Top 10 Best Cities in Brazil
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Top 10 Best Cities in Brazil

7 min read

Sep 28, 2015

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By Megan Zebari

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Last updated on October 27th, 2020 at 09:57 am

Our company, SouthAmerica.travel, started in Brazil in 1999, so we feel quite qualified to give our top 10 list of best cities in Brazil. We have an office in Rio de Janeiro which is home to some of our Sales Team and our Operations Teams who create custom Brazil tours that include many of Brazil’s popular destinations. Read along as we explore the best cities in Brazil, including São Paulo, Salvador da Bahia, Recife, and more!

1. São Paulo

patio do colegio in sao paulo

The financial hub of Brazil, São Paulo has become a major player in global economics and is first up on our list of the 10 best cities in Brazil. Home to Brazil’s largest and most diverse population, São Paulo is known for its status as the concrete jungle, where visitors come to do business, rather than focusing on sightseeing.

The bustling city’s fast-paced lifestyle may not be for everyone, but if you’re curious about what cements Brazil as the world’s third-biggest economy, a visit to the city is an excellent way to experience it first hand. São Paulo is also a great place to start or end your visit to Brazil, as the city’s major airport receives flights from over 90 cities worldwide. We highly recommend you travel to São Paulo on our South America Deluxe Tour!

2. Salvador de Bahia

salvador historic district

Next up on our list of the 10 best cities in Brazil is a tour of Salvador de Bahia. Known as ‘Salvador’, this city is both Brazil’s first political and cultural capital. In Salvador, the first people of Brazil blended to create an incredibly diverse mix of cultures that create the Brazil we know and love today. The historic neighborhoods of Pelourinho and Barra house museums and architectural monuments that have stood for many years.

Additionally, Salvador is one of the best locations to witness the traditional martial arts dance of Brazil, Capoeira, with its most notable school located in the Pelourinho neighborhood. A long coastline wraps around Salvador, and many hotels are treated with ocean views. If you’re looking for the ultimate Brazil beach resort, take a ferry to the nearby Praia do Forte or Morro de São Paulo. There are beach villages two hours from the mainland of Salvador de Bahia. You can also mix Salvador with a hiking adventure in Chapada Diamantina!

3. Recife and Olinda

olinda church along the water

Similar to Salvador de Bahia, Recife is home to an abundance of attractive beaches and colonial architecture. Lucky for tourists, Recife is privileged to have pleasant Brazil weather year-round. A tour of Olinda, the nearby town, is one of the best things to do. Olinda oozes with colorful colonial architecture and vibrant livelihoods. Olinda is home to an abundance of craftspeople, honoring old world traditions. Take our Recife and Olinda coastal tour to experience all that the two towns have to offer.

4. Paraty

street view of paraty

Paraty is on Brazil’s Costa Verde or “Green Coast”, and is surrounded by mountains and coastline. While here, learn about how gold was once funneled from the mining regions of inland Brazil through Paraty. Evidence of the city’s historical past stands today in the form of beautiful colonial architecture and cobblestone streets.

Brazilian natives visit Paraty to escape from the bustling metropolis of Rio de Janeiro and enjoy boat rides to the surrounding islands. A boat ride during a visit to Paraty is a fantastic way to explore the hundreds of nearby islands near the mainland. Ilha Grande is one of the most well-known islands. Small pousadas on the peaceful island are the perfect place to relax and unwind before your trip back to Paraty.

5. Foz do Iguassu

Aerial view over beautiful Iguazu Falls

Foz do Iguassu is the main city on the Brazilian side of the Falls, within the National Park so it takes a spot on our best 10 cities in Brazil. It’s home to 300 of the world’s most powerful and breathtaking waterfalls. Surrounded by lush rainforest and permanently adorned with rainbows, this landscape must be seen to be believed.

Enjoy the wooden walkways through the falls, where you can feel the mist of the forceful waterfalls as you explore them. Stay in the Belmond das Cataratas in Foz do Iguassu to maximize your experience in Iguassu Falls. Descended from the historic Orient Express Hotel line, the Belmond das Cataracts delivers unforgettable charm and convenience. Visit both sides of the Falls on the Buenos Aires, Rio, and Iguazu Falls Tour

6. Manaus

manaus pink cathedral

The Amazon Rainforest accounts for an incredible 60% of Brazil’s entire land area. Manaus is not the only city located in the rainforest, but the city plays a vital role as a major facilitator of travel through the Amazon. The success of the city’s latex exports (extracted from local rubber trees) gave way to its economic growth.

Today, the beautiful architecture, historic squares, and numerous Amazon research centers make Manaus one of the best cities in Brazil. Views of the Amazon river and even beautiful beaches line the river’s coast. Cruises through the Brazilian Amazon depart from the city of Manaus, strategically navigating a route that attracts fewer mosquitos due to water nutrient levels. An abundance of lodges near Manaus provides authentic experiences in the Amazon. The Manaus International Airport welcomes flights from Brazil and around the world. Visit different areas of the Brazilian Amazon on a Remote Amazon Tour

7. Fortaleza

Fortaleza city beach

Fortaleza is one of the top party destinations and best cities in Brazil! The sprawling metropolis is a favorite among native Brazilians and international tourists alike for its abundance of clubs and well-kept beaches. The city boasts 16 miles of beaches!

You can combine a tour of Fortaleza is the capital of the Brazilian state of Ceara, home to many other of Brazil’s best beach towns, including Jericoacoara and Paraiba.

8. Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto buildings and distant church

Brazil’s golden age might be hundreds of years in the past, but visiting Ouro Preto, in the state of Minas Gerais, is a reminder of its shimmering history. Tucked in the hills of gorgeous countryside, Ouro Preto is often overlooked by visitors focused on scouting Brazil’s best beaches and nightlife.

However, you’ll find that Ouro Preto is one of Brazil’s top cities precisely because of its isolation. The cobblestone streets and incredibly preserved colonial architecture provide a wonderfully rare journey into Brazil’s fascinating past. Visit Ouro Preto on our Colonial Gems Tour.

9. Curitiba

Curtiba express train passing river in mountains

Though not one of Brazil’s most famous cities, Curitiba is one of Brazil’s most endearing modern cities. The city offers a unique train tour through the Atlantic Rainforest. This is an experience that you won’t find anywhere else in South America. Curitiba offers a wonderful variety of restaurants and bars, offering up delicious local cuisine. Curitiba is home to many parks filled with amazing sculptures and excellent gardens.

10. Rio de Janeiro

Rio during sunset

Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s most alluring city. The picturesque streets captivate travelers of all types. All who visit Rio de Janeiro are treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the Atlantic ocean, attractive beaches, and have almost endless opportunities to sunbathe, dance, and explore.

An explosion in spirit erupts during the season of Carnival, during the first two weeks of February every year. You can watch Samba schools compete for the crown prize during the winner’s parade, every Saturday after Carnival. Rio is also famous for football! Football is one of the most important pastimes and passions in Brazilian culture. Going to a football game will make it impossible not to become a fan for the Brazilian passion for the sport, and life.

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Last updated on October 27th, 2020 at 09:57 am

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