27 Best Places to Visit in Brazil

27 Best Places to Visit in Brazil
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Brazil is colorful, the colonial cities convince with their charm, you will meet spirited dances and enjoy the culinary. Plan your trip with our list of the 27 best places to visit in Brazil.

Paddle in the face of thunderous water masses, experience a journey back in time to the 17th century or marvel at turquoise blue lakes in the middle of the desert – in this article you will find out what you should not miss in Brazil.

27. Christ the Redeemer

Christ der Redeemer - Rio de Janeiro
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The summit of the 709 meter high rock Corcovado (“The Hunchback”) with the huge statue of Christ offers unforgettable views.

It is without a doubt one of the biggest highlights of a visit to Rio to stand up here. Cameras can only begin to capture the stunning panoramic view – because from here, all of Rio is at your feet.

The city opens up in all directions. The location was chosen with care, because the statue of Christ on Corcovado is supposed to be visible from every angle in Rio. You can check it out … It looks especially beautiful in the evening, when it is illuminated and seems to float freely above the city.

The panoramic view from Corcovado even surpasses the fantastic view from Sugar Loaf Mountain. Every day 5000 visitors come from all over the world. For Brazilians, this rock has always been the more important, mainly because of the statue of Christ on its top.

26. Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain Rio de Janeiro
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Sugarloaf Mountain is something of Rio’s trademark and a globally recognized symbol for the city. Almost every first-time visitor to Rio de Janeiro will once drive up to this striking rock and enjoy the spectacular view in all directions. It is especially beautiful just before sunset in the late afternoon.

The ancient gneiss rock was formed about 570 million years ago after the continent split, when it was pushed up from deeper layers of the earth. It was named Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf) because its conical shape resembles a cone-shaped container of raw sugar, or the cone of a sugar loaf.

At the foot of the sugar loaf are idyllic bays, a small hiking trail through the rainforest, charming mansions, and nice bars and restaurants, so it’s worth staying a little longer in Urca after the drive up and strolling through this quiet part of town.

25. Iguaçu Falls

Iguaçu Falls
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The Brazilian Iguaçu National Park and the Iguazú National Park in Argentina are like twin parks. The Iguaçu is located in the almost southernmost tip of Brazil – in other words, where the climate already has distinct seasons. The Iguaçu River of the same name thunders down from a height of 64 to 82 meters over many drop stages in 275 waterfalls at exactly this two-country border. With a drop of 3 km width it is the widest waterfall worldwide.

The greater number of individual waterfalls is in Argentina; therefore, the more beautiful panoramic view is from the Brazilian side. But a visit on the Argentine side also shows an interesting angle, as here you can get very close to the falling masses of water with a boat safari.

In total, there are several paths and long boardwalks to viewing platforms in this area: an upper circuit (about 50 min), a lower circuit (about 1h) and a path to the island “San Martin”; one of the many islands that separate the falls. You can also explore the rainforest on circular trails, as well as on the so-called Jungle Boat Safaris.

The Iguaçu and the rivers leading to it are surrounded by the green splendor of the subtropical rainforest. In addition to vegetation with over 2,000 plant species, the region offers a rich fauna with many endangered bird species, including the toucan; but also monkeys, coatis, capybaras, wild boars and even free-ranging jaguars can be found here.

24. Copacabana

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A proud four kilometers of beach and a whole attitude to life: the Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro. No other beach in the world evokes so much longing, is so famous or embodies the typical Brazilian attitude to life in such a unique way.

A stay at Copacabana is in any case a highlight of your trip through Brazil and lets you dive into the attitude towards life of the cheerful Brazilians. But between samba music, refreshing cocktails like mojitos and an extensive sunbathing, Copacabana is also ideal to learn more about life and culture in Brazil. Again and again Copacabana is rightly called a melting pot of different cultures and at this point it always becomes clear what ethnic, social and also cultural diversity prevails in Brazil. These peculiarities of the neighborhood are clearly reflected in the wide, beautifully situated Copacabana beach.

After a quiet sunbath, it is therefore definitely worthwhile to take a look at the lively hustle and bustle of Copacabana. Copacabana is also clearly visible from Sugarloaf Mountain and even without Carnival events, this beach is one of the most fascinating places in the whole city. Whether you are looking for relaxation, entertainment, a cool drink or contact with the warm Brazilians, at Copacabana you are always in good hands with all interests. A short walk through the surrounding streets is also an experience in itself, showing you a diverse world in one of the most famous places in the country. Enjoy during your stay at Copacabana the very special, widely famous Brazilian attitude towards life!

23. Carnival in Rio

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro
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Exactly 47 days before Easter Sunday and four days before Ash Wednesday, the official Carnaval begins in Brazil.

Throughout Rio de Janeiro, street carnival is celebrated from Friday to Wednesday. In so-called blocos, floats parade through the streets and are cheered by the public. These are rather rustic public carnival parades with dancing, loud music and extensive drinking. The revelers supply themselves with drinks at flying vendors. If you stay at a hotel in Ipanema or Copacabana, you can watch the blocos go by in the afternoons and evenings right from your hotel balcony.

An alternative to the public street carnival in Rio is the Samba parades in the Sambodrome designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

The parades at the Sambódromo are the highlight of Rio Carnival. Sunday and Monday the best twelve samba schools of the Grupo Especial (Special Group) compete against each other. Six schools each day, with each school having a time slot of 65 to 82 minutes for their performance. Around 9 p.m. in the Sambódromo, the spectacle begins with the entry of the first samba school. The entire show can last until 6 am the next morning, depending on how many minutes each school takes.

The public scoring will take place Ash Wednesday. The following Saturday, from about 10 pm, the six highest rated samba schools in the “Desfile das Campeãs” (“Parade of Winners”) will once again put on their magnificent show in the Sambodrome.

22. Ipanema

Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Open-air cafés, beach bars and restaurants: the Ipanema district in the south of Rio de Janeiro is one of the most popular attractions for tourists in Brazil. But also many locals come here to swim, store or just relax.

In Ipanema you will find a colorful mixture of wealthy cariocas and vacationers from all over the world. The neighborhood borders directly on Leblon, where you will find a similar crowd as here.

Until the early 20th century, Ipanema had only a few summer cottages on the beach, but after Copacabana became unaffordable for many, people moved to the neighboring neighborhood of Ipanema.

Today’s architecture unfortunately consists mostly of rather tasteless high-rises, but this does not detract from Ipanema’s popularity with locals and tourists. Today, Ipanema is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, with many luxury hotels, expensive boutiques and renowned restaurants.

The word Ipanema comes from the indigenous Tupi language and means something like “moving”, “dangerous” or “churning water”.

21. Brasilia

The National Congress of Brazil
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Brasília – current capital of Brazil invites you to spend a few unique, unforgettable days in a capital city that probably does not exist in this form a second time. Brasilia is an artificial city, which was built in less than four years between 1956 and 1960 from the soil of the Brazilian hinterland. It is located on the 900 to 1170 meter high plain of the Planalto Central, surrounded by the vast scrubland of the Cerrado steppe. Finally, in 1960, Brazil’s third capital – after Salvador da Bahia and Rio de Janeiro – was inaugurated.

From a bird’s eye view, the city’s urban structure resembles the outline of an airplane. The cityscape is characterized by the functionality of its buildings, while the modern architecture inspires with its very own aesthetics. The monumentality of Lúcio Costa’s urban layout and the lightness of individual buildings by Oskar Niemeyer combine to create a unique idea of construction and design.

Visitors are fascinated by numerous architectural masterpieces by the two star architects: Costa’s urban space concept and apartment blocks inspired by Le Corbusier and Bauhaus, for example, as well as Niemeyer’s most striking functional buildings with a weightlessness cast in concrete (such as the Congress, the Cathedral or the President’s official residence). The city has a high standard of living and is surrounded on its eastern side by the artificially dammed lake “Lago do Paranoá”, on the shores of which one can take a wonderful stroll or stop in one of the numerous restaurants or bars.

20. Lençóis Maranhenses

Drone view of Lencois Maranhenses, Maranhao, Brazil
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The Lençóis Maranhenses (“Bedsheets of Maranhão”) are an extensive dune landscape in the Brazilian state of Maranhão in northeastern Brazil. The dunes of this natural paradise consist of fine sand and are interspersed with blue crystal clear lagoons for several months. The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, founded in 1981, begins directly at the sea and extends more than 40 kilometers inland.

The Lençóis would indeed be a large desert if it did not rain in this area about 300 times more than in the Sahara. Beneath the shifting sand dunes is a kind of huge lake whose water level rises during the rainy season, producing an incalculably large number of freshwater lagoons that invite visitors to take a refreshing dip. The starting point for excursions to the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is São Luís, the capital of the state of Maranhão, whose colonial old town was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.

19. São Paulo

Parque do Ibirapuera at Sao Paulo
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São Paulo is the economic and cultural center of Brazil and one of the largest metropolises in the world. High-rise buildings dominate the cityscape. Neighborhoods such as the Italian quarter Bela Vista, the Japanese-influenced Liberdade and Brooklin Paulista, where German influences can be found, testify to the city’s multiculturalism, which dates back to centuries of immigration. The most famous street is Avenida Paulista, a boulevard once lined with mansions, now a gigantic high-rise canyon. The popular Parque Ibirapuera is a large green oasis in the middle of the city and a cultural attraction: Paulistanos relax or play sports here, there are many events and several museums are located here.

The cultural offer is limitless, a variety of museums, theaters and cinemas can be found in the city, including the Museu de Arte São Paulo (MASP), considered one of the most important museums on the continent. Nightlife is also diverse, with an abundance of bars and clubs of various stripes. The rich gastronomic scene also reflects São Paulo’s cospopolitan character with its variety of national cuisines.

18. Manaus

Interior of the Amazon Theater in Manaus, Brazil
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On the left bank of the Rio Negro lies the capital of the state of Amazonas, founded in 1669 and named after the “Maunus Indians” from the same region. Situated about 17 kilometers above the mouth of the Rio Negro into the Rio Solimões, Manaus is the ideal starting point for explorations and tours into the paradisiacal, lush Amazon rainforest, which is home to about 20% of the world’s freshwater reserves.

Particularly popular for its uniqueness, is the boat trip to the “Meeting of the Waters”, the confluence of the Rio Negro, named for its black color, and the mustard-colored Rio Solimões to form the Amazon River. In this impressive natural spectacle, the two rivers literally flow side by side for 30 km without mixing due to differences in water temperature, density and flow velocity.

About half of the state’s inhabitants live in the capital. Despite all its remoteness and proximity to nature, Manaus is a wild metropolis where tradition meets modernity.

In the elegant city center, ancient buildings contrast with modern architecture of the present. The magnificent Amazon Theater, a magnificent building in the style of the Italian Renaissance built in 1896 during the time of the “rubber barons”, reflects the wealth of the city during the rubber boom.

At that time, Manaus was among the richest cities in the world. Not far away, however, in the Mercado Municipal, an ancient market building, there is bustle and trade in all kinds of goods. From Indian handicrafts to exotic fruits, you can also buy Western luxury goods.

17. Chapada dos Veadeiros

Chapada dos veadeiros National Park
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The Chapada dos Veadeiros plateau is located in the northeast of the Brazilian state of Goias and is known for its impressive flora and fauna and extraordinary geological formations. The rock formations are among the oldest in the world. The vegetation is characterized by the savannah landscapes of the Cerrado, one of the oldest and most diverse ecosystems on earth.

Besides the buriti palm, which is typical for the Cerrado, there are many orchid species and Brazilian tree species. The colorful fauna of the Chapada includes nandus, anteaters, armadillos, tapirs, capybaras, toucans and araras, as well as endangered species such as jaguar, maned wolf, pampas deer, swamp deer and the diving duck species Pato Mergulhão.

Worth seeing is the Vale da Lua, a moon-like landscape washed into the rock by the São Miguel River. The Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, founded in 1961, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a protected area for the Cerrado and offers magnificent landscapes with deep canyons and valleys and a multitude of impressive waterfalls.

16. Chapada Diamantina National Park

Chapada Diamantina National Park
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Bahia’s hinterland holds a jewel worth seeing in the form of the Chapada Diamantina plateau. The eternal interplay of rock and water formed and colored this unique natural landscape. Rocks, mesas, canyons and numerous waterfalls, caves, as well as underground lakes and rivers make it today a main destination for ecotourism in Brazil, which offers plenty of adventure.

But the Chapada Diamantina does not only invite its visitors to practice more or less extreme sports; it also offers ideal conditions for extensive nature observation, for hiking on easy but charming routes, and for refreshing and relaxing baths in the lakes, streams and rivers. Hardly anyone can resist the charm of the Cachoeira da Fumaça waterfall, whose water plunges vertically down to the valley from a height of 340 meters, turning into fine spray even before it reaches the ground.

In addition, in Chapada Diamantina there are more than 100 cataloged caves. In these caves one can find some of the most beautiful surprises of the natural reserve: Some are decorated with stalactites, others hide underground rivers inside them, and still others have primitive wall paintings.

15. Campos do Jordao

Campos do Jordão
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Campos do Jordão is the highest town in Brazil and is located at an altitude of 1628 meters in the mountains northeast of Sao Paulo. It proudly bears the name “Switzerland of Sao Paulo” or Suíça Paulista (São Paulo Switzerland).

The whole thing is topped by the fact that parts of the municipality extend over various mountainous landscapes, some of them up to more than 1900 meters in altitude. So it’s a different picture from what you know of Brazil.

Capivari is the most exciting district of the cute municipality and here it is easy to assign the nickname of Campos do Jordão. Wherever you look, the half-timbered houses are partly built in Swiss style and outshine this part of town.

Cozy restaurants, with interiors modeled after the legendary Swiss ski chalets, serve traditional German and Swiss fare a la knuckle of pork, fondue and roast ox.

The Brazilian brewery “Baden Baden” has built its own offshoot of a restaurant here, fully geared to overseas visitors. The question I ask myself, however, which tourists are they supposed to be? The majority of visitors, however, are local Brazilians who come here from Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Goiania or the south of Brazil to enjoy a few days of fresh air and the cooler temperatures. Charm and magic exudes from this place and the musical background with the positive and happy people is a boon to enjoy a piece of Switzerland on the South American continent.

14. Pipa Beach

Pipa beach in Brazil
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Praia da Pipa is one of the most beautiful beach resorts in Brazil and is easily accessible from both Natal and João Pessoa. The beaches, framed by high red cliffs, offer a spectacular scenario that can be explored on buggy excursions or on boat tours and beach walks. Good food and nightlife are not neglected in Pipa either.

Praia da Pipa is a small town with only about 5000 inhabitants. The rise to one of the most famous vacation destinations in Brazil began in the 1980s, when first surfers and hippies discovered the advantages of this beautiful region for themselves, the first foreign tourists followed shortly after. The unique combination of white beaches and dunes, red cliffs and the still lush rainforest continue to delight Pipa’s visitors today.

Meanwhile, Pipa is home to a motley mix of remaining fishing families, the omnipresent surfer scene, but also many nature lovers and artists. This is enriched by a considerable number of emigrants as well as the always numerous arriving tourists from home and abroad.

13. Buzios

Buzios, Brasilien
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Búzios is the most fashionable seaside resort in Brazil with the most foreign visitors. Those who speak of Búzios (official name: Armação dos Búzios) mean a 16 km2 peninsula with 33,000 inhabitants, 23 beaches and a picturesque main town.

The success of Búzios is not least due to its privileged climate. About 210 sunny days a year and an annual average temperature of 26 degrees guarantee a true picture book vacation.

Even when it rains in Rio de Janeiro, 176 kilometers away, the sky a few hours by bus to the northeast is often quite clear; the constant wind of this region quickly drives the clouds inland. It’s no coincidence that this stretch of coast is called Costa do Sol. Here you can find sun, beach, nightlife and action in abundance.

Búzios gained international fame through Brigitte Bardot. It all started in 1964 in room 8 of the Pousada do Sol, where the French film diva stayed – quite modestly, it seems – for several months. In her memoirs one reads: “There was no telephone, no refrigerator, no running water, but I was by a sea that was like sky-colored champagne, and I experienced the most beautiful days of my life.”

12. Salvador da Bahia

Pelourinho district in Salvador
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The cultural heritage and the diverse influences of Africa, which are particularly pronounced in Salvador da Bahia, create a very magical climate of fascination and serenity. The African influence can be felt in the rhythms and dances, among others in the fight dance “Capoeira” invented by the slaves. The typical white dresses of the Bahianas and the followers of the Candomblé religion give the city a very special mystique. The regional cuisine with its exotic spices as well as numerous rites and festivals worth seeing round off the whole experience. Salvador’s street carnival takes over the entire city; it is one of the three largest carnival events in the country and is fueled by huge music trucks whose musicians keep the exuberantly dancing crowd in ceaseless motion.

Within the baroque old town of Salvador, richly decorated churches and monasteries, the manageable harbor with the “Mercado Modelo” and, above all, the Pelourinho district, declared a historical heritage site by UNESCO, attract visitors. Outside of Salvador, long-distance roads such as the “Linha Verde” lead to beautiful palm beaches.

11. Ilha Grande

Ilha Grande, Brazil
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Today, hardly any visitor to the dream island 170 km south of Rio de Janeiro can imagine that the former pirate and prison island was once avoided by visitors. The “Big Island”, which belongs to the municipality and coastal town of Angra dos Reis, has been a state-protected nature reserve since 1978, with an absolute ban on motorized vehicles. The 193 km² island area is filled with wild waterfalls, endless nature trails, refreshing freshwater lakes, rich fauna and flora, and a lush green Atlantic rainforest that extends to the numerous white beaches.

The dock for the boats coming from the mainland is located in “Vila do Abraão”. The crossing takes a little over an hour. “Vila do Abraão” is both the administrative center and the only settlement on the island that has a modest but sufficient tourist infrastructure. With its small alleys, colorful houses, nice boutiques and nice restaurants, it offers a charming atmosphere. Most of the pousadas are located in the village, but also outside, spread all over the island, paradisiacal hideaways and luxurious pousadas await visitors in need of relaxation. The island can be explored from the main town as well as from all points of the island.

10. Jericoacoara

Jericoacoara Beach
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This small paradise of dunes and coconut palms was declared one of the ten most beautiful beaches in the world by the prestigious “Washington Post” and can only be reached with an all-terrain vehicle, as the dunes have to be crossed over a distance of more than 20 kilometers. Until 1998, the fishing village received its energy only through generators. Nowadays, there is underground power supply for the houses. “Jeri”, as the village is called by the locals, has developed and got stylish pousadas and restaurants. However, it remains an insider tip and a paradise for the few. Due to its declaration as a protected area, no roads can be built there and the ecosystem (mainly dunes) is protected.

9. Paraty

House facade in colonial architecture on cobblestone street in historical town Paraty
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The city of Paraty, listed since 1958, is located in the state of Rio de Janeiro, about 260 km from the capital. During the colonial period, 18th century, the port of the city was important transhipment point for the gold mined in Minas. A century later, the port was the starting point of coffee export, which was harvested in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

As the railroad between Rio and Sao Paulo took over coffee transportation in the late 19th century, the port lost importance. It was not until the construction of important roads starting in 1970, that Paraty became the focus of tourist interests.

In the modern marina in the bay of Paraty, excursions are offered to offshore islands such as Catimbau, dos Ganchos or Algodão, with dives including diving lessons. Due to low rainfall and therefore clear sea water, dives to coral reefs between March and September are especially recommended. About 60 islands invite to leisure activities.

The historic, landmarked city center can only be crossed on foot over cobblestones to reach the library in the old prison. The House of Culture, built in 1754, offers a year-round exhibition of the town’s history. Furthermore, four churches, built between 1725 and 1873, with valuable religious art invite you to visit.

8. Curitiba-Paranagua Train Ride

Curitiba-Paranagua Train Ride
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Serra Verde Express: The train ride on the Curitiba – Morretes – Paranaguá railroad, built between 1880 and 1885, is the most exciting railroad line in Brazil and is considered one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. The train leaves Curitiba at an altitude of 900 meters to climb down the steep Serra do Mar through 14 tunnels dug into the rock and 41 bridges and viaducts made of iron steel – 110 kilometers is the distance. It is an amazing engineering feat, especially for the time.

The line, with its many tunnels and bridges, is still used for freight transport, but today there are also many passenger trains where passengers can enjoy the Atlantic Forest and the breathtaking scenery. It is possible to go to the terminus in Paranaguá or to get off before in Morretes. Alternatively, there is a serpentine road from Curitiba to Morretes on which the landscape can be explored individually.

7. Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto cityscape
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Ouro Preto and its surroundings – that means colorful, tranquil baroque towns nestled in a charming, tropical hilly landscape. Rich in baroque treasures, picturesque alleys and almost completely preserved baroque architecture.

In addition, a pleasant mild tropical climate and – as insiders claim – the best culinary delicacies in all of Brazil. From Belo Horizonte, today’s capital of Minas Gerais, you can quickly reach the dreamy picture-book towns. Probably the best known and most beautiful of these is the former capital of Minas: Ouro Preto. But there is much more to discover around Ouro Preto. For example, the baroque town of Mariana with its numerous chapels and churches from the 18th century – workplace of the most important artist of the Minas Baroque, Antônio Francisco Lisboa, also known as “Aleijadinho”.

His masterpieces can also be admired in the small town of Congonhas around its famous pilgrimage church “Bom Jesus de Matosinhos”. Another highlight of a Minas Gerais trip that you should not miss is the ride on the nostalgic steam train from Tiradentes to São João del Rei with a historic locomotive from the 19th century!

6. Bonito

Bonito, Brazil
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Anyone who thought snorkeling was only possible in the sea had never been to Bonito, Brazil: the extensive swamp area around the village is considered an Eldorado for divers. The water is crystal clear, clean and a habitat for many species of fish.

The area is still a real insider tip and has only been marketed as a recreational area for a few years: here you can still discover the original Brazil far away from the tourist masses.

The water, which is transparent thanks to its high lime content, offers the unforgettable experience of experiencing the underwater world of freshwater up close. You don’t even have to have a diving license to do this, because even with a snorkel and goggles you can discover quite a bit.

After jumping into the water, you feel as if you had dived into an aquarium. By the way, with the large number of fish, it can also happen that you get nibbled…but don’t worry, piranhas don’t go on the prowl in these waters!

Also popular for snorkeling are the rivers “Rio da Prata” and “Rio Sucuri”. A unique way to relax is to let yourself be carried along by the river current.

Professional divers will be thrilled by the numerous grottos and caves. Particularly impressive is the cave “Gruto da Lago Azul”, where sparkling crystals are reflected in the azure water. By the way, daredevils can also abseil between rock walls.

But not only water lovers get their money’s worth in the surrounding area: The diverse flora and fauna can be discovered while hiking, for example around the farm “Boca da Onça”. Excursions to the impressive waterfalls in the untouched nature are also recommended.

5. Pantanal

Pantanal - Brasil

The Pantanal is the largest wetland in the world. Life virtually “explodes” in its forests, rivers and lakes: countless animal species share this 210,000 km² paradise. The best time to observe the Pantanal’s abundant wildlife in all its glory are the months of the dry season: May to November. During these months, a large number of bird species, an army of alligators, deer, capivaras (capybaras), howler monkeys, jaguars gather at the gradually shrinking waters of the alluvial plain, which then becomes a unique breeding ground of nature.

Guided excursions are accompanied by local researchers who will lead you on horseback, in boats or on foot over hill ranges, through savannahs and scrublands. In the Pantanal, wildlife photography promises rich pickings at any time – and in the blink of an eye, the feeling of a very special closeness to this unique animal and plant world is created.

4. Fernando de Noronha

Fernando de Noronha
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The Fernando de Noronha archipelago is located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, 540 km from Recife. Its islands are an extraordinary treasure trove of nature! They are 21 islets and small islands of volcanic origin with numerous dreamlike beaches. Fernando de Noronha has crystal clear, transparent waters, ideal even for beginners.

Optimal underwater visibility allows you to see the magic of algae, sponges, corals, shellfish, sea turtles and countless dazzlingly colorful species of fish. Special mention should be made of a species of dolphins (golfinhos rotadores), rare in the world and extinct or endangered elsewhere, which has found its refuge here.

3. Recife

The famous Rua do street Bom Jeusus in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
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Pernambuco’s capital, Recife, invites you both to take trips to the sea and to indulge in the rich culture and exciting history of this northeastern Brazilian state. The cityscape of Recife – the Brazilian Venice – is characterized by rivers and numerous canals, no less than 49 bridges connect the individual districts as well as past and present, modernity and tradition. In the neighboring baroque city of Olinda, you will stroll through narrow and stone-paved alleys past numerous studios, convents and churches.

Olinda was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its colonial architecture with its brightly colored houses. In Recife and in its immediate vicinity, there is a multitude of magnificent bathing beaches and the sea varies in all conceivable shades of blue and green. The city beach “Boa Viagem” and the nearby fishing village Porto de Galinhas attract especially many visitors. Rock bars, sandbanks and coral reefs take the edge off the Atlantic here and form natural swimming pools in front of the bathing beaches at low tide, inviting visitors to go snorkeling.

2. Florianópolis

Sunset skyline view of downtown at Florianopolis city in Brazil

Florianópolis was founded in 1726 and lives mainly from trade and tourism. Originally, it was a small fishing village that attracted settlers from the Azores and Madeira. Today, the city is growing mainly due to ongoing rural exodus and internal Brazilian migration processes. Florianópolis has about 370,000 inhabitants, and the greater Florianópolis area is home to about 700,000 people. Temperatures here are between 20 and 30 degrees all year round.

The main part of the city with the city center is located on the Ilha de Santa Catarina, an island off the Atlantic coast, which belongs completely to the urban area. Three bridges connect the districts on the mainland with those on the island: Governador Hercílio Luz, Governador Colombo Salles and Governador Pedro Ivo Campos. The channel under the bridges is 500 meters wide and forms the north and south bays.

There are more than 40 beaches, rugged coastline, rivers, lakes, dunes, sandbars, mangroves, swamps and mountains along the 172 km coastline of the island. More than 30 small offshore islands surround Florianópolis. The northern part has a better infrastructure. The east of the island attracts surfers, and in the south you can find pristine beaches that still preserve the natural flora and fauna.

1. Belém

Sunset view of Praça da República and Teatro da Paz in Belém, Brazil
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Welcome to Belém, the capital of the state of Pará in the far north of Brazil! The “city of mango trees”, “largest city on the equator line” and the “gateway to the Amazon” is an absolute must for travelers to northern Brazil. This exotic city was strategically built as early as 1616 by the Portuguese in the bay of the Rio Guajará, not far from the rainforest, large rivers and the ocean. From the initial dimensions of a simple fortress, the city grew to a historical-modern metropolis of 1.5 million inhabitants. Ideally situated on the southern Amazon River, this city is also ideal for excursions to the neighboring Ilha de Marajó – the largest river island in the world – as well as for adventurous Amazon cruises in the direction of Santarém or even Manaus.

And Belém certainly offers enough attractive highlights to make a short or even longer stay in the city unavoidable before or after one of the mentioned excursions. Let yourself be enchanted by the flair at the famous Ver-o-Peso market, fascinated by the Teátro da Paz or stroll through the charming old town with its centuries-old villas. In addition, there are plenty of public squares, churches and museums to explore. In the evening you can enjoy a beautiful sunset with distant views in one of the cafes near the old town or have a delicious dinner or cocktail in the old renovated warehouses at the river port.

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Map of the 27 Best Places in Brazil