The 11 most beautiful places to visit in Brazil

Pantanal, Brésil

Have you decided to visit Brazil, one of South America’s most popular travel destinations? Discover our selection of must-see sites to make the most of your stay!

The largest country in South America, covering almost half the continent, Brazil is a land of contrasts, offering a multitude of landscapes and activities. From the immense cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Salvador to the unexplored lands of the Amazon and Pantanal, unspoilt national parks and heavenly beaches, a visit to Brazil offers experiences as diverse as they are enriching.

A stay of several months would be necessary to explore this country 16 times the size of France, so we’ll help you decide what to do in Brazil with our selection of must-see places.

1. Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brésil

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Catarina Belova

As the country’s gateway, Rio de Janeiro is often Brazil’s best-known city. Mythical for its carnival, landscapes and monuments, it immediately immerses you in the country’s relaxed, warm atmosphere. To visit Brazil is first and foremost to immerse yourself in the country’s gentle way of life.

Stroll along the legendary beaches of Copacabana andIpanema, where Brazilians sunbathe and show off their bodies. Stop to admire the salsa dancers who twirl around the promenade in impromptu shows.

Then it’s on to Corcovado, the mountain that houses Christ the Redeemer, the symbol of the city. The view over Rio’s bay is breathtaking, and you’ll have another must-see in your sights: the Pão de Açúcar or Sugar Loaf, a granite peak rising 396 metres above the sea, whose summit can be reached on foot or by cable car.

2. Costa Verde

Paraty, Brésil

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When you’re looking for things to do in Brazil and the Rio de Janeiro region, the Costa Verde is a must. This region along the Atlantic coast between Rio and São Paulo is home to many wonders. Of particular note is the small town of Paraty, a jewel of colonial architecture that seems to have been frozen in time, with its white facades and cobbled streets. Not far away, the fishing village of Trindade spreads its white sandy beaches dotted with fishermen’s huts along a turquoise sea, to your great delight.

3. Ilha Grande

Ilha Grande, Brésil

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Jakub Barzycki

Ilha grande – French for « Big Island » – is one of the 365 islands in the Bay ofAngra dos Reis.

Accessible by ferry, it offers everything a traveler could wish for in a vacation. White sandy beaches for idleness, translucent waters for snorkeling, walks in the unspoilt jungle and much more. All in a calm and relaxing atmosphere, as the island has no roads and therefore no vehicles. The island’s many hiking trails will satisfy the needs of both motivated walkers and those who prefer to combine a vacation with relaxation, and will lead you in all cases to large deserted beaches or pretty little fishing villages.

4. Iguazú Falls

Chutes d'Iguazú, Brésil

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / baron_cotes_due_rhone

Visiting Brazil also means seeking out some of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders. The Iguazú Falls(Foz do Iguaçu in Portuguese), on the border with Argentina, are a jewel not to be missed. Located in a protected park, the 275 waterfalls gush out of the forest at every turn, culminating in the impressive Garganta del Diablo or Devil’s Throat.

You’ll hear the sound of the waterspouts before you see it, and be able to get up close and personal thanks to the footbridges built along the cliffs and over the river.

5. The Amazon rainforest

Forêt amazonienne

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Gustavo Frazao

A visit to Brazil would not be complete without an immersion in the green lung of our planet, the immense Amazon rainforest. Fly to Manaus, a legendary city developed in the 19th century during the rush for « soft gold », rubber. This city of colonial architecture is the starting point for cruises on the Amazon River or hikes in the jungle. But beware, going deep into the primary forest is a real adventure!

Choose an experienced guide who will show you the flora and fauna of the region, sleep in a lodge in the heart of the forest and meet the indigenous tribes. Following the river to its mouth, you can reach the town of Belém, gateway to theIlha do Marajo. This island in the middle of the delta is a vast, unspoilt territory offering numerous opportunities for trekking, camping andanimal watching.

6. The state of the Pantanal

Pantanal, Brésil

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / AJancso

Keeping with the theme of nature, we recommend that you visit Brazil and include the Pantanal in your itinerary. Located on the border with Bolivia, this marshy region is a wetland ideal foranimal watching. You can go on safari by boat or on horseback, in search of the mythical species that take refuge here.

You’ll have the chance to spot all kinds of exotic birds like parrots, ibises and toucans, as well as anacondas, monkeys, caimans and iguanas. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a tapir, a sloth or the majestic jaguar.

7. Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Lençóis Maranhenses, Brésil

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Leonard Rodriguez

It’s inconceivable to visit Brazil without discovering the unique landscapes of the Lençois Maranhenses. Sand dunes undulate as far as the eye can see like sheets – Lençois in Portuguese – and form hollows or natural pools.

Between March and September, it’s possible to observe the formation of these basins and the small streams that meander between the dunes after the rains. The water that accumulates is pure and translucent, contrasting with the desert environment to create a landscape that is unique in the world. The park is 7 km long and 25 km wide, making it easy to explore despite the many tourists who visit.

8. Colonial towns in Minas Gerais

Ouro Preto, Brésil

Photo credit: Shutterstock / JULIA PINHEIRO

What can you do in Brazil if not immerse yourself in the country’s culture and trace its Portuguese roots? The Minas Gerais region is a perfect example of the country’s colonial past. Numerous towns were built here during the conquest of gold and have retained their charm of yesteryear.

Such is the case ofOuro Preto, which means « black gold », nestled in the mountains and the first Brazilian city to be listed as a Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site. Wander the cobbled streets of this Baroque gem, marvelling at the architecture of its white-fronted houses, elaborate fountains and 10 sumptuous churches. Don’t miss charming Tiradentes and the Bom Jesus sanctuary overlooking Congonhas.

9. Salvador de Bahia

Salvador de Bahia, Brésil

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Thiago Leite

If you’re planning a visit to Brazil, you’ll want to pay a visit to its former capital, Salvador de Bahia. This is the most mixed of Brazilian cities, with strong Portuguese and African influences, making it the cultural capital of Brazil. Salvador’s warm atmosphere will not leave you indifferent. Its colorful center – Pelourinho – is full of little squares where you can chat with the locals, and restaurants where you can sample the local cuisine.

You’ll also discover capoeira – a blend of acrobatic dance and martial arts – which is part of the city’s identity. Don’t miss taking theLacerda – one of the oldest in the world – to admire the view over the Bay of All Saints, and lose yourself in the colorful market stalls. And if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Brazil’s third-largest city, take a boat to theisland of Itaparica and its dream beaches.

10. The Céara coastline

Jericoacoara, Brésil

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Following the Linha Verde from Salvador, you can reach Recife and then the beautiful Fortaleza along the coast. From here, one tongue of fine sand follows another and ends in translucent waters.

Jericoacoara is one of the villages along the way, accessible only by 4×4. This fishing village is being transformed into a seaside resort, but remains untouched by mass tourism. The sandy streets, pristine beaches and sense that time has stood still make it the perfect place to disconnect. Ideal if you’re looking for a relaxing break in Brazil.

11. Bonito

Bonito, Brésil

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / ThiagoSantos

The Bonito region is a hub of activity if you’re wondering what to do in Brazil. Freshwater caves and lagoons dot the area, reminiscent of Mexico’s cenotes. You can swim and admire the fish in theAquario Natural in the middle of the forest, go rafting along the Rio da Prata river, or go caving in theAbismo de Anhumas. A visit to Brazil will allow you to discover this beautiful region through hikes in an unspoilt forest of caves and waterfalls.

Things to see and do in Brazil

Chapada Diamantina, Brésil

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Pedarilhosbr

This list is not exhaustive, and you can adapt it to suit your desires. If you’re attracted by cities, then sprawling São Paulo and futuristic capital Brasilia may be good choices for visiting urban Brazil. And if you’re looking for something to do in Brazil to explore nature even more, there are plenty of natural parks to choose from:

Map of hotels and accommodations – Brazil