The best place to Visit Brazil: Top 30 things and to see
Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. It covers an area of 8,515,767 square kilometres with a population of over 211 million.
What to do and see in Brazil?
Brazil is undoubtedly dreaming. With its highly varied landscapes between mythical beaches and tropical forests, its rich and radiant culture, and its inhabitants’ joie de vivre, we understand why the largest country in South America is one of the most popular destinations for travellers.
But how do you manage to see everything in such a vast country? You will undoubtedly have to make choices – sometimes tricky – according to your tastes, budget, and available time! To help you plan your trip, here are my Top 30 to do and see in Brazil, with all the must-see places!
- What to do and see in Brazil?
- Visit Brazil: the must-see destinations
- 1. Rio de Janeiro
- 2. Rio Carnival
- 3. São Paulo
- 4. Iguazu Falls
- 5. Salvador
- 6. Ilha Grande
- 7. Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
- 8. The Pantanal
- 9. Brasilia
- 10. Jericoacoara
- 11. Ouro Preto
- 12. Fernando de Noronha
- 13. The Aquario Natural
- 14. Bonito
- 15. Chapada Diamantina National Park
- 16. Chapada das Mesas National Park
- 17. Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park
- 18. Recife and Olinda
- 19. Tiradentes
- 20. Paraty
- 21. The Pedra Azul park
- 22. The Inhotim Institute
- 23. The canyons of the Serra Geral and Aparados da Serra parks
- 24. Alter do Chão
- 25. The beaches of Santa Catarina
- 26. Ipojuca
- 27. Porto Seguro
- 28. Mount Roraima
- 29. Gramado
- 30. Jungle excursions
- Visit Brazil: practical information
- How to get to Brazil?
- Do i need a visa?
- When is the best time to visit Brazil?
- Is Brazil Safe?
- Visit Brazil: the must-see destinations
Visit Brazil: the must-see destinations.
1. Rio de Janeiro
Great inescapable of Brazil; Rio de Janeiro has something to seduce with its mythical beaches, its fantastic views over Guanabara Bay from Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountain, and of course, its famous carnival. It’s a big city where you can easily stay several days without getting bored! To see in Rio:
- The Corcovado: it is the hill where the famous Christ the Redeemer is located and which offers a magnificent panoramic view of the surroundings
- Le Pain de Sucre: another summit that offers a breathtaking view and can be reached by two cable cars.
- Vista Chinesa: it offers one of the prettiest views over the city. It is accessed by a path that climbs steadily and steeply, but the reward at the end of the track is well worth it!
- The Tijuca forest: in addition to having been declared a World Biosphere Reserve, it is the largest urban forest globally!
- The Rio Carnival is the most important celebration in the country, with four days of celebration that brings together the best samba schools!
- Guanabara Bay: 2nd largest bay in the country, it is home to a hundred islands and many beaches such as Botafogo
- The Santa Teresa district: it is the bohemian district of the city with cafes, galleries and shops
- Carioca aqueduct
- The municipal theatre: it is a magnificent building in an eclectic style that presents ballets and operas.
- Rio Cathedral: its unique pyramid-shaped architecture makes it an unmissable attraction
- The Botanical Garden: it is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world! It is the ideal place to cool off in the middle of Rio while enjoying incredible biodiversity. From the botanical garden, you can go to the mountain Pedra da Gavea.
- Maracana Stadium: this is the famous football stadium that hosted the World Cup in 2014
- Selaron Stairs: 215-step stairs made of colourful tiles, built by artist Jorge Selaron
- Parc Lage: it is a magnificent park which houses the school of visual arts and a small café
- Leblon district: quieter than Copacabana and Ipanema, there are lovely shops, cafes, and clubs.
To know everything about the city and discover its other must-sees, see our article What to do in Rio de Janeiro!
2. Rio Carnival
If there is one thing to do absolutely in Brazil, attending the Rio Carnival is good! It is known worldwide, and it is not to be missed if you are in Brazil in February.
It is the largest carnival in the country, bringing together some 2 million people through 500 parties spread across the city – the peak of which is at the Sambodrome – where hundreds of samba schools and neighbourhood troupes perform with colourful costumes.
And above all, sleep well before the start of the festivities, because for a few days the nights will be white or short!
A colourful costume during the Rio Carnival. Read Also: Best place to visit in Canada
3. São Paulo
If you are a fan of parties, cocktails and music, the large city of S ão Paulo, crossed by Avenida Paulista, is for you.
It may not have the same seaside charm as Rio, but it is a big city on the move, renowned for its – almost – 30,000 restaurants, bars and nightclubs that keep visitors awake to the little one’s Morning.
In addition to the hectic nightlife, you can discover some large green spaces such as Ibirapuera Park as well as renowned museums such as the São Paulo Art Museum.
As a bonus, it’s one of the best places in Brazil to dance the samba!
4. Iguazu Falls
The Iguazu Falls is a set of 275 falls straddling Brazil and Argentina, which produces a shattering roar in a luxuriant nature. Of rare splendour, this natural phenomenon impresses even the most jaded of travellers.
Also, on-site, you should not miss the Bird Park (Parque das Aves), a natural sanctuary where you can find 180 different species of birds.
It is a must-see in Brazil, and personally, it is one of the landscapes that marked me the most of countries combined!
Salvador, the capital of the Bahia region, enjoys a unique charm in Brazil. It is a city apart, with strong African influences. Capoeira is yours, a famous blend of dance and martial art, candomblé, African cuisine and the colourful colonial architecture left by the Portuguese.
Fun fact: there is the Lacerda elevator, the first public elevator in the world built inaugurated in 1873, a superb example of Art Deco, which is still in use and offers a magnificent view over the bay of All Saints.
The colourful houses of Salvador de Bahia. Read Also: Visiting Poland: where to go and what to do?
6. Ilha Grande
A small paradise island popular with tourists, Ilha Grande, has long housed a prison and a leper colony! Due to its turbulent past, the island is remarkably unspoiled, little urbanized, and has some of the country’s most natural forests and beaches.
It is a top destination if you enjoy hiking, snorkelling in translucent waters, jungle walks and waterfalls. For me, it is a must for a trip to Brazil, in addition, vehicles are prohibited there!
7. Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
This national park is extraordinary: it is made up of fine dunes, 70 km long and 25 km wide, the shape of which is reminiscent of sheets (“lençóis” in Portuguese). From March to September, streams of water flow between the summits of the dunes.
This phenomenon, made possible by the heavy rains, is beautiful. It is the best time to take pictures!
8. The Pantanal
The Pantanal is the largest marsh in the world. It is an area famous for observing wild animals: monkeys, caimans, anacondas, lizards, and capybaras thrive there freely, far from human influence!
And if you are lucky, you may be able to observe the jaguar, which still lives there freely but knows how to test the patience of those who wish to spot it.
Capital of Brazil is often forgotten by tourists, Bras ília nevertheless deserves to stop there, at least a day. The modern and original city, wanting to be “the new dawn” of the country, conceals many atypical buildings by Oscar Niemeyer, making it an ideal destination for lovers of architecture and contemporary art.
Do not miss the National Theater or the Metropolitan Cathedral, two major constructions that seem to come from another planet!
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia
Jericoacoara is a small fishing village located in the northeast of Brazil. Ranked among the ten most beautiful beaches in the world in 1994, it is a perfect destination if you want to spend a few days of relaxation with its magnificent beaches. Its traditional culture and sandy streets (a four × 4 is also necessary for Getting There !).
11. Ouro Preto
This village was designed to travel a trip during the Brazilian gold crowd in the 18th century. It is no coincidence that this was the 1 st Brazilian city designated cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO!
I liked the old-world atmosphere that reigns there with cobbled streets, Baroque-style buildings, and luxurious churches covered with gold and original sculptures. Take good walking shoes to make the most of the pretty sloping streets!
How do I get to Ouro Preto? By bus from Sao Paulo (10h) or Rio (6h) or by plane to Belo Horizonte, from where you have to take a bus for two hours.
You can go there all year round, but it is overcrowded during public holidays and Carnival. Also, know that during Holy Week, the processions are grandiose! If you plan to go there at these times, make sure you have booked accommodation in advance.
The pretty town of Ouro Preto
12. Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha is a volcanic archipelago of 21 islands lost in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The largest of these islands is 10 km long and has become the haunt of travellers travelling off the beaten track. It is a protected area – both as a Unesco site and part of a maritime national park – which allows a maximum of 460 visitors per day!
Fernando de Noronha’s strengths? The beautiful beaches, the diving and snorkelling, the surf spots with huge waves, land preserved with abundant fauna and flora. It is a natural paradise to discover during a trip to Brazil.
Fernando de Noronha
13. The Aquario Natural
This natural aquarium, the source of a river, is a top-rated attraction in the Bonito region. Like the cenotes in Mexico, one can swim in the translucent water among many fish, equipped with a snorkel and mask to enjoy the scenery even better.
The lush green environment of the Aquario Natural gives it a serene atmosphere, ideal for a moment of relaxation. My advice: devote a morning to it before continuing to visit the surrounding caves and waterfalls!
As the name suggests, Bonito is a beautiful region with plenty to keep you busy for several days. Guests can choose idleness, down the Rio da Prata in rafting, introduce you to caving in the Abismo of Anhumas, or just hiking in these landscapes.
The Serra da Bodoquena mountain range and the national park of the same name are an exciting stopover in Brazil if you stay in the country for more than ten days.
15. Chapada Diamantina National Park
The Chapada Diamantina National Park is one of the must-see places in Brazil. Far from the beaten track and the hordes of tourists, this park is home to waterfalls, pools for swimming in translucent waters, hiking trails in all directions, and even natural water slides.
As a fan of natural parks that I am, this one is one of my favourites due to its great diversity of landscapes.
Do not miss the breathtaking view that rewards the climb of Morro do Pai In ácio.
Natural waterfall in Chapada Diamantina Park. Photo Rosanetur
16. Chapada das Mesas National Park
Chapada das Mesas National Park has created this Brazilian park in 2005 was named after the shape of the mountains. It contains tables or mesas in Portuguese. These high, flat mountains, like plateaus, overlook the surroundings and give this park exceptional air.
You can also observe canyons, waterfalls and all kinds of geological formations with a pleasant temperature all year round!
Chapada Mesas. Photo Otávio Nogueira
17. Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park
For geologists and biologists at heart, this park is worth a visit. Indeed, it is home to some of the oldest rock formations in the world and a remarkable and diverse ecosystem called the Cerrado.
The latter is also worth visiting Chapada dos Veadeiros Park as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When to go It can be visited from February to November, during the dry season.
How to get there? To get there, you have to leave from the town of Alto Paraíso.
Chapada dos Veadeiros. Photo Ricardo Pipo. Read Also: The 20 most beautiful places to visit in Spain
18. Recife and Olinda
These two sisters are from towns located in the northeast of the country. Culturally close but architecturally opposed at present, their visits complement each other and require two days to be done thoughtfully.
Recife is a big metropolis, congested and blessed with many skyscrapers, a lovely historic centre, exciting museums and good restaurants. Conversely, Olinda is a small preserved city where vegetation abounds and which still shelters beautiful colonial churches.
Olinda Historic Center. Prefeitura Photo by Olinda
Tiradentes is a colonial town seemingly frozen in time. There is still an authentic atmosphere, its inhabitants have preserved their culture and kindness, and the buildings deserve a few photos.
If you want to appreciate all the charm of Tiradentes, do as I did:
- Choose a traditional pension to spend the night there.
- Dine-in one of the many restaurants to taste the local specialties.
- Stroll through the cobbled streets once the sun has gone down
.A typical street of Tiradentes. Photo Alexandra Guerson
Paraty is a small town of character nestled in a magnificent environment. Former colonial city, witnesses of this period are numerous and will delight lovers of old stones.
Endowed with paradisiacal beaches, turquoise water, mountains silhouetted against the horizon and winding and cobbled streets, Paraty is a village that charmed me.
I recommend spending a night there or even taking a Brazilian cooking class if that interests you: the city has an excellent cooking school!
21. The Pedra Azul park
This little-known national park in Brazil is away from the tourist crowds – even in high season! – and takes its name from the bluish colour that sometimes reflects its main attraction: a granite peak 1900 m high. Behind this peak, a mountain resembling a lizard tries to climb it, which amuses the children and softens the adults.
My photo tip: arrive a little before dark to get the best light and take some pretty pictures.
Pedra Azul. Photo Apgaua Moreno Furtado de Sousa
22. The Inhotim Institute
The Inhotim Institute is, in fact, a 1000 hectare park (about a hundred of which is accessible to the public), mixing art and nature. Among the most extensive collection of palm trees globally, it hides one of the world’s largest open-air contemporary art collections.
Located in the town of Brumadinho, this institute is a must-see, allowing you to combine a botanical garden and museum in an exceptional setting. Address: Rua B, 20, Ihotim, Brumandinho, Website.
One of the structures of the Inhotim Institute. Photo Diego Maia
23. The canyons of the Serra Geral and Aparados da Serra parks
If you like to trek, head to the Fortaleza and Itaimbezinho canyons. You can find these impressive canyons in the Serra Geral and Aparados de Serra National Parks, located northeast of Rio Grande do Sul.
Take your hiking boots and set off to explore these breathtaking, cinema-worthy landscapes.
In the Fortaleza Canyon. Photo Jaime Spaniol
24. Alter do Chão
Located in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, the small village of Alter do Chão has everything to seduce. Tourists come here for its island of clear sand, surrounded by turquoise water, a magnificent landscape that has earned it the nickname of the Amazon Caribbean!
It’s a great place to go stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing or just basking in the sun.
Alter do Chão beach. Photo We Travel the World
25. The beaches of Santa Catarina
If you still haven’t found your happiness for basking in the sun, head to the state of Santa Catarina. You can choose between 42 dream beaches according to your tastes: luxury seaside resort, surf spot, romantic little cove sheltered by rocks.
And if you like rides, Beto Carrero World is Latin America’s largest amusement park!
Itapema Beach, Santa Catarina. Read Also: The most beautiful places to visit in France
Ipojuca is another seaside town that invites you to relax, located in eastern Brazil. Its Porto de Galinhas beach is trendy, and if you can’t get enough of soaking up the pill in the sun, don’t hesitate to spend the afternoon there! Also visit the natural swimming pools of the region, beautiful in the morning when the sun rises.
27. Porto Seguro
Located in the state of Bahia, Porto Seguro enjoys an ideal climate: it is between 18 and 30 ° C all year round, with a relatively impressive number of sunny days.
A popular snorkelling spot in Brazil, you can observe beautiful coral reefs in its transparent waters.
A boat trip lets you discover the mangroves – the marsh ecosystem – while you can access the tropical forest by trails.
Beach in Porto Seguro
28. Mount Roraima
Straddling three countries, Brazil, Venezuela, and Guyana, Mount Roraima is rare. Composed of rocky peaks eroded by water and wind, it inspired the creation of Paradise Falls in Pixar’s film Up there.
Enough to make beautiful hikes, fill the camera and take a good breath of fresh air!
The charming village of Gramado is a good starting point for many excursions in the region.
Located in a wooded valley, the agencies offer to pedal boat in the Black Forest of Brazil, to visit a Tibetan Buddhist temple or to walk the alleys of the Mini Mundo Park. This family theme park recreates in miniature the most significant monuments of the world.
30. Jungle excursions
Finally, let’s end with the obvious: it’s impossible to take a trip to Brazil without diving into the heart of the Amazon rainforest!
You will be able to go in search of monkeys and parrots, meet local communities, step over waterways and roots, and take yourself for Indiana Jones, all in complete safety.
And believe me, it will leave you with unforgettable memories!
Dance among the Boras in the Amazon. Read Also: The 20 most beautiful places to visit in Sweden
Now that you have an idea of the places to discover in Brazil, I also recommend that you request a free quote from a local travel agency: Thanks to our partner Evaneos, you can do this in less than 5 minutes!
How to get to Brazil?
There are several routes from Paris to Rio de Janeiro (11:15 am), Sao Paulo (noon) and Salvador de Bahia with major companies such as Air France, KLM, Iberia, American Airlines TAM and Lufthansa.
To find the best price on your plane tickets to Brazil, use our flight comparator in partnership with Skyscanner! Once on the results page, do not hesitate to compare several sites, some adding a commission at the time of payment.
Do I need a visa?
The visa is compulsory for Canadians. It is not mandatory for the French, Belgians and Swiss (for a maximum of 90 days per 6 month period).
However, it is always necessary to have an exit ticket from the territory and a passport valid for six months on the date of entry into Brazil.
When is the best time to visit Brazil?
As Brazil extends over a vast territory, the climate varies enormously from region to region, as does the ideal season to go!
- In the Amazon, it is better to avoid the rainy season and go there in the dry season, from June to October.
- In the Nordeste (states of Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraíba, Piauí, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte and Sergipe), the best season is from September to mid-December. The same goes for Salvador de Bahia .
- In Rio and the south of the country, the ideal is winter, from June to September.
Is Brazil Safe?
Brazil has bad press on the security side, but you should know that tourism is not generally affected by this sad local reality. That is to say that those who are exposed to insecurity daily are locals living in rather humble neighbourhoods.
It is not for nothing that Brazil is the most touristic country in South America! As a traveller, there is relatively little risk of something happening, as long as you always take these basic precautions:
- Avoid expensive or flashy jewellery (diamonds, gold, big watch, etc.) and wear simple clothing.
- Walking only with the money needed for the day
- Leave essential documents (e.g. passport) and valuables at the hotel.
- Avoid dark streets and isolated places.
- Avoid walking alone at night.
- Always be alert and keep an eye on your bag.
- Use only indoor counters, not those on the street.
The best place to Visit Brazil