Must-see attractions in Brazil

  • Parque Estadual da Pedra Azul

    Espírito Santo

    If you've made it to Espírito Santo, don't miss this gorgeous state park. A two- to three-hour self-guided walk affords magnificent views of Pedra Azul…

  • Mazuma Mineira

    Minas Gerais

    If you've ever wondered how cachaça (Brazil's famous sugarcane alcohol) is made, this is a perfect place to learn. This small-scale alambique (distillery)…

  • Mosteiro São Bento

    São Paulo

    Among the city’s oldest and most important churches, São Bento dates to 1598, though its neo-Gothic facade dates only to the early 20th century. Step…

  • Congresso Nacional

    Brasília

    Featuring photogenic roof ‘dishes’ and twin towers, the Congresso Nacional has one of the more interesting interiors in the city. In addition to the color…

  • Parque Unipraias

    Santa Catarina

    Camboriú's pride and joy is this six-hectare urban reserve. In addition to 500m of walking trails, the real coup is the amusements, which are sold…

  • Palácio da Alvorada

    Brasília

    The official presidential residence, the Palácio da Alvorada, is a Niemeyer building constructed in 1958. It was the first edifice in the city to be…

  • Parque Nacional da Serra Geral

    Rio Grande do Sul

    Parque Nacional da Serra Geral, 23km east of Cambará do Sul, contains canyons that rival Itaimbezinho. The Cânion da Fortaleza is an 8km stretch of…

  • Paço do Frevo

    Recife

    This strikingly red museum is a small and modern house of worship for frevo, the quintessential dance of the Recife Carnaval that is easily identified by…

  • Farol Santander

    São Paulo

    For one of Sampa’s best panoramas, head to the top of this 161m-high skyscraper, Brazil’s version of the Empire State Building – completed in 1939 and…

  • Pina_Luz

    São Paulo

    This elegant neoclassical museum, formerly known as Pinacoteca do Estado but modernly rebranded 'Pina_Luz' (with the underline!) in 2017, houses an…

  • Museu Histórico Nacional

    Rio de Janeiro

    Housed in the colonial arsenal, which dates from 1764, the impressive Museu Histórico Nacional contains relics relating to the history of Brazil from its…

  • Parque Estadual Serra do Intendente

    Minas Gerais

    This remote state park, 19km west of Conceição do Mato Dentro at the end of a rugged dirt road, preserves a 13,500-hectare chunk of backcountry within…

  • Praia Coqueirinho

    Brazil

    The most beautiful beach in the region, Coqueirinho is a lovely curving bay lined with swathes of coconut palms and backed by high red cliffs covered in…

  • Parque Estadual de Itaúnas

    Espírito Santo

    The 36.7-sq-km Parque Estadual de Itaúnas extends for 25km along the coast and has impressive 20m- to 30m-high sand dunes that afford magnificent views of…

  • Museu Xingu

    São Paulo

    Relatively unknown and blissfully uncrowded, the unassuming Casa Amarela is part NGO handicraft shop, part two-table romantic cafe and part tiny Museu…

  • Centro Cultural São Francisco

    Brazil

    This is one of Brazil's most beautiful monasteries. São Francisco's construction was interrupted by battles with the Dutch and French, resulting in an…

  • Praia Lopes Mendes

    Ilha Grande & Vila do Abraão

    Facing the Atlantic, this seemingly endless beach with good surfing waves (shortboard/longboard rentals available on-site) is considered by some the most…

  • Mirante de Joinville

    Santa Catarina

    To get a stupendous 360-degree panorama of Joinville and the Baía da Babitonga, head to the city's 250m-high viewpoint. The lookout, at the top of Morro…

  • Parque das Aves

    Foz do Iguaçu

    This 5-hectare bird park, located 300m from the entrance to Parque Nacional do Iguaçu, is home to 800-plus species of birds, including red ibis, bare…

  • Pico da Caledônia

    Rio de Janeiro State

    For spectacular views all the way to Rio and the Baía de Guanabara, climb Pico da Caledônia (2310m), a popular local launching site for hang gliders. It’s…

  • Palácio do Itamaraty

    Brasília

    Palácio do Itamaraty is home to the Foreign Ministry and one of Brasília's most impressive buildings – a series of concrete arches towering over Burle…

  • Palácio do Planalto

    Brasília

    The Palácio do Planalto, where Brazil's president works, is another Niemeyer design that's worth seeing inside and out. From the curved lines of the…

  • Estação da Luz

    São Paulo

    Across the street from the Parque da Luz sits one of São Paulo's most stunning structures, a classic late-Victorian train station constructed with…

  • Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil

    Belo Horizonte

    Inaugurated in late 2013, this magnificent palace on Praça da LIberdade is one of Belo Horizonte's cultural gems. The vast 3rd-floor gallery hosts special…

  • Sítio Arqueológico São Miguel Arcanjo

    Rio Grande do Sul

    The most moving of the Brazilian missions, this elegant church, designed by an Italian architect who was also a Jesuit friar, earned Unesco World Heritage…

  • Beco do Batman

    São Paulo

    One of São Paulo's premiere street-art locations, 'Batman's Alley' has slowly risen from secret location for band promotional shots and Brazilian films to…

  • Ilha de Cabo Frio

    Arraial do Cabo

    This stunning island, accessed by boat from Praia dos Anjos, is Arraial do Cabo's top day-trip destination. Praia do Farol, on the protected side of the…

  • Museu Nacional

    Brasília

    This landmark white dome, gleaming in the sun, was opened to the public on the 100th birthday of architect Oscar Niemeyer. The inside is softer in grays…

  • Theatro Municipal

    São Paulo

    São Paulo’s most splendid construction, this theater was begun in 1903 in the style of Paris’ Palais Garnier. Its heavily ornamented facade seems to…

  • Igreja de São Francisco de Assis

    Minas Gerais

    This exquisite 1774 baroque church, fronted by a palm-shaded, lyre-shaped plaza, is home to two Aleijadinho sculptures (second altar to the left) and one…

  • Igreja de São Francisco de Assis

    Minas Gerais

    This exquisite church is Brazil's most important piece of colonial art, after Aleijadinho’s masterpiece The Prophets in Congonhas. Its entire exterior was…

  • Santuário Dom Bosco

    Brasília

    Santuário Dom Bosco is made of 80 concrete columns that support 7400 pieces of illuminated Murano glass, symbolizing a starry sky, which cast a blue…

  • Estação das Docas

    Belém

    An ambitious renovation project converted three down-at-heel riverfront warehouses into a popular gathering spot, with restaurants, bars, shops and even…

  • Museu Imperial

    Rio de Janeiro State

    Petrópolis’ top draw is this impeccably preserved 19th-century palace. Felt slippers provided at the entrance help protect the fine wood floors – great…

  • Igreja Matriz de Santo Antônio

    Minas Gerais

    Named for Tiradentes' patron saint, this gorgeous church is one of Aleijadinho's last designs. The dazzling gold interior is rich in Old Testament…

  • Cervejaria Bohemia

    Rio de Janeiro State

    Don't miss the engaging 1½-hour tour (half self-guided, half guided) at Brazil's oldest brewery, where interactive exhibits trace beer-making history and…

  • Catedral Metropolitana

    Brasília

    The 16 curved ribs rising to the crown of the iconic exterior coupled with the light-filled circular interior, which sits under a dome of wavy stained…

  • Catedral de Pedra

    Rio Grande do Sul

    Bigger and more dramatic than Gramado's stone church, this English Gothic stone cathedral dominates Canela's main square.

  • Casa Chico Mendes

    The Amazon

    This simple wood house is where Chico Mendes lived with his family until his murder on the back steps in 1988. Tours include a graphic description of the…

  • Parque Estadual do Caracol

    Rio Grande do Sul

    The major attraction of Parque Estadual do Caracol, 9km from Canela, is the spectacular Cascata do Caracol, a 131m waterfall. It’s particularly attractive…

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