You dream of visiting Brazil, a vast country in South America, stretching from the Amazon basin in the north to vineyards and iguaçu falls in the south. The city of Rio de Janeiro, characterized by its 38-meter-tall statue of christ the redeemer atop corcovado, is renowned for its busy Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, as well as its huge, bustling carnival, with parades of floats, flamboyant costumes, and samba music and dancing. So come and discover our selection of must-see sites to make the most of your stay.
- 1. Rio de Janeiro
- 2. The Green Coast
- 3. Big Island
- 4. Iguazú Falls
- 5. The Amazon Rainforest
- 6. Pantanal State
- 7. National Park of Lençóis Maranhenses
- 8. The colonial towns of Minas Gerais
- 9. Salvador de Bahia
- 10. The coast of Céara
- 11. beautiful
- To see and do also in Brazil
Largest country in South America, covering nearly half of the continent, Brazil is a land of contrasts that offers a multitude of landscapes and activities. From the huge cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo or Salvador to the unexplored regions of the Amazon and the Pantanal, passing through unspoiled national parks and heavenly beaches, visiting Brazil will offer you experiences as diverse as they are enriching.
A stay of several months would be necessary to explore this country as large as 16 times the size of France, which is why we are going to help you choose what to do in Brazil thanks to our selection of unmissable places.
1. Rio de Janeiro
Gateway to the country Rio de Janeiro is often the most famous city in Brazil. Mythical for its carnival , its landscapes and its monuments , it immediately immerses you in the relaxed and warm atmosphere of the country. Visiting Brazil is first of all soaking up the sweetness of life that reigns there.
Take a walk on the mythical beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema where Brazilian men and women tan and show off their bodies without complex. Stop to admire the salsa dancers who spin on the boardwalk in impromptu performances.
Then go to Corcovado , the mountain that hosts Christ the Redeemer , symbol of the city. The view of the bay of Rio is breathtaking and you will have another must-see in your sights, the Pão de Açúcar or Pain de Sucre, a granite peak which culminates at 396 meters above the sea, the summit of which you can reach foot or by cable car.
2. The Green Coast
When you are looking for what to do in Brazil and in the Rio de Janeiro region, you should not miss the Costa Verde. This region that runs along the Atlantic coast between Rio and São Paulo is home to many wonders. Note 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 sand beaches dotted with fishermen’s huts along a turquoise sea, for your greatest pleasure.
3. Big Island
Ilha grande — in French “Big Island” — is one of the 365 islands in the bay of Angra dos Reis .
Accessible by ferry, it offers everything the traveler dreams of for a holiday. White sand beaches for relaxation, translucent waters suitable for snorkeling , walks in the preserved jungle, etc. All in a calm and relaxing atmosphere since the island has no roads, and therefore no vehicles. The many hikes will satisfy motivated walkers as well as those who combine holidays with rest, and will lead you in any case to large deserted beaches or pretty little fishing villages .
4. Iguazú Falls
Visiting Brazil also means setting off in search of some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world. The Iguazú Falls ( Foz do Iguaçu in Portuguese), on the border with Argentina, are a gem that should not be missed. Located within a protected park, the approximately 275 waterfalls spring from the forest at each bend in the path, up to the highlight of the show, the impressive Garganta del Diablo or Devil’s Throat.
You will hear the sound of the waterspouts pouring into it before seeing it, and can get as close as possible thanks to the walkways built along the cliffs and above the river.
5. The Amazon Rainforest
A visit to Brazil would not be complete without an immersion in the green lung of our planet, the immense Amazonian forest . Fly to Manaus , a legendary city developed in the 19th century during the “soft gold” rubber rush. This city with colonial architecture is the starting point for cruises on the Amazon River or hikes in the jungle. But be careful, going deep into the primary forest is a real adventure!
Choose an experienced guide who will introduce you to the fauna and flora of the region, sleep in a lodge in the heart of the forest and set off to meet the native tribes. Following the river to its mouth, you can reach the town of Belém , gateway to the Ilha do Marajo . This island in the middle of the delta is an immense preserved territory which offers many opportunities for treks , camping and animal observation .
6. Pantanal State
To stay on the theme of nature, we advise you to visit Brazil by including the Pantanal in your itinerary. Located on the border with Bolivia , this marshy region is a humid zone conducive to the observation of animals . You can go on safari by boat or on horseback, in search of the mythical species that come to take refuge there.
You will have the opportunity to see all kinds of exotic birds such as parrots, ibis or toucans, but also anacondas, monkeys, caimans, iguanas. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a tapir, a sloth or the majestic jaguar.
7. National Park of Lençóis Maranhenses
It is 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 form natural pools.
Between March and September , it is 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, and contrasts with the desert environment, creating a unique landscape in the world. The park is 7 kilometers long and 25 wide, allowing leisurely exploration despite the many tourists visiting.
8. The colonial towns of Minas Gerais
What to do in Brazil if not immerse yourself in the country’s culture and go back to its Portuguese roots? The region of Minas Gerais (general mines) is a perfect example of the country’s colonial past. Many cities were erected there during the conquest of gold and have kept their charm of yesteryear.
This is the case of Ouro Preto , which means “black gold”, nestled in the mountains and the first Brazilian city to be classified as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. You will stroll through the cobbled streets of this Baroque jewel, marveling at the architecture of the houses with white facades, the elaborate fountains and the 10 sumptuous churches of the city. Also, don’t miss the charming Tiradentes and the Bom Jesus Sanctuary which towers above Congonhas .
9. Salvador de Bahia
If you want to visit Brazil, you have to take a trip to its former capital, Salvador de Bahia. It is the most mixed of Brazilian cities, with strong Portuguese and African influences, which make it the cultural capital of Brazil. The warm atmosphere of Salvador will not leave you indifferent. Its center with colorful houses – Pelourinho – is full of small squares where you can interact with the population and restaurants to taste the gastronomy.
You will also discover capoeira – combining acrobatic dance and martial arts – which is part of the city’s identity. Be sure to take the Lacerda — one of the oldest in the world — to admire the view of the Bay of All Saints and lose yourself among the multicolored market stalls. And if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Brazil’s third largest city, take a boat to Itaparica Island and its dream beaches.
10. The coast of Céara
By following the Linha Verde from Salvador, you can reach Recife and then the beautiful Fortaleza along the coast. From there, the strips of fine sand follow one another and come to die in translucent waters.
Jericoacoara is one of the villages found on the way and is only accessible by 4×4. This fishing village is being transformed into a seaside resort but remains preserved from mass tourism. The sandy streets, the pristine beaches and the impression that time has stopped make it a perfect place to disconnect. Ideal if you are looking for what to do in Brazil to rest.
The Bonito region is a concentration of activities if you are wondering what to do in Brazil. Freshwater caves and lagoons dot the area, reminiscent of cenotes in Mexico. You can swim and admire the fish in the Aquario Natural in the middle of the forest, go rafting along the Rio da Prata river , or caving in the Abismo de Anhumas . Visiting Brazil will allow you to discover this beautiful region through hikes in a preserved forest between caves and waterfalls.
To see and do also in Brazil
This list is not exhaustive and you can adapt it according to your wishes. If cities are your thing, sprawling São Paulo and Brasilia —the futuristic capital—can be good choices for visiting urban Brazil. And if you are looking for what to do in Brazil to explore nature even more, a multitude of natural parks are available to you:
- National Park of Chapada Diamantina
- Chapada das Mesas National Park
- National Park Chapada dos Vaiederos
- National Park Pedra Azul
- National Park Serra Geral
- National Park Aparados de Serra