Best Places to Visit in Brazil
Vast and utterly diverse, Brazil quite literally has it all, from the world’s most famous celebrations and a stellar cuisine, to buzzing metropolises, stunning golden beaches, dense Amazon rainforest, tropical islands, and awe-inspiring waterfalls.
Delve into the bustling vibe of Rio de Janeiro, with its iconic and captivating Carnival celebrations that are regularly broadcasted around the world. Lounge on the city’s famous Ipanema beach and stroll along the busy Copacabana, take in the breathtaking skyline from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain and don’t miss the chance to visit one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, the 38 m tall Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado.
Whether you travel to the Amazon Basin in the North or visit the dramatic Iguaçu Falls all the way in the South, Brazil is huge, with countless new explorations waiting around every street corner. Lose track of time in one of the many charming surf towns that frame the coastlines of Bahía, explore colonial towns off-the-beaten-path, marvel at the blowing sand dunes at Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, or discover the Western Pantanal wetlands, the natural habitat of caimans and jaguars.
No matter which part of the country you choose to explore, Brazil is captivating and the people’s lust for life is ever-present. While the yearly carnival is, without a doubt, the most famous event of the year, it is by far not the only. At night, the streets are filled with samba tunes and the sounds of drum beats, dancehall, and a large variety of local reggae sounds. Sip a caipirinha or aim for a more exotic cocktail and move along with the country’s animating rhythms.
Don’t miss a chance to watch a capoeira show with your own eyes. Dynamic and fast-paced, capoeira offers a unique insight into Brazil’s African influences and creates a truly stunning blend between martial arts and dance.
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Sitting atop a grassy bluff overlooking fantastic beaches, Trancoso embodies a certain rustic sophistication that captivates style-minded travelers – indeed, much of the village looks straight out of a Travel & Leisure spread.
Right on the water in northeastern Brazil, Salvador is an affordable destination for travelers looking to immerse themselves into local culture. Join Salvador’s surfers at beaches such as Praia do Corsario, where snacks like plantains and “acaraje”, a spicy fried-bean dish, are offered at kiosks nearby.
You know what to expect: Beautiful beaches inhabited by beautiful people; a tropical sun washing over a colorful urban playground; samba music and soccer balls. It seems that all of Rio runs to the beat of a pulsating, afro-infused rhythm that you can’t help but move along to.
Part national park, part UNESCO World Heritage site, the Pantanal is the world’s largest tropical wetland, covering over 70,000 square miles—an area the size of Washington State—in the smack-dab center of South America.
Natal is vibrant lights. Rio Grande do Norte's capital is a clean, bright and rather bland city that has swelled as a hub for coastal package tourism, much of it catering to Brazilian families. Its main attractions are touristic beaches, buggy rides and other organized excursions, restaurants and nightlife – it won't appeal too much if you seek museums, theater or wild empty strands.
"The Heart of the Amazon". Manaus is the gateway to jungle adventures. It is Amazon’s largest city, an incongruous pocket of urbanity in the middle of the jungle, a major port for ocean vessels that’s 1500km from the ocean.
The coastal city of João Pessoa – known as Jampa, a play on São Paulo's nickname of Sampa – is the capital of Paraíba and the third-oldest city in Brazil. It claims to have more trees than any other capital city, including an Atlantic rainforest preserve, and has a reputation for being friendly and safe.
Jericoacoara, known to its many friends simply as ‘Jeri,’ is one of Brazil's most cinematic destinations. It magnetizes travelers with its perfect combination of hard-to-reach location (access is only by unpaved tracks through the dunes), stunning coastal scenery, exciting activities, excellent pousadas and restaurants, and fun nightlife.
Ilha Grande is a popular weekend getaway in Rio de Janeiro. Just two hours away from the city itself, the island has white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and exciting forest trails, making it the perfect tropical retreat.
This hourglass-shaped island at the mouth of the Baía de Paranaguá is the most pristine and picturesque beach resort in all of southern Brazil, offering mostly wild beaches, good surfing waves and scenic coastal walks.
Florianopolis is a thriving destination for its perfect beaches, excellent surfing, amazing seafood, and juxtaposition of a modern megacity with 16th-century colonial fortresses and relaxed markets and parks.
Noronha's natural beauty holds its own against any tropical locale in the world. With crystal-clear waters, rich marine life – including the highest known concentration of resident dolphins in the world – and spectacular tropical landscapes, it’s in a Brazilian class all of its own.
While not necessarily sexy, Curitiba has long garnered praise for being one of the world’s best models of urban planning. It is known for its futuristic design, parks on an enormous scale and big pedestrian zones.
Bombinhas is a small and charming town, located in the coastal area of Santa Catarina. With stunning nature, the only peninsula of the South Region warmly receives visitors from all over the world.
Blumenau is not the only city in Santa Catarina that was founded by German settlers who transplanted their beer-brewing expertise and their taste for Alpine architecture to South America. But it is the best known, thanks in part to its uninhibited, over-the-top Oktoberfest. The annual beer-drinking extravaganza is among Brazil’s largest street parties, second only to Carnaval in Rio.
Magnificent, crystal-clear waters, dozens of beaches and a number of islands and islets (365) which would take exactly a year to be visited. The largest of such islands, Ilha Grande, is an attraction by itself, seeked by visitors interested in diving and trekking.