While Rio de Janeiro understandably steals the show with its spectacular sights and sounds, Brazil has other fantastic places that warrant a visit. Musement takes a look at five of Brazil’s best cities.
Tucked away amongst this continent-sized country’s breathtaking natural sights and glorious sun-kissed beaches is an incredible array of fascinating cities. While the sights, sounds and samba of Rio de Janeiro make it Brazil’s most alluring city, Sao Paulo, Salvador, Belém and Brasilia each boast their own charm. Here’s a look at five of Brazil’s best cities.
1. Rio de Janeiro
Renowned around the world for its pulsating Carnival and pounding nightlife, Rio de Janeiro is undoubtedly one of the world’s most beautiful cities – they don’t call it Cidade Maravilhosa (the Marvelous City) for nothing. Stunning rainforest-clad mountains preside over the city, a stunning backdrop to world-famous beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema. Yet Sugarloaf and Christ the Redeemer that steal the show with their iconic outlines. Offering up the perfect mix of nature and city life, beaches and nightlife, one could spend a lifetime exploring all that Rio has to offer.
Lying on the shores of the vast All Saints Bay in northeast Brazil, the enthralling city of Salvador exudes rich Afro-Brazilian heritage and culture. Wander around the charming Old Town where colonial-era buildings line the cobbled streets. Carnival is particularly mesmerizing as the city truly comes alive. With a vibrant yet strangely laidback and relaxed feel, Salvador is unique amongst Brazil’s cities. Its thriving cultural scene has greatly impacted the country in terms of both its music and popular culture.
3. Sao Paulo
The largest and richest city in Brazil, Sao Paulo and its surroundings are remarkably home to over twenty million people and as such, the city thrums with life as people go about their day. Boasting a plethora of great restaurants, bars and nightclubs, Sao Paulo is loads of fun to visit and its wide range of museums and theaters means that there will always be something to see and do. One of the most diverse, multicultural cities in the Americas, this huge city warrants a visit. If its fast pace feels like too much, then the nearby mountains and rainforests are perfect for hiking.
While often overlooked, Brasilia is known for its increasingly lively cultural scene as well as its vibrant nightlife. The main reason that people visit Brazil’s capital, however, is for its fascinating modern architecture and futuristic feel. Indeed the planned city, designed in the shape of a bird or plane, was constructed in just under four years. Completed in 1960, Brasilia is still developing its look, feel and identity. While it may lack the exuberance of Rio and the historical heritage of Salvador, UNESCO named Brasilia a World Heritage Site due to its architecture.
Sitting on the banks of the Guajará Bay near the mouth of the Amazon River, Belém is ideal for exploring the Amazon rainforest or an unforgettable trip along the river of the same name. While many head to Manaus, which is located in the heart of the rainforest, Belém is much more beautiful to behold. Its delightful colonial center is home to lots of wonderful architecture as well as some great restaurants and bars to boot. Due to the intoxicating mix of indigenous and Portuguese influences that shaped the city, its cuisine and culture, Belem is very much a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered!
We planned a trip to Rio de Janeiro, one of the most visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere, for our summer vacation. My father is a lover of natural beauty, and we decided to book flights to Rio de Janeiro because it is known for its natural settings, samba, carnival, bossa nova.