydney or tropical Darwin. Beautiful scenery comes as standard here: from the vast, ochre-coloured outback to the rainbow marine life in the Great Barrier Reef.

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Europe’s ‘best kept secret’ is enjoying a beach-based revival due to its authentic fishing villages and pretty coves along the Dalmatian coastline. Head to Dubrovnik and Hvar for fast-paced glamour or try the medieval port of Split to island-hop to the Kornati archipelago.

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From ancient Mayan relics to the white sandy beaches of the Mexican Riviera, Mexico is home to scores of must-see destinations. Its culture is equally unmissable: traditional dances; mariachi and ranchera singers; and great art from the likes of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo all express the exotic spirit of this Central American gem.

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A trip to the US promises diversity like no other destination. Sample the laid-back, beach-based West Coast lifestyle, see the bright lights of the Big Apple, tackle the undulating hills of buzzing San Francisco or step back in time in the genteel surroundings of South Carolina’s historic Charleston.

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Foodie travellers will feel an instant affinity with Spain. Sample traditional delicacies such as paella and gazpacho made from the freshest ingredients at bustling city markets or take time out with a fine bottle of wine and enjoy the street life of cities such as Barcelona, with its scenic views across the Mediterranean.

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A trip to Russia doesn’t mean extra thermals – especially in the warm summer months. Discover the country’s rich, chequered history in St Petersburg, home to the world-famous Hermitage museum, the onion-inspired Church of Spilled Blood and the battleship Aurora, whose guns signalled the start of the Russian Revolution.

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Tread in the footsteps of myth and legend in the home of one of the world’s great ancient civilisations. Aside from the Acropolis and great architecture of Athens, visit the white-bricked towns that perch next to the azure Mediterranean – and keep an eye out for sea turtles and dolphins.

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Costa Rica

Find a different side to the Caribbean in Costa Rica, where you can see incredible nature in its own habitat. Eco-tourism is top of the list for most visitors: near Puerto Limón you’ll find Parque Vargas, where visitors flock to admire the coastal rock formations, beautiful palms, and tropical foliage and flowers.

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Whether you’re drawn to the food, sport, art or pristine golden beaches, each sun-drenched Italian destination offers something different. Rome, Naples and Venice are common favourites for their historical importance in religion and the ancient Roman Empire, while Sorrento and Portofino offer quiet waterfront escapism.

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Photography: 4Corners Images