Brazil is one of the most captivating countries in South America. A natural wonderland, Brazil is home to exciting and vibrant cities. You’ve probably heard about the spectacular carnival that takes place in Rio each year, but there are plenty more fascinating and beautiful cities to discover.
If you are thinking about traveling to Brazil you need to have a valid passport in addition to a visa. Brazil launched the Brazil eVisa to simplify the process of getting a visa. It allows eligible travelers to get their visa through an online application form. Check the Brazil eVisa requirements before booking your trip!
Top 10 cities in Brazil
Brazil is one of the most biodiverse countries in the American continent, it has one-third of the world’s remaining tropical rainforests, white-sanded beaches, and a wide range of climates. Besides all of the natural beauty, Brazil has captivating cities, each with rich heritage and tradition. Find out more about the top cities to visit in Brazil!
1. Río de Janeiro, more than Carnival
Famously known for its impressive carnival, Rio de Janeiro offers a great deal of attractions. Home to golden beaches, including Copacabana, you’ll be able to soak up the sun and bathe in crystal clear waters. For breathtaking views of the city head to Pão de Açúcar.
Rio is called the Cidade Maravilhosa, the Wonderful City, and with good reason. Featuring forested mountains, the city offers plenty of outdoor activities including hiking in the Tijuca rainforest, cycling along the lake or beaches, surfing, rock climbing and even hang gliding.
This samba-infused city is ideal to dance to Brazilian tunes. You’ll find that music in Rio encompases rock, old-school bossa nova, hip-hop, funk and other regional styles.
2. A vibrant São Paulo
One of the largest cities in Brazil, São Paulo is home to 20 million people. This large and chaotic metropolis draws in visitors with its original cultural scene, gastronomic experiences, and exciting nightlife.
While it’s not a beauty, like Rio, São Paulo is a vibrant, modern and sophisticated city. An area worth visiting includes Vila Madalena where you’ll find a bunch of popular cafés, art studios, charming boutiques, and trendy nightlife spots.
In São Paulo be sure to visit Ibirapuera Park which houses buildings designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Other important landmarks and attractions worth considering include Edifício Copan, Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Farol Santander, Mercado Municipal and Museu Xingu.
3. Paradise in Natal
Set on the Atlantic coast, Natal features beautiful sand dunes and calm beaches. If you’re looking to relax, Natal is the city for you. Peaceful and welcoming, Natal is safe, sunny, and clean.
Natal has entered the picture as a tourist destination only recently. It has more economical travel packages and a lower cost of living than other larger cities in the country. The city offers the best climate in all of Brazil, it’s sunny year-round. According to NASA, given that Natal is part of Rio Grande do Norte, it has the cleanest breathable air in the Americas.
The liveliest neighborhood in Natal is Ponta Negra, and here you will find the most important and beautiful beach as well as the Morro do Careca sand dune.
4. Dreamy Salvador da Bahia
Salvador da Bahia is a wonderful destination in Brazil. This dreamy city is known for the kindness of its people and the strong heritage and influence of African culture. The city is colorful and exudes joy, and pride.
When exploring this impressive city in Brazil you’ll encounter capoeira, a martial art that seems more like a dance. You’ll find local delicacies and various smells and rich flavors.
Salvador da Bahia was Brazil’s first capital, and the center is listed as a Unesco Cultural Heritage Site. You’ll discover that the city houses over 300 churches, the most famous one being São Francisco Church. However, Catholicism lives along with African religions that have resulted in a blend of traditions. Many people believe in the Iemanja, Our Lady of The Conception.
5. Jungle adventures in Manaus
Manaus is the largest city in the Amazonian region in Brazil. Set in the middle of the jungle, Manaus is the perfect starting point if you wish to begin an excursion into the Amazonian jungle.
The city has plenty of local attractions, from extravagant buildings to open colonial squares. You might want to visit the Teatro Amazonas, an opera house featuring neoclassical style.
Manaus is also home to the Adolpho Duque Botanical Garden and the Bosque da Ciência, both ideal to learn about nature and science.
6. Fun beaches at Recife
Recife is the fifth largest metropolitan city in Brazil. Set in northeastern Brazil, Recife is a beautiful city with great temperatures all year. In Recife you will find one of the longest and prettiest beaches in the entire country, Boa Viagem. In this area you will also encounter plenty of bars, trendy restaurants and nightclubs.
While in Recife you can explore the Old Town or Recife Antigo and be mesmerized by the architecture, which features both Dutch and Portuguese styles. Not too far from Recife, is the town of Olinda which houses Baroque churches and is a UNESCO heritage site.
The capital of Pernambuco has a vigorous cultural and entertainment scene. You’ll have plenty of choices for dining out and relaxing during your stay.
7. The capital: Brasília
Brasília replaced Rio as capital in 1960. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Brasília is a fascinating city in Brazil. Featuring impressive buildings, the city has plenty of green open spaces. The idea behind creating this city was to populate the center of the country. Brasília is a symbol of urban planning and modern architecture.
Shaped like an airplane, the design of the city is called Plano Piloto, idealized by urbanist Lucio Costa and architect Oscar Niemeyer. Each building in Brasilia must obey specific characteristics that are predetermined in the Lucio Costa project. Residential buildings are held by columns and have their pilotis open to extensive green areas.
8. Belo Horizonte
Belo Horizonte was the first Brazilian city to be planned and was built in the 19th century. This is where famous architect Oscar Niemeyer designed one of his earliest creations which include Pampulha Church, Yacht Tennis Club, and Casa de Baile.
This modern metropolis is the third largest city in Brazil and you’ll find a wide range of attractions, shops, bars and restaurants. Trendy and fashionable restaurants include Lourdes and Sion neighborhoods.
During your visit you might want to head to the Praça da Liberdade Cultural Circuit, where you can visit the Minas Gerais Memorial, the Liberdade Palace, the Banco do Brasil Cultural Center and the Minas Gerais Museum.
9. Porto Alegre
Porto Alegre is the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, it’s a multicultural city that was colonized by several European nations. Due to its rich heritage, the center has a wide range of historical and cultural attractions, for instance, the Metropolitan Cathedral, inspired by Italian Renaissance style.
Porto Alegre is one of the most woodland covered cities in Brazil. A place you’ll fall in love with is the Farroupilha Park, ideal for social engagement and to play sports. Meanwhile, in Cidade Baixa you’ll find most of the bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.
Located on the northeastern coast of Brazil, Fortaleza is home to over 2 million people and has an array of activities and landmarks. You’ll find beautiful beaches, theaters, museums and much more.
Fortaleza has over 30 km of beaches and the coastline of Beira-Mar has numerous restaurants that feature local flavors and ingredients, especially seafood.
The Iracema Beach has stunning views and is the perfect place to submerge in culture. You’ll find the Dragão do Mar Arts e Culture Center, one of the most important in the State.