6 must-see things to do in Porto Alegre

Visiting Porto Alegre: what are the best things to see and do in the capital of Rio Grande do Sul?

Porto Alegre is a city of over a million inhabitants, located in the extreme south of Brazil, close to the border withUruguay. It is not bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, but water is omnipresent, as it runs alongside the Guaïba River. Porto Alegre is therefore a port city that enjoys a privileged position on the banks of the river, below the Jacui delta, and plays an important role in the region’s economy thanks to river transport.

Although open to the world and very dynamic, Porto Alegre is not really a tourist city in Brazil. It’s more a place for passing through between two stages of a trip. It has to be said that the city doesn’t have the typical profile of Brazilian cities, close to superb stretches of sand and sunshine.

Even so, Porto Alegre is full of points of interest to discover if you take the time to linger. It’s a cosmopolitan, festive metropolis with an abundance of vegetation, giving it a great deal of charm. It’s a pleasant city to visit, where you can feel safe and secure.

Want to know what to do in Porto Alegre? Here are the 7 must-sees during your trip.

Also read on the Porto Alegre guide :

1. The historic center

Centre-ville de Porto Alegre

Photo credit: Flickr – Aline Rebelo

The first place to start when visiting Porto Alegre is the city center. This is where the soul of the city is concentrated. Here you’ll find the main points of interest, such as museums and monuments. Don’t miss the Paço Municipal and its Talavera de la Reina fountain. Built in 1901, this is Porto Alegre’s former town hall. Colorful and adorned with superb statues, it bears witness to Brazil’s history and today houses the seat of executive power.

If you’re looking for something to do in Porto Alegre to discover the city’s history, don’t miss a visit to the Metropolitan Cathedral. The old building was constructed in 1794, but had to be replaced in the 20th century. The black dome and stained glass windows enhance the exterior of this Renaissance-style building. The interior is also well worth a visit.

On the other hand, even if the level of security in the city is quite good compared to other Brazilian metropolises, it’s not advisable to go out partying in the historic center. Other areas of Porto Alegre are more suitable for partying, as discussed below.

2. Redemption Park

The Parque Farroupilha or Parque da Redençao is a 37-hectare area in the heart of the city. It features a lake, a zoo and an amusement park, as well as thousands of different trees and lush vegetation. The park is the ideal place to relax and enjoy the Brazilian way of life. It’s a must if you want to visit Porto Alegre in style.

3. Going out in a boteco

Porto Alegre is a city where tourists are few and far between, which is a huge advantage when it comes to enjoying the local culture and understanding the way of life of its inhabitants. In fact, the city is strongly imbued with the culture of the « gauchos ». These are the people who once herded cattle in the Brazilian countryside. Botecos, small local bars, are a typical place to enjoy a drink and taste local specialties such as Picanha d’Angus.

These Brazilian bars are real places of life and exchange, where the atmosphere is tinged with human warmth. You’ll find them particularly in the Cidade Baixa district, which is packed with places to party until the wee hours of the morning. If you’re looking for an evening out in Porto Alegre, Cidade Baixa is also an area of the city where you can stay out late in complete safety.

During your stay, you won’t want to miss a maté tasting, a local infusion enjoyed in groups to celebrate friendship and sharing.

4. Iberê Camargo Museum

This museum-foundation was built by Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza in 2008, following an architectural competition. The ultra-modern, five-storey, white-concrete building has been hosting exhibitions and creative workshops ever since. As well as winning an award for its creator, the building also respects certain values, notably ecological. For example, rainwater is collected for use in certain indoor installations.

The Iberê Camargo Museum is located on the banks of the Guaiba River and offers a pleasant spot to watch the sunset from its terrace. It houses works by Brazilian expressionist artist Iberê Camargo.

5. Watch a soccer match

The city of Porto Alegre boasts two soccer teams and almost as many fans as inhabitants. Attending a Grêmio or Sport Club International match is therefore a must when visiting the city. If you don’t know what to do in Porto Alegre, head for the Arena do Grêmio or the Beira-Rio stadium. You’re bound to have a good time in the face of so much energy.

6. Also in Porto Alegre

The capital of Rio Grande do Sul cannot be summed up in just a few lines…. So, if your stay lasts several days and you’re still wondering what to do in Porto Alegre, here are a few more ideas for sightseeing:

  • Visiting museums

Porto Alegre has many museums worth visiting, depending on the length of your stay in the city. These include the Museum of Science and Technology, the Rio Grande do Sul Art Museum, the Julio de Castilhos Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

  • Take the Caminhos Rurais road

Leaving Porto Alegre, you can follow an itinerary that takes in the surrounding countryside.

  • Explore the Jacui Delta

Take advantage of a visit to the city to discover the Jacui Delta and its formation of islets, criss-crossed by canals and ponds.

  • The windmill district

This lively neighborhood is a favorite among visitors to Porto Alegre. Its park, in particular, is one of the city’s most beautiful.

How to get to Porto Alegre

To get to Porto Alegre from France, you’ll need to take a flight with one or two stopovers in another major Brazilian city, such as Rio or Sao Paulo, before reaching the city. Other European cities, such as Lisbon, also offer direct flights to Porto Alegre. To find the best deal on your plane tickets, visit our partner website Skyscanner, where you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.

What’s more, numerous bus companies serve Porto Alegre from other Brazilian cities. You can therefore incorporate this city into a tour of southern Brazil, especially by renting a car as soon as you arrive.

Where to stay in Porto Alegre?

Whether you prefer the lively Moinhos de Ventos neighborhood or the nearby Farroupilha Park, you’ll find plenty of low-cost accommodation in Porto Alegre during your stay. To help you make your choice, take a look at our article « Where to stay in Porto Alegre « . And don’t forget to visit our hotel comparator, which will help you find the best deal to suit your needs. You can also find an apartment or a room to rent in Porto Alegre’s best neighborhood on the Airbnb website.

Now you know all you need to know to visit Porto Alegre, so are you ready to go?

Map of hotels and accommodation – Porto Alegre,br