Portico of  Gramado, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

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Gramado isn't as sexy as Ipanema or as alluring as the Amazon, but this tiny mountain resort, which bills itself as ‘naturally European,’ is one of Brazil's nicest. It does indeed feel like a Swiss mountain village – boutiques sell avant-garde glasswork and gourmet chocolate, local restaurants specialize in fondue, hotels are decked out like Swiss chalets – while the infrastructure, safety and scenery all meet the standards of similar-sized towns in North America or Europe (pedestrian crosswalks are respected!). At times the Alpine vibe crosses over into kitsch, but this chocolate fantasyland is pleasant, and the standard of living in this little piece of paradise is unparalleled in Brazil.


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