10 Best Towns And Cities To Visit In Brazil
Brazil offers something for everyone, from amazing cities with stunning historical centers and lush rainforests, to beaches and lagoons teeming with marine life. Here are 10 of Brazil’s must-visit towns and cities.
Salvador is the capital of Bahia state, boasting a vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture reflected through traditions, food, and music. A visit to Pelourinho UNESCO-listed city center should not be missed!
1. Campos do Jordao
Serra da Mantiqueira’s majestic mountains and forests encase an idyllic small town of Swiss-style architecture and charming atmosphere, called Berne. A beer lover’s delight, Parque da Cerveja provides an engaging brewery tour experience where visitors can learn more about and sample its unique brew.
Recife is an exciting city with a vibrant cultural scene and beautiful beaches, famous for its historical old town, excellent cuisine and stunning Praia de Iracema and Meireles beaches.
Ouro Preto was once at the heart of Brazil’s gold rush, and has retained much of its colonial architecture from that era, featuring buildings adorned with gilt woodwork and other Baroque features. Home to beautiful churches and atmospheric streets, Ouro Preto remains an attractive tourist destination today; history buffs particularly enjoy exploring its churches and atmospheric streets; Carnaval fans flock here every year too – make sure to head down Centro Street Art by OsGemeos and Speto for some contemporary flair!
Florianopolis is known as the “Venice of Brazil”, boasting magnificent beaches, rich culture and an incredible historic old town. Additionally, this city is well known for its performance center with the Wire Opera and Guaira Theatre; innovative urban planning techniques; and many performance centers including Wire Opera.
Visit the Victor Meirelles Museum, an art gallery housed within an old house that contains paintings by local and Brazilian artists alike. Additionally, don’t miss Hercilio Luz Bridge as its unique architecture warrants further consideration.
Florianopolis is best explored during late summer (March to April), when there is less rain and prices are slightly reduced. Jurere Beach comes alive after dark with restaurants, bars, and breweries offering happy hour treats to visitors.
3. Canoa Quebrada
Canoa Quebrada (literally “broken canoe”) is an idyllic destination to include on any Brazil tour. The shorelines here are calm and warm all year, featuring dramatic red sandstone cliffs plunging into the ocean. Meanwhile, cobblestone streets line colonial buildings turned into bed and breakfasts known as pousadas.
Rua Dragao de Mar is home to many artisans and boasts an exciting nightlife, which often features buggy rides along its main street – commonly referred to as Broadway – Rua Dragao de Mar. Buggy rides are a favorite activity year-round but summer brings increased energy and vibrancy to this part of Portugal.
Urban planners appreciate Brasilia for its carefully conceived architecture. This plane-shaped city contains different sections for residential, government, commerce and culture – some notable landmarks include Cathedral of Brasilia and Square of Three Powers.
Salvador is an energetic city rich with Brazilian culture. The Pelourinho district in its old town (UNESCO listed) features golden-paved churches and pastel colored buildings adorned with glittering gold mosaics, while also boasting some excellent seafood restaurants and live music venues.
As a former slave port, this city exhibits strong African influences which can be seen through its Afro-Brazilian population and vibrant culture – such as Afro-Brazilian cuisine, music and dance such as Capoeira.
Salvador beaches provide ideal environments for snorkeling, swimming and relaxing activities such as sunbathing. For adventure seekers there is the Abismo Anhumas cave which features an enormous cavern filled with stalactites; or hiking, surfing and birdwatching for something truly memorable!
Curitiba stands out as an elegant city of high-rises and lush green parks, boasting more refined aspects of Brazil than other cities. This can be seen through its thriving restaurant scene, thrilling Oktoberfest celebrations and flourishing museums.
City attractions also include some impressive landmarks, including Opera de Arame – an amazing wire opera house located within an urban national park and best enjoyed at dusk when fairy lights reflect off both its lake surface and clear ceiling.
Another top attraction is the Museu Oscar Niemeyer, which honors the work of this famed Brazilian modernist architect and features a rotating collection of exhibitions that are must-sees for anyone interested in art and culture. Other attractions include Bosque Alemao park dedicated to German immigrants who made Curitiba their home during the 19th century, featuring a whimsical trail that takes its inspiration from Hansel and Gretel tale by Brothers Grimm.
6. Rio de Janeiro
Paraty, Brazil’s small town nestled into its breathtaking mountains on Brazil’s “Green Coast”, was once an important gold trading center. Today its historic centre remains home to many beautiful multicolored 17th and 18th-century buildings from when this area was under Portuguese control.
City life offers nature lovers much to discover with its breathtaking forests, clear rivers and incredible wildlife. Visitors can discover this natural paradise at Parque das Aves or take a boat ride out to Ilha Grande island.
Ipanema provides an idyllic haven in Rio, offering visitors respite and restful relaxation. Here you can play soccer or volleyball, top up your tan, and indulge in delicious cuisine from one of Rio’s restaurants.
Mato Grosso do Sul is home to many towns that make up Brazil’s ecotourism scene, including Bonito. This relaxed town features stunning forests, picturesque waterfalls and towering mountains as well as historic landmarks – an idyllic environment in which to experience ecotourism!
Experience the beauty of nature through hiking trails and waterfall exploration on either the Brazilian or Argentinian sides, respectively. In Argentina there is also an accessible bridge leading directly to Gargantua de Diabo (Devil’s Throat), one of the world’s largest waterfalls.
Brasilia is an amazing city year-round, but summer is perhaps its peak season for sightseeing and exploration. Temperatures are warmer and atmosphere livelier and brighter – perfect conditions to discover Recife and Olinda; two nearby coastal regions boasting appealing beaches and colonial architecture.
Over recent years, Fortaleza’s dining scene has flourished, with restaurants and bars taking full advantage of local ingredients to offer customers delicious cuisine such as crab served at spots such as Moleskine Gastrobar.
Praia do Futuro beach offers water sport enthusiasts of all stripes an idyllic environment for relaxing stand-up paddleboarding, along with adrenaline-packed activities for thrill-seekers. Additionally, Praia do Futuro provides an opportunity to witness top DJs spinning at beachfront bars – offering both calm and exciting water activities!
Catedral Metropolitana, with its eye-catching stained glass windows and breathtaking arches, is an absolute must. Additionally, Centro Cultural Dragao do Mar features several interesting museums covering history, art and culture; while Mercado Central offers shoppers everything from clothing to food at its sprawling stalls.
9. Porto Alegre
Porto Alegre combines modern architecture with an active cultural life and agenda for its citizens, featuring museums such as Ibere Camargo Museum of Science and Technology, PUCRS History and Art Museum, Julio de Castilhos Museum (which displays Francisco Angelo Guerreiro’s boots), So Pedro Theater, among many others.
At the heart of the city is its historic district, an elegant array of multicolored colonial buildings lining cobbled streets create an idyllic ambiance. Many have even been converted into bed and breakfasts known as pousadas for guests to stay.
Iguazu Falls are an unforgettable natural attraction, boasting 275 waterfall drops spread between Argentina and Brazil.
10. Rio Grande do Norte
Natal may not be the liveliest or most atmospheric city, but it makes an excellent base from which to explore Rio Grande do Norte’s stunning beaches and rolling sand dunes. Enjoy dune buggying around Morro do Careca dunes; explore Abismo Anhumas for its giant cavern filled with stalactites; or spot colourful macaws in Serra da Boduquena National Park.
Ouro Preto was once at the centre of Brazil’s gold rush, so explore its cobbled streets past lavish 18th-century baroque churches decorated with real gold as you gaze upon its stunning fountains. This city of Ouro Preto (‘Black Gold”) UNESCO World Heritage site deserves to be explored further as part of your Brazil exploration adventure.
Recife is known as the ‘Venice of Brazil’ due to its extraordinary network of waterways and bridges connecting islands and islets, as well as a charming historic old town and vibrant party scene. Visit during Carnival for maximum action including amazing street style performances as well as Afro-Brazilian music performances!