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Founded by Italo-French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza in 1880 on the Stanley Pool area of the Congo River, Brazza has always been the junior economic partner to Kinshasa (the DRC's capital) which faces it across the immense river. Brazzaville is by far the more laid-back – and safer – town, though it can also feel like a bit of a backwater by comparison.

However, with some attractive modernist architecture, a gorgeous riverside embankment perfect for taking in views of the Congo River and plenty of high-quality eating options, Brazzaville has a lot of charm and character, which makes it a surprisingly pleasant place to while away time between visiting Congo's national parks.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Brazzaville.