Brazil is a country that everyone should see at least once. However, it can be hard to decide which are the best places to visit. So let us begin by selecting the top cities in Brazil that you need to see.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio is the stuff of legend. It is also one of the most famous, if not the most, cities in Brazil. It encompasses African, Portuguese, Spanish and traditional South American culture in one place. The city comes alive during Carnival, where it is mobbed by tourists and locals alike, dressed to the nines. The city is overlooked by Christ the Redeemer, the most visited tourist attraction in Brazil. Atop Corcovado mountain, the city is best viewed on a clear day. You can hike or take public transport to the top, and it will be a sight that you will never forget.
Rio is also home to one of the best botanical gardens in the world, with thousands of species of plant and animal life. The Tijuca National Park, which also houses the Christ statue, is full of lush rainforest that typifies Rio as one of the most spectacular cities in Brazil.
From Ipanema to Copacabana beach, the coastlines made famous by popular songs, you can dip your toes in warm, clear waters and marvel at the sculpted bodies of the locals. This is also a great vantage point from which to see the many contrasts of the city.
Take a cable car up to Sugar Loaf Mountain or dance samba in Lapa, and it is guaranteed that Rio will remain in your heart as one of the best loved cities in Brazil.
Sao Paulo has been on the up and up in the last few years. As well as being the financial hub of Brazil, it also boasts a unique culture. Every Saturday, bars all over Sao Paulo turn up their samba music and you can indulge in watching or even joining in with, dancing. This atmosphere of laid-back partying has made Sao Paulo one of the most energetic cities in Brazil.
Sao Paulo has also been influenced by architectural greats and boasts many sites in which you can feast your eyes on some amazing architecture. The city encompasses colonial and modern, in the same street which means you never see the same view twice.
To take a breather, you can visit Parque Ibirapuera, the largest open park in Sao Paulo. The locals often come here to enjoy a picnic, and it can be the perfect place to kick off your shoes and relax after exploring the city. There is also a lake if you prefer to relax near water.
Sao Paulo also boasts some truly excellent museums. These include the Soccer Museum, Pinacoteca, Afro-Brasil Museum and the Latin American Memorial. They largely include art and history instalments charting the fascinating but at times bloody history of Brazil and South America.
Recife is one of the largest cities in Brazil and remains one of the most traditional. Upon visiting Recife, you might be shocked to see how similar it is Venice, thanks to the many canals around the city.
Recife is also one of the best cities in Brazil to relax by the beach. It is built on a reef, which means that its beaches are among the best in the country. The nicest beach is widely recognised as being Boa Viagem, which also has access to some upscale bars and nightclubs.
The historic centre of Recife is one of the best preserved in all the cities in Brazil. You can easily walk around, taking in early modern architecture. The best sights are Teatro Santa Isabel, Catedral de Sao Pedro and Basilica de Penha. The Casa de Cultura is also worth a stop, as this ex-prison is now home to a large, indoor market selling traditional, handmade souvenirs.
Before leaving Recife, do not fail to visit Olinda. This is considered to be the origin of Brazilian culture and is a living museum. It is a perfectly preserved colonial town and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Salvador is one of the oldest cities in Brazil for both politics and culture. Salvador is widely known for being Brazil´s first capital, and it encompasses the Bahia African culture of the country. The Pelourinho is the historic and touristic heart of the city and has some beautiful pastel-coloured buildings. This area has been the inspiration for many musicians and was also the traditional market square, where slaves were bought and sold.
The Baia de Todos los Santos is another must-see in all the cities in Brazil. You can watch fishing boats bob in the water, as you enjoy a caipirinha. This is also a good spot to hear local Afro-Brazilian music, as many of the plazas hold open air concerts.
For more information on trips to Brazil, please contact Exoticca for details.