Top 10 Best Cities to Visit in Brazil
Brazil, which dominates South America's landmass, is a massive country with a diverse population. At carnival time, samba echoes through the streets of its cities, while football fans scream themselves hoarse in the nation's stadiums.
The best cities in Brazil have an endless array of delights that will astound and entice visitors to its shores, with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and rich cultural heritage.
1. Rio de Janeiro
The Marvelous City, as it is affectionately known by many, is one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. It's a picture-perfect setting, with the famous Copacabana beach curving gently along the shores of Guanabara Bay and Sugar Loaf and Christ the Redeemer stretching towards the heavens.
The sun-soaked beach of Ipanema, as well as the tropical forest-covered mountains and brightly colored favelas that dot Brazil's second-largest city, complement this majestic scenery. A vibrant city, the best time to visit is during its famous carnival when Rio is transformed into the world's party capital.
Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, is enthralling to walk around, and its historic center is filled with beautiful art and stunning architecture. This lovely city is situated along the Arno River. The Ponte Vecchio bridge that spans it, along with the incredible Duomo at its heart, is one of Florence's most famous sights. Its delightful piazzas, lined with heavenly churches and impressive statues, are a joy to stroll through. Botticelli and Michelangelo’s masterpieces are generously displayed to the world in its fantastic museums.
Delightful cafes and restaurants overlook the ancient cobblestones, and Florence never disappoints when it comes to fantastic shopping, sumptuous Tuscan cuisine, and delicious wines.
With its beautiful Old Town that showcases such a delightful array of 17th and 18th-Century colonial architecture, Salvador is certainly a charming city to behold. Its rich, Afro-Brazilian culture and vibrant arts scene shine through, and it´s an intoxicating and lively place to be, particularly during carnival.
Located on the huge All Saints Bay, the city´s setting only adds to its attractiveness. While the Old Town with its cobbled streets, historic sites, and interesting museums, is the highlight of Salvador, the feel about the place is infectious – its unique culture has greatly impacted Brazilian society around the country.
4. São Paulo
This massive city is the largest in Brazil, with a population of over twenty million people living within its metropolitan area. As a result, exploring it is both exhausting and exhilarating. Sao Paulo is a hive of activity, and visitors will appreciate its diverse range of world-class attractions.
There are numerous high-end restaurants, a raucous nightlife scene, and an inexhaustible number of bars, not to mention the cultural sites, which include over seventy museums and a plethora of theaters. Sao Paulo has it if it exists. A smog-filled concrete jungle, the nearby mountains, and rainforests provide respite from the fast-paced city life. Sao Paulo, a very cosmopolitan city, is fascinating to explore due to its diversity and thriving cultural scene.
5. Foz do Iguaçu
The breathtaking Iguazu Falls, one of the world's natural wonders, are the main attraction of Foz do Iguacu, an otherwise uninspiring city to visit. The falls, which are located on the border with Argentina, is worth seeing from both sides – the pounding cascades are mesmerizing in their beauty.
On the Brazilian side, you can get a bird's-eye view of the massive cascades, while on the Argentine side, there are some lovely trails above them. The city of Foz does Iguacu, named after the mouth of the river it sits on, is a convenient stopover when exploring the falls and other natural wonders in the area before continuing on to Argentina.
The capital was inaugurated in 1960, and this planned city was envisioned as modern Brazil's future. Its center has a futuristic feel to it, with modern architecture and an airplane-shaped grid-like layout.
Large green spaces and peaceful parks can be found if you venture further afield. It's a one-of-a-kind place to visit because it was created from nothing in an astonishingly short period of time. Although many visitors come to marvel at the architecture, the vibrant nightlife and cultural scene are also worth exploring.
The second-largest city in northeast Brazil, set alongside the beach, is a lively and upbeat place to visit.
It has an interesting cultural scene, and the nightlife is definitely worth seeing; there are numerous great restaurants, bars, and clubs to choose from. Although the soulless sprawling skyscrapers are not particularly appealing to the eye, the historic center of Olinda more than compensates.
Try to visit during its fantastic carnival, when you can revel in the incredible atmosphere and cool off on the beautiful beaches when you need a break.
Niteroi, located just across the bay from Rio, is rarely visited by tourists. While Cariocas joke that the best thing about Niteroi is the spectacular view of Rio, there are a number of nice sites that make it worthwhile to visit.
Taking the ferry over is a liberating experience, and the impressive saucer-like museum designed by Oscar Niemeyer looks incredible, despite the fact that there isn't much inside. The nearby Itacoatiara beach is one of the best in the state, and for the best view of Rio, make your way to Parque da Cidade.
Manaus' location right in the heart of the rainforest makes it the ideal destination for adventurers looking to explore the Amazon. While the city itself is quite ugly, the natural wonders of the rainforest are only a short distance away, and you would be much better off exploring the jungle as soon as possible.
However, because Manaus is a large city, there are a few places worth seeing, such as the incredible Opera House and the Meeting of the Waters – where two different colored parts of the Amazon River meet.
Fortaleza, located on Brazil's northeast coast, is a vibrant city with a plethora of beaches just waiting to be discovered. As one of the largest cities in Brazil, it has a vibrant nightlife scene; many tourists come here to party and enjoy the city's beaches.
Fortaleza is well-known throughout the country as the birthplace of forro music and the influential author Jose de Alcencar. While there aren't many tourist attractions, the beaches, and fun atmosphere more than compensate.