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17 Best Places to Visit in Brazil

By Kay Pierce · Last updated on May 4, 2024

Famous for being home to one of the world’s top football teams, the Rio de Janeiro Carnival and the remarkable Iguazu Falls, Brazil is an exciting world travel destination. As South America’s largest country, Brazil covers a majority of the continent’s northeastern region and borders all of its countries except for Chile and Ecuador .

From the Amazon rainforest in the North to the tropical beaches along the Atlantic , to the Pantanal wetlands and the vibrant metropolises of the Southeast there are plenty of interesting places to visit in Brazil .

17. Jericoacoara

Jericoacoara

Located in the northeast of Brazil in the state of Ceara, Jericoacoara is a lovely, laidback place nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and a national park of the same name. Often referred to as Jeri or Jijoca, the small and secluded seaside town boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in Brazil and is an increasingly popular tourist destination.

Besides its beautiful beaches, Jeri is surrounded by delightful dunes and lagoons that offer countless recreational opportunities, with hiking, swimming and watersports all very popular. Exploring the area on horseback or in dune buggies is a fantastic way to see as much of its splendid scenery as possible; Pedra Furada – or the ‘Arched Rock’ – is the standout sight and symbol.

While its remote setting makes visiting Jericoacoara a challenge, it is well worth the effort for its sumptuous scenery, wealth of outdoor activities, and surprisingly lively nightlife.

16. Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo

Not only is Sao Paulo the largest city in Brazil, but it is also one of the largest in the world according to population. Located in southeastern Brazil, Sao Paulo is known for its skyscrapers, gastronomy and robust culture scene. Home to many ethnic groups from all over the globe including the largest Japanese community outside of Japan.

Dividing the city between its old and new districts, Paulista Avenue is the city’s busiest strip, brimming in businesses, shopping malls, art galleries, theaters and restaurants. Although Sao Paulo is known for its concrete jungle, it is also home to a large number of public parks and even portions of the Atlantic rainforest.

15. Brasilia

Brasilia

Located in the Brazilian Highlands, Brasilia was installed in 1960 as Brazil’s capital. Brazil’s former President Juscelino Kubitschek of the late 1950s ordered the city to be planned and developed into what some refer to as a utopia. Brasilia’s modern day infrastructure is designed in the shape of an airplane in which each of its sections serve as different districts such as government, commercial, residential and cultural.

Brasilia’s new and creative architecture attracts many visitors. Most significant is the Three Powers Square, which houses the Presidential Palace , the Congress and the Supreme Court. Other important buildings include the Palácio da Alvorada, the President’s official residence and the TV Tower. The Brasilia Cathedral with its glass roof that resembles hands reaching up to heaven is a must visit.

In addition to all its concrete, steel and glass, Brasilia also features a large artificial lake and several beautiful parks that all offer a variety of leisure activities. The capital is also an important transportation hub for travel within Brazil.

14. Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto

Tucked away among the mountains of Minas Gerais, Ouro Preto is the most picturesque, popular, and well-preserved colonial town in Brazil. As it was one of the main centers of the Brazilian Gold Rush , wealth and riches poured into its streets – along with the power and prestige that came with it.

Strung out across a series of hills, its historic center is full of steep, winding cobbled streets that meander past gorgeous old buildings and 18th-century churches. The small city also has several interesting museums for visitors to check out; many of these focus on the artworks of Aleijandinho or Ouro Preto’s mining past.

Many people visit the city for its rich history and culture or to visit the numerous mines via a guided tour. In recent years, Ouro Preto’s colorful carnival has attracted more and more revelers to its ancient streets.

Bonito

Lying in the southwest corner of Mato Grosso do Sul, the small city of Bonito is a great place to go in Brazil if you are looking to explore the gorgeous Pantanal region. While there’s not all that much to see or do in the town itself, it has long been the posterchild of sustainable ecotourism in Brazil.

Awash with natural wonders, the area surrounding Bonito is home to sparkling waterfalls, gushing rivers, and huge sinkholes and lake-filled caves that you can go swimming or snorkeling in. Hiking in the lush rainforest is also popular, with lots of colorful fauna and flora to be spied in Serra da Bodoquena National Park .

Many companies operate out of Bonito’s pousadas, and excursions usually focus on the Pantanal’s rich ecology and ecosystems. Among the most popular are snorkeling below underwater stalagmites at Anhumas Abyss, enjoying a canopy walk in the rainforest, and exploring Blue Lake Cave – one of the largest flooded caves in the world.

12. Fortaleza

Fortaleza

Nice beaches, dynamic shopping and lively culture all make Fortaleza one of Brazil’s popular tourist destinations. The capital of the Ceará state on the country’s northeastern coast, Fortaleza is Brazil’s fifth largest city, well-known for its forró music .

Featuring a mix of colonial and modern day architecture, Fortaleza offers plenty of things to see and do. Praça do Ferreira is the city’s main square where restaurants, shops and a movie theater are all located. Praça José de Alencar is another popular square where street performers can be observed.

Fortaleza’s 16 miles of urban beaches are one of the reasons many tourists flock to the city. The most popular beach is Praia do Futuro , but other favorites are Iracema, Mucuripe and Meireles. Not only are the beaches great for swimming, sunbathing, fishing and surfing competitions, but they also offer hotels, restaurants and markets. Fortaleza also serves as the jumping-off point for many visitors to truly spectacular beaches, rolling dunes and idyllic fishing villages along the Ceará coast.

The shopping experience in Fortaleza is another of its main attractions. Because the city is home to a large textile industry, clothing is cheap here. Local handicrafts and fresh seafood and produce can be found among the city’s markets while the Iguatemi Mall offers a little of everything.

11. Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park

Chapada dos Veadeiros

Home to sparkling lakes, dramatic waterfalls , and stunning landscapes – as well as some of the oldest and most biodiverse tropical ecosystems in the world – Chapada dos Veadeiros really is a treat to explore. Covering a huge area in the center of Brazil, the marvelous microregion can be found in the state of Goias, some three hours drive north of the nation’s capital Brasilia.

Chapada dos Veadeiros’ main attraction is the wonderful national park of the same name that lies atop an ancient rainforest-coated plateau . Scarred by jagged cliffs and crumbling canyons, the park is fascinating to hike around, with lots of awe-inspiring waterfalls hidden away among its verdant flora and fauna.

Other highlights include the appropriately named Moon Valley , which is home to lunar landscapes. Swimming and bathing in any one of the numerous waterfalls and rivers that dot the area is a must-do. The two main places to stay when visiting Chapada dos Veadeiros are Alta Paraiso and Sao Jorge, a small city and village which lie not too far from all of the main sights.

Parati

A paradise of tropical forests, waterfalls, emerald sea and coastal mountains, Parati is a popular tourist destination located along Brazil’s Green Coast in the Rio de Janeiro state. Also spelled Paraty, this beautiful city is a former Portuguese colony established on the shores of the Bay of Ilha Grande.

The heart of Parati is its historic center with cobbled streets and multicolored colonial houses, many of which now serve as bed-and-breakfast accommodations called pousadas . Some of the most visited attractions here are the colonial defense forts that still boast original walls and cannons. The historic center of Parati is pedestrian-only .

Surrounding the city are several beautiful parks and nature preserves where visitors can hike and explore the natural setting of mangrove forest, waterfalls and wildlife. There are also indigenous villages here that can be visited. The bay offers gorgeous beaches where visitors can enjoy swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, diving and boat cruises.

Recife

Nicknamed the “ Venice of Brazil ” because of its numerous waterways and bridges, Recife is the capital of the Pernambuco state and one of the largest and most important cities on Brazil’s northeastern coast. Situated amid tropical forests with many islands and rivers, Recife is an interesting place to visit because of its historic old town, beaches and vibrant culture.

Recife was a Dutch colony during the early 17th century, and nowhere is this more evident than the city’s historic district where many colonial buildings still remain. Some of the most significant structures include the oldest synagogue in the Americas and one of Brazil’s most beautiful baroque churches, the Franciscan Convent of Saint Anthony.

Pernambuco

Saint Peter Square is also noted for its history and picturesque setting of colorful buildings, shops and restaurants.

The city’s main market, the Sao José Market , is a popular place to find traditional handicrafts, medicinal herbs and locally produced food. Recife’s beaches are considered some of the best in Brazil. Lined with hotels, restaurants and bars, Boa Viagem is the most popular beach with its pristine white sands, clear water and coral reef.

8. Chapada Diamantina National Park

Chapada Diamantina

Created in 1985 to protect, preserve, and promote its spectacular scenery and rich ecosystems, Chapada Diamantina National Park lies in the northeast of Brazil in the center of the state of Bahia. Popular among nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, the park encompasses everything from dramatic mountain ranges and sweeping valleys to teeming rivers and towering waterfalls.

As it is set atop of a plateau, the park is very mountainous, with its tallest peaks reaching more than 2,000 meters. Crumbling, rugged cliffs line the plateau, as do lots of epic waterfalls ; the awe-inspiring 380-metre-high Cachoeira da Fumaca is the tallest in Brazil. Cavernous caves also punctuate its rugged terrain, with Lapa Doce and Pratinha two of the largest.

Chapada Diamantina

Thanks to its diverse landscapes and gorgeous scenery, Chapada Diamantina National Park is an increasingly popular tourist destination. Visitors can choose to either camp or stay in one of the small towns, such as Lencois and Vale de Capao. Horseback riding and hiking are popular pastimes, as is swimming in the rivers and pools of the area.

Olinda

One of Brazil’s best-preserved colonial cities, Olinda is located on the country’s Atlantic Coast in the northeastern state of Pernambuco. Founded by the Portuguese in the early 16th century, the city served as the state’s capital until it was burned by the Dutch, thereafter losing its sovereignty to its nearby neighbor, Recife.

Perched on a picturesque hilltop surrounded by trees, Olinda’s historic downtown is a treasure trove of colonial churches, colorful old houses and numerous artisan studios. Because of its love affair with art, Olinda packs many shops and markets selling paintings, ceramics, sculptures and handicrafts.

Olinda

Every year, Olinda hosts its lively Carnival celebration that differs somewhat from those of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador in that Olinda’s festival is best at daytime and features the music, dances and traditions of African culture . Olinda’s Carnival involves parades, lavish costumes, giant puppet dolls, street parties and the rhythms of maracatu and frevo.

However, even outside of the Carnival season, Olinda offers an animated culture where every weekend buzzes with parties, bars, nightclubs and singing groups who perform serenades of traditional songs in the streets.

6. Pantanal

Pantanal

Covering a vast swathe of western Brazil, as well as parts of Paraguay and Bolivia , the Pantanal is the world’s largest and most diverse tropical wetland area. Due to its stunning scenery and incredible wildlife, the region is increasingly popular to visit, although its remote and watery nature does pose a few challenges.

During the rainy season, around 80 percent of the floodplains are submerged, so the only way to get around is by plane or boat. It is worth it, however; the endless marshes and grasslands are home to an astounding array of fauna and flora.

Capybara

Besides exploring the scenic landscapes ranging from swamps and savanna to lakes, forests, and wetlands, visitors are also sure to spot many caiman and capybara . The highlight of any trip is spotting the South American jaguar ; the Pantanal is the best place on the continent to catch a glimpse of the elusive creature.

5. Florianopolis

Florianopolis

The capital of Santa Catarina state, Florianopolis lies in the south of Brazil, with half of the city set on the mainland and the other on a beautiful island . Due to its scenic setting, it is a very popular tourist destination and is widely considered one of the best places to live in the country.

An important economic, cultural, and political center, Florianopolis is a modern city with lots of large shopping malls and chic restaurants, as well as lively bars and nightclubs. Despite this, it is a lovely laidback place, and each of its neighborhoods has its own distinct identity.

The main attraction, however, is the wealth of fabulous beaches . While relaxing in the gorgeous scenery is divine, Florianopolis also has stunning dunes, sparkling waterfalls, and forested mountains – as well as a large lagoon for visitors to explore. Hiking and cycling around the ‘Magic Island’ (which it is also known as) are popular activities, as are paragliding and watersports.

Manaus

The capital of the Amazonas state in northwestern Brazil, Manaus is an important tourist destination because it serves as a gateway to the Amazon rainforest .

As a result of the region’s flourishing rubber industry during the early 20th century, Manaus today is Northern Brazil’s largest metropolitan area, featuring distinguished landmarks like the Amazonas Opera House , the Adolpho Lisboa Market and the Rio Negro Palace.

Amazonas boat

Not only is the port of Manaus an important commercial hub for several manufacturing industries, but it also serves as the most popular starting point for river tours into the Amazon rainforest. Some of the most striking things to see on these tours include the Paricatuba Waterfall, Love Cascade and glimpses of the Pied tamarin, Brazil’s most endangered monkey. Another significant sight is the Meeting of the Waters , which is a natural phenomenon where the two rivers of Negro and Solimões run side by side for more than three miles without mixing.

Besides the rainforest and river, Manus also offers public parks, a botanical garden and a zoo. Several beaches are here as well such as Ponta Negra with a number of restaurants, bars and hotels.

3. Salvador

Salvador

A historic Old City, beautiful beaches, lively culture and one of the world’s biggest Carnival celebrations all fashion Salvador into one of Brazil’s top tourist destinations. One of the oldest cities in the Americas, Salvador is Brazil’s third largest city and the capital of the Bahia state.

Formerly a major center of sugar and slave trade, Salvador today still bears traces of its history in Pelourinho or Old City, which features colonial architecture, stunning churches and plazas where important events once occurred. Also found in the old quarter are many restaurants, bars, art galleries and handicraft shops. Contrastively, Salvador’s New City district is where all the modern day developments of shopping megaplexes, entertainment venues, golf courses and residential neighborhoods are located.

Porto da Barra Beach

Situated on the coast of the Bay of All Saints, Salvador offers fantastic beaches that are ideal for sunbathing, swimming and surfing. Some of the most popular include Porto de Barra, Flamengo and Stella Maris.

One of Salvador’s main crowd-pullers is its annual Carnival celebration . Acclaimed as one of the largest in the world, this extravagant event involves music, dancing, parades, costumes and street parties.

2. Foz do Iguacu

Foz do Iguassu

One of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in the world, Iguazu Falls straddles the Argentine-Brazilian border. It is often compared to Niagara Falls and Victoria Falls, such is its staggering size and scale. Surrounded by dense rainforest, its endless series of cascades stretch for almost three kilometers, making it the largest waterfall system in the world.

Every second, incalculable gallons of water from the Iguazu River course over the Parana Plateau, plunging onto the rocks and pools below. While 80 percent of the falls are in Argentina , it is the Brazilian side that offers the most spectacular views, with Devil’s Throat canyon being the highlight.

Iguazu Falls

Besides gazing in awe at Iguazu Falls and taking in the deafening roar, visitors can take a boat ride beneath the falls or go hiking in the steamy rainforest that surrounds them. The gateway to the falls on the Brazilian side is Foz do Iguaçu, a big and reasonably safe city by Brazilian standards.

1. Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer

There is no destination on earth more animated and exciting than Rio de Janeiro. Located in southeastern Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city of South America due to its famous mountains, beaches and Carnival festival.

Rio de Janeiro is situated on one of the world’s largest harbors surrounded by natural attractions that include the Sugarloaf and Corcovado mountains and famous beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema . Within this sprawling metropolis is Tijuca National Park , one of the world’s largest urban forests, teeming in native flora and fauna.

Ipanema Beach

The city’s iconic landmark is the enormous Christ the Redeemer statue sitting atop Corcovado mountain. Other important landmarks include colonial fortresses, former presidential palaces and Maracanã Stadium, one of the world’s largest football stadiums.

See also: Where to Stay in Rio de Janeiro

Sadly, most people also know Rio for its crime and favelas. The favelas are areas of poor-quality housing, slums usually located on the city’s many mountain slopes, juxtaposed with middle-class neighborhoods.

Rio de Janerio is home to one of the world’s largest Carnival celebrations , renowned for its vibrant parades, costumes, dancing, music, fireworks and street parties. Outside of the festival, the city buzzes nightly with an abundance of bars and dance clubs.

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Reader interactions.

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October 11, 2019 at 3:37 am

I would also recommend Maceió. Beautiful beaches, great nightlife and safer than the big cities. But, you can’t go to Brasil for the 1st time and not go to Rio (my hometown for 16 years/Copacabana). As one person said above, do your homework before you go and you should be safe. Don’t dress like a gringo… just saying!?

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February 16, 2019 at 3:44 pm

I highly recommend you guys to go to Porto de Galinhas (translates to…Hen’s Harbour, yeah), i’ve been there a couple of times and it’s one of the most beautiful places i’ve ever been, with amazing beaches, some handicraft fairs (that show a lot of brazilian’s northeastern culture) and splendid sights and hotels.

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March 30, 2018 at 8:04 am

I recommend “Porto de Galinhas-Pernambuco” and “Maragogi-Alagoas”. Paradise! They are safe places. Really Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are very dangerous.

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June 29, 2017 at 7:44 pm

@Laura Morgenstern, I have to say that there are some places that are dangerous. But people generalize about it. Like most countries, there ares some dangerous neighborhoods but it is not the entire country. There are very safe cities, and I’m sure that if you speak with local people they will tell you where you have to avoid going to. There are amazing places in Brazil that some people don’t know about such as Gramado, Aguas de Lindóia, Brotas – radical sports in the water, Balneário camboriu

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June 11, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Isla do Mel……amazing! Curitiba, fantastic city.

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January 10, 2017 at 3:52 pm

And about Espirito Santo… Beaches. Guarapari and Vila Velha and beautiful mountains like Domingos Martins with a wonderful wine by the fireplace

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December 22, 2016 at 12:19 am

I went to Brazil for three weeks this summer and there weren’t any cases that made me feel uncomfortable or where I felt unsafe. I was in both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero during my trip. I wouldn’t recommend going to certain parts of both cities because there are gangs but if you do your research you’ll be able to figure out where not to go and what is safe.

My trip was absolutely amazing and I would recommend going if you ever get the opportunity.

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October 20, 2016 at 9:33 am

Gramado is the best city

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June 30, 2016 at 12:46 pm

I think Brazil is a beautiful place, but ‘s very dangerous. It’s true?

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November 23, 2015 at 11:07 am

Thank you for recommending all these interesting places. My husband I are thinking to go to Brazil next year but I do not wish to go to big cities – may go to Rio for a few days only and then travel to other small places. Which ones would you recommend – We are not beach people. Like the culture and ”naturaleza” from these places people are recommending? which is the best time to go?

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October 13, 2015 at 8:21 pm

Forget about the big cities in Brazil… The best and safest tourism here is in small and fantastic places. Keep noted: 1. Bonito – Is, by far, the most amazing place in Brazil!!! There you can swim in small rivers with several fishes and enjoy the real nature 2. Fernando de Noronha – Is an isolated island in the north east of Brazil. Destination of the Hollywood movie stars. You can swim with dolphins or sharks. Amazing beaches and is a very calm place. 3. Iguaçú falls (Foz de Iguaçú) – Much bigger than niagara falls and really beautiful. You can feel the power of nature there. 4. Chapada dos Veadeiros – A lot of water falls and a mistic place. Great site to meditate and to be in touch with yourself.

All these places are safe and really cheap if you have Dollars or Euros. Forget the big cities…

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June 12, 2015 at 12:07 am

I do not speak English , I am using a translator , sorry . Anyway , I wanted to leave my opinion ‘m from São Paulo SP Brazil ( love this place <3) , and put the ranking as: 1 – Maranhão – National Park Maranhenses 2 – Amazonas – Manaus, located in the center of the largest tropical forest in the world 3 – Bahia – Morro sp 4 – Bahia – Chapada Diamantina National Park 5 – Pernambuco – Porto de Galinhas 6 – Ceará -the beach of Canoa Quebrada 7 – Rio de Janeiro – Paraty 8 – Minas Gerais – Sao Tome das letras 9 – São Paulo – SP ( Paulista Avenue, Ibirapuera Park) 10 – Rio de Janeiro – RJ

Sao Paulo has little beauty , but it's where you find the best hotels, bars, parties and museums in Brazil.

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May 15, 2015 at 6:47 pm

I think that you should mention Mato Grosso do Sul ( Bonito the city) , crystal clear waters, a lot of different animals. It s amazing and perfect

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July 30, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Christ the Redeemer statue sitting atop Corcovado mountain is wonderful and unbelievable! I really want to visit that place 🙂 Great!

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July 24, 2014 at 10:16 am

I think you should put Graemado and Canela (two cities of Rio Grande do Sul) too! It doesn’t have beaches, but it’s like a cold paradis. It’s VERY beautiful and there are a lot of cultural attractions. I would recommend the dates around Easter and Christmas (specially the last one), because there’s really maaaany beautiful things. During the winter it’s very cold and good to stay there! It’s awesome

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May 27, 2014 at 10:58 am

Brazil is Amazing and Fascinating!! I hope I visit it soon and the first place ide love to visit is amazingly the Rio De Jeneiro!! ..its the most wonderful place I’ve heard of and apart from this comes the iguazu Falls..SPLENDID..its Paradise On Earth!..

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May 23, 2014 at 6:18 pm

You should visit the south too, specially Rio Grande do Sul, where many cities still conserve the german and italian culture! June and july is the best time of the year

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May 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Wow, I never knew there were so many beautiful cities in Brazil! I visited Floripa and it IS beautiful!

Please add it between 2 and 6!!

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May 8, 2014 at 11:30 am

I agree with you! There are a lot of beautiful cities in Brazil to visit!! Not just São Paulo e Rio de Janeiro! Floripa is very beautiful too

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April 14, 2014 at 7:44 am

Thanks for mentioned Sao Paulo!

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January 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm

I also would put Floripa between 3 and 6 for sure!

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December 26, 2013 at 10:15 pm

I want to understand how Florianopolis isn’t in that list…

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December 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm

I appreciate your information about the top ten in Brasil.. But I would like to inform another city: Ouro Preto, very interesting,, cultural and beautiful , the first capital of the important Minas Gerais state. Rich Baroque, churchs from the XVII and XVIII, is a place very important to the cultural tourism. All the gold from Brasil to Europe, in these centuries came from OURO PRETO ( black gold) regions , the name of this city, in the heart of Brazil, between mountains, near the new Capital of Minas Gerais State: Belo Horizonte.

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Home » Travel Guides » 15 Best Places to Visit in Brazil

15 Best Places to Visit in Brazil

Have you been itching for lush rainforests, fantastic cities, tropical islands, and heavenly beaches?  Then you’ve been itching for a Brazilian adventure. You’ll find colonial towns that will make you feel that you’ve stepped back in time, red-rock canyons that will make you feel that you’ve stepped onto another planet, and awe-inspiring waterfalls and jungles that will make you wish you could stay forever.

Brazil is the country of Carnaval, a celebration that takes over every city and every soul. You won’t believe the human capacity for fun and joy until you experience this festas. Ask yourself what you want in your next holiday, and Brazil is guaranteed to have it on offer.

Diverse ecosystems, with rare and wild plant and animal species unique to all other places on earth, kayaking through rainforests, horseback riding, whale watching, snorkelling in coastal reefs, samba dancing, all-night DJ’s, white sand beaches, history, culture, and big, full-power cities. Let’s explore the best places to visit in Brazil !

1. Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

There’s just no other place like Rio.  Welcome to lush mountains, brilliant beaches, over the top nightlife, and fanatic football fans. Known as Cidade Maravilhosa, the Marvellous City, Rio is ringed by green mountains while the coast stretches for miles.

Most people come first for the beaches.  The cariocas (locals) consider the beach a home away from home and so much happens here that you could never leave and still have a complete vacation. You’ll love biking on the beach, hiking in Tijuca rainforest, hang gliding, rock climbing, and sailing to one of several small islands just off the coast.

Music is everywhere in the city – with the most popular being the African influenced samba vibe. If you want to explore the nightlife, head to Lapa, the cities red-light distinct. You’ll find live music and street parties every night.

2. Salvador

Salvador

Located in the state of Bahia, Salvador has a phenomenal energy that’s notable even for Brazil.  Most known for being Portugal’s New World capital, it maintains a great deal of its colonial architecture and you’ll find the historic centre of the town in the Pelourinho neighbourhood.

Here you’ll find large squares with small cobblestone alleys leading away, multi-coloured buildings, and churches like São Francisco with gilt woodwork and other baroque features. There’s an amazing arts movement here. You’ll find Olodum drummers on the streets, along with Capoeira martial artists, and crazy festivals happening everywhere you look.

The culture here is decidedly Afro-Brazilian and you’ll see that in the incredible food, religious ceremonies and rituals, and dance.

3. São Paulo State

Ilhabela, São Paulo State

Another in the long list of incredible things about Brazil is São Paulo state. It offers some of the best of the best that the country has to offer.  São Paulo city is the current Boom Town – everything here is growing:  commerce, industry, culture, finance, and, of course, tourism. But you can also leave the city for a bit and head to Serra da Mantiqueira.

Use this stunning mountain range, with its 2500m peaks, as your cosy mountain getaway. There’s also Ilhabela, to be used as your posh island escape. Or try Iporanga in the midst of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.

You’ll also find great beaches with the rainforest as their backdrop – try the lovely Ubatuba for a relaxing few days.

4. São Paulo City

São Paulo City

The heartbeat of São Paulo State is Sao Paulo city.  It’s the largest city in Brazil and one of the largest in the world.  It’s a bit of a melting pot, with all kinds of ethnic groups calling it home, including the largest community of Japanese outside of Japan.

You’ll find unbelievable art galleries and experimental theatres, as well as fantastic fine-dining restaurants and upscale bars.  If you want a taste of sophisticated city life, this is your stop.

With 20 million people, Sao Paulo is a mammoth city, and does come with a lot of big city hassles, but for those willing to look a little closer; there is a vibe here that rivals New York City.

5. Brasilia

Brasilia

Built in the 1960’s, Brazil’s capital is a thoroughly planned and intricately organized city. Brasilia’s landmark infrastructure is laid out in the form of an airplane.

Each section of the plane is a different district like residential, government, finance, culture, and commerce.  The architecture here attracts tourists and professional architects alike.

Be sure to check out the Three Powers Square.  Here you’ll find the Supreme Court, Congress, and the Presidential Palace.

6. Fortaleza

Fortaleza

Another of Brazil’s big cities is Fortaleza.  It’s best known for an energetic cultural scenes, great beaches, and even greater shopping. If you’re going for the beaches, check out Meireles, Mucuripe, Iracema, and everyone’s favourite, Praia do Futuro.

Spend your mornings strolling through Centro, the oldest part of the city, and then spending your evenings in Praira de Iracema, a neighbourhood densely packed with hotels, restaurants, and nightlife.

Once you’ve had your fill of Fortaleza beaches, use it as starting point to discover the quaint fishing villages and rolling dune beaches of the Ceará coast.

Paraty

One of the most popular stops for tourists is located along Brazil’s Green Coast in the state of Rio de Janeiro.  Paraty is bursting with waterfalls, emerald green sea, giant coastal mountains and tropical forests.

Once a Portuguese colony, the heart of the town is still the historic centre. Complete with multicoloured colonial buildings and cobbled streets built in the 17th century during the height of the Brazilian gold rush.  Many of the houses have been converted to bed and breakfasts’ which the locals call pousadas.  The entire historic district is great for strolling as the lanes are closed to cars.  It really feels like you’ve stepped back in time.

Don’t forget to check out the colonial forts – many that still have their original cannons – and Capela de Santa Rita, a lovely 18th century church.

Recife

There is nothing not to love about the “Venice of Brazil.”  Inside the city is a network of waterways, bridges, islets, and peninsulas, and just outside are tropical rainforests with rivers and islands to explore.  There is a wonderful historic old town here, as well as incredible culture and fantastic beaches.

The old town is known as Recife Antigo and is located on its own island near the harbour. Most would agree that Boa Viagem is the most popular beach in town due to the white sands and coral reef.

Recife is a large city with lots to offer – including an awesome place to spend Carnaval.

Olinda

Six kilometres from Recife is Olinda, is a 16th century Portuguese colonial town. The historic old town sits on a hill surrounded by trees and filled with churches, museums, and restaurants. In 1982 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The rest of the town is no less charming with tons of 18th century architecture, monasteries and convents, and fantastically painted houses.

Once a leader in the sugarcane industry, Olinda has transformed into a small artists’ colony; full of artists, workshops, studios, and other creative types.  Check out the pousadas in the old town if you’re interested in using Olinda as a base to enjoy Recife.

Carnaval is slightly different here, celebrated primarily during the day with the music and dance focused on traditional African culture.

Manaus

Considered by many as the gateway to the Amazon Rainforest, Manaus sits on the Negro River. The capital of Amazonas and one of the largest cities in the country it has incredible landmarks like the Rio Negro Palace and the Amazonas Opera House.

If you’re in the mood for some phenomenal nature, check out the Meeting of the Waters, a three mile stretch where the Solimões and the Negro Rivers run side by side without fully mixing. Eventually, both rivers converge to form the Amazon. Most people come here as a stopping point on their way into, or out of, the Amazon.

If you’ve got time, check out the zoo that lets many of the animals roam free, and a little beachside museum just outside the city centre.

11. Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

This stunning natural wonder runs for 2.7km along the border with Argentina.

Iguazu Falls is a series of waterfalls along the Iguazu. The combination of luscious green forest, exotic wildlife, and breathtaking waterfalls is intoxicating.

Use the city of Foz do Iguaçu as your base camp as you enjoy cascades like the 80 metre Devil’s Throat.  With hundreds of fall’s to discover, you might consider a tour in one of the tourist rubber boats called zodiacs.

Bonito

Bonito is a one-street town full of charisma.  It serves as an ecotourism model for Brazil and as a hub for the surrounding areas.  If you’re an outdoor adventurer and water enthusiast, then this is your spot.

Discover Abismo Anhumas, a gigantic cavern covered in stalactite where you can dive and swim in an underground lake as well as do some abseiling.  Or how about snorkelling in the crystal clear Rio da Prata? If you’re a bird lover you won’t want to miss the macaws that nest deep in the Buraco das Araras.

To top it all off, explore the Serra da Boduquena National Park.

13. São Luís

São Luís

The historic centre of São Luís has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its well-restored colonial mansions. There are so many museums, crafts, and galleries to explore while here.

São Luís maintains a largely Afro-Brazilian culture and you’ll find both reggae and Bumba Meu Boi music festivals. While you’re here be sure to catch the Centro de Cultura, a museum with exhibits on the three major Brazilian festivals.  You might also like the Archaeological Museum and the Casa das Tulhas, a 19th century market building.

When you’re ready, cross the Baía de São Marcos for a quick day trip to Alcântara to see this historic town as it slowly slips into tropical decay.

14. Jijoca de Jericoacoara

Jijoca de Jericoacoara

This hidden gem is one of the spectacular beaches in Ceara, Brazil. Named by the Washington Post as one of the Top 10 Most Beautiful Beaches in the world, you’ll find calm seas, white sand dunes, and gorgeous blue lagoons.

It’s a nesting spot for large turtles and therefore was declared an Environmental Protection Area; it’s also been a national park since 2002. Thanks to all that, the area has remained largely isolated and untouched.

They’ve had electricity for less than 20 years in Jeri and thanks to local ordinance; the streets can only be lit by the moon.

15. Curitiba

Curitiba

This thoroughly urban capital of Paraná state is a well-known performance centre.  Visit the Wire Opera, a steel tube building with a see-through roof, as well as the Guaíra Theatre for some great programs.

Curitiba is also well known to urban planners across the globe as one of the most efficient cities ever built.  You’ll find a six-block stretch designated as a pedestrian zone, tones of parks and trees, innovative solutions to urban problems like pollution and poverty.

It’s a unique place to recharge before ending your Brazilian adventure.

15 Best Places to Visit in Brazil:

  • Rio de Janeiro
  • São Paulo State
  • São Paulo City
  • Iguazu Falls
  • Jijoca de Jericoacoara

Travel Away

The 12 Best Cities to Visit in Brazil for a Sensory Overload

Boasting almost one-third of the world’s remaining tropical rainforests, spectacular biodiversity, and loads of breathtaking natural beauty, Brazil is not only the biggest country in South America but also one of its most mesmerizing.

Nature aside, each of its vibrant, captivating cities has its own unique feel and mood, revealing a different slice of Brazil – head to Rio for legendary beach culture, to Brasília for Niemeyer’s modernist architecture, and to Manaus for unparalleled jungle adventures.

Here’s a guide to 12 of the best cities to visit in Brazil, from postcard-pretty Salvador to sexy, high-spirited Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

Famous worldwide for its stunning natural setting, beautiful golden beaches, and exuberant atmosphere, Brazil’s Cidade Maravilhosa hardly needs any introduction. This is one of the world’s most spectacular cities and the best place to soak up the very essence of Brazil, whether you’re taking in epic panoramic views from the summit of Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), mingling with good-looking Cariocas on Ipanema, or dancing the night away at Pedra do Sal (the cradle of samba).

The ever-popular Zona del Sul boasts most of Rio de Janeiro’s highlights, including the spectacular beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, Christ the Redeemer, the postcard-perfect Guanabara Bay, and the Tijuca National Park – one of the world’s largest urban forests. Also here, you’ll find the charming bohemian quarter of Santa Teresa, as well as the upscale neighborhood of Leblon, with its stylish restaurants, designer shopping boutiques, and excellent nightlife.

For a different taste of Rio, head to the off-the-beaten-path North Zone, where infamous favelas share the land with samba schools, and the iconic Maracana Stadium fuels Brazilian’s ardent passion for football on match days.

Paulista Avenue, São Paulo

A vast and bustling metropolis, cosmopolitan São Paulo attracts urban explorers with its progressive cultural scene, fabulous food, and unparalleled nightlife. The city might lack the good looks of Rio, but it’s Brazil at its most modern and sophisticated.

One of the most attractive areas in this concrete jungle is Vila Madalena, a vibrant mix of trendy cafés, quirky boutiques, art studios, pulsating nightlife, and bohemian flair. Equally inspiring are the sprawling Ibirapuera Park – filled with landmark modernist buildings designed by Oscar Niemeyer, or the wonderful Museu de Arte de São Paulo, which is home to the best collection of Western art in the southern hemisphere. The nation’s infectious party spirit is in full force across São Paulo’s swanky nightclubs, live music botecos (local bars), and colorful street parties, and its shopping scene rivals anywhere else in the world.

National Congress of Brazil, Brasilia

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a stunning example of urban development, Brazil’s futuristic capital is a treasure trove of architectural wonders, with lots of green open spaces and wide esplanades.

The city has the shape of a giant airplane, with many buildings by famous architect Oscar Niemeyer scattered along the Eixo Monumental (Monumental Axis) – the avenue that passes through its fuselage, cutting the city into Asa Sul (South Wing) and Asa Norte (North Wing). These comprise the striking Cathedral of Brasília with its unconventional hyperboloid structure, the Cultural Complex of the Republic, Itamaraty Palace, the National Congress of Brazil, as well as Praça dos Três Poderes and Palácio do Planalto.

Sand dunes, Natal

Famous for its stunning sand dunes and forro music, this quiet northeastern Brazilian town offers beautiful beaches and lovely blue waters, decent nightlife, and exciting dune-buggy rides. It may not be the liveliest or most atmospheric place in the country, but it’s a safe, sunny city and, more importantly, the getaway to the wonderful Rio Grande do Norte, the region with the purest air in the world, after Antarctica (according to NASA).

The most animated neighborhood in Natal is Ponta Negra, home to the main beach and the spectacular Morro do Careca sand dune, as well as many bars, shops, and restaurants.

Fortaleza

Conveniently located on the picturesque northeastern coast of Brazil, this sprawling metropolis of over 2 million people has all the ingredients for a fun-filled trip: lovely beaches, attractive colonial architecture, good shopping, and a vibrant atmosphere that evokes Brazil’s typical exuberance.

The city’s main urban beaches, Praia de Iracema and Meireles, are packed with hotels, shops, and restaurants, while the handsome 5 km-long Praia do Futuro (about 8 km outside the city) is lined up with typical, rustic barracas , where you can drink, eat fresh seafood, and soak up the beach culture.

The Centro, Fortaleza’s oldest part, is a lovely area to wander around and browse small shops, whereas the beautiful Cocó Ecological Park is a paradise for nature lovers, brimming with unique flora and wildlife.

Salvador da Bahia

Salvador da Bahia

Once the capital of the New World, Salvador is a showcase of outstanding colonial architecture, delicious Bahian food, and colorful Afro-Brazilian culture. It is one of the prettiest, liveliest, and most exciting cities in Brazil and a wonderful destination to combine music, beaches, and culture into a one-of-a-kind experience.

Spend the day roaming the charming cobbled streets of its UNESCO-listed Old Town ( Pelourinho ), lined with glimmering gold-paved churches and pretty pastel-colored buildings housing boutiques, restaurants, and live music venues. Alternatively, take a peek inside the city’s outstanding nautical museum (Museu Náutico da Bahia) or head to Porto da Barra beach for some fun in the sun, Brazilian way.

In terms of nightlife, Salvador has a serious passion for music, so you’ll have a huge variety of bars and clubs to have fun.

Manaus downtown, Brazil

For those who want to infuse their Brazilian vacation with exciting jungle adventures, then Manaus is the place to go. Although situated in the heart of the Amazon, the city is as urban as it gets, with many extravagant buildings, museums, churches, parks, and open squares. Its main sight is probably the beautiful Teatro Amazonas, a majestic opera house built in a striking neoclassical style.

Scenically located at the confluence of two rivers – Rio Negro and Solimoes, Manaus is overflowing with picturesque views. The city is also a great destination to indulge yourself in the exotic, albeit adventurous, Amazonian cuisine, with many decent restaurants to choose from. But, above all, it’s an excellent base for exploring the wonders of the world’s largest tropical rainforest, offering everything from exciting seaplane trips to river cruises to jungle tours.

Boa Viagem, Recife

Just like the other destinations situated in northeast Brazil, Recife enjoys pleasant temperatures all year round. And, with one of the longest and most attractive beaches in the country – Boa Viagem, an atmospheric Old Town (Recife Antigo), and a vibrant cultural scene, the capital of Pernambuco is sure to offer something for everyone.

Home to the main beach in town, Recife’s Boa Viagem area is an upscale enclave of bars, nightclubs, and stylish restaurants, while the characterful Recife Antigo attracts visitors with its lively cafés and eye-catching Portuguese and Dutch-influenced architecture.

Just a few kilometers away lies Olinda, a bohemian UNESCO-listed town chock full of striking Baroque churches, art galleries, and elegant colonial mansions.

Cuiaba, Brazil

A lively city steeped in tradition, Cuiaba is the getaway to some of the nation’s wildest and most spectacular landscapes. It lies in the state of Mato Grosso at the juncture of three of the country’s most amazing biospheres: Pantanal – the planet’s greatest tropical wetland, Cerrado de Chapada dos Guimarães with its spectacular scenery and river basins, and the Amazon. But Cuiaba it’s not all about wilderness spotting, riverboat cruises, and adventurous trips; it’s a place rich in unique culture, indigenous cuisine, and fantastic history.

Curitiba

Also known as Brazil’s Green Capital, Curitiba stands out for its high quality of life, sustainable design, and highly efficient work programs meant to reduce issues like poverty and homelessness. It is one of the world’s best examples of urban planning and has a pleasant cosmopolitan vibe. Moreover, what the city lacks in beaches and Brazilian magnetism makes up for it in fantastic parks, vivid open-air food markets, and ambitious infrastructure.

Major attractions in Curitiba include the eye-shaped Oscar Niemeyer Museum, the Wire Opera House, Tingui Park, and the Botanical Garden of Curitiba. The city abounds in dining options, so there’s certainly something to suit every foodie’s palate.

Porto Alegre

Porto Alegre

The capital of Rio Grande do Sul region is a vibrant, modern port city teeming with art, culture, nightlife, and delicious regional gastronomy. Most of the bars and microbreweries in town are clustered around the attractive neighborhoods of Cidade Baixa and Moinhos de Vento, or the beautifully restored Centro Historico.

Other places of interest in Porto Alegre are the Museo de Arte do Rio Grande do Sul, the beautiful Catedral Metropolitana, the Piratini Palace, and Farroupilha Park, the city’s largest green space.

Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte, Brazil

The third largest city in Brazil is a friendly, laid-back metropolis with an excellent range of museums, shops, bars, and restaurants, so whatever you’re looking for, you’ll certainly find it here.

If you are into culture and sightseeing, don’t miss the revamped Praça da Liberdade – with its cutting-edge Memorial Minas Gerais Vale, the lovely Museu de Arte da Pampulha, or the whimsical Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, designed by famous Brazilian avant-garde master Oscar Niemeyer.

Otherwise, fashionable neighborhoods like Lourdes and Sion offer great people-watching, along with a plethora of bars, cafés, and excellent restaurants.

As you can see, Brazilian cities are as wonderful and diverse as the country itself, so expect tons of adventure and memorable experiences, no matter which one you decide to visit.

Omg this is awesome I’m brazilian and you made such a good job, the photos and the list are perfect, those are really interesting cities I wish they got more recognition worldwide

Most beautiful ones missing Florianopolis, Gramado.

Europeans won’t find Gramado interesting. The only reason we Brazilians like Gramado is because it feels like Europe, but Europeans don’t come to Brazil to feel like they’re in Europe.

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Must-Visit Destinations for Your Ultimate Brazil Vacation

top cities to visit brazil

Brazil is the largest country in South America and one of the most diverse places on earth. From the Amazon rainforest to iconic beaches to fascinating colonial towns, Brazil offers incredible destinations for travelers. Here are the 17 best cities to visit in Brazil for culture, beaches, nature and more.

1. Rio de Janeiro

top cities to visit brazil

Rio de Janeiro is likely the first place you think of when imagining Brazil. Situated between the mountains and the sea, Rio is renowned for its stunning landscapes. The giant statue of Christ the Redeemer towers over the city, while beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema are perfect for sunbathing and people watching. Take the cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain for panoramic views or dance the night away at a samba club. Don’t miss a visit to the Maracanã Stadium or the Escadaria Selarón staircase, covered in colorful tiles. With its beautiful setting and fun-loving residents, Rio de Janeiro makes a fabulous vacation destination.

2. São Paulo

top cities to visit brazil

The largest city in Brazil at over 12 million people, São Paulo may not be as picturesque as Rio but it has an energy and cosmopolitan vibe all its own. This is the business and cultural capital, with first-rate art museums like the MASP and a dining scene boasting everything from molecular gastronomy to bustling pizza parlors. Shopaholics flock to Rua Oscar Freire , with its luxury boutiques, while the historic center features architectural gems dating back to the city’s coffee boom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Don’t miss Brazilian favorites like feijoada (black bean stew) and caipirinhas (cocktails made from sugar cane liquor and lime). São Paulo dazzles with its diversity and dynamism.

3. Salvador

top cities to visit brazil

The capital of the state of Bahia, Salvador is considered the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture. The historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with cobblestone streets and brightly colored colonial buildings. Cap off a day of sightseeing with sunset views from the Elevador Lacerda, an antique elevator connecting the upper and lower towns. Salvador is also renowned for its African-influenced cuisine, music, and Carnaval celebrations. Visit the Mercado Modelo to shop for handcrafted goods and watch capoeira performers. With its lively festivals, sounds of drumbeats, and sacred Candomblé ceremonies, Salvador immerses you in Brazil’s African roots.

4. Belo Horizonte

top cities to visit brazil

The third largest city in Brazil, Belo Horizonte was designed at the turn of the 20th century to be the country’s planned capital. That honor went to Brasília instead, but Belo Horizonte still boasts a wealth of important architecture, museums, and green space. Stroll along the shaded sidewalks of the Pampulha Architectural Ensemble and take a boat ride on the artificial lake, surrounded by iconic Oscar Niemeyer buildings. The Museu de Artes e Ofícios showcases folk art and artisan crafts from across Brazil. The buzzing Savassi and Lourdes neighborhoods offer chic cafés, live music venues, and stylish shops. Belo Horizonte is a modern, progressive city with a relaxed charm.

5. Ouro Preto

top cities to visit brazil

Step back in time wandering the cobblestone streets of Ouro Preto , a beautifully preserved colonial mining town dating to the 17th century. One of Brazil’s best examples of Baroque architecture, Ouro Preto was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. Marvel at masterpieces like the Church of São Francisco de Assis , adorned with 4kg of gold, and stroll down Rua Direita with rows of two-story whitewashed homes and wrought iron balconies. Learn about the history of gold mining or browse handicrafts at the Museu da Inconfidência . Tour nearby Mina da Passagem mine or ride the funicular down to the valley below for gorgeous views. Ouro Preto transports visitors to the height of the gold rush.

top cities to visit brazil

For a charming coastal getaway, head to Paraty , set amid jungled mountains jutting into the bay. recognizable by its picturesque historic center and cobblestone streets. Go for a boat tour around the islands in the bay or relax on neighboring beaches like Praia do Jabaquara or Praia do Sono . Sample delicious seafood, browse the handicrafts stalls, or try cachaça at one of Paraty’s many distilleries. Paraty comes alive for festivals like Carnaval and Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty , celebrating Brazilian and international literature. With its natural beauty, relaxed pace, and creative scene, Paraty is an alluring escape.

top cities to visit brazil

Perched on a hillside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the colorful colonial town of Olinda charms visitors with its mosaic-tiled churches, artist workshops, and lively festivals. Wander through the historic churches of Igreja São Roque , Igreja da Sé , and Igreja NS do Carmo , decorated with ornate wood carvings. For fantastic views, climb the church towers of Igreja NS do Monserrate or Convento de São Francisco . Browse works by local artists, then relax at an outdoor café. Don’t miss Oliveira’s exuberant street party during Carnaval or the Frevo dance festival. With the ocean breezes, tranquil plazas, and music floating through the streets, Olinda is an artful paradise.

8. Brasília

top cities to visit brazil

Built from scratch in just 41 months in the 1950s as the new capital, Brasília is a city shaped by some of the top modernist architects in Brazil. The airplane-shaped design was revolutionary for its time. Visit the National Congress Building , which looks like a futuristic saucer landing in the middle of a reflective pool. The ** Metropolitan Cathedral** has stained glass windows in an angular crown shape, while the Three Powers Plaza epitomizes the modernist vision. While some may find Brasília’s endless concrete andaxial layout too repetitive, this intriguing planned city offers a look into Brazil’s future-focused optimism of the mid 20th century.

9. Florianópolis

top cities to visit brazil

Nicknamed Floripa, the resort island of Florianópolis is beloved for its idyllic beaches, surfing, and laidback lifestyle. Praia Mole , backed by soaring dunes, and Praia do Rosa , flanked by cliffs, are two prime spots for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. Pedal along the beachfront bike path or stroll through Lagoa da Conceição ‘s lively district. The summer crowds mean buzzing nightlife and lots of live music. Inland, explore Balneário Camboriú’s Cable Car , Cristo Luz , one of the world’s largest statues, or the UNESCO biosphere reserve of Serra do Tabuleiro . Floripa offers the best of the coast and countryside.

top cities to visit brazil

Nature lovers flock to the small town of Bonito for its otherworldly landscapes and eco-activities. Home to some of Brazil’s clearest rivers and most photogenic waterfalls, Bonito allows visitors to swim, raft, snorkel and dive in pristine waters teeming with fish. Don’t miss a dip in Balneário Municipal , Abismo Anhumas , or Aquário Natural . The must-do adventure here is floating down the lazy Rio da Prata and watching the jungle glide by. At night, go on a guided tour of Gruta da Lago Azul cave to see the stalactites and bioluminescent lake. Bonito shows an untouched side of Brazil that is breathtaking to experience.

11. Jericoacoara

top cities to visit brazil

Looking like a tropical paradise out of a magazine, Jericoacoara (known as Jeri) features white sand dunes and turquoise waters reminiscent of the Caribbean. Take a dune buggy into the Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses to admire the windswept landscape and lagoons. Rappel down rock faces or surf the powerful breaks off Praia do Futuro . At sunset, hike up Pedra Furada, Tatajuba or another sandstone peak to watch the sky light up over the dunes. The chilled out beach town has an alternative bohemian vibe, with music and bonfires on the beach at night. For a rustic, relaxing retreat, head to this northwest Brazilian gem.

12. Foz do Iguaçu

top cities to visit brazil

Situated on the edge of Brazil’s border with Argentina and Paraguay, Foz do Iguaçu is home to the astonishing Iguazu Falls , listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. The massive cascades, with 275 individual drops up to 80 meters high, are an awe-inspiring display of nature’s wonder. Walkways let you get up close to smaller falls like Salto Floriano and Devil’s Throat . Enjoy panoramic views from helicopters or speedboats, then get soaked on a boat ride directly into the falls! In the evening, visit Itaipu Dam , the world’s second largest hydroelectric producer with a laser light show at night. The power and majesty of Iguazu Falls make Foz do Iguaçu an unforgettable destination.

13. Tiradentes

top cities to visit brazil

One of Brazil’s best-preserved historic towns from the colonial period, Tiradentes transports you back to the 18th century. The picturesque narrow streets are lined with charming buildings, churches, museums, galleries, and charming inns. Climb the hillside Santuario de Senhor dos Passos church for scenic views over the red-tiled rooftops. Attend Festa de São João in June, when the town honors their patron saint with processions, folk dancing, Mass, and traditional foods like rice, beans, and roasted chicken. Visit Casa dos Contos to learn about the historic gold mines. With its winding alleys, baroque churches, and quaint cafés, Tiradentes is the perfect country retreat.

14. Porto Seguro

top cities to visit brazil

The landing spot of Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500, Porto Seguro is packed with history and natural beauty. Join a 4×4 expedition to the Parque Nacional Monte Pascoal rainforest, home to endangered species like the puma and the red-browed amazon parrot. Take an organized day trip to the sunkissed Praia do Espelho or tranquil Praia do Apaga Fogo . In the historic center, visit the colorful colonial buildings along Rua Direita, as well as Igreja NS da Pena church and Museu de Porto Seguro . Stop at Praia de Taperapuã to see the handprints and signatures left by travelers like Pedro Cabral. With ancient ruins, pretty beaches, and lush jungles, Porto Seguro provides discovery beyond the sun and sand.

top cities to visit brazil

A charming resort town just a few hours from Rio, Búzios attracts celebrities and high society crowds with its stylish atmosphere and beautiful beaches. Stretching along a peninsula, the coast alternates between lagoons perfect for water sports and scenic beaches lined with rustic fishing boats. Praia da Ferradura and Praia da Armação are two most popular spots. Visit the trendy shops and restaurants along Rua das Pedras or enjoy waterfront dining overlooking the boats on Praia dos Ossos . Take a sunset cruise, try your luck at deep sea fishing, or opt for a relaxing couple’s massage. With glamorous energy and iconic views, Búzios is an ideal weekend getaway or extended vacation.

16. Ilha Grande

top cities to visit brazil

Although just a short ferry from Rio de Janeiro, Ilha Grande feels like you’ve landed on a remote tropical island with its unspoiled beaches and lush mountainous terrain. Activities include excellent hiking trails to waterfalls and through the Atlantic Forest , as well as snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding. Relax on secluded palm-lined beaches like Praia Lopes Mendes or Praia do Abrãao . Explore the remains of an abandoned prison or check out the island’s historic plantation houses in Abraão. With more than 100 pristine beaches and no cars allowed, Ilha Grande is an unspoiled natural escape from Brazil’s big cities.

17. Armação dos Búzios

top cities to visit brazil

Known as just Búzios, this chic beach town offers high-end dining, shopping and nightlife, as well as gorgeous coastline with 23 beaches. Walk along lively Rua das Pedras, browse local fashions, or enjoy waterfront dining and people watching. Some of Búzios’ most scenic beaches include Praia da Ferradura , shaped like a horseshoe and great for snorkeling. Praia dos Ossos is a tranquil spot for watching the boats and fishing fleet. Try your luck at deep sea fishing, take a sunset cruise, or opt for a relaxing couple’s massage at one of the town’s spas. With its beautiful setting and upscale amenities, Búzios attracts visitors looking to indulge in a vacation paradise.

Brazil is a vast country filled with vibrant culture, stunning scenery, and lively cities just waiting to be explored. From the Amazon River to thundering Iguazu Falls, Brazil’s natural wonders will take your breath away. In cities like Rio de Janeiro you’ll find beautiful beaches, outdoor cafes, and world-famous landmarks like Christ the Redeemer watching over the city. The rhythms of samba and bossa nova music set the lively mood across Brazil’s urban nightlife.

Beyond nature and city life, Brazil offers unique glimpses into history. Wandering colonial streets in Ouro Preto transports you back to the 17th century gold rush, while Salvador’s Afro-Brazilian roots shine through in its food, music and sacred candomblé ceremonies. From modern metropolises like São Paulo to charming resort towns like Paraty and Búzios, each Brazilian destination has its own allure.

Brazil’s diversity extends across its regions and landscapes. The Amazon rainforest in the north teems with exotic plants and wildlife. The Pantanal wetlands provide one of the best places on Earth to spot capybaras, caiman, macaws and even jaguars. Iguazu Falls on the border with Argentina showcase nature’s power and beauty on a grand scale. The coastal cities boast iconic beaches and scenic views high above the ocean below.

No matter which destinations call to you, Brazil offers experiences, sights and adventures to suit every interest. Revel in Rio’s fun-loving spirit. Marvel at Brasilia’s futuristic architecture. Wander charming cobblestone streets in colonial towns. Dance to the rhythm of samba and bossa nova. Lounge on white sand beaches surrounded by towering cliffs. Hike through jungles and waterfalls. Brazil’s diversity is its greatest appeal.

While Portuguese is the official language, you’ll find English spoken in major tourist areas. Brazilians are welcoming people eager to share the magic of their country with visitors. Safety precautions are advised but Brazil is an enchanting destination.

From nature to beaches, from cities to remote ecotourism, Brazil shines with its uniqueness. The iconic Christ the Redeemer, with arms spread wide, symbolizes Brazil’s spirit of embracing travelers to its shores. Let yourself be immersed in Brazil’s music, culture, landscapes and joie de vivre. With endless beauty across its cities and regions, Brazil offers an escape like no other, full of moments you’ll treasure forever. Allow yourself to be swept away on the adventure of a lifetime exploring Brazil’s best destinations.

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PlanetWare.com

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Brazil

Written by Michael Law , Lana Law , and Barbara Radcliffe Rogers Updated Mar 29, 2024 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

The largest country in South America, Brazil occupies almost half the continent. Nearly all of it is in the Southern Hemisphere, and much of it is tropical, with vast stretches of rainforest filled with exotic plants and wildlife.

View over Rio de Janeiro

Brazil's 7,400-kilometer Atlantic coast is lined with golden-sand beaches , and its interior is filled with mineral resources. Gold from Brazil's mines still lines the churches of Portugal, the colonial power that ruled Brazil until 1822. This strong Portuguese influence is evident in Brazil's colonial architecture , in decorative arts such as the glazed tiles in its churches and convents, and in the language.

For tourists, Brazil is both a tropical paradise and an exciting cultural destination with attractions for all tastes, from idyllic beach holidays and jungle explorations to world-class art museums and the pulsing rhythms of Rio's Carnival.

To discover the best places to visit and things to do, use this handy list of the top tourist attractions in Brazil.

1. Cristo Redentor and Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro

2. sugar loaf, rio de janeiro, 3. iguaçu falls, 4. copacabana, rio de janeiro, 5. amazon rainforests, 6. carnaval, rio de janeiro, 7. brasília's modernist architecture, 8. jericoacoara, 10. salvador's pelourinho, 11. ouro preto, 12. museu do amanhã (museum of tomorrow), 13. ibirapuera park, são paulo, 14. museu oscar niemeyer, curitiba, 15. botanical garden of curitiba, 16. porto de galinhas & pernambuco beaches, 17. art museums of sao paulo, 18. belo horizonte.

Christ the Redeemer from the base

With arms outstretched 28 meters, as if to encompass all of humanity, the colossal Art Deco statue of Christ, called Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), gazes out over Rio de Janeiro, Sugar Loaf, and the bay from the summit of Corcovado. From here, you have possibly the best view in the city .

The 709-meter height on which it stands is part of the Tijuca National Park, and a railway climbs 3.5 kilometers to the top , where a broad plaza surrounds the statue. Completed in 1931, the 30-meter statue was the work of Polish-French sculptor Paul Landowski and Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, and is constructed of reinforced concrete and soapstone.

Christ the Redeemer on a mountaintop above Rio de Janeiro

The steep ride up to the statue on the railway is part of the attraction as it passes through a lush forest, home to a wide variety of tropical birds, butterflies, and plants.

  • Read More: Top Attractions & Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf in the distance

The easily recognized emblem of Rio de Janeiro, the rounded rock peak of Sugar Loaf juts out of a tree-covered promontory, rising 394 meters above the beaches and city. From the summit are outstanding views of Rio and the harbor , as well as a stunning view of Christ the Redeemer. This is an absolute must-do when visiting the city but plan to do this on a clear day and preferably in the morning.

Part of the attraction is the thrill of riding the cable car between Sugar Loaf and the Morro da Urca , a lower peak from which a second cableway connects to the city.

View from Sugar Loaf to Copacabana Beach

Rio's first settlement began below these peaks, near the long Praia da Urca beach, and you can tour one of the three early forts there, the star-shaped Fort São João .

Iguaçu Falls

Iguaçu Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. At the point where Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina meet, the Iguaçu river drops spectacularly in a semicircle of 247 waterfalls that thunder down into the gorge below. Just above the falls, the river is constricted to one-fourth of its usual width, making the force of the water even stronger.

Some of the falls are more than 100 meters high and they cover such a broad area that you'll never see all of them at once, but you do get the broadest panorama from the Brazilian side. Catwalks and a tower give you different perspectives, and one bridge reaches all the way to one of the largest falls, known as the Garganta do Diabo (Devil's Throat).

You can cross to the Argentinian side for closer views from catwalks that extend farther into the center of the falls. The two sides offer different perspectives and views, so most tourists plan to see both.

The falls are protected by the UNESCO-acclaimed Iguaçu National Park , where subtropical rainforests are home to more than 1,000 species of birds and mammals, including deer, otters, ocelots, and capybaras.

In early November 2023, water flows that were ten times normal levels caused significant damage to many of the walkways in and around the falls. The most famous, the Devil's Throat, has reopened but the Garganta del Diablo will be closed for quite some time with no reopening date announced as of writing.

Copacabana Beach

It's hard to think of Rio without conjuring up an image of Copacabana. This is Rio's playground, a popular escape from the heat filled with sun-worshipers, swimmers, and kids building sand castles. A seemingly endless assortment of beach shacks offer chair and umbrella rentals, snacks, drinks, and even free showers.

Downtown Rio's most famous section follows Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana and is bordered all along one side by four kilometers of white sand and breaking surf .

View over Copacabana Beach

The beach is separated from the buildings and traffic by a broad promenade paved in black and white mosaic in an undulating pattern reminiscent of streets in Lisbon, Portugal. Along this promenade, the famed Copacabana Palace is protected as a national monument. Inside this hotel's lobby, you can easily imagine seeing the royalty and film idols who have stayed here.

Amazon Rain Forest

About 20 kilometers southeast of Manaus, the dark Rio Negro waters meet the light muddy water of the Rio Solimões, flowing side by side for about six kilometers before mixing as the Amazon. Boat trips from Manaus take you to this point, called Encontro das Aguas , meeting of the waters.

Other boat trips take you into the heart of the rainforests and the network of rivers, channels, and lakes formed by the three rivers. In the Rio Negro, the Anavilhanas Islands form an archipelago with lakes, streams, and flooded forests that offer a full cross-section of the Amazonian ecosystem.

You can see monkeys, sloths, parrots, toucans, caimans, turtles, and other wildlife on a boat trip here. Also close to Manaus, the 688-hectare Janauari Ecological Park has a number of different ecosystems that you can explore by boat along its narrow waterways.

An entire lake here is covered with giant water-lilies found only in the Amazon region. While in Manaus, be sure to see its famous Teatro Amazonas , the Italian Renaissance-style opera house, designed to put Manaus on the map as South America's great center of culture.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Manaus

Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro

Few shows match Rio's pre-Lenten Carnaval (Carnival) extravaganza for color, sound, action, and exuberance. Make no mistake, this is not just another rowdy street party, but a carefully staged showpiece, where spectators can watch the parades of competing samba dancers from a purpose-built stadium designed by none other than Brazil's best-known architect, Oscar Niemeyer.

Called the Sambódromo , this long series of grandstand boxes provides ringside seats to a 700-meter parade route where dancers and musicians from the competing samba schools strut their stuff in a dazzling explosion of brilliant costumes.

If mob scenes are less appealing to you than more spontaneous celebrations (that are equally riotous and colorful), you'll also find Carnivals in Salvador , Bahia, Recife, and other Brazilian cities.

Brasília's Modernist Architecture

Brazil's new city of Brasília was carved out of the wilderness and completed in less than three years to replace Rio de Janeiro as the country's capital in 1960. The ambitious plan by Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer became a showpiece of city planning and avant-garde architecture, and it remains today as one of the world's few cities that represent a completed plan and a single architectural concept.

Without the normal mix of residential and business districts, the entire governmental section is composed of major architectural highlights, which are the city's main tourist attractions . Some of the most striking surround Praça dos Tràs Poderes : the presidential palace, supreme court, and the two sharply contrasting congress buildings, plus the Historical Museum of Brasília and the Panteão da Liberdade (Pantheon of Freedom), designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

That architect's best-known building in the city is the circular Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida , whose curved concrete columns rise to support a glass roof. Another of Niemeyer's landmark works is the Palácio dos Arcos , surrounded by beautiful gardens designed by Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, who worked with Niemeyer on several projects throughout Brazil.

The round Memorial dos Povos Indígenas (Museum of Indigenous People) is patterned after a traditional Yąnomamö round house. But many consider Niemeyer's finest work to be the Monumento JK , a memorial to President Juscelino Kubitschek, the founder of Brasilia. Brasilia has been named a UNESCO World Heritage city.

The beach in Jericoacoara

If you've ever dreamed of a beachside village where all the streets are sand and like with good restaurants, decent hotels, and the odd donkey wandering around, Jericoacoara is the place for you. Jeri, as it's commonly referred to is, located within the confines of the spectacular Jericoacoara National Park , access is only through a huge expanse of massive sand dunes in a 4WD vehicle or, for the more adventurous, on the back of a beach buggy.

Evening in Jericoacoara

Each night the town comes alive when the mobile vendors set up shop on the sand and the band starts to play. Grab a bite from one of the small BBQ stands and catch the sunset as it sinks into the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, or even better secure a rooftop patio seat. Later on wander the sandy, pedestrian-only streets and enjoy a dinner with your toes in the sand. After dinner, check out one of the many boutiques featuring a variety of beach and resort clothing.

Buggy in the sand dunes near Jericoacoara

Windswept beaches run for hundreds of miles north and south of Jeri and this draws wind sport enthusiasts from around the world. Jeri is considered by many to be the best place in the world to go kiteboarding and as a result, draws a diverse set of participants from across the globe.

To experience the dunes or explore freshwater lagoons, where you can set up beachside at a restaurant and go for a swim, hire a buggy for the day , and go on an excursion. You can also head down towards Guiru or further along to Tatajuba to see or enjoy more kiteboarding. It's a fun trip that involves a river crossing on a small, flat barge.

Kiteboarding in Guajiru

You can fly directly to Jericoacoara . As an alternative, you can fly into Fortaleza and hire a car and driver to run you up the coast, which is about a five-hour drive . The best option is to stop off for a night or two along the way in some of the other beach towns like Cumbuco or Guajiru , both of which are popular kiteboarding areas.

Aerial view of Ipanema and Leblon Beach

Beyond the beaches of Copacabana, the glorious white sands merge into the just-as-famous beaches of Ipanema. The same wave design of Copacabana's wide promenade continues here, separating the sand from the line of hotels, restaurants, cafés, art galleries, and cinemas that make this a popular social zone year-round.

Farther along, beyond the Jardim de Alá Canal, which drains Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, are the beaches of Leblon . With more locals and fewer tourists, these beaches are favorites for families. Sunday is especially busy, with an antiques market at Praça de Quentaland and the Feira de Artesanato de Ipanema , alive with music, art, handicrafts, and street food.

The waves at Ipanema and Leblon can be very strong and unpredictable, so be careful where you swim. Follow the locals and stay out of the water where you don't see others swimming. If surf is what you're looking for, head to the stretch between Copacabana and Ipanema, where the surfers hang out.

Salvador's Pelourinho

The Cidade Alta (Upper Town) of Brazil's former colonial capital has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site for its exceptional collection of 17th- and 18th-century colonial buildings, the finest such ensemble in South America.

Called the Pelourinho, this old quarter is where you'll find Salvador's most beautiful churches and monasteries, built at a time when Brazil was the source of Portugal's riches, and the plentiful gold was lavished on the colony's religious buildings.

The finest and most opulent of the city's churches is São Francisco , built in the early 1700s and filled with intricate carvings covered in gold. In the choir and cloister, you can see excellent examples of Portuguese tile panels, called azulejos.

This was the friary church, and next to it is the church of the Franciscan Third Order. It's impossible to miss the riotously carved façade covered in statues and intricate decoration. The interior is just as ornate, surpassing even the Portuguese Baroque in its opulent detail.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Salvador

Ouro Preto

The wealth of Brazil's state of Minas Gerais in its glory days of the colonial period is easy to imagine from the interiors of the churches in its old capital, Ouro Preto. Entire walls are washed in gold that flowed – along with diamonds – from the mines surrounding the city in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Cascading down the sides of a steep valley and surrounded by mountains, Ouro Preto is a jewel of a colonial town, but its steep narrow streets and mountain setting – however captivating for tourists today – didn't meet the needs of a growing provincial capital. The government moved to the newly built capital of Belo Horizonte, leaving Ouro Preto in its time capsule.

The 17th-century Baroque and Rococo churches of São Francisco de Assis and Matriz de Nossa Senhora do Pilar are the best examples, but the entire town is so rich in colonial architecture that Ouro Preto has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The steep streets, so precipitous in places that they become stairways, are lined by gracious colonial mansions, and white churches crown its hills with Baroque bell towers.

Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro

The futuristic architecture of the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro gives a clue about its contents. Thought-provoking exhibits invite visitors to think about what the world might be like in the future, exploring scenarios of how our planet may change in the next half-century.

Examining these times of fast-moving changes in society, technology, and the physical world, the museum prompts viewers to consider various paths into the future, and how each opens up based on the choices made every day as individuals and as a society.

This eye-catching science museum overlooking the waterfront was designed by Spanish architect and artist, Santiago Calatrava.

Address: Praça Mauá 1, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ibirapuera Park

The most visited park in South America, Ibirapuera Park is a vast green space designed by Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, with buildings designed by Oscar Niemeyer. The park is a showcase for modern architecture and a center for Brazilian culture.

Amid its monuments, gardens, playgrounds, trails, and lakes are museums and performance spaces that include Oscar Niemeyer's Auditório Ibirapuera , one of São Paulo's best concert venues. A Japanese Pavilion with sculptures, clothing, and traditional crafts is set in rock gardens with a fishpond.

The Museu da Aeronáutica e do Folclore , the Aeronautics and Folk Art Museum , features thousands of examples of folk arts and exhibits on traditional cultures from across Brazil. The lower floor is devoted to aeronautical equipment and model airplanes. A separate museum, the large Museu Afro-Brasil , features the culture and history of Afro-Brazilians and their contributions.

Address: Avenida Pedro Alvares Cabral, São Paulo

Oscar Niemeyer Museum

Paving the way for the unconventional building shapes created by later futurist architects such as Frank Gehry and Santiago Calatrava, Oscar Niemeyer left his native Brazil with a treasury of his most iconic buildings. One of these was built as the New Museum, completed in 2002 when Niemeyer was 95 years old, and renamed in tribute to him in 2003.

Balanced on a massive 60-foot pillar, the gallery is formed by a pair of joined arcs that resemble the shape of the human eye, hence its popular name, Museu do Olho – Eye Museum. Access to this raised structure is by a series of curved ramps. Inside the eye, the 2,000-square-foot gallery focuses on architecture, design, and the visual arts, and displays many of Niemeyer's works.

Niemeyer added a later rectangular gallery on the grounds to display changing exhibitions of works by contemporary Brazilian artists. In addition to visiting during its daytime open hours, try to see the Museu Oscar Niemeyer after dark, when it is spectacularly lighted.

Address: Rua Marechal Hermes 999, Curitiba

Botanical Garden of Curitiba

Reflecting the style of 17 th - and 18 th -century French palace gardens, Curitiba's Botanical Garden was opened in 1991. Formal beds are outlined by low sculpted hedges, in a geometric design inspired by the city's flag. The landscape is enlivened by fountains, waterfalls, and ponds, and in the park surrounding the gardens are forests of native trees, with walking paths.

The focal point of the botanical gardens is the main greenhouse, an Art Nouveau-style conservatory made of glass and white metal, reminiscent of the Crystal Palace in Victorian London. Its unusual shape includes three domes that merge into the rectangular base. Inside are plants native to the region.

Even the grass in the Garden of Native Plants of Curitiba is a native variety, and its flowers are especially attractive to butterflies and other pollinators. The Garden of the Senses (Jardim das Sensações) is a 200-yard path through a wisteria tunnel, where more than 70 plant species are chosen for their fragrance or tactile appeal. Visitors are invited to try walking through it blindfolded to fully appreciate the garden by using their other senses.

Behind the main greenhouse is the Frans Krajcberg Cultural Space, displaying more than 100 large sculptures created from the remains of trees that were burned or illegally cut, calling public attention to the destruction of Brazil's native forests.

Pernambuco Beaches

The crystal waters, tall palm trees, and broad stretches of silver sand are only a few of the reasons why Porto de Galinhas is frequently cited as Brazil's best beach. For a country with more than 7,000 kilometers of Atlantic coast, much of it sandy beaches, that's saying a lot.

The town stretching along the beach is laid-back, colorful, and just the right blend of old-fashioned beach town fun and chic boutiques. Its hotels and resorts lie close to the land instead of soaring in high-rise blocks.

Jangadas, picturesque sailboats, will take you out to reef-top pools where brilliant tropical fish swim around your feet in ankle-deep water. You can also take a boat to a lagoon where tiny seahorses swim, and you can scuba dive to explore impressive coral reefs or shipwrecks, kayak in the lagoons and estuary, or buy a fanciful kite from a beach kiosk to fly in the steady breeze. Nearby Maracaipe is popular with surfers.

Porto de Galinhas is just one of the beautiful beaches on Pernambuco's 187-kilometer coast. Closer to Recife, 17th-century Olinda is a UNESCO World Heritage Site overlooking a popular beach. The main beaches in Recife itself are Praia da Boa Viagem, São José da Coroa Grande, and the Carne De Vaca.

Art Museums of Sao Paulo

São Paulo holds some of the best collections of fine arts in Latin America, and the buildings in which they are housed are architectural landmarks as well. The Museu de Arte, MASP, displays the continent's most comprehensive collection of western art, with representative works by artists from the Renaissance through modern masters.

There are 73 bronze sculptures by Degas and works by Renoir, Manet, Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, and Miró. From its beginning, the museum has concentrated on works of mid- to late-20th-century artists, and the building designed by architect Lina Bo Bardi is a Modernist landmark.

Oscar Niemeyer designed the Pavilhão da Bienal de Artes in Ibirapuera Park , home to the Museu de Arte Contemporânea. More than 8,000 works of art - one of Latin America's largest collections of 20th-century Western artists - includes Picasso, Chagall, Kandinsky, Miró, and Modigliani along with major Brazilian painters.

Set above Versailles-inspired formal gardens, Museu do Ipiranga houses paintings and decorative arts.

For another kind of art, don't miss Batman's Alley , an open-air gallery of street art by local and international artists. It is in the bohemian Vila Madalena neighborhood, where you'll also find art galleries showing the works of well-known and rising Brazilian artists and craftspeople.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in São Paulo

Praca da Liberdade, Belo Horizonte

The capital of the state of Minas Gerais gave the pre-eminent Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer his first commissions, and today, these early Niemeyer buildings draw tourists and fans of Modernist architecture to the city.

His first major work, which immediately set him apart from conventional architects, was the parabolic-curved São Francisco de Assis church, beside a lake in the Pampulha neighborhood. On the hillside above it, and connected by gardens designed by landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, is Niemeyer's earlier casino building, now an art museum.

Overlooking the large Praça da Liberdade in the city center is the sinuous apartment building, Edificio Niemeyer , one of his most famous early works. The clean geometric lines of his later Palácio das Artes mark the edge of the Municipal Park, housing the Minas Gerais Craft Center featuring works of contemporary craftsmen.

The postmodern Rainha da Sucata – Queen of Scrap Iron – is another landmark building in Belo Horizonte, this one the work of Éolo Maia and Sylvio Podestá. It now houses the mineralogy museum.

Read More: Top Attractions & Things to Do in Belo Horizonte & Easy Day Trips

Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro

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Brazil Travel Guide

Most Popular Cities in Brazil

These popular cities share something in common: They are all excellent examples of Brazil 's varied regions, attractions, and culture in large cities and favorite beach resorts.

Rio de Janeiro

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Truly a cidade maravilhosa, Rio is spectacularly located, and cariocas and visitors enjoy a vivid lifestyle nestled between fabulous beaches and rainforested hills.

Don't miss out on Ipanema Beach, made popular by the song The Girl from Ipanema. But it's also a destination popular for locals who meet for drinks, as beer is sold all along the beach.

If you're more active, there are plenty of activities like volleyball, soccer, and Brazilian footvolley, which combines the two sports.

If the beach at Ipanema is too crowded, don't worry: You always have the nearby Copacabana.

TripSavvy / Jamie Ditaranto

The city is South America's largest and Brazil's center of trade and industry. Paulistanos work hard and play hard. Sao Paulo is known to locals as "Sampa," and while many complain about its financial focus, there are also plenty of opportunities for art and culture .

If you're into street art, the city is known for its  pichação,  which is a series of tagging in a cryptic style in death-defying locations. Many of the most famous artists try to impress by finding the most difficult locations to tag. 

Sao Paulo is also famous for its shopping and is one of the best places to learn Portuguese in Brazil.

Pelourinho and Salvador

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Pelourinho, the old historic center of Salvador, is a city within a city. Centered around the old slave auction, Pelourinho has pastel-hued buildings, churches, museums, shops, restaurants, and fantastic nightlife.

Known as "Pelo" to locals, it's a great location for food and entertainment. It is perfect for photographers who want to shoot its ​colorful colonial buildings.

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The capital of Pernambuco state, Recife is called the "Venice of Brazil" and offers the visitor two carnivals a year, plus beaches, dance, music, and Olinda.

It's located on the coast and is home to two important rivers leading to the Atlantic Ocean. While this made it an important economic center in years past, it is now known for its beautiful beaches.

If you love soccer, also known as football in Brazil, this is one of the best places to watch a game. It's played and watched with a passion here and was chosen as one of the ten World Cup sites.

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An international resort, Buzios is one of the most popular cities in Brazil and a popular day trip from Rio de Janeiro. The town is two hours north of Rio de Janeiro, and its twenty plus beaches and relaxed hedonistic style liken it to Saint Tropez.

If you're not one to soak up the rays on the beach there are plenty of activities such as boat tours, surfing, and scuba diving. 

Truth be told Buzios isn't one city but actually a region with three communities: Ossos on the northern coast which is the oldest and most beautiful with old colonial homes. The beaches here are easily accessible and sheltered from harsh weather. Manguinhos and Armacao are more difficult to reach but the beaches are more beautiful.

You can't go wrong with either, the region is spectacular.

It's easy to see that the most popular cities in Brazil are those with access to beautiful beaches and stunning scenery. It's hard to choose a bad city in Brazil as they all have something to offer with friendly people.

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Top 20 Breathtaking Places to Explore in Brazil

Famous for its love of dancing, fun, festivals, and football, Brazil is one of those bucket list countries most want to visit in their lifetime.

It’s a unique land known for its firsts and originality. Home to the world-famous Rio Carnival, Samba, Capoeira, and, of course, Caipirinha, I spent many months traveling around this extraordinary country. Here are my choices for the best spots…

1. Rio de Janeiro

Copacabana beach Brazil

The city offers something for everyone. Do you want to go hang-gliding and see the stunning skyline from above? Then do it – the birds-eye view of Rio is hard to beat! Trekking? That is also a possibility.

Fancy visiting one of the seven wonders of the world? Go ahead, but set a few hours aside since the ride up to Christ the Redeemer takes a while.

Are you bored of hectic city life? Then I suggest taking a tour of the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema and then finishing the day enjoying the nightlife in Lapa, a neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro with bars and clubs catering to all tastes.

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We can book your trip hopping around Brazil’s beautiful places through our free, top-rated travel planning service !

2. Porto de Galinhas, Pernambuco

Porto de Galinhas Brazil

Situated 70 kilometers south of Recife, the town was until the 1990s an isolated fisherman village. Now, it is accessible to anyone who wants to relax and enjoy the amazing beaches the town has to offer.

Snorkeling is a must here. Only a couple of hundred meters out in the sea is a reef, and when the tide is low, natural pools are created on the beaches behind the reef.

These natural aquariums feature a stunning selection of colorful fish. Other activities include water sports, trekking, Capoeira, and much more.

3. Lençóis National Park, Maranhão

Lencois National Park

Lençóis – located in the North of Brazil – provides a view that will leave you gasping for air. The national park is a “desert” unlike any other.

Rain collects in the alleys between the dunes, resulting in what could have been a desert: an area where the dunes are varied and turquoise lagoons are as far as the eye can see.

The lagoons are home to many different species of fish, and one species stays dormant in the moist areas of the sand during the dry season, only to surface when the lagoons once again emerge.

The stark contrast between white dunes and crystal clear lagoons makes Lençóis a must-see experience!

4. Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul

Pantanal - places to visit in Brazil

Pantanal is located in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, except for small parts of the wetland that belongs to Bolivia and Paraguay.

It’s the world’s largest wetland and the place to go if you are interested in wildlife. The open marshes make it easy to spot the animals, and the unspoiled region of Pantanal doesn’t have a large human population, which means the wildlife flourishes.

The wetland offers beautiful landscapes and the chance to see a great variety of birds and other animals. You’ll also see reptiles and jaguars in their natural habitat.

5. Salvador, Bahia

Salvador, Bahia Brazil

Salvador is the first colonial capital of Brazil and one of the oldest cities in North and South America. Known as the country’s capital of happiness, it offers numerous outdoor parties, and the city´s street carnival is the largest in the world.

 The beauty of the city is partly due to its location by the sea but it is much more than that – it has a rich music and architectural culture and a historic area filled with colorful colonial houses and cobblestoned streets.

6. Chapada Diamantina, Bahia

Chapada Diamantina, Bahia

The gorgeous National Park Chapada Diamantina takes its name from the cliffs in the region and from the diamonds that were once found there.

When visiting the national park, you will be provided with a smorgasbord of beautiful views of the landscapes from different cliffs. You will see canyons, waterfalls, natural swimming pools, caves, and wonderful untouched landscapes!

7. Jericoacoara, Ceara

Jericoacoara - best places to visit in Brazil

This is a remote little beach town in the Ceara state. You can get here by bus from Fortaleza to Jijoca. It’s not an easy journey, but it is worth it!

This paradise-like town has not yet been destroyed by tourism.

The streets of sand, the beautiful beach, the kite-surfing, the breathtaking sunset views from the sand dunes, the Capoeira at the beach, the amazingly huge and starry night sky, and the hammocks in the lagoon, which are just a beach buggy ride away, are just some of the reasons why Jericoacoara is one of the country’s hidden treasures.

8. Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco 

Fernando de Noronha

Would you want to visit a beautiful beach that just the sight of it will make you gasp for air? Do you want to swim with stingrays, sharks, and colorful fishes?

Do you want to see dolphins, sea turtles, and albatrosses? Well, here you can!  Fernando de Noronha is a group of islands that belongs to Brazil.

The archipelago consists of 21 islands, islets, and rocks of volcanic origin. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed island is a paradise on earth for anyone interested in diving and animal life.

9. Iguazú Falls, Paraná

Iguazu falls Brazil

This is a world-famous beauty spot! The Iguazú Falls, consisting of more than 270 waterfalls of different sizes that border Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, are a truly amazing spectacle.

If you are in Brazil (or any of the other bordering countries), do not miss the opportunity to see one of Mother Nature´s greatest expressions of beauty in our world.

10. Paraty, Rio de Janeiro

Paraty - best places to visit in Brazil

This gorgeous coastal town was first settled in 1667, so it has a lot of history. It truly offers something for everyone, including cobblestone streets, magnificent forests, amazing waterfalls, and an emerald-green sea.

There is a lot to do and even more to look at when you visit Paraty, and even though it is compact enough to be enjoyed on foot, you’ll still find a lot of enjoyment and fun activities every step of the way.

There’s even a city center that provides information on how the town became what it is today.

11. Búzios, Rio de Janeiro

Búzios, Rio de Janeiro

A resort town with roughly 34,000 residents, Búzios is the place to go when you want calmness, serenity, and a break from the hustle and bustle of a tourist’s life.

Many of the people who live there are fishermen, and it offers all sorts of water activities, including swimming and surfing.

In fact, this town offers a little bit of everything, including shopping, restaurants, bars and lounges, art museums, and just about anything else you need to make your vacation unforgettable.

12. Florianópolis, Santa Catarina 

Florianopolis, Santa Catarina

Located in the southern part of Brazil, Florianópolis has 60 beaches and is noted for its surfing opportunities. Its economy is based mainly on tourism and information technology, so tourists can find a lot to do there.

Radical sports and nature offer some of the best opportunities for tourists, as do activities such as mountain climbing, hang-gliding, rowing, and paragliding.

It is connected to the continent by three bridges, one of which is the famous but now-closed Hercilio Luz Bridge.

13. IlhaBela, São Paulo

IlhaBela, Sao Paulo

Also known as Beautiful Island, translated to in Portuguese, IlhaBela has a population of roughly 32,000 and offers attractions such as 360 waterfalls, numerous forests, hiking trails of all difficulty levels, and course, beaches.

There are 41 beaches on the main island, so whether you want to swim, sunbathe, or watch dolphins and whales, you’ll never run out of things to do.

With beautiful waters and even more beautiful skies, this is the place to be if you like sand and surf.

14. Maragogi, Alagoas 

Maragogi, Alagoas Brazil

Maragogi sits in the northwestern section of Brazil and offers many beaches and living tropical reefs. You can go snorkeling or scuba diving, or enjoy the many sights that give the place some ambiance.

Maragogi is filled with natural beauty and offers plenty of activities, too. You can enjoy sea cliffs that seem to reach the sky and take a boat ride to get up close and personal with the coral reefs. Whatever you do there, it’s a very hard place to forget! 

15. Trancoso, Bahia

Trancoso, Bahia, Brazil

Trancoso has two things going for it: lots of beaches, and an advanced way of thinking about reducing their carbon footprint.

It has many festivals to enjoy throughout the year, but its main attractions are all of the beaches surrounding the area, each seemingly more gorgeous than the previous one.

With white sand, reefs, and water that always seems to be at the perfect temperature, this is the perfect place to be when lots of time in the water and sun is what you’re looking for.

16. Campos do Jordão, São Paulo

Campos do Jordao Brazil

A municipality in southeastern Brazil, Campos do Jordão is the highest city in Brazil, reaching 5,341 feet above sea level. Among the many tourist activities are hiking, mountain climbing, treetop cable swings, motorbike, and ATV riding.

There is also a festival that takes place every winter that celebrates classical music. In addition to a cool cable car, the town offers bars, restaurants, discos, and other activities that make for great nightlife.

In other words, this town truly offers something for everyone.

17. Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro

Ilha Grande beach Brazil

One thing you will never be short of in this country is stunning paradise-esque beaches. Ilha Grande is an island located in the sea outside the state of Rio de Janeiro where you will find tropical beaches that will tempt you to purchase your pousada and enjoy the tranquil island lifestyle for the rest of your days.

Previously a prison island, it offers good snorkeling conditions and opportunities to see coral, tropical fish, whales, and even penguins.

The island, which has no roads or motorized vehicles, provides hiking trails to different beaches and villages. On the island, you are likely to spot both monkeys and hummingbirds.

18. Teresópolis, Rio de Janeiro

Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro

Mostly known as the town that is home to Brazil’s national football team, this city sits between mountains and hills, has lush green grass, and has some of the most beautiful scenery you’ve ever experienced.

There is a national park found on the part of the city near the city limits, and mountain structures such as Devil’s Needle and God’s Finger are worth visiting.

There are also lakes, statues, and lake houses that are nothing short of extraordinary, and the farms in the area provide a little bit of nostalgia to this now-modern city, which I think is always a win-win situation! 

19. Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro 

Petropolis, Rio de Janeiro

Also known as The Imperial City, it is home to nearly 300,000 residents and offers activities to pique anyone’s interests.

These include theaters, museums, and lots of festivals and carnivals. You can also enjoy some very unique architecture. If you love palaces, national parks, or old monasteries, this is, I think, the place to be! You can visit these places individually or join a tour guide.

This large city offers all the advanced benefits of any other large city, so you’ll never run out of things to do. Regardless of which month you visit the city, you’ll always have something interesting to do, I loved this place!

20. Amazon Rainforest 

The Amazon Rainforest - Brazil

Although Brazil is known for its beautiful beaches and outstanding landmarks, the Amazon rainforest is another famous place to visit. The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world.

The forest is split into 60% of the Brazilian territory, 13% of Peruvian land, and 10% of Colombian soil. The remaining 17% is distributed between French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.

There are so many things to explore in this giant jungle, and one of them is to spot pink dolphins or go bird watching, as the forest is home to over 800 bird species. The best time to visit is during the low-water season, which is from July until December.

top cities to visit brazil

Emma-Clair Ni Clearaigh - writer and photographer With itchy feet, an inquisitive nature and an ardent wanderlust, Emma Clair has always been a traveller at heart. Hailing from the Emerald Isle she calls a small coastal town near Dublin home, but has lived in a few countries including Saigon, Vietnam where she resided for over a year, now she balances travel and travel writing with teaching and a passion for vintage interior design. She counts supping on Bloody Marys on a rooftop in Manhattan, downing Singapore slings at the Raffles Hotel, daring a paraglide on the Grand Cayman, spending an exotic Christmas in Malaysia and exploring the Angkor Wat, Cambodia as her all time favourite travel moments. Although, she’ll always have a special place in her heart for the city where she makes her annual pilgrimages – Paris, her true city of lights. Find Emma-Clair on Instagram or Facebook . Hotel Reviewing Experience - Asked by tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including the Catalonia Tourist Board ,  Visit Finland, Visit Zurich and Atout France. Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos .

22 thoughts on “Top 20 Breathtaking Places to Explore in Brazil”

Going to Visit brazil next week as I don’t know much about it so I was looking for a blog to know the best things to there thanks for this information. As Know I know What to do there.

WOOOOW the OXXXmmm place Brazil one day i will enjoy these natural beauty

Hope everyone get a chance to come to Brazil specially to Jericoacoara!

Oh Jericoacoara is so beautiful and this PIC is so… Bleh. We can find great pics on google.

Visitem Ibicoara, localizada na Bahia,chapada diamantina.

Rio and Ouro Preto are my top choice 😉

Thanks Escape Hunter! Good choices 🙂

So many reasons to visit Brazil! I’d love to visit Salvador and Ilha Grande especially. Gorgeous photos!

Very true, there’s so much more to the country!

Thanks for the suggestions Gabriel!

Wow what a country, I really must visit one day!

Hope you make it one day Scott!

They all look beautiful! Would love to visit and every one of them!

What a beautiful place, would love to go there.

Ilha Grande is a new find for me.. wow! so beautiful. Brazil is definitely one to really explore – thanks for the post, a great eye opener!

Thanks Adam!

There is also Pantanal in the state of Mato Grosso, not only in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Congratulations though for the overall text and pictures!

I want to go to all of these places! Brazil has been on my list for a long time now! Thanks for sharing.

Happy travels 🙂

I admire travelers who focus on South America, it’s such a gorgeous region with so much to see. Thanks for the inspiration!

Wow, I’ve fallen in love just with the pictures alone! It would be nice to get back to Brazil one day. Clearly Rio has so much to offer I could need an extended trip there.

I’m in love with Rio de Janeiro!!! Hope to make it there soon, perhaps in 2015!

What lovely photos and a great read! I wish I had spent longer in Brazil when I went last year as only saw Rio and Iguazu and would have loved to have visited some other parts including Salvador and Pantanal. I also can’t believe Ilha Grande was right there and I didn’t even know about it till just now! It looks stunning 🙂

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Inspired By Maps

The 25 Best Places to Visit And Things To Do In Brazil!

Posted on Last updated: December 15, 2023

Categories Brazil , South America

The 25 Best Places to Visit And Things To Do In Brazil!

Expert travel storyteller Jordan Adkins, founder of InspiredByMaps.com, brings a decade of adventures across 101 countries and 450+ UNESCO sites into rich, off-the-beaten-path narratives, melding ecological expertise with genuine, seasoned travel insights. His full bio can be found here.

One of the world’s most fascinating countries, there are so many things to do in Brazil that adventure-hungry travelers are spoilt for choice. Whether you want to hike in the jungles, lie on the beach or dance in the streets, you can do that here.

From tranquil beaches to vibrant cities to lush rainforests, the country spans a huge variety of landscapes — and as a result, there are so many places to visit in Brazil.

If you’re not already captivated by its scenery and biodiversity, you’ll be hooked by the culture. There are energy and a love of life that runs through every aspect of Brazilian culture.

Samba dancing, drumming in Carnival, indigenous and Portuguese influences, mouth watering food; all of these aspects and more combine to create an atmosphere that you’ll want to stay in forever.

things to do in brazil

And, to put it plainly: Brazil loves to party!

You’ll have heard of Carnaval, of course; a cacophony of music, dancing, and general joy. There are also diverse festivals going on throughout the year, great nights out in the cities and towns; not to mention just any quick drink turning into dancing at dawn!

So, what are some of the best things to do in Brazil? With so much on offer, how can you narrow it down? We’ve got some suggestions below.

things to do in brazil

The 25 Best Places to Visit And Things To Do In Brazil! 🇧🇷

Page Contents

Rio de Janeiro

Fernando de noronha, iguazu falls, recife & olinda, lençóis maranhenses national park, parque nacional da chapada diamantina, ilha grande, florianópolis, amazon from manaus, são miguel das missões, alter do chao, belo horizonte, the pantanal, salvador city, chapada dos veadeiros national park, vale dos vinhedos, armação dos búzios.

World-famous for its Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Christ the Redeemer statue and wild Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro is absolutely top of the list of things to do in Brazil. We can’t pretend it’s a quiet place, but it’s got a relaxed, carefree attitude that is intoxicating for travelers.

Otherwise known as the Cidade Marvalihosa (Marvelous City), here you’ll find lush forests and mountains circling the city while the beach acts as the city’s backyard.

You can hike, surf, sail or rock climb – or just chill on the sands, if you’d rather! It’s a stunning landscape for a city and you’ll never stop appreciating the beauty. In a city this, well, marvelous, it’s hard to get past the superlatives and decide exactly what to do — so to help, we have put together a list of the top things to do in Rio de Janeiro Brazil!

The rich and varied history means there’s plenty to discover among Rio’s myriad attractions. That is, if you want to leave the endless fun of the bars and the beach. Arriving at a festival time means you’ll soak up even more of the joyful celebration, whether it’s a big football match, Carnaval or weekend samba parties. New Year is also a pretty spectacular time to enjoy all that makes Rio special.

places to visit in brazil

The tropical oasis of Fernando de Noronha is in an entire league of its own. The isolated tip of a submerged ocean volcanic, the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, lies 271 miles (350 km) off Brazil’s northeast coast and consists of 21 islands.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site with a sensitive ecosystem, tourist numbers here are restricted to around 450 to 500 people per day. But the lucky few that make it here are duly rewarded …

Fernando de Noronha has everything you could want from an unforgettable island getaway. Picturesque scenery, majestic seascapes, fine white sand beaches, bountiful diving, animated snorkeling, turquoise waters, and oh-so-much-more.

Only one island in the chain is inhabited, with a population of around 5,000 people. Otherwise, most of the rest of this paradisaical retreat is left to the seabirds, reptiles, turtles, and exotic marine life. A nature lover’s paradise, Fernando de Noronha can be compared to Fiji , an arresting beach island scene straight out of a Hollywood film set.

There are a limited number of flights daily, so getting here – and accommodation once you arrive – is not particularly cheap. Still, if you can stretch your budget, Fernando de Noronha is worth every cent.

Fernando de Noronha - Top Things To Do In Brazil

As well as fascinating cities, Brazil also has some of the most stunning natural wonders in the world; the awe-inspiring Iguazu Falls are among these. There are 275 separate drops along the 2.7 kilometers of the falls, which separate Argentina and Brazil. From the Brazilian side, you go to the Igauçu National Park to enjoy the spectacle.

There’s an intricate series of footpaths and walkways that enable visitors to get up close to the natural beauty and on the Brazilian side, there’s a long pathway along the canyon.

A must-see for everyone is Devil’s Throat, a narrow chasm that takes half of the river’s flow along; you can imagine the power and noise of the water there.

Get a panoramic view of the falls from the trail or splurge on a helicopter ride for the bird’s eye perspective. Stay in the nearby town of Foz de Iguacu so you can get up early to beat the heat and the crowds; then enjoy being mesmerized by the majesty of this remarkable place.

things to do in rio de janeiro

Recife and Olinda are sister cities on Brazil’s northeast coast that stand within sight of each other. Both started life as colonial cities under Portuguese rule, exploiting the vast richness of the New World, but over the centuries Recife has pulled ahead while Olinda has kept its small-town charm. The juxtaposition of both is tantalizing, and ensuring visiting them together is one of the top things to do Brazil.

Recife, the capital of Pernambuco state, has a booming population and everything from charming canals and vividly painted colonial buildings to glistening skyscrapers, palm-fringed beaches, and exuberant nightlife. An energetic and inspiring city, Recife also has plenty of entertainment and cultural attractions, more than a dash of grit and growing traffic problems. A true metropolis – warts and all.

In contrast, Olinda – just a short bus trip to the north – has very much maintained its colonial charm and clings to a slower pace of life. Position on a hillside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this UNESCO World Heritage site is an artsy counterpart to Recife with galleries, workshops, baroque churches, convents, monasteries, and wonderfully preserved houses and manors.

It is rare in the world to find two destinations that contrast and complement each other so completely. On their own, each would be worth a visit – but together, they become one of the absolute top highlights of Brazil.

Recife & Olinda - brazil places to go

A must-visit destination for anyone fascinated by the natural landscape, this 1550 square kilometer national park is a spectacular area filled with dunes, lagoons, and beaches. Its undulating dunes give the park its name – ‘Lençóis’ means ‘bedsheets’ and these expanses really do look like sheets draped across the land.

The rains between May and September get filtered by the sand to create incredibly clear blue lakes between the hills of sand. You can choose whether you navigate the area on foot, on horseback or in a car; whatever you do, you won’t regret making the effort to come here. It’s got an almost otherworldly quality, making a dramatic impact.

It’s easy to see why it is called one of the most beautiful places in Brazil – and people make the considerable effort to get here. 

The most convenient way to explore is to stay at Barreirinhas on the river although if you don’t mind heading somewhere more remote, Santo Amaro and Atins are more peaceful bases.

things to do in rio de janeiro | things to do in rio

An expansive national park in eastern Brazil, Chapada Diamantina attracts adventurous tourists looking for nature, hiking, colonial wonders, and off-the-beaten-track experiences. And boy, do they find it here.

An almost untouched wonderland of cascading waterfalls, intrepid hiking, and panoramic views – the entire park sits atop an otherworldly 41,751 square kilometers (16,120 sq. mi) plateau bounded by cliffs in central Bahia.

The most famous attraction is the Fumaça Waterfall, one of the tallest waterfalls in Brazil, which at 340 m tall evaporates in a mist before even reaching the ground. Another famous highlight is the cauldron-like Devil’s Pool, with its deep black water and sinister history, or the enormous sandstone-and-quartz Lapão Cave.

Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina offers everything from day hikes to multi-day journeys. There are plenty of trained local guides happy to help you organize your expeditions once you arrive. The old colonial mining towns of Lençois and Mucugê are popular bases for exploring the park and offer cobblestone streets, outdoor cafes and a cute range of pousadas (a boutique inn that provides a more intimate experience than your traditional hotel).

Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina - Best things to see in Brazil

If you’re tired of the mega-cities yet still want to experience town life in Brazil, Ouro Preto is the place to go. It’s one of several colonial towns in the state of Minas Gerais that date back to the 18th-century gold rush and by far the most beautiful.

It’s not just historically important for the gold mining but also for being the setting for the country’s first independence movement. That is probably why they made if a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you have traveled to places like Lisbon,  you’ll really be able to see the influence of Portugal on Ouro Preto. In fact, Ouro Preto actually has some of the best-preserved Portuguese colonial architecture, with few signs of modern urban development—unlike Macau.

Sure it might not be that easy to get to, but the best places never are and you will be justly rewarded with a fairytale town like no others. It’s pure magic!

There’s so much joy here in getting lost in the narrow, cobbled, steep streets (not to mention you’ll have thighs of steel by the time you’re done!) and the views once you get to a vantage point are incredible.

It’s also one of the more artistic things to do in Brazil with a range of art galleries and cultural centers showing off the mineiro art.

what to see and do in brazil

Do you dream of cocktails at sunset? White sand under your toes and the sound of waves crashing on the beach? A stress-free location away from chaos where no cars are allowed, prices are low, and your biggest worry will be ‘Açai or Coconut for lunch?’

Well then, do we have the island for you. Ilha Grande is a fabulous tropical island located only a few hours bus and boat trip away from Rio de Janeiro on Brazil’s stunning southeast coastline. Yes, this could be all yours: gorgeous blue skies, empty beaches, and that tempting ocean. Just imagine…

It’s a natural paradise with 99% of the island being covered in natural Atlantic Rainforest, only one small town and a series of paths crisscrossing the dense vegetation leading to deserted beaches.

Yes, it sounds like heaven— and that’s because it probably is.

Then there is the thriving (but laid-back) nightlife scene, incredible sunsets, fantastic snorkeling, funky monkeys, range of affordable accommodation islands, and abundance of caipirinhas.  Most people who travel here end up extending their stay, but it’s hard to know beforehand if you will like it, and how long you will need, so we have put together a more comprehensive guide to things to do in Ilha Grande to help you fall in love with this magnificent place.

Ilha Grande - places to visit in brazil

From secluded natural beauty to wild and wonderful festivities with a cacophony of noise and color. An annual festival held in February in the run-up to Lent, this is a time where Brazilan cities let loose with parades, music, and dancing.

A lot of dancing.

While the Rio Carnaval is the most famous, you can go to any city in Brazil at this time and experience the best party you’ve ever been to. The entire county celebrates Carnaval and unifies for almost a week of non-stop partying.

In the Southeast Region you’ll hear a lot more samba; in the Northeast, more frevo and maracutu. Whatever the music and wherever you are, shine your sequins and get ready for spectacle galore!

famous places in brazil

Freshwater snorkeling in heavenly Bonito one of the best-kept secrets in Brazil, though its popularity is growing.

Bonito is an eco-tourism hub in Mato Grosso do Sul state in Southern Brazil. The encompassing area has garnered a reputation for its crystal-clear rivers, huge, stalactite-covered cavern, and a bounty of colorful fish.

Located on the edge of the great Amazon basin, Bonito is a mirror into the underworld – similar to the great cenotes of Tulum and Cuba . While unassuming on the surface, there is a reason by Bonito is named after the Portuguese for “beautiful.”

While snorkeling in the magical waterways that end in shallow (and warm) pools as clear as glass is the main highlight, Bonito is also the jumping-off point for expeditions into the Pantanal region, filled with jaguars, boa constrictors, and colorful birds. Then there are the river-beaches on clear water lakes, zip-lining adventures, paddle boarding, scuba diving, and fantasy waterfalls.

An aquarium come to life; Bonito is a jungle-laden paradise with just enough eco-tourism operators to make life easy— yet not enough to destroy what makes this spot so enchanting.

Bonito, Grute do Lago Azul, Brazil - what to do in brazil

The capital of southern Brazil’s Santa Catarina state, Florianópolis, is the place to go for beach resorts, surfing, boating, and a heavy German influence.

Most of the city lies on the spectacular 54-kilometer-long Santa Catarina Island and connected to a mainland commercial area via the famous Pedro Ivo Campos Bridge. The frontier between Portuguese and Spanish empires, the region was filled with German-speaking immigrants in the 1820s to act as a buffer – and has had a lasting legacy.

These immigrants kept their small family-owned farming practices, similar to North America at the time, yet vastly different from the mega-plantation culture of most of Brazil. This resulted in Florianópolis having a healthier legacy of equality and egalitarian policies than the rest of the country — a trend that continues today. Not to mention a wild Oktoberfest festival, fascinating history, and a flourishing cultural scene.

For tourists, there is sun, sand, and surf aplenty, with beach hopping being the most popular attraction. The seafood and beer are both expectedly standout, as is the sophisticated city vibes. With over a hundred beaches, all encircled by picturesque hills covered with lush Atlantic Forest vegetation – it is impossible not to love this unique place in Brazil.

Florianópolis - Best Places To Visit in Brazil

What Sao Paulo lacks in Rio-style beauty and landscape, it more than makes up for in energy and pride. Ask any resident and they’ll tell you at length how they’ll never live anywhere else – so it’s definitely somewhere that travelers should check out. Traffic galore there may be but there’s plenty to experience in this bustling cosmopolitan city.

 It’s the art center of Brazil so, as might be expected, there are a wealth of museums, galleries and cultural centers. Not to mention all the street art.

Head downtown for the historic area and many of the main attractions; head to the other areas for more of an insight into the daily life of the Paulistanos. In the evenings, aside from a great nightlife, there is always something happening, whether it’s theatre, musical performance and international events.

We love heading to Avenida Paulista on a Sunday to join in the masses of people walking, cycling and rollerblading along the temporarily pedestrianized street. The city is also home to a wide range of culinary delights and it’s definitely one of the top places to go in Brazil for foodies.

places to visit in brazil

Another contender for the most beautiful town in Brazil, Tiradentes in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, is an unspoiled case of Portuguese colonial architecture. It is so well preserved and so appealing, you would at times think you have mistakenly wandered into a movie set – and will catch yourself thinking,’ how can a place be so perfect.’

Gorgeous homes set along cobblestone roads enveloped by green mountains and a truly majestic church: Tiradentes is the kind of place dreams are made of. Except it is real. When gold became scarce, this historic mining town was largely forgotten and fell into decay. Crucially, this meant it wasn’t modified or ravaged by growth and modernity. When tourism began to trickle back here in the late 1970s, intrepid guests were rewarded with exceptionally preserved Baroque structures thanks to the years of isolation.

Beyond the obvious visual appeal, there is a booming restaurant scene, lush forest hikes, and some wonderfully insightful museums. The charming São José Fountain should not be missed, along with the vintage steam train that runs between Tiradentes and the magnificent Serra São José grouping of quartzite blocks.

Tiradentes - Things to do in Brazil

If you’re looking for things to do in Brazil that give you more of a perspective on the country, then Brasilia is one of those. Established as the capital city in 1960, it was a utopian vision of organized urban design in response to the perceived chaos of Rio and Sao Paulo.

It was designed in the shape of a crucifix but is also often compared to an airplane, with Eixo Monumental forming the central body with the star attractions laid out along it and two wings making up the residential and commercial sectors.   

It’s a spread-out city with lots of spaghetti junctions so you can’t walk around it the same way you would other cities, but there’s still plenty to discover.

Head up to the viewing platform of the Television Tower to appreciate the city plan or stroll past the government buildings on the Esplanade of the Ministries. Go bar hopping, starting at old favorite Beirute, or enjoy culinary experiences in some of Brasilia’s ever-increasing contemporary restaurants.

things to do in rio de janeiro | things to do in rio

A small town popular with backpackers, Paraty is flanked by the jaw-dropping mountains on Brazil’s Costa Verde and supremely positioned between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

The perfect place to break up a trip, Paraty has a lot going for it with a rich Portuguese colonial center including cobbled streets and many excellent 17th- and 18th-century buildings due to its history as an important port during the Brazilian Gold Rush.

Today more of a popular artist refuge and tourist hotspot than an export hub, Paraty was recently recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the nearby island of Ilha Grande.

Paraty is a welcome escape from the city madness, with tropical hiking, horseback riding, boat cruising, and snorkeling. Or you can just spend hours exploring the colonial-era streets, darting into small cafes, whitewashed churches, and modern galleries. Paraty has long been a beloved getaway for residents of Rio, but now the cosmopolitan vibes have been taken a step further with the influx of international vacationers.

In August, Paraty host the annual Festival of Cachaça, and in May, there is the Paraty Bourbon Jazz Festival, which includes many of the world’s top artists. Add to this the 65 islands and 300 beaches nearby, a fun cook school, a slew of bars and luxe lodgings, and it is safe to say Paraty will firmly keep its status as one of the best places to visit in Brazil for the foreseeable future.

Paraty - things to do in brazil

The Amazon has captured the imagination of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the ages and for good reason. Its incomparable ecosystem and diverse flora and fauna are fascinating not just to biologists, but to travelers, which is why going on an Amazon Rainforest River Tour on the Rio Negro is so popular!

Cruising down the Amazon River taking in the quiet majesty of the area is one of the things to do in Brazil that just can’t be missed.

Manaus is the largest city nearby and definitely the most convenient location you can explore from. Here you’ll find a wide range of accommodation options and tour operators to fit every budget. And prices are a lot lower here than what you can find in the Ecuadorian Amazon or Peruvian Amazon if that helps…

You can go on organized hikes into the jungle, canoe trips or even go fishing. All of these are unforgettable experiences to help you appreciate the power of the river and the life it generates around it.

brazil places to see

São Miguel das Missões in Rio Grande do Sul state is a monumental Spanish Jesuit mission ruins from the 17th century.

It was built because the Jesuits at the time of colonization were on a mission of evangelizing the Indigenous people of Bacia do Rio Prata (a territory that today is spread across Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil), to preserve their culture and language and protect them from Portuguese slave traders. Eighteen such villages were built as places where converted Indigenous people lived, to adapt their lifestyle to Christianity.

The Jesuits were eventually expelled under the Treaty of Madrid when the area was transferred from Spain to Portugal. The Guaraní tribes who lived here refused to comply with the order to relocate from their homelands, and thus a joint Portuguese-Spanish army attacked and defeated the Guaraní. The São Miguel das Missões was left in ruins, the Guaraní were killed and enslaved, and this great social experiment ended.

The ruins today have a ‘paradise lost’ feel to them, with an incredible museum and many gorgeous viewpoints to appreciate the scale of the undertaking.

In 1984 the Mission was listed as World Heritage under the Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis listing, along with three others in Argentina including the equally impressive San Ignacio Mini.

São Miguel das Missões - Brazil Things to Do

Hidden in the murky depths of the famous Amazon jungle, Alter do Chao is a quirky and offbeat beach destination that boasts astonishing white sandy stretches that will convince you you’ve somehow traveled to Brazil’s famous north coast.

Located around 33 kilometers west of the already isolated Santarém, Alter do Chao is most well-known for its Ilha do Amor (Island of Love), an arresting island ringed by a white-sand beach. But there is much more to this place than just beaches; there is a three-fingered lagoon to investigate – either by canoe or stand-up paddleboard – and boat tours into the surrounding Amazon.

You should not miss a trip to Ponta do Cururu at sunset where large numbers of pink and grey dolphins gather for an evening meal. An ethereal experience — to say the least.

Positioned on a major tributary of the Amazon river between Belem and Manaus, the isolation of Alter do Chão’s and retreat from the modern world is the appeal here – and the main reason why there are so few visitors. A lack of roads in the region means the main way to get here is by flying to Santarém and then catching the bus. You’ll be duly rewarded for your efforts.

Alter do Chao Brazil - Places To Go

While not on most tourist itinerary for Brazil, landlocked Belo Horizonte is the capital city of Brazil’s Minas Gerais and the countries sixth-largest city.

A lively, industrial and gritty city – architectural lovers should not miss this city and the Pampulha Lake Architectural Complex, home to an assortment of incredible designs by Brazil’s modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer. There is the wavy-topped Church of St. Francis of Assisi, a casino, a ballroom, the Golf Yacht Club, and various other edifices all in collaboration with famed landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx and give a hint to what he would later build in Brasília.

The artificial lake itself is also stunning and has capybara living around its edge.

Back in the concrete jungle, Belo Horizonte is a sprawling mess – but has plenty of charm if you are willing to seek it out. The Instituto de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim is the world’s largest open-air contemporary art museum with 87 acres of beautiful gardens— then there is a vibrant central market and a revitalizing museum scene.

Ouro Preto is also a short distance away, making Belo Horizonte a convenient stopover point.

Belo Horizonte - best things to see in brazil

Another of the most incredible natural sites in Brazil, the Pantanal is virtually unpopulated. It’s an enormous wetland covering approximately 210,000 square kilometers and hosting an amazing variety of animals.

Definitely, one for the nature lovers, the wildlife here is unmissable if you like to see creatures in their natural habit. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Pantanal Conservation Area actually consists of a group of four protected areas with a total area of 187,818 ha.

Positioned in western central Brazil at the south-west corner of the State of Mato Grosso, the protected site stewards 1.3% of Brazil’s Pantanal region, one of the world’s largest freshwater wetland ecosystems.

The headwaters of the region’s two primary river systems, the Cuiabá and the Paraguay rivers, are found here, and the wealth and diversity of its vegetation and animal life are magnificent.

cool places to visit in brazil

Belém, the largest city of the state of Pará in the country’s north, is the eastern gateway to the Amazon River.

2.5 million people reside in this tropical metropolis, which has benefited throughout its history from a position approximately 100 km upriver from the Atlantic Ocean.

While many might flit through this transit hub in a rush to more exotic adventures, you should spend a few days exploring the dynamic city filled with mango trees, vibrant markets, museums, and a growing restaurant scene. For a while during the rubber boom in the late 19th century Belem was known as the ‘tropical Paris; with electricity, grand monuments, streetcars, and a sophisticated European vibe – though today Belem is very much forging its own path.

The standout highlight has to be the colorful riverfront district Cidade Velha (old town) filled with Portuguese-colonial architecture similar to Lagos or Porto – with plenty of ornate churches, picturesque azulejo-tile houses, and an extensive 17th-century fort.

Another ‘must-see spot’ is the vast Ver-o-Peso open-air market located on Guajará bay’s docks and hawking exotic Amazonian fish, unknown fruit, and indigenous handicrafts. It is considered one of the largest markets in Latin America, and you can spend at least a few hours perusing the items on sale, interspersed with breaks for a gratifying bowl of pulped açai berries at one of the stands and a cold bottle of Tijuca beer to top it all off.

In the evening – try to catch an opera or performance at the Theatro da Paz, which would look right at home in Vienna or Buenos Aires .

Belem - Northern Brazil things to do

We love Salvador, Brazil’s third-largest city, for its lively mix of cultures and styles, its 17 th and 18th-century architecture, and its endless vibrancy. This is the epicenter of Brazil’s Afro-Brazilian community and where the best music and culture can be found.   

Of all the things to do in Brazil, make Salvador one of them. During the days, explore streets so picturesque that you feel like you have stepped back in time, especially in the center (Pelourinho); at night, take a ride on the 85 meters Art Deco Lacerda Elevator on your way to a delicious meal in one of the many restaurants. Architecturally blessed and culturally diverse, Salvador was the first capital city of Brazil and has it all.

In between times, chill on the beach. This is a city that likes to live, so enjoy being part of it!

Salvador City - Beach Cities in Brazil

An improbable eco-tourism destination, the remote Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park in the central Brazilian state of Goiás is 650 square kilometers of big sky country. There are rolling hills, lush flora and fauna, dramatic canyons, and plenty of hiking trails to keep you occupied for at least a few days.

Rivers crisscross the park (and surrounding private land), creating a lattice of canyons, cliffs, and rivers – usually with a waterfall somewhere to allow for a refreshing dip at the end of the hike. There is an abundance of orchids, and iconic wildlife species like jaguars, armadillos, jaguars, and toucans.

Guides are no longer required to hike here, but if you want to learn about the biodiversity here, they are recommended. The Travessia das Sete Quedas hike, in particular, is simply magical, a 23-kilometer trail through a spectacular canyon and crossing the Rio Preto river twice. You can do it all in one day, or overnight in a campsite with seven small waterfalls nearby.

Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park access is from the nearby town of São Jorge, which connects to kooky Alto Paraíso de Goiás and the rest of the start.

Chapada dos Veadeiros, Alto Paraíso de Goiás - GO, Brasil - Places To Visit In brazil

Who would have expected one of the top things to do in Brazil to be to visit wine country, but yes – the Vale dos Vinhedos Wine Region proves this marvelous country does have it all.

Located in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul between the cities of Garibaldi, Bento Gonçalves, and Monte Belo do Sul, this area has a strong Italian influence. It also offers the unique properties required in terms of soil, climate, topography, and culture to create a desirable bottle of wine.

Vale dos Vinhedos covers 82 square kilometers (32 square miles) and is home to over 30 wineries and an influential national grape and wine research bureau. Miniature estates sit alongside larger wineries providing plenty of options for wine tours, with most allowing drop-in visitors.

Even for those who don’t like wine, the attractive area also houses a cornucopia of cheese factories, art workshops, craft houses, restaurants, and boutique accommodations. The work of the Italian immigrants over the last 150 years has culminated in Vale dos Vinhedos getting a reputation for outstanding vintages, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It was even recently named one of the world’s ten best wine travel destinations recently, joining the likes of Queenstown in New Zealand or Champagne in France.

While not yet swamped with international tourists, the Vale dos Vinhedos is exceptionally popular with locals and has a well-established collection of rural inns and tourist routes. You’ll be rubbing your eyes and thinking you have been transported to Italy or Northern California.

Vale dos Vinhedos - Brazil Winery

One hundred eighty kilometers from Rio de Janeiro is Armação dos Búzios – or just Búzios for the devoted, a renowned seaside town where Rio’s elite flock each weekend.

An urbane Eden of greenery, clear waters and narrow cobblestone streets create an enduring appeal that has seen Búzios transform over the past 50 years from a small fishing village to Brazil’s St. Tropez. Located on a jutting peninsula, Búzios is a collection of three settlements and 17 beaches with oceanfront dining, an arresting harbor, and all the expected tourist amenities.

There is everything from hostels to high-end hotels and more options for relation, shopping, and nightlife then we could ever cover. It is hard to know where to start. And then there are the off-shore islands, ideal for diving, world-class gastronomy, world-class galleries, and boutique shopping.

But our favorite activity has to be people watching here. Buzios attracts the most fashionable people from not just Brazil but around the world. So, as you might imagine, one of the best things to do is simply choose a seat at a pavement cafe, order a Caipirinha, and watch the gorgeous people go by…

Armação dos Búzios - Things to see in brazil

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The Best Destinations to Visit in Brazil

Youll be awestruck by the stunning flat-topped mountains of the Chapada Diamantina

Brazil boasts more than 70 national parks and dozens of monuments, including one of the Seven New Wonders of the World – Christ the Redeemer , in Rio de Janeiro . Together, these attractions create one of the most appealing and exciting destinations in South America . People come from every corner of the world to discover the superlative coastline, sprawling metropolises and thick jungles, which are home to monkeys, jaguars and river dolphins. So where to go in Brazil? The vast landscape holds many prized spots, but the places below are some of the very best.

1. rio de janeiro.

Architectural Landmark

Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado, with Sugarloaf Mountain ahead of it in Rio de Janeiro

2. Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte is known for its bar scene rather than thumping nightclubs, which comprises dozens of bars packed together to create the ideal late-night drinking spot for socializing and winding down at the end of the week. For food , you’ve come to the right place as everything from mobile stalls to sophisticated restaurants serve up classic Minas Gerais cuisine molded around home comfort and slow-cooking. If art is more your thing, hire a car to Inhotim , a large interactive art gallery set within a botanical garden.

3. São Paulo

They don’t call São Paulo the concrete jungle for nothing. This often misunderstood city, home to over 12m people, is regarded as the business and financial capital of Brazil. Yet that sweeping definition overlooks the quirks and curiosities that make São Paulo the buzzing cosmopolitan city that it is. For culture, it has some of the country’s finest art galleries and museums, and you can excite your palate at one of many international restaurants celebrated for their haute cuisine. For a change of pace, head to Praça Roosevelt for hipster bars and an alternative, liberal crowd. Pace yourself, as you’ll need stamina for the nightlife here, which gives São Paulo its reputation as a city that doesn’t sleep.

Founded in the early 16th century by Portuguese settlers, Olinda is a small colonial town neighboring much larger Recife. Its collection of baroque churches, 18th-century convents, and vibrant houses cling to the hillside, coupling exquisite architecture with sweeping ocean views. The local bohemian crowd have restored many of the buildings into artistic hubs, creating a center of art galleries, museums and open studios. Come here in February to experience one of Brazil’s most traditional and lively carnivals .

5. Fernando de Noronha

Natural Feature

Tide rolls in on the sandy Baia do Sancho on Fernando de Noronha

6. Florianopolis

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Located in the south of Brazil, Florianopolis , the capital of Santa Catarina is known for its picturesque beaches, pastel-hued sunsets and popular holiday resorts. Enjoy the many sun-kissed beaches on 54km (34mi) Santa Catarina Island. Or pick up the pace at Lagoa da Conceição, a saltwater lagoon with strong winds ideal for windsurfing and pleasant boat trips.

7. Foz do Iguaçu

Down in the south of Brazil, straddling the border of Argentina and Paraguay, is the small town of Foz do Iguaçu , one of the most visited spots in the country. That’s because it’s home to the Foz do Iguaçu waterfalls, one of the world’s largest waterfall systems, comprising hundreds of mighty cascades. Venture out onto the wooden platform that juts over the 80m-tall (262ft) Devil’s Throat fall, where mist clouds the bottom on a rainy day. Then marvel at the exotic feathered friends at the bird park, which has several ongoing conservation projects. Other highlights include a trip to the Itaipu Dam, an imposing hydroelectric dam, and quick bus trips over to the border towns of Argentina, and Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, known among savvy shoppers for its cheap and cheerful shopping opportunities.

9. Chapada Diamantina

10. mount roraima.

Thick mist surrounds the rugged, block-like Mount Roraima

This imposing mountain swallows up the border with Venezuela, but also stretches out to Guyana and Brazil. Located in the far north of Brazil, it’s remote and hard to get to, which makes it even more appealing to adventurers and hikers. Those who make the effort to go there will enjoy solitude and nature in its rawest form, with untouched rocky landscapes, mind-boggling heights and sweeping views that capture three countries at once. All this without a soul in sight.

11. Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

12. pantanal.

Three members of a capybara family stand on a small sandy mound in the Cuiaba River, with many green trees in distance

One of the most striking ecosystems in Brazil, the vast Amazon rainforest continues to be an imposing, mysterious jungle, despite deforestation and illegal mining in the area. This complex ecosystem comprises hundreds of species that co-exist in a network unlike any other in the world. Sustainable tours in the region are actually good for the forest, providing an income to resource-lacking locals who come to depend on tourism instead of hunting endangered animals. It also gives you the chance to explore a magnificent part of the world that river dolphins , monkeys and brightly colored tree frogs all call home.

A few people walk by the grand salmon-painted exterior of Amazon Theatre, which has a dome roof in Brazilian national colours

It may not be many people’s first thought of where to go in Brazil, yet that makes it all the more appealing. Manaus is a city in the northwest of Brazil, and sits on the banks of the Negro River. Check out the nearby natural phenomenon known as the “meeting of the waters”, where the dark, nutrient-rich waters of the Negro River flow into the brown, murky waters of the Solimões River, creating one, long stretch that is half black, half brown. Linger by the riverbank at sunset for a wonderful visual treat and explore the elegant Amazon Theatre for a spot of culture.

15. Curitiba

For a country of more than 210m people, it’s easy to forget that Brazil is not all like Rio de Janeiro, and Curitiba is a good reminder of that. Located in the south of the country, Curitiba is hailed as being among the top cities in the world when it comes to urban planning, including examples of sustainable architecture, leafy parks brimming with trees and an efficient recycling system. With its efforts to address homelessness and create organized public transport links, it’s a safe and functioning city in which to sit back and soak up the culture.

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10 Most Exciting and Best Places to Visit in Brazil

Do you want to uncover the exquisite beauty of the Tropics? Then t ravel to Brazil to discover its unique vibe, that makes it stand out from other Latin American nations, and succumb to the beauty of the New World.

Let your travels to Brazil be a new beginning. Latin America’s largest nation spans a myriad of diverse climates and cultures, offering at the same time a chance to see unique natural marvels such as its vast pristine beaches, ferocious waterfalls, sand dunes stretching beyond the horizon, and majestic rivers. 

Explore Brazil with our curated list of the top ten best places to visit in Brazil you should not miss.

1. Rio de Janeiro

top cities to visit brazil

Brazil’s former capital is where its soul dwells. The city of Cariocas is known for its laid-back and hospitable people, scenic urban landscape, and unrivaled beaches right downtown such as Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. 

Travel to Rio to take pleasure in the wide avenues and warm sands of Copacabana, one of the best places to visit in Brazil to socialize with locals; or bask in the sunshine in the cosmopolitan Ipanema a short stroll away from the always bustling Copa. Leblon is a must for those who are keen to experience the inclusive friendly atmosphere of the city, with its carnivalesque vibe all year round, especially prized by arguably one of the world’s largest gay communities. 

If it is not just sand and breaking waves that make you happy, head to Lapa. This is one of the best places to visit in Brazil to delight in jazz music with possibly Latin America’s best jazz bars, and its world-famous Escadaria Selaron, a set of world-famous steps made by Jorge Selaron whose work, seen a bit wacky at first, ended up becoming one of Rio’s top landmarks. 

Other sites to visit in Lapa include its delicious restaurants and a splendid aqueduct, which along with Jesus, on the Corcovado mountain, and the famed somewhat unsafe but super photogenic favelas, such as Vidigal, make the top of the best places to visit in Brazil.

top cities to visit brazil

Those keen to uncover the true spirit of Rio must give in to the magic of football. Headfirst to Botafogo Beach, where football is played even at night (don’t forget to climb Sugar Loaf, suitably near, for a perfect walk through the mont’s lush greenery and truly gobsmacking vistas), and go to a weekend football game at the iconic Maracana Stadium, the arena where Pele himself was scoring goals. 

Note that the best time to visit Rio de Janeiro is in February when the legendary Rio de Janeiro carnival takes place. But avoid it like the plague if crowds and busy festivals are not your cup of tea. 

For inspiration, one of the best books to read on a trip to Brazil is Brazil by Jonathan Updike, a magic realist love story set in Rio, Sao Paulo, and the Brazilian jungle wilderness.

Read next: A week in Rio for 100€

2. Trancoso

top cities to visit brazil

Large cities such as Rio are fascinating: they have something for everyone, but their hustle and bustle can be tiring at times. If a bit fatigued, head to a veritable tropical idyll, Trancoso, located in the northern state of Bahia, the heart of Black Brazil. Trancoso is renowned for its capoeira, caipirinha, and unique cults some of whose rites were brought by the ancestors of Black Brazilians from Africa. 

Trancoso is arguably the best place to visit in Bahia to laze about on the beach and chill. It is quiet, safe, affordable, and truly paradisiac. It has a vast stretch of white sand, cozy bars, friendly locals, and its environs feature one of Brazil’s most beautiful churches. Also don’t miss out on the chance to book accommodation at an authentic Bahia bungalow located right on the main square. 

3. Porto Seguro

top cities to visit brazil

Pay a visit to Porto Seguro, a great place to rest on the road from Rio de Janeiro to Salvador de Bahia.

Located just a short car ride away from Trancoso, Porto Seguro is a great place to explore Bahia. It is situated close to both pristine beaches of Trancoso and Brazil’s first capital, Salvador. But, primarily, it is known as the place where the Portuguese first landed in what was to become Brazil. The spot is marked by one of Brazil’s oldest churches, one of the best places to visit in Brazil to uncover its past.

On the other hand, Porto Seguro is located just a half an hour’s drive from Pataxó, where the remaining Native Indians of the region accept visitors to learn about their culture. 

4. Morro de São Paulo

top cities to visit brazil

Head to Morro de Sao Paulo to take a break from the crowded Brazilian metropolises and take delight in its communion with nature.

Lying off the coast of Bahia and a two hours’ ferry ride from Salvador, is Tinhare Island. Its capital is one of the best places to visit in Brazil. It is here that the distinctive village Morro de São Paulo is situated. 

Sitting on its north-eastern tip, the car and carefree village is prized for its climate, traditional means of transport such as animal-drawn carriages and palm-fringed beaches. Among them, do not miss First Beach, frequented for its strong surf, and Second Beach, dotted with mouth-watering food establishments. 

Apart from the stunning landscape, and great swimming opportunities, Morro de São Paulo is also home to some significant historical landmarks such as the Fortress of Tapirandu, one of the best places to visit in Brazil to uncover its colonial past or the Church of Our Lady of Light, famous for its intricate altar made of wood. 

5. Salvador de Bahia

top cities to visit brazil

Brazil’s first capital, Salvador is dubbed the city of 365 churches, one church per day of the year. Its abundant wealth of historical landmarks, picture-perfect nature, and kinetic nightlife, seducing with its Capoeira, and trans-inducing drum-beat, make it one of the best places to visit in Brazil. 

Head to Salvador if the modernity of Rio and Sao Paulo is not what your soul has been pining for. Here you can stay in the old colonial downtown, for example on the scenic Rue de Chile, with a mind-blowing port-view, where streets lure you with mesmeric sights, hypnotizing sounds, and strange fragrances – make sure to have your best travel camera on hand at all times. 

One of the reasons why Salvador is by right one of the best places to visit in Brazil is that you can go to a marvelous beach for you to swim right within the city limits, making it one of the best places in Brazil to combine culture-tourism with sun-bathing on a beach. 

6. Florianópolis

top cities to visit brazil

Is there a need to go to Rio or São Paulo? The irresistible pull of their nightlife, food & bar sceneries, and phenomenal nature are truly enticing, but it is not just Brazil’s big cities that have it. 

Florianopolis, the surfing paradise in Brazil’s South, is one of the best places to visit in Brazil to go surfing, lazing around on the white sands, attending some of the Americas’ best parties, and eating its delicious food. Plus its juicy churrasco is said to be among the Brazilian South’s best! 

It is also advantageously located close to Porto Allegro, a large city known as the jewel of the Brazilian South, home to the world’s most beautiful street, Rua Gonçalo de Carvalho, otherwise the green tunnel, a 500-meter stretch submerged in foliage. 

7. Lençóis Maranhenses Sand Dunes

top cities to visit brazil

Located in Maranhao State, the awe-inspiring sand ridges morph into a thousand blue lagoons running along the Atlantic Coast. They are part of Lencois Maranhenses National Park, one of the most stunning and overall best places to visit in Brazil. 

The majestic sand mounds are nature’s artwork: it is made by two rivers flowing through the natural reserve depositing sediment as they run towards the Atlantic. But it is not just the wash-up that forms the dunes, it is also the winds from the Atlantic that blow inland and carry the sand, co-authoring the oeuvre . 

Note that the capital of Maranhao State is the beautiful and quiescent Sao Louis City, with Bareirinhas, the closest town to the dunes being the best place in the country to visit the magnificent hills of sand. Traveling to Maranhao Natural Park is also a great reason to uncover the North of Brazil, a gateway to one of the world’s largest rainforests, the mighty Amazon.

8. Petropolis

top cities to visit brazil

Petropolis is one the best places to visit in Brazil in summer. When it is winter in the northern hemisphere, it is scorching hot in Brazil. The inhabitants of Rio prize Petropolis for its mild climate, stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and romantic bars & accommodation. 

In their appreciation, they follow in the steps of the Brazilian emperors who made the hill station their summer retreat of choice. It is from them that are left what are arguably Brazil’s most fabulous palaces, such as Petropolis Imperial Palace, currently housing the Imperial Museum, and offering a peek into the state’s opulent imperial past. 

Note that Petropolis is located close to Serra dos Orgaos National Park, one of the best places to visit in Brazil for hiking . 

9. Cataratas do Iguaçu

top cities to visit brazil

The Iguazu Falls are considered the largest waterfall in the world. Located amidst the primal Amazonian rainforest, this cascading nature marvel is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Brazil. 

To travel here, head first to Foz do Iguaçu city, a pleasant hub to explore the waterfalls and the surrounding beauty of the state of Parana. From the airport, it is just a 5-minute drive to the Brazilian side of the falls. 

Argentina and Paraguay are just over the border, making the falls one of the best places to visit the two countries from Brazil. Note that the best time to visit the Iguazu falls is between late March to May. 

10. Fortaleza

top cities to visit brazil

Fortaleza is one of the best places to visit in Brazil to see for yourself its booming night scenery, taste its delicious food and bask in the sun on its sun-lit beaches punctuated by red cliffs, lagoons, rustling palm trees, and highly surfable waves.

Keep in mind that it is not just the memorable modern cityscape or the enthralling nature riches that lure. So are the attractions of Fortaleza, such as the performances at the Art Nouveau José de Alencar Theater and the neo-Gothic church architecture of the Metropolitan Cathedral, which draw visitors to Fortaleza, one of the jewels of northern Brazil.

Brazil is a great country to visit and enjoy the tender caress of the sea, the relaxing whisper of palm trees, and the pleasant urban landscape, sometimes colonial and other times ultra-modern.

It is also a great destination to enjoy the company of the hospitable locals, and the perfect one to explore on a road trip !

All this well paired by cachaça, caipirinhas, and churrasco while listening to the melodies of the Brazilian rumba or witnessing a fierce Capoeira dance. Enjoy!

top cities to visit brazil

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9 of the best cities and towns for a holiday in Brazil

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Brazil’s cities boast a dazzling range of natural settings, important institutions and famed landmarks

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Brazil’s range of natural beauty, historic landmarks and sprawling cities rivals almost any other country in the world.

This vast nation has become renowned for its sparkling coastlines and natural landscapes surrounding characterful cities like Rio de Janeiro, but some of its towns and cities remain chronically overlooked.

Rio will continue to grab headlines due to its Carnival celebrations and world-famous landmarks, but other major cities like Sao Paulo and Salvador are catching up, with visitors becoming wise to their wealth of architecture, arts and historic sites.

The capital, Brasilia, is a unique destination due to its avant-garde design, while places like Paraty and Florianopolis welcome those tourists who prefer tropical relaxation over ticking off museums.

Meanwhile, destinations such as Ouro Preto and Olinda are akin to still-standing monuments to colonial times, giving an insight into the country’s fascinating history.

Whether you’re a history buff, beach lover or partygoer, there’s likely somewhere for you in Brazil ; we’ve rounded up a list of the best cities and towns to visit.

Brazil’s largest city is home to around 20 million people, and in recent times has become one of the continent’s most important cities. Similarly to Rio, Sao Paulo is fronted by long stretches of beach and is home to a welcoming population that make it a vibrant place to visit.

There are some green spaces, including the Ibirapuera Park, a 400-acre oasis that is Sao Paulo’s answer to Central Park, but the only jungle here is a concrete one, with the city characterised by an abundance of skyscrapers. For some of the best views, head to the 161m-high Farol Santander building or the 46-storey Edificio Italia.

Sao Paulo is fiercely proud of its past yet is also cosmopolitan, likely helped by its role as the economic heart of the country. It has a variety of museums and cultural centres – focusing on everything from football to the development of the Portuguese language and Afro-Brazilian history – as well as art galleries containing both modern and Renaissance works.

Where to stay

Situated in the safest part of the city in the Jardins neighbourhood, the Tivoli Mofarrej offers quiet luxury in a modern setting. Rooms are spacious and contemporary, and are complemented by an award-winning spa, outdoor pool area and a Japanese-Brazilian restaurant.

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Read more on  South America travel :

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Rio de Janeiro

The country’s capital until 1960, Rio de Janeiro is often seen as the face of tourism in Brazil. It has become a bucket-list destination, as famed for its welcoming atmosphere as it is for its magnificent natural sites and long stretches of beach .

One of the world’s most picturesque cities, Rio sits on a large bay flanked by golden sands and towering hills. The city has three particularly well-known landmarks: the Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain are a must for panoramic views over the city, while an afternoon spent sipping cocktails on Copacabana beach is a great way to get acquainted with the city and its locals.

Away from nature, Rio has plenty more to entice tourists. February’s Carnival celebration is one of the world’s largest parties, while the nightlife of Lapa remains buzzing year-round. The city’s museums showcase Brazilian history, modern art and futuristic science exhibits, while its football teams are among the best on the continent.

For a conveniently located stay on Copacabana, choose the Hotel Astoria Palace. Located near the centre of the famed beach, this modern hotel benefits from a rooftop terrace and pool, with rooms that are minimalist yet stylish.

Brazil’s current capital was conceived as part of a nationwide modernisation project, and has been labelled by Unesco as a “landmark in the history of town planning”.

This purpose-built city is replete with forward-thinking design elements, and several of the most impressive sites are government buildings, from the towers of the National Congress to the Itamaraty Palace, home to the Foreign Ministry.

The city’s cathedral and the Dom Bosco Sanctuary have become two of Brazil’s most iconic religious structures, while the Praca dos Tres Poderes is perhaps the most dramatic location in the city, lined with various monuments and important buildings. All of this combines to give the city a rather retro feel, despite its futuristic design.

The Banco do Brasil cultural centre is the cultural heart of the city, with a varied events programme and two galleries for temporary exhibitions, while the Museu Nacional contains the city’s best art exhibitions. Zonal laws mean most of the green spaces (and more lively nightlife areas) are outside the centre, so visit the city’s ‘National Park’, the Paranoa Lake or the Itiquira municipal park to get back to nature during a visit.

The Melia Brasil 21 is a trendy hotel in the city’s well-developed South Wing area, under two miles from most of Brasilia’s main attractions. Rooms are spacious and functional, with the highlight of the hotel being a large rooftop and pool area with amazing views.

Salvador was once Portugal’s colonial capital, and today parts of the city are characterised by the former empire, from a range of colonial architecture to a vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture. Its beaches and more temperate climate make it a popular tourist destination with Brazilians, with many also visiting for Carnival parties that rival Rio’s in scale.

The city’s architecture is a mix of skyscrapers and colonial buildings, the majority of which are in the historic centre. Known as Pelourinho, this mazy area of cobbled streets is lined with dozens of pastel-coloured structures, and has become Brazil’s centre of Afro-Brazilian culture, home to dance schools, capoeira classes and museums on Afro-Brasileiro history and local archaeology and ethnology. The Largo do Pelourinho square, near the centre of the neighbourhood, is one of the city’s most lively nightlife spots.

The Fera Palace hotel sits close to the coast next to the Pelourinho district, offering easy access to some of the most exciting parts of the city. Its rooms are large, colourful and comfortable, while the decor throughout the hotel is exceedingly stylish, from the bar to the rooftop terrace (which comes with panoramic views over the sea).

Manaus is just one of two cities in the Amazon – along with Belem – that is home to over one million people. The city is the gateway for the river and rainforest, close to where many tours set off and providing a final bit of civilisation before setting off on an Amazonian adventure.

Unsurprisingly considering its location, Manaus is home to natural beauty such as the nearby ‘Meeting of the Waters’, where the almost black water of the Rio Negro meets the khaki-coloured Rio Solimoes. The 9,000 acres of the Januari Ecological Park offer an intriguing day trip into the Amazon, but for something on the edge of the city, the Adolpho Ducke botanical gardens provide an urban forest that spans over 100 square kilometres.

Manaus itself has plenty more to keep you occupied away from nature. The 19th-century theatre is one of the city’s most impressive landmarks (and hosts several regular theatre and opera shows), while the Museu da Amazonia houses artefacts from around the state and the rainforest area. Take a tour of the Adolfo Lisboa market for the opportunity to buy a souvenir, or relax in an Amazonian beach at Praia da Lua.

The Juma Opera Boutique Hotel is the best option for staying in a central location in Manaus, and includes a terrace overlooking the theatre, a large outdoor pool and elegant interiors.

Recife and Olinda

Recife is one of the northeast’s major tourism hubs, blending a beautiful coastline with a captivating historic centre and a sprawling urban setting. The city’s museums cover modern art, the city’s history and some of the culture of the state (at the Cais do Sertao), while the coast around the city and to the south has some of the best beaches in the state, including Pina, Carneiros and Boa Viagem.

Recife’s old town, known as Recife Antigo, is located on the island and is one of the most picturesque neighbourhoods of any city in Brazil. Like a more grand version of Salvador’s Pelourinho, it is filled with wide cobbled streets, colourful colonial architecture and a slew of bars and restaurants that have made it the city’s socialising centre.

Olinda, which lies around six miles from Recife, is another colonial-era marvel. Almost like a smaller version of Recife Antigo mixed with the white-washed structures of Ouro Preto, it is home to a network of convents, chapels and Baroque churches dotted among the gardens and hillsides.

The Hotel Luzeiros offers guests affordable luxury not far from the beach and major attractions of the city. Rooms are pared-back but stylish – and come with city views – while a terrace and pool offer opportunities to relax when the beach seems too far away.

Ouro Preto is located in Minas Gerais, a state known for its mining history and a variety of natural beauty. The city was state capital until it was replaced by nearby Belo Horizonte in 1897.

Once the largest city in South America during the continent’s gold rush, Ouro Preto’s expansion was limited by the hills and creeks surrounding the town. Nowadays, these hills provide attractive scenery, while the lack of expansion means that the town has retained a large amount of its colonial architecture. In the old town, splashes of pastel-hued facades are dotted among a sea of russet-roofed, white-washed buildings.

Ouro Preto is less of a tourist town than other places on this list, but it still has enough to keep even intrepid travellers busy. Several of the mines that once made it so famous are still open, including Veloso, Chico Rei and Passagem, one of the largest in the world open to the public. Several churches and religious buildings still stand too, as well as museums dedicated to subjects including oratory, pharmacy and Brazilian artists.

Situated just outside of the centre of Ouro Preto, the Hotel Recanto do Ouro provides idyllic surroundings for a comfortable stay in this former mining town. It sits among verdant hills and tropical trees, with lodge-style rooms and outdoor areas that provide incredible views over the hills and waterfalls.

Located around four hours west of Rio de Janeiro, Paraty is a smaller town that has popped up on the tourism radar thanks to a mix of its striking natural setting and well-preserved colonial architecture. It is surrounded by dense jungle, rising hills and tropical islets, and fronted by a series of bays and beaches including Trindade and Paraty-Marim.

The town is a haven for nature lovers, with the nature reserve of Fazenda Bananal and the magnificent Mamangua Bay two of the most distinguished sites. Water sports are popular too, with the potential to kayak around nearby mangroves, alongside tours of cachaca distilleries.

The Pousada Villaggio is a true jungle retreat, set in a colourful villa with pleasant outdoor and pool areas. Rooms are simple and functional, and the location gives you easy access to the centre and beaches.

Florianopolis

A city that is divided between the Brazilian mainland and the island of Santa Caterina, Florianopolis is a place where the setting welcomes relaxation and exploration. It lies on the coast in front of verdant hills, with the two different parts linked by the grandiose Hercilio Luz bridge, which is the longest suspension bridge in the country and one of the architectural highlights, along with the Metropolitan Cathedral.

The Santa Caterina history museum is one of the city’s only museums, with most people spending time wandering the city in areas like the Praca XV de Novembro. Many will spend the majority of their time relaxing exploring the surrounding natural beauty, from hikes around Spider Mountain to surfing and kicking back on beaches like Praia Mole, Lagoinha da Leste or Joaquina.

The LK Design Hotel stands out for its location and a fantastic outdoor pool area. It lies across the bridge in the central district, close to several attractions, and provides modern rooms with sweeping views over the coast.

Read our reviews of the best winter sun hotels

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15 things to do in Brazil that will amaze you

Catherine Balston

Sep 28, 2023 • 12 min read

February 9, 2018: Women dance in elaborate gold costumes at the Parade of the Samba Schools of the Special Group during the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro.

Experiencing Rio’s Carnaval should be on everyone's list of the top things to do in Brazil © A.PAES / Shutterstock

Whether you prefer wilderness or dense cities, the call of frogs in the rainforest or the beat of samba drums,  Brazil  has an experience lined up for you.

The country’s status as a natural paradise is impossible to deny. While superlatives simply don’t do it justice, this continent-sized nation is home to the largest rainforest, the most sprawling wetlands, and more known species of plants, freshwater fish and mammals than any other country in the world.

Brazil is also home to a myriad of indigenous and immigrant cultures, each with their own unique languages, foods and music. Get a taste for Afro-Brazilian heritage by eating acarajé in Salvador, dance samba in Rio de Janeiro, or move to the sounds of frevo  in Olinda during Carnaval. The Amazon, too, hosts some of the biggest parties in Brazil.

If you think you’ll be ready for another vacation at the end of all that, look no further than Brazil’s tropical islands for some downtime. To help you write up your shortlist of must-dos, here are the top things to do when you visit Brazil.

An aerial shot of Rio de Janeiro showing Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain and Guanabara Bay

1. Admire the view in Rio de Janeiro

Beaches, architecture, museums, waterfalls, nightlife...there are dozens of good reasons to visit Rio de Janeiro . But if this city has one essential thing to do, it’s getting up high to admire the view. From above, Rio’s dramatic topography is revealed in all its splendor – forest-covered mountains plunging down to the ocean with urban sprawl jammed in between. 

Visitors jostle for selfie space at two of the city’s most popular tourist spots, the 710m-high (2329ft-high)  Christ the Redeemer statue and Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), which both offer spectacular 360-degree views.

To avoid the crowds, a splurge on a helicopter tour is worth every real. A stunning vista is the reward at the end of hikes in the Tijuca National Park – one of Brazil's best national parks . The views from the Pico da Tijuca and Pedra da Gávea peaks are particularly breathtaking. 

2. Spot whales in Praia do Rosa

Once a sleepy fishing hamlet, Praia do Rosa is now a top surf destination, with charming guest houses and hotels tucked into the hillside above a bay. In the winter months (June to November), surfers are joined by another type of visitor playing in the waves: southern right whale calves. 

Whales were hunted in these waters as far back as the 1700s and were widely thought to be extinct by the 1970s. Despite making a comeback, they’re still highly endangered. The whales migrate here from Patagonia every year to breed, and a marine reserve stretching 130km (80 miles) along the coast was established to help protect them.

Only masochists will want to swim in the sea this far south in the winter, but the beach is a beautiful destination for windy walks and whale spotting year-round. Boat tours can also be booked for a closer look.

A wattled jacana bird stretches its wings in the wetlands near Cariacica, Espirito Santo, Brazil

3. Watch birds in the Atlantic Forest

Bird-watching enthusiasts will want to trek to some of the most spectacular off-the-beaten-path spots in the Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest). One of Brazil’s six biomes, the Atlantic Forest is a hot spot for birding – it's home to nearly 900 bird species, a quarter of which don’t live anywhere else, including three-toed jacamars and kaleidoscopic green-headed tanagers.

You can explore Atlantic Forest habitats in dozens of national and state parks as well as hundreds of private nature reserves. Itatiaia , established in 1937 as Brazil’s first national park, is a birding paradise. Further south, among the mangroves and salt marshes of Superagui National Park and the Sebui private nature reserve, other Atlantic Forest species such as scarlet ibis and the red-tailed Amazon parrot fill the skies at sunset as they come in to roost for the night. 

11 incredible places to visit in Brazil

4. Soak up the energy at a soccer game

It’s impossible not to know when there’s a big soccer game playing in Brazil, as every screen in every bar will have it on, with shouts ringing out across neighborhoods when goals are scored. Join in the action by booking tickets to see a game, where the passionate supporters can be as much of a spectacle as the game itself. 

The Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro is legendary, and it hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup final between Germany and Argentina, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics. SR Flamengo is the biggest club in Rio and you can expect excited crowds when the team goes head-to-head with any of its local rivals.

In São Paulo, SE Palmeiras and Corinthians both have gleaming modern stadiums, and the latter in particular is famous for its passionate supporters. The city’s Pacaembu Stadium is an art deco jewel, although it hosts fewer games these days. The soccer museum underneath the stadium is a monument to Brazil’s greatest passion.

A speedboat with tourists travels under one of the many cataracts at Iguaçu Falls

5. Get soaked on a speed boat under Iguaçu Falls

The thunder and roar of 396,000 gallons (1.5 million liters) of water pouring over the edge of Iguaçu Falls every second is a thrilling, visceral experience. Dozens of activities in and around the falls will keep visitors occupied for days, from hiking and cycling in the surrounding national park to feeding the birds at the Parque das Aves bird and wildlife sanctuary. 

There’s a good chance you’ll get wet at some stage during your visit, so why not submit to the deluge in the most adrenaline-fueled way possible, with a speedboat ride right under the falls? Turbo-dinghies with 500 horsepower outboard motors pass right beside the falls, where it’s so loud no one will hear your shrieks. The nearby Itaipú Dam – the world’s second-largest – is well worth a visit, too, and accessible via Brazil or Paraguay . 

The best times to book a trip to Brazil

6. Dance during Carnaval 

For one hot, sweaty but utterly thrilling day of your life, you can feel like a star as you don an enormous costume and join a samba school to parade down the Sambódromo during Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro. Broadcast live on national television, with many thousands of spectators cheering from the grandstands, this parade is a fierce competition that’s taken extremely seriously by the samba schools that prepare for it year-round.

But Carnaval is not all about Rio. Each corner of the country celebrates in its own way, and one of the most traditional can be found in the coastal city of Olinda. Instead of samba, the rhythms of frevo , maracatu and afoxé ring out across the hilly streets of this charming town. Local bands playing percussion and brass draw huge crowds of excitable revelers trying to keep pace.

A kitesurfer catches a gust off the coast of Brazil

7. Kitesurf on Brazil’s northeast coast

Some of the world's most respected kitesurfing champions are from Brazil – no surprise given the country’s thousands of miles of windswept Atlantic coastline. Ceará in northeastern Brazil has some of the best kitesurfing hotspots, including Cumbuco (a playground for some of the top athletes) and the coastal hubs of Icapuí and Preá.

A little farther north in Piauí state, Barra Grande is an up-and-coming spot for the sport. In Maranhão , lagoons in Atins offer up wind without the waves and the bonus of being on the doorstep of the desert-like Lençois Maranhenses National Park . 

How to get around Brazil

8. Contemplate the origins of life at Serra da Capivara 

The culmination of a lifetime’s work for Brazilian archeologist, Niède Guidon, the Museu da Natureza (Museum of Nature) opened in late 2018. A spiral-shaped building at the edge of the Serra da Capivara National Park , the museum explores the history of humans and other species from their earliest known existence.

Highlights include saber-toothed cat teeth and a 6m (20ft) life-size model of the giant sloth Eremotherium , fossils of which were found in the park. Serra da Capivara has an astounding 300 archeological sites where fossils, ceramics, bones and tens of thousands of examples of cave art – the largest collection in the world – have been found over the decades.

These discoveries suggest that humans settled here as far back as 50,000 years ago, challenging the mainstream theory about human settlement in the Americas. An airport was built near the Serra da Capivara in 2015, but the only commercial flights run from Petrolina and Recife; most visitors drive or catch a bus from Petrolina or Teresina.

Aerial view of the Barra lighthouse in Salvador, Brazil

9. Understand Afro-Brazilian culture in Salvador

Chili, coconut, coriander, dried shrimp, dendé palm oil...the ingredients of Bahian cuisine make for some of the tastiest dishes in Brazil, showing the strong African influences in the city of Salvador .

A popular street food is acarajé , a deep-fried ball of black-eyed pea paste stuffed with a dried shrimp stew and condiments. The dish is traditionally made by baianas , descendants of African women; it was even given protected cultural heritage status in 2005. Acarajé is just one of the  baiana -made foods connected to the worship of orixás , deities of Yoruban origin. 

Salvador is the best place in Brazil to immerse yourself in Afro-Brazilian culture and religion. The Caminho dos Orixás do Oxum is a tour of the city’s sights run by an agency specializing in Afro-Brazilian culture. Viare Travel also organizes tours tailored around Afro-Brazilian heritage. 

10. Float down the river in Bonito

An ecotourism boom town near the Pantanal wetlands, Bonito is a giant aquarium and a playground for lovers of nature. The clear waters here spring up through a limestone base that acts as a water purifier, allowing for astounding underwater visibility. Visitors will come face to face with all sorts of fascinating fish while floating down the Rio da Prata. Alternatively, rafting down the Rio Formoso provides a chance to look out for fish and birds while you navigate the rapids.

Costumed performers at Boi Bumba, Brazil's largest folklore festival

11. Party on at festivals in the Amazon

Trees, not people, are what dominate the Amazon in the popular imagination. But the world’s largest rainforest is home to more than 30 million people and they throw some pretty spectacular parties (they’re Brazilian too, after all). Boi Bumbá is a folk festival held in June in Parantins that recounts the death and resurrection of an ox, with music, fireworks, dancing and glittering costumes. 

The biggest Amazonian festival is Círio de Nazaré, a Catholic celebration that attracts more than a million devotees each October. Devout locals file through the streets of Belém , at the mouth of the Amazon River, in a cathartic throng. Some 966km (600 miles) upriver, the town of Maués throws a festival every December to celebrate the harvest of its energy-boosting guaraná fruit. Locals dance on the beaches of the Maués-Acú River until the early hours. 

12. Visit a cachaça distillery 

Also known as pinga  (among dozens of other nicknames), cachaça is an exclusively Brazilian distilled sugarcane spirit that can range from cheap rocket fuel to an expensive, aged artisanal delicacy. It’s also the main ingredient in the unofficial Brazilian national drink, the caipirinha . Bars can provide an easy education in the delights of cachaça – but better still is a distillery tour. 

The Mapa da Cachaça website is a great resource, mapping out distilleries across the country. Minas Gerais is the main cachaça-producing region in Brazil and home to the oldest functioning distillery, Engenho Boa Vista, which has been in business for more than 260 years.

Overlooking the sea, the Maria Izabel distillery is a must for any visitors to Paraty . Rio Encantos runs a cachaça tour in Rio, taking in the historic center of the city and finishing up a cachaça tasting. 

A jaguar in the Panatal, Brazil

13. Track jaguars in the Pantanal

The largest cat in the Americas, the jaguar is a rare and elusive creature. These famed big cats roam far and wide across Brazil, and despite game hunting being illegal since 1967, jaguars are still poached. Add in habitat loss – exacerbated by recent fires and the expansion of cattle ranching – and the result has been a decline in their population, placing these magnificent animals at risk of extinction.

One of the best habitats for spotting jaguars is the Pantanal , the world’s largest wetland, especially during the dry season (April to September). Conservation NGO Onçafari was set up in 2011 to help protect the jaguars through research and ecotourism. The group runs jaguar safaris from its base at the Caiman Lodge , a private nature reserve. A number of local tour operators also run jaguar safaris, and the deeper you get into the wetlands, the better chance you have of spotting one.

Brazil's best hikes from beaches to rainforests

14. Relax on a tropical island

Brazil has thousands of beaches along its coastline, but you can side-step the difficult task of choosing one by escaping to a tropical island instead. Ilha Grande , south of Rio de Janeiro on the Costa Verde, has warm seas and white sandy beaches fringed by the forests of the Mata Atlântica. Ilhabela combines good restaurants for the São Paulo weekenders with hiking trails and guest houses hidden away in dense, jungle-covered hills. 

Smaller Ilha do Mel in the south of Brazil near  Paranaguá feels more remote, with just a handful of accommodation options, plus a lighthouse , fort and caves to explore. The Bahian coast is a safe bet for sunshine, and Boipeba has more than 20km (12 miles) of palm-lined beaches and a castaway vibe. 

15. See street art in São Paulo 

A maze of underpasses and overpasses, sidewalks cracked by tree roots, and steep hills make walking in São Paulo something of an adventure sport. But the reward is a wealth of murals and graffiti daubed across the city’s urban sprawl, all the more striking against the city’s ubiquitous gray concrete.

The colorful Beco do Batman (Batman’s Alley) is a top spot for street art and a tourist honeypot. In Centro, artist Felipe Yung’s 10,000 sq m (107,639 sq ft)  Aquarium covers the facades of 15 buildings. The 3.5km (2.2-mile) Minhoção – officially Via Elevada Presidente João Goulart – is closed to traffic at night and at weekends, making it the perfect place to stroll while taking in artwork by such artists as Speto, Zezão and Mag Magrela.

Cambuci, in the southeast of the city, was the stomping ground for the world-famous duo OsGemeos in their youth, and it’s the best place to see their art outside of museums. In northern São Paulo, the Museu Aberto de Arte Urbana (Open Museum of Urban Art) brings together street art by dozens of creators on the huge columns underneath a metro line.

This article was first published Jan 5, 2022 and updated Sep 28, 2023.

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OnTravlex

17 Best Cities to Visit in Brazil

top cities to visit brazil

Brazil, the largest nation in South America, is also home to a large and varied population. During carnival, samba fills the streets of major cities, and at the country’s stadiums, passionate football supporters shout at the top of their lungs.

The top cities in Brazil boast a limitless variety of attractions, from some of the world’s most gorgeous beaches to a rich cultural legacy.

17. Belo Horizonte

top cities to visit brazil

This city, the capital of Minas Gerais state, gets its name from the surrounding Serra do Espinhaco mountains, which are a sight to see. Belo Horizonte is a huge mix of skyscrapers and favelas, but the city’s tree-lined avenues and parks make it surprisingly pleasant to visit, despite the fact that there aren’t many sights to see.

In this enormous metropolis, there are several museums and cultural landmarks to explore, as well as some stunning examples of architecture. People traveling to Ouro Preto and Tiradentes often make a pit stop here.

top cities to visit brazil

Natal is a popular tourist destination for Brazilians due to its proximity to the beach and the warm weather, but other than that, the city doesn’t offer much. However, there are beautiful beaches in the area, and the atmosphere is relaxed. The massive dune in Ponta Negra is the most impressive feature.

In addition to this, the only other must-see is the unique Forte dos Reis Magos, which has been around since 1598. Since it is the state capital, many people fly into Porto Alegre and then go on to other exciting destinations in Rio Grande do Norte.

15. Niteroi

top cities to visit brazil

Although it’s just over the sea from Rio, Niteroi sees surprisingly few visitors. Niteroi has a variety of great attractions that make it well worth a visit, despite the fact that locals in Rio de Janeiro joke that the finest part of the city is the breathtaking panorama of Rio.

A trip over on the boat is freeing, and the Oscar Niemeyer—designed museum, which looks like a saucer from the outside but has very little to offer inside, is a sight to see. One of the best beaches in the state is close by at Itacoatiara, and if you want to see Rio from a breathtaking vantage point, travel to Parque da Cidade.

top cities to visit brazil

Santos is home to South America’s busiest port as well as some beautiful beaches framed by high-rise white buildings. The large beachfront garden that stretches along the water’s edge is well worth exploring, as are the neighboring historic neighborhoods, formerly home to the coffee lords who negotiated the commodity’s price.

In addition to being a favorite weekend destination for many living in Paulo, Santos is home to a charming old town. Take the funicular to the peak of Monte Serrat for a breathtaking panorama of the metropolis below.

13. Ouro Preto

top cities to visit brazil

Ouro Preto is a charming colonial town that sits on the foothills of the Serra do Espinhaco mountains and boasts a magnificent old center, all of which contribute to the city’s status as a popular tourist destination.

The city, whose name means “black gold,” was formerly the state capital despite its relatively tiny size and its crucial role in Brazil’s gold rush. The ancient town’s cobblestone streets are like stepping back in time, and the picturesque views from the town’s hilltop churches are icing on the cake.

12. Campo Grande

top cities to visit brazil

The city’s prosperity stems from farming and livestock. “The Brunette City” is so called because the brown dirt it is constructed on gives it a distinctive appearance. Campo Grande has a cosmopolitan vibe as a result of its diversified population and its position as a major hub on the commerce route connecting Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Southern Brazil. With such a large student population, the area is always buzzing with activity, and there is no shortage of fun places to eat and drink.

top cities to visit brazil

Belem, not Manaus, is the best-looking city in the Amazon, thanks to its charming colonial core, wonderful architecture, and delectable gastronomy. Located on the shore of Guajara Bay, close to the Amazon River’s mouth, it serves as a convenient jumping off point for excursions all along the coast and farther inland along the Amazon.

10. Fortaleza

top cities to visit brazil

Fortaleza, a bustling city on Brazil’s northeast coast, is home to several beautiful beaches. Many foreign visitors come to enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife and the nearby beaches since it is one of Brazil’s most populous urban areas.

All around Brazil, people know that Fortaleza is where forro music and the great writer Jose de Alcencar originated. The beaches and lively atmosphere more than make up for the lack of traditional tourist attractions.

top cities to visit brazil

Manaus, being smack dab in the middle of the Amazonian jungle, is the starting point for most intrepid explorers of the Amazon. The city may be unpleasant, but the rainforest’s attractions are close at hand, and you should leave as quickly as possible to see them for yourself.

The spectacular Opera House and the Meeting of the Waters, where the Amazon River’s two colorful branches meet, are just two of the many tourist attractions in Manaus.

8. Curitiba

top cities to visit brazil

To go about the city of Curitiba, which is a great example of what can be accomplished with good urban planning, just get on one of the city’s futuristic buses. It’s hardly the most beautiful city in the world, but the beautiful botanical gardens more than make up for that.

Even though there aren’t many eye-popping tourist attractions, Curitiba has been transformed into a lush, leafy city thanks to careful urban design. Unfortunately, the city’s historic core is covered with graffiti, and homelessness is a major issue in Curitiba.

top cities to visit brazil

The second-largest city in Brazil’s northeast is a lively and exciting destination due to its beachfront location.

There is a wide variety of excellent restaurants, pubs, and clubs, and the city’s cultural sector is well worth exploring. The medieval district of Olinda more than makes up for the city’s soulless, vast skyscrapers.

If you can time your visit well, you may enjoy the spectacular carnival and take breaks on the gorgeous beaches.

6. Brasília

top cities to visit brazil

When Brasilia opened in 1960 as the nation’s capital, its planners saw the city as a symbol of Brazil’s promising future. The urban core has a somewhat futuristic vibe thanks to its sleek, high-tech buildings and gridlike structure that recalls an aircraft.

Large parks and tranquil green areas may be found if you go out of the city. Because it sprang from nothing in such a short amount of time, it offers a really unforgettable travel experience. Many visitors come to marvel at the buildings, but don’t miss out on the city’s pulsating nightlife and thriving cultural scene.

5. Foz do Iguaçu

top cities to visit brazil

Foz do Iguacu is a somewhat dull city, yet it serves as a gateway to the beautiful Iguazu Falls, one of the world’s seven natural wonders. Situated on the border with Argentina, the roaring cascades are a sight to see no matter which side you approach them from.

The Brazilian side offers breathtaking vistas of the enormous waterfalls, while the Argentine side offers scenic hiking paths high above them. Foz do Iguacu, so called because it stands at the river’s mouth, is a good site to rest and refuel before continuing on to Argentina to see the falls and other nearby attractions.

4. São Paulo

top cities to visit brazil

The metropolitan area of this massive metropolis is home to well over twenty million people, making it Brazil’s most populous city. Exploring this region will be both physically and mentally taxing. Sao Paulo is a buzzing metropolis, and tourists will enjoy its many exciting attractions.

In addition to its over seventy museums and theaters, the city is home to a plethora of fine dining establishments, a lively nightlife scene, and an infinite number of watering holes. It’s probably in Sao Paulo. Although the city itself is a polluted concrete jungle, the adjacent mountains and jungles provide welcome relief from the hectic pace of daily life. Sao Paulo is an interesting destination because of its variety and active cultural scene.

3. Salvador

top cities to visit brazil

Salvador is an attractive metropolis, especially its historic core, which displays a wonderful variety of colonial buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. It is an exciting and energetic location to visit, especially during carnival, thanks to its strong Afro-Brazilian culture and thriving cultural sector.

The city’s location, on the expansive All Saints Bay, is one of its many selling points. The highlight of Salvador is undoubtedly the city’s historic center, with its charming cobblestone streets, fascinating museums, and distinctive culture that has had far-reaching effects on Brazilian society.

2. Florianopolis

top cities to visit brazil

Florianopolis, the capital of Santa Catarina state, is located in two parts: one on the mainland and one on an island. Florianopolis is a popular Brazilian tourist destination since it is home to some of the country’s most stunning beaches. With its easygoing atmosphere and varied offerings, this place has something for everyone.

Even if the seaside has been somewhat defaced by construction projects, Florianopolis has retained much of its appeal, notably in its historic church and market. In addition to the many watersports, paragliding, and hiking opportunities, forty-two beaches are at your disposal.

1. Rio de Janeiro

top cities to visit brazil

Many people refer to one of the world’s most stunning urban areas as “the Marvelous City,” and with good reason. The famous Copacabana Beach follows the gentle curve of Guanabara Bay, and the soaring peaks of Sugar Loaf and Christ the Redeemer provide a breathtaking backdrop.

The tropical forest-clad mountains and vividly colorful favelas that dot Brazil’s second-largest metropolis, Rio de Janeiro, complement this magnificent environment. Rio de Janeiro is a great place to visit at any time of the year, but during its world-famous carnival, the city becomes the party capital of the globe.

Actually, it’s impossible to make a bad decision by traveling to Rio de Janeiro; samba music is in the air, and the city’s fascinating attractions are always a pleasure to discover. Visit the Maracana stadium to take in a football game; even if you’re not a fan of the beautiful game, you’ll enjoy the electric atmosphere.

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Helena Felipe

10 most beautiful national parks in brazil, 27 top tourist attractions in brazil, you may also like, best places to visit in colombia for singles, best places to visit in florida in november, best places to visit in jamaica for families, best places to visit in toronto for free, best places to visit in north georgia, best places to visit in rhode island in..., best places to visit in south america in..., best places to visit in arizona in december, best places to visit in hawaii in december, best places to visit in connecticut in the..., leave a comment cancel reply.

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top cities to visit brazil

Top 10 Best Cities to Visit in Brazil

  • January 24, 2022

Brazil, which dominates South America's landmass, is a massive country with a diverse population. At carnival time, samba echoes through the streets of its cities, while football fans scream themselves hoarse in the nation's stadiums.

The best cities in Brazil have an endless array of delights that will astound and entice visitors to its shores, with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and rich cultural heritage.

1. Rio de Janeiro

top cities to visit brazil

The Marvelous City, as it is affectionately known by many, is one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. It's a picture-perfect setting, with the famous Copacabana beach curving gently along the shores of Guanabara Bay and Sugar Loaf and Christ the Redeemer stretching towards the heavens.

The sun-soaked beach of Ipanema, as well as the tropical forest-covered mountains and brightly colored favelas that dot Brazil's second-largest city, complement this majestic scenery. A vibrant city, the best time to visit is during its famous carnival when Rio is transformed into the world's party capital.

2. Florianopolis

top cities to visit brazil

Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, is enthralling to walk around, and its historic center is filled with beautiful art and stunning architecture. This lovely city is situated along the Arno River. The Ponte Vecchio bridge that spans it, along with the incredible Duomo at its heart, is one of Florence's most famous sights. Its delightful piazzas, lined with heavenly churches and impressive statues, are a joy to stroll through. Botticelli and Michelangelo’s masterpieces are generously displayed to the world in its fantastic museums.

Delightful cafes and restaurants overlook the ancient cobblestones, and Florence never disappoints when it comes to fantastic shopping, sumptuous Tuscan cuisine, and delicious wines.

3. Salvador

top cities to visit brazil

With its beautiful Old Town that showcases such a delightful array of 17th and 18th-Century colonial architecture, Salvador is certainly a charming city to behold. Its rich, Afro-Brazilian culture and vibrant arts scene shine through, and it´s an intoxicating and lively place to be, particularly during carnival.

Located on the huge All Saints Bay, the city´s setting only adds to its attractiveness. While the Old Town with its cobbled streets, historic sites, and interesting museums, is the highlight of Salvador, the feel about the place is infectious – its unique culture has greatly impacted Brazilian society around the country.

4. São Paulo

top cities to visit brazil

This massive city is the largest in Brazil, with a population of over twenty million people living within its metropolitan area. As a result, exploring it is both exhausting and exhilarating. Sao Paulo is a hive of activity, and visitors will appreciate its diverse range of world-class attractions.

There are numerous high-end restaurants, a raucous nightlife scene, and an inexhaustible number of bars, not to mention the cultural sites, which include over seventy museums and a plethora of theaters. Sao Paulo has it if it exists. A smog-filled concrete jungle, the nearby mountains, and rainforests provide respite from the fast-paced city life. Sao Paulo, a very cosmopolitan city, is fascinating to explore due to its diversity and thriving cultural scene.

5. Foz do Iguaçu

top cities to visit brazil

The breathtaking Iguazu Falls, one of the world's natural wonders, are the main attraction of Foz do Iguacu, an otherwise uninspiring city to visit. The falls, which are located on the border with Argentina, is worth seeing from both sides – the pounding cascades are mesmerizing in their beauty.

On the Brazilian side, you can get a bird's-eye view of the massive cascades, while on the Argentine side, there are some lovely trails above them. The city of Foz does Iguacu, named after the mouth of the river it sits on, is a convenient stopover when exploring the falls and other natural wonders in the area before continuing on to Argentina.

6. Brasília

top cities to visit brazil

The capital was inaugurated in 1960, and this planned city was envisioned as modern Brazil's future. Its center has a futuristic feel to it, with modern architecture and an airplane-shaped grid-like layout.

Large green spaces and peaceful parks can be found if you venture further afield. It's a one-of-a-kind place to visit because it was created from nothing in an astonishingly short period of time. Although many visitors come to marvel at the architecture, the vibrant nightlife and cultural scene are also worth exploring.

top cities to visit brazil

The second-largest city in northeast Brazil, set alongside the beach, is a lively and upbeat place to visit.

It has an interesting cultural scene, and the nightlife is definitely worth seeing; there are numerous great restaurants, bars, and clubs to choose from. Although the soulless sprawling skyscrapers are not particularly appealing to the eye, the historic center of Olinda more than compensates.

Try to visit during its fantastic carnival, when you can revel in the incredible atmosphere and cool off on the beautiful beaches when you need a break.

top cities to visit brazil

Niteroi, located just across the bay from Rio, is rarely visited by tourists. While Cariocas joke that the best thing about Niteroi is the spectacular view of Rio, there are a number of nice sites that make it worthwhile to visit.

Taking the ferry over is a liberating experience, and the impressive saucer-like museum designed by Oscar Niemeyer looks incredible, despite the fact that there isn't much inside. The nearby Itacoatiara beach is one of the best in the state, and for the best view of Rio, make your way to Parque da Cidade.

top cities to visit brazil

Manaus' location right in the heart of the rainforest makes it the ideal destination for adventurers looking to explore the Amazon. While the city itself is quite ugly, the natural wonders of the rainforest are only a short distance away, and you would be much better off exploring the jungle as soon as possible.

However, because Manaus is a large city, there are a few places worth seeing, such as the incredible Opera House and the Meeting of the Waters – where two different colored parts of the Amazon River meet.

10. Fortaleza

top cities to visit brazil

Fortaleza, located on Brazil's northeast coast, is a vibrant city with a plethora of beaches just waiting to be discovered. As one of the largest cities in Brazil, it has a vibrant nightlife scene; many tourists come here to party and enjoy the city's beaches.

Fortaleza is well-known throughout the country as the birthplace of forro music and the influential author Jose de Alcencar. While there aren't many tourist attractions, the beaches, and fun atmosphere more than compensate.

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  • TheTraveler .net
  • Places of interest

The 15 best places to visit in Brazil

Claire, Journalist and travel blogger

The 6 months I spent in Brazil count among my favourite adventures. From the local atmosphere, to the culture and the sublime landscapes, I don’t know which has left the greatest mark on me. In any case, one thing is sure, Brazil is an unforgettable destination that astonishes in 1001 ways. Since it is a large country, it can be difficult to choose which places to visit, so here’s an introduction to the essential discoveries on your trip to Brazil. If you want to discover the quintessential cities at the heart of Brazilian culture, visit Rio de Janeiro, Salvador de Bahia, São Paulo, Ouro Preto, Tiradentes, Recife and Olinda. Want to relax on heavenly beaches? Take your sarong and enjoy Florianopolis, the Costa Verde, the Fernando De Noronha archipelago and Jericoacoara. Last but not least, visit Brazil’s natural wonders - the Iguazu Falls, the Amazon and the Chapada Diamantina, Lençois Maranhenses and Pantanal national parks.

Tourist attractions

Our selection of must-see places.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

Welcome to the most emblematic city in Brazil! How can you visit Brazil without experiencing the "Maravilhosa Cidade" (Marvelous City)? Here, every street, every neighbourhood is famous: the Corcovado, the statue of Christ the Redeemer who watches over the city; needing no introduction, Sugarloaf Mountain, rises above the Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. Stroll through the Botanical Garden or Tijuca Forest, the largest urban forest in the world. Museum lovers, will be delighted by fine arts, the national museum and the Museum of Tomorrow. Discover the picturesque district of Santa Teresa, its spectacular views of the bay, its cobbled streets and its tramway. And finally, Rio, birthplace of the samba, is the prime spot to enjoy the best concerts - on the streets or the beaches, in cafés or at the famous Sambodrôme during Carnival.

The Iguaçu Falls

The Iguaçu Falls

The simply breathtaking Iguaçu Falls are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Imagine 80m waterfalls of phenomenal power, bordered by the rainforest. Take the time to witness the abundant flora and fauna. The rainbows and tropical animals which surround you lend an additional touch of magic. Although most of the park is in Argentina, the Brazilian side is no less spectacular. If you’re still considering a visit to this part of Brazil, then go for it because Iguaçu is a unique place in the world.

Recife and Olinda

Recife and Olinda

Proudly representative of the region of Pernambuco, Recife is famous for its folk traditions which come alive during Carnival. The style of the region’s music, dancing, and dress is unique and colourful. Known as the "Venice of Brazil" you will discover the typical Dutch and Portuguese architecture of the area. Linger in Recife Antigo or Pernambuco’s museums to learn more about the traditions of the region. At the gates of the city, you will discover the adorable multi-coloured village of Olinda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a marvel that you should not miss. Then, on the coast, enjoy fabulous, picture perfect beaches.

The Chapada Diamantina National Park

The Chapada Diamantina National Park

Located in the heart of the Bahia region, this national park is full of wonders to discover. Go on a hike to climb the fabulous hills and plateaus that dominate the valley. The area takes its name from "chapada" meaning the highlands, and "diamondina" referring to the former diamond mines. You can also visit several caves, for spelunking or, more surprisingly, to go swimming. The Poço Azul (blue pool cave) is particularly stunning: the water is both an intense blue and yet so transparent that when you bathe there it feels vertiginous. And if you want to bask in crystal clear waters, visit the waterfalls and small, relaxing beaches.

Salvador de Bahia

Salvador de Bahia

A veritable cradle of Brazilian culture, Salvador is one of the most beautiful cities in Brazil, thanks to its colourful colonial architecture and its diverse heritage. Here, we find traces of both Portuguese and African culture in the local traditions and food culture. Joyful, multi-ethnic and captivating, the prevailing atmosphere in Salvador is electrifying. Among the most beautiful places in the city, do not miss Pelourinho, the historic centre listed as UNESCO World Heritage site, then take the elevator Lacenda to get to the market. Don’t forget the Barra lighthouse and its beaches, the Dinha square in the Rio Vermelho district, and the beaches of Itapua.

Belém, Manaus, and the Amazon rainforest

Belém, Manaus, and the Amazon rainforest

Legendary. Mystical. The Amazon rainforest inspires dreams. Its lush flora and abundant fauna, its indigenous communities and unexplored spaces make the Amazon more than a destination - it’s an adventure! Two big cities allow you to acquaint yourself with the rainforest: Belèm and Manaus. Each built in the colonial architectural style, there are some interesting monuments and museums such as the theatres, the Biopark and the museums of palaeontology and natural sciences. After visiting these cities, you can easily find excursions to explore the forest, whether by car or boat. Feel free to take several days and let yourself be guided by local guides.

Florianopolis

Florianopolis

Known as the city where “life is best in Brazil", Florianópolis is the ideal destination for those who want to enjoy a city on a human scale, lined with beaches. Located on the island of Santa Catarina, you can find beautiful natural and urban landscapes in the city. The forests and beaches that cover the island offer a spectacular setting for strolling or lazing around. In the city, the picturesque streets of the historic centre will astonish with their colours and paved floors. There are also many tourist attractions such as the cathedral, the municipal market, the palace and the fortresses which tell the story of the island before it became the favourite holiday destination of Brazilians.

The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

This absolutely exceptional park is unique in Brazil. Imagine endless sand dunes intermingled with lagoons and a magnificent view of the ocean. Unfolding over 30km by 50km, the park is as large as the city of São Paulo. Travel the desert in a 4x4 searching for lagoons to take swimming breaks. You will particularly appreciate them in the local heat. Some oases are surrounded by a jungle so dense that you might think you were in the full Amazon. Kitesurfing enthusiasts will find an ideal playground here. The cities of Barreirinhas (the best known) and Atins, smaller but equally magical, both offer access to the park.

The Pantanal National Park

The Pantanal National Park

Known as the largest marsh in the world, the Pantanal is also the most beautiful animal sanctuary in Brazil. Here, nature exercises its full power over virgin landscapes. Here we see how fragile, precious and magnificent nature can be. Nature lovers can discover a corner of paradise to observe monkeys, jaguars, sloths, iguanas, caimans, toucans and parrots. Even endangered species such as the anteater, the giant otter or the Brazilian tapir can be seen. A visit inspires great respect for Mother Earth and a wild desire to defend it.

Costa Verde

Costa Verde

Situated between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, the Costa Verde is a corner of paradise spread over 200km of coastline. Beaches are entwined with mountains covered in lush vegetation, and no fewer than 300 small islands dot the coastline. Among the many wonders to discover is the fishing village of Paraty. Its cobbled streets and architecture give the impression that time has stood still. Ilha Grande is an island where there are no cars, only lovely beaches and all manner of excursions to explore the mountains or the coast. Finally, Costa Verde is host to two incredible sites for exploring the area’s flora and fauna - the Serra da Bocaina National Park and the Joatinga Ecological Reserve.

Fernando De Noronha Archipelago

Fernando De Noronha Archipelago

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the archipelago is a model of ecotourism. Each day, only a handful of tourists are allowed to visit and ecology is at the heart of local life. Arriving on the island, you’ll soon understand the desire to preserve this area where nature is so rich. Tropical forests abound and are home to various species of flora and fauna, the beaches are exceptionally beautiful, and the transparent waters attract marine animals such as dolphins and turtles. Such a teeming ecosystem brings divers from far and wide. The beauty of the archipelago relaxes and restores with its calming energy.

Tiradentes

If you like cobblestones and small picturesque villages, then do not miss a visit to Tiradentes. Between Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, this adorable village is a picture perfect blend of multicoloured cobblestone streets, churches and colonial architecture. Due to its geographical location, Tiradentes became an important staging post for gold and gem prospectors. Today, it retains the authenticity and typical charm of an old Brazilian village. The kind of village to take time strolling around. Among the must-see attractions, discover the magnificent fountain that has become the symbol of the city, as well as the Padre Toledo Museum. You will discover Tiradentes’ an important role in the history of Brazil’s independence.

São Paulo

The economic powerhouse of Brazil, São Paulo is the largest and most dynamic city in the country. Within its maze of buildings, the city hides marvels to be discovered. Lovers of culture and history will be fascinated by the art galleries of São Paulo, the football museum , Afro Brazil museum, the cathedral and the abbey. Contemporary culture is also apparent - every street corner hosts street art and entertainment. Paulista Avenue is the ideal venue to take in the the local atmosphere. Finally, if you want to breathe in more natural spaces, visit the Botanical Garden, Luz Park and Ibirapuera Park. In the evening, visit the small bars and restaurants so typical of the city and let yourself be carried away by the festive atmosphere.

Jericoacoara

Jericoacoara

Jericoacoara or "Jeri" to its friends is a destination that is off the beaten track. Located 300 km from Fortaleza, it is accessible only by 4x4. Once you have arrived, you will find a beautiful seaside resort where even the the streets are covered with sand. You will amble past fishing boats and animals roaming free. The white sand beaches and fresh water lagoons will make you want to walk for hours or just bask in the warm, transparent waters. You can also enjoy activities such as sandboarding, windsurfing, paddle boarding, horse riding, quad biking and even capoeira.

Ouro Preto

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ouro Preto is a charming city steeped in history. Built in 1711, it was very popular with prospectors in search of gold. In the middle of this luxuriantly wooded valley, you will discover the typical architecture of the colonial cities - white houses with coloured doors and paved floors. Even more beautiful are the 10 Baroque churches of bewitching splendour. You can also visit the old mines and take guided tours to trace the history of the region at the time of the gold rush. As for local crafts, soapstone is the specialty of the area - you will find a colourful selection of vases, mortars and pestles and statuettes.

Travel tips

Claire's review

Brazil is a country with a uniquely different culture. By taking part in the local activities we get to soak up the culture and have meaningful exchanges with local people. So it would be a shame to visit Brazil without taking participating in the events that give life to this wonderful country. Music, dance, cooking, sport, every activity becomes an excuse to share with the locals. If you are daunted by the language barrier, many locals working in tourism speak at least some English.

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20 Cities in Brazil

- This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure.

Brazil is South America’s largest country and the only one with Portuguese as its primary language. The majority of the Amazon Rainforest lies in Brazil, yet this vast country also has an extensive coastline with many of the main cities in Brazil sitting on the South Atlantic.

The Portuguese first arrived here early in the 16th century, and their time in the country has left many reminders of colonialism. Brazil gained true independence in 1822, and today it comprises 26 provinces within five regions. The national population of almost 220 million makes it the seventh most populous in the world. Sao Paulo, with over 11 million, is the largest city in Brazil, while the former capital, Rio de Janeiro, with half that number, is the city that attracts the most tourism. The Government decided to create a new city, Brasilia, in the interior as the new capital.

Brazil’s diversity and multiculturalism are just two reasons to visit. Catholicism is important and while “Carnival” is celebrated around the world each year, few do it, as well as Brazil. Add the country’s passion for soccer, the riches of the Amazon and the Pantanal, and you have a country that should be on every traveller’s list. Read on, and you will learn more about the best cities in Brazil. 

3- Porto Velho

4- salvador, 5- fortaleza, 7- sao luis, 9- brasilia, 10- goiania, 11- campo grande, 13- sao paulo, 14- rio de janeiro, 15- belo horizonte, 16- guarulhos, 17- campinas, 18- sao concalo, 19- curitiba, 20- porto alegre, cities in brazil, brazil cities – north.

This is the largest of the five regions, comprising seven provinces and is virtually all Amazonian Rainforest with sparse population density.

Much of it is remote, with limited highways and transport by air or boat.

You might be surprised to discover that major cities in Brazil have been built within the Amazon yet here are three that have developed into sizeable settlements.

aerial view of manaus across the water

Manaus, with a population more than two million, sits where the Negro and Solimoes Rivers meet before they join the Amazon itself.

It takes the name of the indigenous tribe living in this region when the Portuguese first arrived, the Manaos.

It is in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest so it is both the stepping point for exploring but also the city where trade relating to the forest is centred; timber, rubber, nuts and rosewood oil.

Rubber was the product that really led to its growth late in the 19th century.

In the city you will find a variety of indigenous and regional museums, gardens, an opera house and a cathedral.

Top tour: Brazil Manaus Indian Village and Meeting of the Waters Tour.

Fishing boats and colourful houses in Belem

Belem is a port city 100 kilometres (62.5 miles) upriver from the Atlantic.

It is the capital of Para Province with a population approaching 1.5 million and almost as many again living in the greater metropolitan area.

It was the first colony established on the Amazon by the Portuguese in 1616.

Part of the city still has plenty of reminders of colonial times, but the more modern part has several skyscrapers.

Mango trees abound in the older parts and those early days gave it its name, Santa Maria de Belem in Lisbon, which itself is regularly shortened to Belem.

The third city in the North worth considering is Porto Velho in the Upper Amazon Basin.

Its growth to a population above half a million is partly due to the mining of cassiterite which was discovered a century ago.

That led to the construction of a railroad and increased trading activity from a base of just 1,000 inhabitants. Cassiterite remains the most important source of tin today.

Workers came from the Caribbean, mostly Barbados resulting in a large neighbourhood being nicknamed “Bajan Hill.”

Cities in Brazil – North East

This is a coastal region of nine provinces and where the Portuguese first landed.

Brazil’s first capital, Salvador, is here with highway communications along the extensive coast reasonably good.

However, the northeast remains a relatively poor region of Brazil.

Its lovely beaches alone are a reason to head to this part of Brazil. In addition, the architecture relating to the time when the Portuguese dominated the region remains impressive.

aerial view of salvador city, beach and ocean

Salvador in Bahai State is famed for its cuisine and music, a planned port city founded in the mid-16th century and Brazil’s first capital city.

Many Africans came here to work, hence Salvador being the centre of Afro-Brazilian culture.

Colonial architecture is a serious reason for travellers visiting this city; UNESCO recognised its value, making it a World Heritage Site in 1985.

Its Carnival is the biggest in the world according to the Guinness World Records.

Its population is just short of three million, with a further one million living in the immediate vicinity.

Top tour: Private City Tour in Salvador .

Colorful Colonial Houses Of Fortaleza, Brazil

Fortaleza is almost as big as Salvador in population terms; 2.7 million, with half as many again in the greater metropolitan region.

Its location makes it the closest Brazilian city to Europe, hence its importance as a trading port.

The Portuguese founded a settlement here in 1603, building a fort and naming it Nova Lisboa (New Lisbon).

After the Portuguese defeated the French a decade later, the settlement began to expand.

The Atlantic is just north of the city, with other towns to its south and west.

Top tour: 3 Beaches in 1 Day Tour Leaving Fortaleza .

aerial view of recife beach and buildings

Recife was one of the early settlements in northeast Brazil, way back in 1537.

Today’s population exceeds 1.6 million, with the total urban area having over four million.

Sugar cane was central to Recife’s economy through its growth, developed by the Dutch West India Company initially.

Its rivers and islands earned it the nickname “Brazilian Venice.”

In recent decades, industries such as vehicles, ships, and electronics have developed.

More recently, medical and educational activities have grown enormously. The beaches and historical sites attract significant numbers of tourists.

Top tour: Half-Day Museum Tour in Recife .

Sao Luis, Old City Street View, Brazil, South America

The French founded São Luís on Upaon-acu Island and Ilha de São Luís and today has a population of just over a million.

UNESCO made its original heart a World Heritage Site in 1997.

The highlights for tourists lie in Praia Grande, where there are two palaces, the Palace of the Lions, where the State Governor lives has lovely French art and furniture, and the 17th century La Ravardière Palace.

The city has two ports with the export of iron ore as their primary activity.

Metallurgical industries are essential to the economy.

Top tour: Sao Luis Route of Emotions .

waterfront and beach of maceio at sunset

“Maceió” is an Indigenous word for a spring and you will find that there are many flowing into the ocean here if you pay a visit.

Settlement began early in the 19th Century with sugar, tobacco and cotton plantations established, with the products then being exported to Europe.

Trade in leather, spices and coconut also helped in its growth.

Colonial houses in pastel colours still stand in its heart, while other attractions are the 19th-century Cathedral and the Théo Brandão Museum of Anthropology and Folklore in a renovated seafront mansion.

An offshore reef means that its lovely white sandy beaches are a delight. Check out this tour.

Cities in Brazil – Central West

The Federal District of Brasilia and three provinces make up the Central West Region, where transport once again the air and using the country’s rivers.

There is very limited industrialisation, with agriculture an important aspect of the area.

The Capital Of Brazil, Brasilia At Night

In 1960, Brasilia in the Brazilian Highlands became the national capital, taking over from Rio de Janeiro, which had been the capital since 1763.

It is a planned city whose modern architecture earned it UNESCO World Heritage status in 1987 and “City of Design” in 2017.

Today’s population is around 2.5 million, and Brasilia has domestic flight connections throughout the country.

Its construction finally implemented plans that had been discussed for decades.

Not surprisingly, much of its economic activity is based on its status as capital, Brasilia being the 3rd highest GDP in Brazil.

Find out more about Brasilia on a city tour. 

brazil cities Goiania

Goiânia is another planned city. Its population is 1.5 million, with a further million living within the immediate vicinity.

It was built in the 1930s to serve as the capital of Goias Province.

It is located 200 kilometres (125 miles) from Brasilia. Its economy involves industry and agriculture, medicine and fashion.

Green areas for which it was famous are gradually disappearing and the city grows with debate about green areas per capita under constant discussion.

Campo Grande is the largest city in the Mato Grosso do Sul, a city whose nickname, Cidade Morena (“Swarthy City”), is a result of the reddish-brown colour of its soil.

Today’s population of 906,092 is an increase of over three-quarters of a million in half a century.

The city is truly cosmopolitan, with immigrants arriving from the Middle East, Japan and Europe to join the local indigenous peoples and some from Brazil’s neighbours.

The result is an interesting culture that visitors are sure to enjoy.

Top tour: Pantanal Day Trip .

Cuiabá is the gateway to the Pantanal, a truly rich wildlife region to rival anything in South America, founded early in the 18th century when gold was discovered.

It is a city of around half a million in a region known for its livestock and agriculture.

This fast-growing city is the capital of Mato Grosso and has been for two centuries, with its population a mix of European, African and local indigenous peoples.

Travellers will find a city rich in music and dance and known for its distinctive cuisine.

Top tour: 8-Day Jaguars and Pantanal Safari.

Cities in Brazil – South

The four provinces of the South are the economic hub of Brazil, responsible for around 50% of Brazil’s GDP.

This is comfortably the region with the most population; 80 million or so.

Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are both cities and provinces, with the two also the dominant ones when it comes to one of Brazil’s real passions, soccer.

Brazil has won the World Cup 5 times, more than any other country.

Back View Of Girl Holding Hat Enjoying View Of Sao Paulo Cityscape, Brazil.

Brazil’s largest city with its GDP is is Latin America’s biggest city.

In the greater metropolitan area, there are over 30 million people.

Not surprisingly, it is important when it comes to commerce and industry as well as being a centre for entertainment and the arts.

There is much to see and do in a city of monuments, parks and museums.

The annual calendar of events means there is bound to be something happening when you visit.

Perhaps the annual Jazz Festival, the Brazilian Grand Prix, the Fashion Week or the ATP Brazil Open?

If any of these events appeal to you, check on the respective dates when planning a trip.

Top tour: São Paulo’s Full Day City Tour: Main City Sights in 7 Hours .

Rio de Janeiro and sugarloaf mountain at sunset

Mention Rio and your mind is likely to wander to its lovely beaches, Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer (Corcovado).

Few cities in the Southern Hemisphere attract as many tourists annually as Rio de Janeiro.

Photographs of the city from the air are stunning and those views are available to anyone taking the cable car up to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Carnival, the samba and the bosa nova are further reasons to put Rio on your “must see” list.

While there, all soccer fans should visit the Maracana Stadium, where many famous soccer games have taken place, including two World Cup Finals, in 1950 and 2014.

Top tour: Full Day in Rio: Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, Maracana and Selaron with Lunch .

aerial view of belo horizonte

Belo Horizonte (‘Beautiful Horizon’) is a city of 2.7 million with more than double that amount living in the immediate vicinity.

The capital of Minas Gerais, Brazil’s first planned city, was built on several hills surrounded by mountains.

The first settlement dates from the 18th century with the city you see today planned late in the 19th.

There are many large parks in the area with plenty of forested areas as well.

The Jambeiro Woods (Mata do Jambeiro) is a large nature reserve with over 100 species of birds inhabiting it and 10 species of mammals.

Top tour: Discover Belo Horizonte City .

This city is within the greater metropolitan area of Sao Paulo, with its own population exceeding a million.

The name is from the local indigenous Tupi word translated into “Eaters”, or “big-bellied people”, referring to the region’s original inhabitants.

The first colonial settlement here was established in the middle of the 16th Century by Jesuit priests.

At that time, a few small villages were regularly threatened by other indigenous tribes.

aerial view of Campinas city and taquaral lagoon

Likewise, Campinas is within “Greater Sao Paulo” and has a population exceeding a million.

The name means “grass fields” which aptly described the area that was once dense subtropical forest with several rivers and rolling hills.

It was founded in 1774 but yellow fever struck, killing a large percentage of the population during the 1800s.

Coffee, cotton and sugar cane were central to the economy with coffee being the main reason for its prosperity.

Its infrastructure quickly developed with theatres, opera houses, newspapers established, together with good educational and medical facilities.

São Gonçalo is a city of over a million within the greater metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro.

Its industrial contribution to the Rio State GDP is important.

Part of the city lies within the Central Rio de Janeiro Atlantic Forest Mosaic created this century aiming to improve conservation locally.

Sao Concalo’s population has increased by 200,000 this century alone, an indication of the opportunities the city provides for employment.

Cities in Brazil – South East

The three provinces of the South East have a relatively good standard of living.

Urbanisation is relatively recent with a significant number of Brazilians of European descent in the largest cities.

Park Barigui In Curitiba At Sunrise With Buildings And Street Light, Brazil

Curitiba is capital of the Parana Province and has a population approaching two million.

It is found on a plateau, 932 metres (over 3,000 feet) above sea level.

In its early days, the 18th Century, its role was to link the livestock industry with its market.

Subsequently, its growth continued because of logging, then coffee and agricultural production.

It remains a prosperous city, with around half of the inhabitants arriving from elsewhere.

Reader’s Digest named it the top “Brazilian Big City” for living and has few problems in attracting investment, yet its unemployment rate is surprisingly high.

Find out more on this Curitiba City Tour .

aerial view of port alegre

“Joyful Harbour” is the capital of Rio Grande do Sul and boasts a population of 1.5 million.

A further three million live within the greater metropolitan area.

Its origins date back to 1769, with settlement established on the east bank of Guaiba Lake, taking advantage of the fact that there was the potential to develop a port.

At one time, it had a worryingly high crime rate, but happily, that rate has fallen.

Travellers to Porto Alegre should head to the main square where the cathedral, Praca Marechal Deodoro, displays its Renaissance style.

Other landmarks are the Piratini Palace and the Sao Pedro Theatre, both 19th Century. Nature lovers will surely head to the Aparados da Serra National Park.

Top tour: Sailing in Guaíba with White Swan Boats .

For more incredible cities around the world, read:

  • 20 Best Cities at Night
  • 20 Best Cities in Mexico
  • 20 Best Cities in Greece
  • 20 Best Cities in Poland
  • 20 Best Cities in Spain
  • 20 Best Cities in Portugal
  • 20 Best Cities in Ohio
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  • 20 Best Cities in Indiana
  • 20 Best Cities in Texas
  • 20 Best Cities in Florida
  • 20 Best Cities in Iowa
  • 20 Best Cities in Illinois
  • 20 Best Cities in Wyoming
  • 20 Best Cities in Tennessee
  • 20 Best Cities in Nevada
  • 20 Best Cities in Alabama
  • 20 Best Cities in Oklahoma
  • 20 Best Cities in Idaho
  • 20 Best Cities in New Mexico
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  • 20 Best Cities in North Carolina
  • 20 Best Cities in Vietnam
  • 20 Best Danube River Cities
  • 10 Best Party Cities in Canada
  • 10 Best Cities in Canada For Kids
  • 20 Best Cities in Hawaii
  • 20 Best Cities in Romania
  • 20 Best Cities in Finland
  • 20 Best Cities in France
  • 20 Best Cities in Taiwan
  • 20 Best Cities in Turkey
  • 20 Best Cities in Scotland
  • 20 Best Cities in New York
  • 20 Best Cities in England
  • 20 Best Cities in Switzerland
  • 20 Best Cities in New Zealand
  • 20 Best Cities in Iceland
  • 20 Best Cities in Netherlands
  • 20 Best Cities in Belgium
  • 20 Best Cities in Jordan
  • 20 Best Cities in Italy
  • 20 Best Cities in Ireland
  • 20 Best Cities in Germany
  • 20 Best Cities in Brazil
  • 20 Best Cities in Armenia

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In this article, we will be diving into the 10 most populated cities in the world, starting in Tokyo and ending in Los Angeles. Our earth provides a diverse landscape with history and culture and a great biodiversity. Together, we will drive into the hearts of all cities and uncover their uniqueness. It’s time to introduce you to the world’s most populated city.

Top 10 Best Metropolitan Cities in India 2024

List of the 10 Most Populated Cities in the World:

1. tokyo, japan.

Tokyo, Japan

Approximately 37 million people

As the capital of Japan, Tokyo is a bustling metropolis known for its modern skyscrapers, technological advancements, and vibrant culture. It’s also one of the world’s most populous urban areas, with a mix of traditional temples and futuristic architecture. Japan is a nation in East Asia that is famous for its heritage culture, advancing technology, and beautiful landscapes.In total, Japan is an amazing place to visit that comes with a blend of tradition and innovation that offers visitors and their residences a blend of nature, rich culture, and innovations.Tokyo is the capital of Japan.The capital of Japan is Tokyo, and it is famous for its vibrant urban centres all over the world. The dynamicity provides traditional Japanese culture that exists with the most advanced technology. With modern technology and traditional culture, it provides an unforgettable experience for every visitor. Tokyo is one of the second-most populated cities in the world, with a population of 31 million people. Tokyo is one of the largest metropolises in the world.Tokyo drives the economy and holds the finances of various multinational companies around the world, including multinational corporations, financial institutes, and tech giants. This city provides diverse facilities regardless of the population living in the city. It provides job opportunities with high-quality labour. Ultimately, this helps the country and company grow.

Suggested Read:

Top 20 Cleanest Cities in India To Explore in 2024

2. Shanghai, China

Shanghai population in world

Approximately 27 million people

It is one of the iconic cities of China, popular for its heritage, culture, diversity, and landscape. Over 27 million people live here, and it covers 6340 square kilometres of area, which makes it the most populous city in the world and one of the largest cities in the world. Shanghai is the financial centre of China, providing a major hub for commerce, trade, and manufacturing industries. The economy of this city is diverse, with key sectors including finance, technology, manufacturing, and shipping. Shanghai cuisine is famous all over the world. Dear local specialities are super dumplings, pan-fried burns, and noodles.

3. São Paulo, Brazil

São Paulo

Approximately 22 million people

Sao Paulo is also referred to as SP in short or sampa. It is the largest city in Brazil and holds third place on the list of the most populated cities in the world. This city is the home of 22 million people. Just like Japan, Sao Paulo is also the financial hub of Brazil.All the industries related to commerce or service sectors, including finance, manufacturing, entertainment, and technology, are based in this city of Brazil, and the stock exchange of South Polo, which is so important to Paulos, is one of the largest stock exchanges in the world.

Paulo is a very vibrant country where people of all nations live and work in harmony, which represents the dynamic of San Paulo.

Top 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live in 2024: Cost of Living and Key Insights

4. Mumbai, India

Mumbai - population in world

Approximately 21 million people

India is well known for its cultural diversity, natural heritage, vibrant culture, biodiversity, biodiversity and its fastest-growing economy. Mumbai was originally known as Bombay and is one of the financial hubs of India. It is also known as a financial capital or the home of Bollywood. Around 21 million people live in Mumbai, which makes it the most populated city in India and the third-most populous city in the world. Mumbai is the home of the Reserve Bank of India and the stock exchange market, which is the Bombay Stock Exchange, or BSE. Bombay has earned the name city of Dreams because many people come here with big dreams and the passion to complete them.Finding out the solution to overcome challenge of improper living facilities. Bombay is a center of attraction for tourists because of its heritage.

5. Beijing, China

Beijing is the capital of Japan, and it is one of the densest areas of China. China is the position on number two for the most populous country after India. It covers over 16410 square kilometers of area, which is the home of 21 million people. Beijing is a city of history, culture, and technology. This city is well known for its heritage sites, including the Forbidden City Wall of China and the temple of Heaven. The most famous universities in China are also located in Beijing, including Shinjuwa University and Singing University, along with other research institutes that are the center of attention for Chinese students and also attract foreign students. Despite having a large dance population and modernization, this city has still managed to have greenery sites so that people can enjoy them.

6. Karachi, Pakistan

Approximately 20 million people

Karachi is the largest and densest area of Pakistan. Karachi is the home of 20 million residents, serving the country as a technology, economic, and industrial hub.Karachi is spread over 35027 square kilometers on the Arabian Sea coast, which makes it the largest city in Pakistan by density and area.Apart from its density, Karachi is also known as a financial haven of Pakistan that contributes a significant portion of the gross domestic product of the country. The city has a diverse economy and various industries related to textile finance, manufacturing, and shipping services.

Kasimpur, which is located in Karachi, is one of the largest and busiest ports in South Asia and handles a large portion of Pakistan’s international trade. The rapid population growth has caused problems in the situation in front of Karachi because housing facilities, pollution, and congested sites with socioeconomic disparities have led to riots in this city.

7. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Approximately 19 million people

Dhaka is famous for its rapid urbanization. Bangladesh is one of the least developed countries. Despite this, the capital city of Bangladesh, Dhaka, is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and rapid urbanization. Dhaka is the 8th most populated city in the world. Dhaka is also the economic center of Bangladesh, which comes with a rich heritage, culture, and diversity. The city is diverse, with booming industries including textile garment manufacturing and finance. Dhaka is the home of the Dhaka Stock Exchange, which is one of the largest stock centres in South Asia.

8. Istanbul, Turkey

Approximately 16 million people

It is a very diverse and cultural city in Turkey that is the home of 16 million people, and this country holds the position of the 9th most populous city in the world. Tanbull is located between Asia and Europe, which makes it a unique place of Asian-European culture. It covers an area of 2063 square miles. The architecture of Istanbul leaves visitors stunned by its diverse cultural heritage. Turkish foods such as kabab, Turkish coffee, and many more are famous all over the world.

9. Los Angeles, United States

Approximately 13 million people

Los Angeles is well known for its location and for being the global center of entertainment industry culture and business. Los Angeles is the second-most populated city in the United States but the 10th most populated city on the list of the world’s most populated cities. Los Angeles is the home of 13 million people, which is a metropolitan area, the most famous area of California, and the second most famous area in the United States. It covers over 1302 square miles in southern California. This city is known as the home of Hollywood industry film studios, production companies, and entertainment conglomerates.

We discussed the culture and heritage of various countries in the world that were on the top list.

  • Tokyo, Japan, has approximately 37 million people, making it the most populous city in the world.
  • Shanghai, China, is the most populous city in the country, with over 27 million residents.
  • São Paulo, Brazil, is home to approximately 22 million people, making it one of the world’s most populous cities.
  • Mumbai, India, also known as Bombay, is the financial capital of the country and has a population of around 21 million.
  • Beijing, the capital of China, has a population of approximately 21 million people.
  • Karachi, Pakistan, is the largest and most populous city in the country, with around 20 million residents.
  • Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, has a population of approximately 19 million people.
  • Istanbul, Turkey, is the most populous city in the country, with around 16 million residents.
  • Los Angeles, California, is home to approximately 13 million people, making it one of the most populous cities in the U.S.
  • Los Angeles, United States, is often referred to as the entertainment capital of the world due to its prominence in the film and television industry.

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ELLE DECOR

25 Beautiful Cities Around the World to Add to Your Travel Bucket List

Posted: May 28, 2024 | Last updated: May 28, 2024

<p>Forested national parks, idyllic <a href="https://www.housebeautiful.com/lifestyle/g26908716/best-islands-in-europe/">seaside</a> towns, and remote country roads all have their <a href="https://www.housebeautiful.com/lifestyle/g3655/small-american-town-destinations/">charm</a>s, but when it comes to <a href="https://www.housebeautiful.com/lifestyle/g4500/most-beautiful-places-world/">global travel</a>, there's just something especially magical and inspiring about a beautiful and bustling city. But with so many pretty metropolises around the world, where to begin? Offering endless cultural adventures of the historical, culinary, and entertainment varieties and beyond, as well as spectacular sights and skylines, these cities are must-adds to your travel bucket lists. Admittedly, the list of breathtaking cities goes on and on, and it's impossible to capture their spirits in just one image, but we went ahead and highlighted 25 of the most beautiful cities in the world to give you a starting place as you plan your globe-trotting tour (or, just to satisfy your wanderlust virtually—for now). Fairytale vibes await you. </p>

Forested national parks, idyllic seaside towns, and remote country roads all have their charm s, but when it comes to global travel , there's just something especially magical and inspiring about a beautiful and bustling city. But with so many pretty metropolises around the world, where to begin? Offering endless cultural adventures of the historical, culinary, and entertainment varieties and beyond, as well as spectacular sights and skylines, these cities are must-adds to your travel bucket lists. Admittedly, the list of breathtaking cities goes on and on, and it's impossible to capture their spirits in just one image, but we went ahead and highlighted 25 of the most beautiful cities in the world to give you a starting place as you plan your globe-trotting tour (or, just to satisfy your wanderlust virtually—for now). Fairytale vibes await you.

<p>This pastel-colored city on the Iberian sea is full of visual wonders. Set against the backdrop of hills with sweeping ocean views and colorful tiled buildings on every street, Lisbon is one of those places that fill you with hope and inspiration on even a simple neighborhood walk. </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g189158-d2239520-Reviews-The_Independente_Hostel_Suites-Lisbon_Lisbon_District_Central_Portugal.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>The Independente Suites</em></strong></p>

Lisbon, Portugal

This pastel-colored city on the Iberian sea is full of visual wonders. Set against the backdrop of hills with sweeping ocean views and colorful tiled buildings on every street, Lisbon is one of those places that fill you with hope and inspiration on even a simple neighborhood walk.

Shop Now The Independente Suites

<p>The New York City skyline never fails to stun, no matter how many times you see it. Skyscrapers, rivers, bridges, parks, brownstones, it really has all the making for unforgettable views everywhere you look. And it goes without the saying, but looks aside, New York City has literally anything and everything a city could ever offer! </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g60763-d571166-Reviews-Gramercy_Park_Hotel-New_York_City_New_York.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <em><strong>Gramercy Park</strong></em><strong><em> Hotel</em></strong></p>

New York City

The New York City skyline never fails to stun, no matter how many times you see it. Skyscrapers, rivers, bridges, parks, brownstones, it really has all the making for unforgettable views everywhere you look. And it goes without the saying, but looks aside, New York City has literally anything and everything a city could ever offer!

Shop Now Gramercy Park Hotel

<p>Bordered by Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, and the Arabian Peninsula, the coastal country of Oman is full of beautiful places to see and visit. As far as cities go, start in the capital, Muscat. Just one look at the gorgeous skyline gives you a glimpse into the fascinating history and unique geography, as it's marked by Portuguese forts, a bustling harbor, and a backdrop of dramatic mountains. </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g1940497-d301659-Reviews-The_Chedi_Muscat-Muscat_Muscat_Governorate.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>The Chedi Muscat</em></strong></p>

Muscat, Oman

Bordered by Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, and the Arabian Peninsula, the coastal country of Oman is full of beautiful places to see and visit. As far as cities go, start in the capital, Muscat. Just one look at the gorgeous skyline gives you a glimpse into the fascinating history and unique geography, as it's marked by Portuguese forts, a bustling harbor, and a backdrop of dramatic mountains.

Shop Now The Chedi Muscat

<p>Whether it feels like you have the place to yourself or it's cramped with tourists, Venice is undeniably one of the most beautiful places in the world. It's also one of the most <em>romantic</em> places imaginable—you'll get lulled to sleep by the water lapping against the buildings. Wander around the canals, go to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) and the many art museums, and ride a water taxi or bus. </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g187870-d17385839-Reviews-Il_Palazzo_Experimental-Venice_Veneto.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>Il Palazzo Experimental</em></strong></p>

Venice, Italy

Whether it feels like you have the place to yourself or it's cramped with tourists, Venice is undeniably one of the most beautiful places in the world. It's also one of the most romantic places imaginable—you'll get lulled to sleep by the water lapping against the buildings. Wander around the canals, go to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) and the many art museums, and ride a water taxi or bus.

Shop Now Il Palazzo Experimental

<p>Cape Town is the perfect city destination for anyone who also loves the outdoors. You can hike to sweeping views and go wine tasting, and so much more! </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g1722390-d18543233-Reviews-Labotessa_Boutique_Hotel-Cape_Town_Western_Cape.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>Labotessa</em></strong></p>

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is the perfect city destination for anyone who also loves the outdoors. You can hike to sweeping views and go wine tasting, and so much more!

Shop Now Labotessa

<p>This Eastern European gem is full of romantic cafés, scenic views, and endless cultural opportunities. Take a stroll along the Danube (which splits the two cities, Buda and Pest), soak in geothermal baths, and visit Fisherman's Bastion, a beautiful neo-Gothic building and lookout point.</p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g274887-d285437-Reviews-Corinthia_Budapest-Budapest_Central_Hungary.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>Corinthia Hotel Budapest</em></strong></p>

Budapest, Hungary

This Eastern European gem is full of romantic cafés, scenic views, and endless cultural opportunities. Take a stroll along the Danube (which splits the two cities, Buda and Pest), soak in geothermal baths, and visit Fisherman's Bastion, a beautiful neo-Gothic building and lookout point.

Shop Now Corinthia Hotel Budapest

<p>From this mesmerizing coral structure known as Hawa Mahal (it's constructed of red sandstone, and its name, Hawa Mahal, translates to "palace of winds) to the <a href="https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/ancient-stepwells-india">Chad Baori</a> (an ancient stepwell), there is so much to see and do in Jaipur, Rajasthan, especially for the color-loving maximalist.</p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g297672-d302377-Reviews-Taj_Lake_Palace-Udaipur_Udaipur_District_Rajasthan.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>Taj Lake Palace</em></strong></p>

Jaipur, India

From this mesmerizing coral structure known as Hawa Mahal (it's constructed of red sandstone, and its name, Hawa Mahal, translates to "palace of winds) to the Chad Baori (an ancient stepwell), there is so much to see and do in Jaipur, Rajasthan, especially for the color-loving maximalist.

Shop Now Taj Lake Palace

<p>With colorfully painted buildings lining into the hilly landscape and some of the best food, art festivals, and artisanal shopping in the world, San Miguel de Allende is easily one of the most cities on the globe. You'll especially love it if you're a fan of baroque Spanish architecture, colorful blooms, and warm weather. </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g151932-d152833-Reviews-Casa_de_Sierra_Nevada_A_Belmond_Hotel_San_Miguel_de_Allende-San_Miguel_de_Allende_Centr.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>Casa de Sierra Nevada </em></strong></p>

San Miguel de Allende

With colorfully painted buildings lining into the hilly landscape and some of the best food, art festivals, and artisanal shopping in the world, San Miguel de Allende is easily one of the most cities on the globe. You'll especially love it if you're a fan of baroque Spanish architecture, colorful blooms, and warm weather.

Shop Now Casa de Sierra Nevada

<p>Between all the medieval architecture, charming (and often foggy!) cobblestone streets, and lively traditional pubs, it's impossible not to fall in love with Edinburgh. Get lost wandering through the windy roads in Scotland for a nostalgic adventure.</p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g186525-d191461-Reviews-The_Dunstane_Houses-Edinburgh_Scotland.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>The Dunstane Houses</em></strong></p>

Edinburgh, Scotland

Between all the medieval architecture, charming (and often foggy!) cobblestone streets, and lively traditional pubs, it's impossible not to fall in love with Edinburgh. Get lost wandering through the windy roads in Scotland for a nostalgic adventure.

Shop Now The Dunstane Houses

<p>Dubrovnik is situated on the Adriatic Sea and boasts both vacation vibes and city adventure. From crystal clear waters and secluded beaches to incredible local wine and an endlessly rich cultural history, there's so much to experience in this bustling city.</p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g295371-d506265-Reviews-Villa_Orsula-Dubrovnik_Dubrovnik_Neretva_County_Dalmatia.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a><strong><em>Villa Orsula </em></strong></p>

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik is situated on the Adriatic Sea and boasts both vacation vibes and city adventure. From crystal clear waters and secluded beaches to incredible local wine and an endlessly rich cultural history, there's so much to experience in this bustling city.

Shop Now Villa Orsula

<p>Dating back to the 9th century, Bagan is a world heritage site and one of the oldest cities on the planet. While you're there, take a hot air balloon tour—floating high above the well-preserved ancient Buddhist temples and pagodas is truly magical. </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g317112-d529380-Reviews-The_Hotel_At_Tharabar_Gate_Bagan-Bagan_Mandalay_Region.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>Hotel @ Tharabar Gate</em></strong></p>

Bagan, Myanmar

Dating back to the 9th century, Bagan is a world heritage site and one of the oldest cities on the planet. While you're there, take a hot air balloon tour—floating high above the well-preserved ancient Buddhist temples and pagodas is truly magical.

Shop Now Hotel @ Tharabar Gate

<p>From the Seine to the pastel sunsets behind the Eiffel Tower to the Champs-Élysées all lit up at night. Paris truly has something for everyone, whether you love literature, art, architecture, food, nightlife, shopping, or simply walking around and exploring new cities.</p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g187147-d12995518-Reviews-Hotel_des_Grands_Boulevards-Paris_Ile_de_France.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>Hôtel des Grands Boulevards</em></strong></p>

Paris, France

From the Seine to the pastel sunsets behind the Eiffel Tower to the Champs-Élysées all lit up at night. Paris truly has something for everyone, whether you love literature, art, architecture, food, nightlife, shopping, or simply walking around and exploring new cities.

Shop Now Hôtel des Grands Boulevards

<p>If you're looking for an adventure, add the Red City to your list. The bustling North African mecca includes over a dozen souks plus palaces, <a href="https://www.housebeautiful.com/lifestyle/gardening/g3305/beautiful-gardens/?slide=12">world-class gardens</a>, design-centric raids, and the Atlas mountain range.</p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g293734-d646821-Reviews-L_Hotel_Marrakech-Marrakech_Marrakech_Safi.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>L'Hôtel Marrakech</em></strong></p>

Marrakech, Morocco

If you're looking for an adventure, add the Red City to your list. The bustling North African mecca includes over a dozen souks plus palaces, world-class gardens , design-centric raids, and the Atlas mountain range.

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<p> For a taste of European splendor without crossing the pond, head to French-peaking Quebec City. You can feel the history while exploring the narrow streets dotted with stone buildings in the city center, which dates back to 1608. Though it's quite cold, it's particularly cold in the winter when blanketed in snow. </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g155033-d155626-Reviews-Hotel_Le_Germain_Quebec-Quebec_City_Quebec.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>Hôtel Le Germain Québec</em></strong></p>

Quebec, City

For a taste of European splendor without crossing the pond, head to French-peaking Quebec City. You can feel the history while exploring the narrow streets dotted with stone buildings in the city center, which dates back to 1608. Though it's quite cold, it's particularly cold in the winter when blanketed in snow.

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<p>Spectacular ocean views, countless cultural events and experiences, and a lush tropical landscape set this Brazilian metropolis apart. If you love the outdoors, bumming on the beach, exploring local design landmarks, and eating, then you'll definitely want to add Rio to your bucket list.</p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g303506-d11665319-Reviews-Emiliano_Rio-Rio_de_Janeiro_State_of_Rio_de_Janeiro.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>Emeliano Rio</em></strong></p>

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Spectacular ocean views, countless cultural events and experiences, and a lush tropical landscape set this Brazilian metropolis apart. If you love the outdoors, bumming on the beach, exploring local design landmarks, and eating, then you'll definitely want to add Rio to your bucket list.

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<p>If you're planning an adventure down under, you can't miss Sydney, Australia. The dramatic views of Sydney's harbor, made even more stunning by the single arch steel bridge up against the famous Opera House, showcase the city's sleek architecture but did you know it's also a surfer's paradise as well as a hub for design and style? </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g255060-d8649358-Reviews-The_Old_Clare_Hotel-Sydney_New_South_Wales.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>The Old Clare Hotel</em></strong></p>

Sydney, Australia

If you're planning an adventure down under, you can't miss Sydney, Australia. The dramatic views of Sydney's harbor, made even more stunning by the single arch steel bridge up against the famous Opera House, showcase the city's sleek architecture but did you know it's also a surfer's paradise as well as a hub for design and style?

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<p>Hike up and down the many steep hills of this beautiful California locale and you'll find yourself wondering how anyone ever managed to build a city here. But then you'll reach sweeping views of the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and twinkling lights all around you and you'll be thankful that someone managed to do so. Plus, the food scene is unbeatable! </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g60713-d80799-Reviews-San_Francisco_Proper_Hotel-San_Francisco_California.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>San Francisco Proper Hotel</em></strong></p>

San Francisco, California

Hike up and down the many steep hills of this beautiful California locale and you'll find yourself wondering how anyone ever managed to build a city here. But then you'll reach sweeping views of the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and twinkling lights all around you and you'll be thankful that someone managed to do so. Plus, the food scene is unbeatable!

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<p>Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, has more than one hundred kilometers of canals winding through it, which is just one of the things that makes it a majestic place. It's also a mecca for art, culture, and fun. </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g188590-d190667-Reviews-The_Dylan_Amsterdam-Amsterdam_North_Holland_Province.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <em><strong>The Dylan</strong></em></p>

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, has more than one hundred kilometers of canals winding through it, which is just one of the things that makes it a majestic place. It's also a mecca for art, culture, and fun.

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<p>Cambodia's bustling capital city since the French protectorate, Phnom Penh is right along the Mekong River and the Tonlé Sap River. Aside from being a breathtaking destination with endless activities and historical sites to learn about, it's also fun to explore the many diverse neighborhoods and try all three delicious foods. </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g293940-d301595-Reviews-Raffles_Hotel_Le_Royal-Phnom_Penh.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>Raffles Hotel Le Royal</em></strong></p>

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cambodia's bustling capital city since the French protectorate, Phnom Penh is right along the Mekong River and the Tonlé Sap River. Aside from being a breathtaking destination with endless activities and historical sites to learn about, it's also fun to explore the many diverse neighborhoods and try all three delicious foods.

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<p>Cartagena is on the Caribbean coast, so you can expect breathtaking sights and panoramas everywhere you go. Well-preserved colonial gems line the streets of the Old Town, and bougainvillea drapes all the charming balconies. </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g297476-d1056183-Reviews-El_Marques_Hotel_Boutique-Cartagena_Cartagena_District_Bolivar_Department.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>El Marqués Hotel Boutique </em></strong></p>

Cartegena, Colombia

Cartagena is on the Caribbean coast, so you can expect breathtaking sights and panoramas everywhere you go. Well-preserved colonial gems line the streets of the Old Town, and bougainvillea drapes all the charming balconies.

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<p>Barcelona is full of architectural delight thanks to the city's Gothic quarter as well as the many Antoni Gaudí landmarks, including La Sagrada Familia, Parque Guell, and Casa Battló. And then there's the surrounding backdrop of palm trees and white sand beaches that make it all the more beautiful. Not to mention, the world-renowned nightlife! So, basically, this Catalan city is like a playground for grown-ups. </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g187497-d8780848-Reviews-Casa_Bonay-Barcelona_Catalonia.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>Casa Bonay </em></strong></p>

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is full of architectural delight thanks to the city's Gothic quarter as well as the many Antoni Gaudí landmarks, including La Sagrada Familia, Parque Guell, and Casa Battló. And then there's the surrounding backdrop of palm trees and white sand beaches that make it all the more beautiful. Not to mention, the world-renowned nightlife! So, basically, this Catalan city is like a playground for grown-ups.

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<p>The Daigo-Ji Temple in Kyoto attracts crowds during the cherry blossom season, but it's a striking city to visit all year round. Tour all the historic buildings (one pagoda dates all the way back to 951) and then venture into the striking bamboo forest. </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g298564-d19385498-Reviews-Aman_Kyoto-Kyoto_Kyoto_Prefecture_Kinki.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>Aman Kyoto</em></strong></p>

Kyoto, Japan

The Daigo-Ji Temple in Kyoto attracts crowds during the cherry blossom season, but it's a striking city to visit all year round. Tour all the historic buildings (one pagoda dates all the way back to 951) and then venture into the striking bamboo forest.

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<p>London is a fun city to visit any time of year, but also one of the most liveable cities in the world. IT has so much more to offer than just beautiful sights. Aside from being super liveable thanks to an incredibly efficient public transportation system, there's also street style and design inspiration on tap, some of the coolest museums, and most delicious restaurants in the world.</p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotelsNear-g186338-d7816395-Chiltern_Firehouse-London_England.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>Chiltern Firehouse</em></strong></p>

London, England

London is a fun city to visit any time of year, but also one of the most liveable cities in the world. IT has so much more to offer than just beautiful sights. Aside from being super liveable thanks to an incredibly efficient public transportation system, there's also street style and design inspiration on tap, some of the coolest museums, and most delicious restaurants in the world.

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<p>With history and visual delights everywhere you look, Cuba's capital city is endlessly inspiring, especially for anyone with a soft spot for nostalgia.</p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g147271-d12077219-Reviews-Paseo_206_Boutique_Hotel-Havana_Ciudad_de_la_Habana_Province_Cuba.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>Paseo 206 Boutique Hotel</em></strong></p>

Havana, Cuba

With history and visual delights everywhere you look, Cuba's capital city is endlessly inspiring, especially for anyone with a soft spot for nostalgia.

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<p>If you like visiting cities that make you feel like you're traveling to a more magical realm and time, then you must plan a trip to Prague. As one of the most iconic and oldest cities in Europe, there are countless scenic views to admire. </p><p><a class="body-btn-link" href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1553576&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FHotel_Review-g274707-d4367787-Reviews-The_Emblem_Hotel-Prague_Bohemia.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elledecor.com%2Fpromotions%2Fg45308430%2Fbeautiful-cities-to-visit%2F">Shop Now</a> <strong><em>The Emblem Hotel</em></strong></p>

Prague, Czech Republic

If you like visiting cities that make you feel like you're traveling to a more magical realm and time, then you must plan a trip to Prague. As one of the most iconic and oldest cities in Europe, there are countless scenic views to admire.

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Whales Have an Alphabet

Until the 1960s, it was uncertain whether whales made any sounds at all..

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Ever since the discovery of whale songs almost 60 years ago, scientists have been trying to decipher the lyrics.

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top cities to visit brazil

Carl Zimmer , a science reporter for The New York Times who also writes the Origins column .

A diver, who appears minuscule, swims between a large sperm whale and her cub in blue waters.

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  1. Top 10 Largest Cities in Brazil

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  1. Travel To Brazil

  2. Top 10 Places to Visit in Brazil 2024

  3. Amazing places to visit in Brazil || Best Places to Visit in Brazil #TravelBrazil

  4. The 15 Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Brazil

  5. Exploring Brazil: Top 10 Travel Destinations Unveiled

  6. WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT BRAZIL IN 2024

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  1. 17 Best Cities to Visit in Brazil (+Map)

    4. Sao Paulo. This enormous city is the largest in Brazil, with over twenty million people living within its metropolitan region. As such, it is an exhausting yet exhilarating place to explore. Sao Paulo has a beehive of activity; visitors will love its vast range of world-class attractions.

  2. 10 best places to visit in Brazil

    7. Fernando de Noronha. An archipelago of islands some 320km (200 miles) off the northeast coast, Fernando de Noronha is high on many honeymoon wishlists. Of Noronha's 21 islands, only the largest one is accessible to tourists - and even then, its boundaries lie safely within Brazil's largest marine park.

  3. 17 Best Places to Visit in Brazil (+Map)

    5. Florianopolis. The capital of Santa Catarina state, Florianopolis lies in the south of Brazil, with half of the city set on the mainland and the other on a beautiful island. Due to its scenic setting, it is a very popular tourist destination and is widely considered one of the best places to live in the country.

  4. 15 Best Places to Visit in Brazil

    2. Salvador. Located in the state of Bahia, Salvador has a phenomenal energy that's notable even for Brazil. Most known for being Portugal's New World capital, it maintains a great deal of its colonial architecture and you'll find the historic centre of the town in the Pelourinho neighbourhood.

  5. The 15 Best Places to Visit in Brazil in 2024 (Our Recommendations)

    15 of the Best Places in Brazil in 2024. Brazil is a colorful country offering an amazing variety of experiences, from the frantic activity of its cities to the secluded tranquility of its beautiful beaches and jungles. Find all of this and more in the best places to visit below! 1. Rio de Janeiro

  6. The 12 Best Cities to Visit in Brazil for a Sensory Overload

    Here's a guide to 12 of the best cities to visit in Brazil, from postcard-pretty Salvador to sexy, high-spirited Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro. Famous worldwide for its stunning natural setting, beautiful golden beaches, and exuberant atmosphere, Brazil's Cidade Maravilhosa hardly needs any introduction. This is one of the world's most ...

  7. The Top 17 Best Cities to Visit in Brazil

    From the Amazon rainforest to iconic beaches to fascinating colonial towns, Brazil offers incredible destinations for travelers. Here are the 17 best cities to visit in Brazil for culture, beaches, nature and more. 1. Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro is likely the first place you think of when imagining Brazil. Situated between the mountains and ...

  8. 15 BEST Places to Visit in Brazil

    Best Places to Visit in Brazil. 1. Rio de Janeiro. The cable car up to Sugarloaf Mountain! The world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue! The obvious first entry on this list of the best places to visit in Brazil is Rio de Janeiro! Easily one of the most famous cities in the world.

  9. 18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Brazil

    To discover the best places to visit and things to do, use this handy list of the top tourist attractions in Brazil. 1. Cristo Redentor and Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro. 2. Sugar Loaf, Rio de Janeiro. 3. Iguaçu Falls. 4. Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro.

  10. Best Cities to Visit in Brazil

    Marcelo Nacinovic/Getty Images. An international resort, Buzios is one of the most popular cities in Brazil and a popular day trip from Rio de Janeiro. The town is two hours north of Rio de Janeiro, and its twenty plus beaches and relaxed hedonistic style liken it to Saint Tropez.

  11. 20 Breathtaking Places to Explore in Brazil

    20. Amazon Rainforest. Although Brazil is known for its beautiful beaches and outstanding landmarks, the Amazon rainforest is another famous place to visit. The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world. The forest covers 60% of Brazilian territory, 13% of Peruvian land, and 10% of Colombian soil.

  12. THE 30 BEST Places to Visit in Brazil (UPDATED 2024)

    3. Corcovado - Christ the Redeemer. 65,715. Points of Interest & Landmarks. Admission tickets from ₹3,276. At the top of the wonderful city is the Cristo Redentor Sanctuary, the main postcard of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. The monument to Christ the Redeemer is the largest and most famous Art Deco sculpture in the world.

  13. The 25 Best Places To Visit And Things To Do In Brazil!

    Rio de Janeiro. World-famous for its Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Christ the Redeemer statue and wild Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro is absolutely top of the list of things to do in Brazil. We can't pretend it's a quiet place, but it's got a relaxed, carefree attitude that is intoxicating for travelers.

  14. Best 30 Places To Visit In Brazil

    4. Porto Alegre. Located in southern Brazil, Porta Alegre is the capital city of Rio Grande do Sul. When visiting, be sure to check out Parque Farroupilha, which is a spacious park that plays host to flea markets, local painters and sculptors and it's also just a generally great place to stretch your legs for a walk.

  15. 101 of the Best Places to Visit in Brazil • I Heart Brazil

    Pelourinho in Salvador, Bahia. Nestled in the country's first capital, Pelourinho is the historic center of Salvador, one of the cheapest places to visit in Brazil. The area is sprinkled with colorful colonial houses divided by cobblestone streets and unified by Brazilian history—from slavery to freedom.

  16. The Best Destinations to Visit in Brazil

    Brazil boasts more than 70 national parks and dozens of monuments, including one of the Seven New Wonders of the World - Christ the Redeemer, in Rio de Janeiro.Together, these attractions create one of the most appealing and exciting destinations in South America.People come from every corner of the world to discover the superlative coastline, sprawling metropolises and thick jungles, which ...

  17. 10 Most Exciting and Best Places to Visit in Brazil

    Traveling to Maranhao Natural Park is also a great reason to uncover the North of Brazil, a gateway to one of the world's largest rainforests, the mighty Amazon. 8. Petropolis. Petropolis is one the best places to visit in Brazil in summer. When it is winter in the northern hemisphere, it is scorching hot in Brazil.

  18. Best cities and towns to visit in Brazil in 2024

    Brazil's largest city is home to around 20 million people, and in recent times has become one of the continent's most important cities. Similarly to Rio, Sao Paulo is fronted by long stretches ...

  19. Top things to do in Brazil

    2. Spot whales in Praia do Rosa. Once a sleepy fishing hamlet, Praia do Rosa is now a top surf destination, with charming guest houses and hotels tucked into the hillside above a bay. In the winter months (June to November), surfers are joined by another type of visitor playing in the waves: southern right whale calves.

  20. 17 Best Cities to Visit in Brazil

    During carnival, samba fills the streets of major cities, and at the country's stadiums, passionate football supporters shout at the top of their lungs. The top cities in Brazil boast a limitless variety of attractions, from some of the world's most gorgeous beaches to a rich cultural legacy. 17. Belo Horizonte

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