Best things to do in Brazil
Find out more about those top places in Brazil
When you think about visiting Brazil, Brasilia would definitely not be your first choice city - but as most of the locals and frequent visitors would tell you, it is one of the hidden gems of the country.
Inaugurated as Brazil’s capital in 1960, the city was a planned one - designed by some of South American’s leading talents including the famous Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa. Shaped like a large bird, it holds most of Brazil’s official buildings including the Supreme Court and the Presidential Palace.
Simply called the JK memorial, it can be found at the Monumental Axis and is dedicated to Juscelino Kubitschek a former president of Brazil and the founder of the nation’s capital Brasilia. Built in 1981, the monument is a 4.5 meters statue of the president and stands on a concrete pedestal. His mortal remains as well as some of his honors and awards can also be found at the memorial site.
Named after Brazilian conductor and violinist the Nation Theater is the home of creative arts in Brasilia. Like most buildings in the capital, it was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and it is shaped like a truncated pyramid. The theater is home to 3 venues; the Villa-Lobos theater, the Alberto Nepomunceno theater and Martins Pena theater. It also has an exhibition gallery making it a perfect destination for lovers of arts and music.
Declared by most as the best attraction in Brasilia, the Parque Municipal do Itiquira is a natural haven. Among its many gifts, its main attraction and where the park draws its name is the Itiquira falls. The waterfall has a height of 168 m, which makes it the second highest in the country and the highest accessible to people. Usually a good place to relax, the pool formed by the waterfall is very clean so you are likely to find visitors swimming in it.
Brazil being a fairly religious country, exceptional looking cathedrals are expected – but among its wonderful cathedrals, the Cathedral of Brasilia easily stands out. Designed by Oscar Niemeyer, it is a hyperbolic structure constructed around 16 beams and is one of Brazil’s most visited worship centers. Be sure to check out its numerous attractions such as its oval baptistery, altar among others.
Located at Praça dos Três Poderes, the Planalto Palace is the official work place of the President of Brazil. Inaugurated on April 21, 1960 - it is one of the few presidential buildings that are easily accessible to tourists. It is opened to public visitation every Sunday; visitors get to take a tour through its many rooms.
Perched on a narrow peninsula jutting into the Atlantic Ocean, Búzios is one of Brazil’s most enchanting destinations. Situated just east of Rio de Janeiro, the quiet fishing village was transformed into a playground for the rich and famous in the 1960s, as it became renowned as the favored getaway of Brigitte Bardot. Today, Búzios is one of Brazil’s most glamorous seaside resorts with three distinct districts each with their character. Situated at the peninsula’s eastern tip, the most enchanting district is undoubtedly Ossos, which retains an atmospheric old world charm with steep cobbled streets and colonial-era houses reminiscent of the Mediterranean. Beyond Búzios’ architectural charms, the peninsula offers the perfect opportunity to unwind on some of Brazil’s best beaches.
A tour of the most popular street of Búzios in Rio de Janeiro - the Rua das Pedras is an unforgettable experience. This street got its name from the pavement which is made of stones. The Rua das Pedras is only about 600 m which places it as a small street and cars are not allowed to move along this street. At any time of the day, the street is always lively and it houses the best restaurants and the most exclusive luxury shops in Búzios which you should visit on your tour.
Praia da Armação is one location where you can relax and breath in the cool air. This tranquil beach with its beautiful sights features restaurants and bars, a small church, alongside windsurfing and swimming.
The Praia da Ferradura is one of the many relaxation places that you should visit during your tour where you can lay back and breath in the beach air. This horseshoe-shaped beach with its gentle water and amazing scenes also has kiosks where you can get all your snacks. Also, you can rent chairs, umbrellas and even kayaks during your visit.
The exciting feature of this beach is that it is very suitable for you especially if you do not want to be disturbed while on your tour. The Praia João Fernandinho is an isolated beach with a number of food kiosks and a modest stretch of sand for fishing, swimming, and other purposes.
Amazonas is the vast heart of Brazil. More than four times the size of Germany, this Brazilian state is home to a dazzling array of rainforest flora and fauna and is where the world’s longest and largest river, the Amazon, is formed. Despite this, Amazonas remains a hidden gem all too often skipped over by travelers who stick to the country’s eastern seaboard. A tour of Amazonas inevitably starts in Manaus, a gritty port city incongruously located in the middle of pristine wilderness thousands of miles from any ocean. While Manaus has its charms, it is primarily a gateway to the rainforest where Amazon River cruises and jungle tours depart. To experience the Amazon of your dreams, excursions to the remote Mamirauá Reserve and Reserva Extrativista Baixo Rio Branco-Jauaperi are a must.
The Amazonian Rainforest offers visitors an opportunity to view a very extraordinary phenomenon. A boat tour of the Amazonian Rainforest allows you the privilege of seeing the meeting of waters or more appropriately, the union of the Black River and the Solimões River.
Pink Dolphins present a gorgeous sight and can be found in the freshwater habitats in the Amazon. During a tour of this site, you also get to feed them and learn about their ecosystem and physical features. Of all dolphin species, they are considered the most intelligent and are also very social and friendly to tourists and visitors.
Right in the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, stands the Amazon Theater. The Amazon Theater is an opera house and is located in Manaus which is in the heart of the Amazon. While on your tour of the Amazon, ensure that you check out this Theater.
Take a tour of the Amazon Jungle and experience a life different from the one you know. Travel from the Juma River to the Juma River reserve in 4 days and 3 nights and enjoy a night of immense pleasure on a floating jungle guest house while gray and pink dolphins swim by giving you a feeling of being in Utopia.
New experiences are a part of every tour but a unique experience like the Tucandeira Ants Ritual can only be gotten on this particular tour. This particular experience is the indigenous rituals of the Sateré Mawé Tribe and is unique. This ritual is carried out as a form of male initiation.
Fortaleza, the capital of the state of Ceará, is often overlooked by international visitors to Brazil’s vast northeast who prefer the old world charm of Salvador. However, the city has been a favorite holiday destination of Brazilians for decades, mainly because of the miles of unbroken sandy beaches and imposing sand dunes that define the coast either side of the city. While the spectacular beaches are undoubtedly Fortaleza’s main draw, the city itself has an exhilarating buzz. The city’s famously impeccable weather results in a year-round buzz in Fortaleza’s charming streets, particularly those near the historic Ponte dos Ingleses, while lively forró music resonates from a plethora of danceterias. Although Fortaleza’s skyline of rather anonymous seaside tower blocks may not have the glamour of Rio de Janeiro, the city is Brazil’s lively and characterful hidden gem.
Take a day tour from Fortaleza of the small fishing village of Jericoacoara and check out the beaches that offers a chance to relax suitably. Explore the dunes while riding in an open-top Jeep and let the cool breeze blow on your face.
The Beach of Porto das Dunas offers many attractions for both families and individuals. It consists of the aquatic park and resort, the beach and records show that over 1 million people visit this park every year. This Brazilian water park and tourist resort are located on a 35,000 m² land area of the total 170,000 m² land area.
The sight of the landscapes of the Morro Branco Bay is a breathtakingly beautiful one. Take a full-day guided tour from Fortaleza and pause to exclaim at the sheer beauty of the red and white sand dunes. In addition, a labyrinth carved out of the rock by the action of sand and seawater erosion over a very long period is a sight to behold.
The Cambuco beach is your dream relaxation site after a busy day of touring beautiful and historic sights and sites in Fortaleza. On your tour, spot some portion of historic Fortaleza and the modern Fortaleza. The Metropolitan Cathedral, the Central Market and the Statue of Iracema are some extraordinary sights that you should check out.
If you are searching for the perfect tourist destination, look no further than Rio de Janeiro. The former capital is Brazil’s third most populous state with over 6 million citizens – with its embracing culture you will also find quite a number of people from different nationalities in the city.
Nicknamed “the marvelous city”, it has quite a number of attractions from the famous Christ the Redeemer and Maracanã Football Stadium to the lesser known AquaRio.
Easily the city’s most popular tourist attraction, the mere image of the Statue sends thoughts of Brazil to the minds of people. Located at the top of Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park, it was constructed between 1922 and 1931 - the statue is a depiction of Christ with is hands spread wide safeguarding the city. Made of reinforce concrete and soapstone, it stands at 700 meters high.
Adored by lovers of the round leather game, the Maracanã Football Stadium is considered a symbol of football. Officially known as the Mario Filho stadium, the Maracanã was opened to the public in 1950 and it remains the biggest stadium in Brazil even though its capacity has been reduced to 78,838. Since its establishment it has played host to a number of key football games – it was the venue for the 1950 FIFA World Cup, 2016 Summer Olympics and 2014 World Cup. Best to visit the stadium during one of the local match days to experience how loud the Maracanã can be.
Brazil is well-known for its carnivals and festivals, if you are a party lover then Rio is definitely for you. Of its numerous celebrations, the most recognized is the Rio Festival - considered to be the biggest festival in the world with over 2 million people attended regularly. Starting as far back as the 1723, the carnival occurs yearly before the fasting season of lent. The Rio Carnival is quite extravagance filled with adornments, floats and revelers – it often involves a plethora of activities including music, dance and parades.
If there is one thing you will find in surplus in Rio de Janeiro are beaches, no matter where you are planning to stay over your visit there is sure to be a beach around you. Although with several beaches to choose from, picking one can be a bit difficult – one of the most visited beaches in the city is the Copacabana. Located at the Atlantic shore in Rio, the beach extends for over 4 km and is lined with restaurants and kiosks.
The city of Rio was once surrounded by a massive rainforest, but today the Tijuca is all that remains. Covering a massive 32 square kilometers, it is the first replanted forest in the world – it was started in the 1850s when most of the land was cleared and developed to grow sugar and coffee. Claimed to be the world’s largest urban forest, it has a number of natural and man made attractions including several waterfalls, flora and fauna, caves, and restaurants. It is also home to the famous Christ the Redeemer statue.
Known to be the largest aquarium in South America, the AquaRio is located in Gamboa in the port zone of the city. It has a total of 5 floors and 28 tanks featuring over 8,000 animals of 350 species. One special thing about the AquaRio that you won’t find in most aquariums is its “Sleeping in AquaRio” where visitors can spend a night in one of its tunnel tanks simulating sleeping in the middle of the ocean.
The Sugarloaf Mountain is one of the favorite parts of the city for tourism, named Sugarloaf Mountain because of its striking resemblance to the shape of tradition refined sugar loaf. The site has a cable car that goes all the way to its 396 m peak offering a panoramic view of the city. It is a good location for rock climbing as well.
Located in the heart of the city’s port district right next to the Praca Mauá, the Rio Art Museum is formed of two building - the Palacete Dom João VI which is joint on the fifth floor by a walkway to the Escola de Olhar (School of Vision). It features eight exhibition halls formed from several donations and private collection, it is a perfect place to witness the best of local and international artworks available in Rio.
Sandwiched between Brazil’s two largest cities, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, on the lush Costa Verde, Angra dos Reis is one of Brazil’s most dazzling landscapes. Comprised of over 360 islands ringed with golden sand beaches, this vast Atlantic bay is the perfect getaway from the metropolitan buzz of the nearby big cities. While the bay’s main town, also called Angra dos Reis, is peppered with Portuguese colonial architecture, the region’s main draw is its rainforest-clad islands, which can be reached via boat or schooner rides. What is more, the largest island, Ilha Grande, is crisscrossed with rainforest trails and studded with picture perfect fishing villages that offer an enchanting escape from the mainland.
Ilha Grande is best described by just how beautiful it is. It is an island in Rio de Janeiro and has its land area being covered by Atlantic forest, surrounded by beaches and with a crisscross of winding trails. Ilha Grande is well-known for its amazing landscape, lush vegetation, unpolluted beaches and awesome beauty. Basically, it is about the only feature on the island that attracts visitors and is therefore pretty secluded.
Serra da Bocaina National Park is home to Jaguars and spider monkeys and has varied landscapes that range from coastal beaches around Paraty to mountains inland. It is a huge area of protected Atlantic rainforest that covers both Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Some other attractions that you would see on your tour include the rocky summit of Pick do Tira Chapéu and the famous Mambucaba Path that is known for taking in a number of waterfalls.
The beaches of Angra dos Reis are well-known by divers and is one sight that no tourist ever wants to miss. In the crystalline waters of these beaches reside fish with exquisite beauty and a very vast and rich marine life of various sizes and colors. A tour of the beaches exposes other fish species including crustaceans and turtles.
Straddling the Brazil-Argentina border, the awe-inspiring Iguazú Falls are undoubtedly one of the natural wonders of the world. The Iguazú Falls stretch for more than three kilometers with the Rio Iguazú hurtling over 250 separate waterfalls before reaching a majestic climax at the horseshoe shaped Garganta del Diablo, where thousands of cubic meters of water plunge over the precipice every second. While the large Brazilian town of Foz do Iguaçu provides access to the waterfalls, they are best visited via the picturesque Argentine town of Puerto Iguazú, where boardwalks allow visitors to get immersed in the mist sprayed off the falls. While the Iguazú Falls are becoming more popular with backpackers, they remain one of South America’s true hidden gems.
Iguazú Falls which can also be called Iguaçu Falls is undeniable the largest waterfall system in the world. They are waterfalls of the Iguazú River and can be found on the border of the Paraná, a state in Brazil and the Argentine province of Misiones. The river is divided into the upper and lower Iguazú as a result of the falls action.
The Parque das Aves can be found very close to the Iguazú Falls with its exact location in Foz do Iguaçu. This privately owned zoo houses mainly different species of birds as well as butterflies and animals. With a land area of 16 hectares, the Parque das Aves which opened in 1994 gets lots of visitors and tourists.
Brazil is known for being home to some of the largest facilities in the world such as the Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam. With an installed generation capacity of 14GW, the Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam remains the biggest hug energy producer in the world still operational. A tour of the facility is bound to leave you shocked at the immense size.
A boat ride tour of the Iguazú National Park exposes you to viewing this park from three entirely different perspectives. The full-day tour begins at Foz do Iguaçu, then a border crossing into Argentina and a quick shower at the Three Musketeers cascades with a walk along the lower and upper circuit.