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When we think of Brazil, we inevitably think of Rio, its beaches, its inhabitants with perfect bodies, and evenings filled with samba. We often forget that Brazil is actually a continent-sized country with many facets, making it completely impossible to grasp in a single trip. Brazil is clearly a destination to visit multiple times to truly appreciate and know it. Unfortunately, most tourists have little time to explore it, so it’s necessary to focus on the essentials. So, what are the things to see in Brazil?

Brazil in a nutshell

Brazil is the largest country in South America and a highly touristy destination that shares borders with 10 other states.
Covering an area of 8,515,770 square kilometers, each region of the country offers unique landscapes and rich cultures for the enjoyment of visitors.
The leading exporter of sugarcane and coffee has a history strongly influenced by colonization, slavery, and immigration.
Its diverse population is proof of this. It’s also a country where music and celebration play a significant role. You can never get bored here! Let’s discover the best things to see in Brazil!

Things to see in Brazil

Honestly, in this blog article, we will discuss only a tiny part of Brazil. These are the main places I recommend for a first trip, but keep in mind that there are many more destinations to discover. What are the things to see in Brazil?

Rio de Janeiro, the essential destination.

Rio de Janeiro is a must-visit destination in Brazil. Surrounded by nature, it offers a unique setting.
The Christ the Redeemer statue watches over the city, which pulsates with the rhythm of samba.
Famous for its beaches, Rio comes alive during Carnival, but it’s worth visiting year-round.
Its vibrant, bohemian neighborhoods coexist with upscale areas and sprawling favelas.
This summary captures the essence of a city that offers visitors so many facets to explore!

Places you can't miss

Pao de Acucar

After Corcovado, it’s the city’s other tourist attraction. The Sugarloaf Mountain, in English, is a mountain peak rising 396 meters above sea level.
Access to it is via cable car. The best time to admire the view it offers is at sunset when the colors gradually change. It’s also the busiest time.
que ver en brasil

Ipanema Beach

Rio is also a sought-after destination for its long beaches and their unique atmospheres, especially on weekends when locals decide to enjoy the sun.

While Copacabana remains one of the most popular beaches, I prefer Ipanema beach. Less crowded, it stretches for 2.6 km and offers a unique view of the Dois Irmaos mountain.

que faire au brésil

Botanic Garden

It’s definitely my favorite place in Rio, and yet tourists often overlook this magical 137-hectare site divided into several sectors.

Nearly 8,000 species of plants from Brazil and around the world thrive in this botanical garden, which will transport you to another world.

que faire au brésil

What to do around Rio?

The options around Rio are plentiful, with charming villages, paradisiacal beaches, and captivating nature, but here are 2 must-sees with very different profiles.


The small colonial town of Paraty boasts charming houses with white facades, whose shutters and door frames are painted in colors.
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed center deserves a leisurely stroll to enjoy its tranquil atmosphere.
Photo Unsplash - @guilhermegabrielli

Arraial do Cabo

A true paradise for beach lovers and underwater enthusiasts, Arraial do Cabo is a destination that surprises tourists from the very first moment with the clarity of its waters. It’s clearly the dream destination if you enjoy water sports and relaxing on the beach.

Phot Unsplash - @rodrigolourenco234

Salvador de Bahia, the colorful city

Salvador de Bahia has a rather dark history, as it was the first slave market in the New World.
No less than 4 million Africans were deported there over 4 centuries.
The legacy of this population is omnipresent. Firstly, because 86% of the population identifies as black. Secondly, because the local culture is strongly marked by it.
That’s why the city is especially worth visiting.
Of course, its charming colorful houses, numerous churches, and beautiful beaches are other undeniable attractions!

Places you can't miss


Pelourinho, which means “small pillory” is the old town of Salvador scattered with colorful colonial buildings, restaurants where live music resonates, and artisanal craft shops.
Despite the beauty of the place and its pleasant atmosphere, the history that unfolded here is not the most cheerful, as it was where slaves were sold at auctions.
Today, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, after having fallen into ruins, it is a must-visit destination for all tourists.
guide salvador de bahia

Farol da Barra

Located in the bay, the lighthouse is one of the most important architectural heritages of Salvador.
Standing 70 meters high, it houses the city’s Nautical Museum, which presents a collection of objects from different periods.
salavador de bahia

Ascensor Lacerda

The Lacerda Elevator is the symbol of Bahia. It connects the upper part of the city to the lower part in a matter of seconds.
Composed of 2 towers, it rises to a height of 73 meters and its construction was totally avant-garde in the 19th century.
salvador de bahia

What to do around Salvador?

The easygoing lifestyle of Salvador de Bahia will make you want to stay there for a long time. However, there are many nearby destinations worth exploring.

Morro de Sao Paulo

Morro de Sao Paulo is located on the island of Tinharé and offers truly picturesque scenes with its sublime beaches. Highly popular among tourists, especially domestic ones, it’s also a destination where you can experience Brazilian-style nightlife.

Photo Unsplash - @renatotrentin


This former fishing village is also a highly popular destination for Brazilian tourists. With its dreamy beaches, it’s also a great starting point for exploring the area’s nature.

São Paulo, the concrete jungle

More than 12 million inhabitants wake up every day in this gigantic city. You either love it or hate it; the concrete jungle is an underground destination where the cultural offerings leave visitors with no moment of respite.
It was the Portuguese Jesuits who founded the city in 1554. Since then, it has only thrived economically. What I love about São Paulo is its diversity, which is strongly felt. Indeed, it has been greatly influenced by Italian, Arab, and Japanese immigration.
Its architecture and street art make it an original destination for tourists who want to venture off the beaten path.

Places you can't miss

Sao Paulo Cathedral

The cathedral is one of the five largest neo-Gothic religious buildings in the world.
It can accommodate up to 8,000 people.
Destroyed and rebuilt several times, its dome evokes that of the Florence Cathedral.
que faire à Sao Paulo

Beco do Batman

Beco do Batman is located in a trendy neighborhood of São Paulo where art galleries coexist with bars, restaurants, and trendy clothing stores.
It is a space dedicated to street art. Its name comes from a painting depicting the famous comic book hero.
que faire à Sao Paulo

Ibapuera Park

This is the city park with its 158 hectares. A true green oasis in this concrete city, it’s the perfect place to relax with friends and enjoy a slower pace.
It’s also where you’ll find some of the city’s most interesting museums, such as the Afro Brasil Museum or the Museum of Modern Art.
The pavilions housing them were designed by the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer.

What to do around São Paulo?

Often overlooked by tourists, the São Paulo region is nevertheless ideal for getaways between unusual monuments and natural destinations.

São Sebastião

This coastal city is perfect for a few days of relaxation at the beach. Many hiking trails also allow you to discover beautiful waterfalls.

Templo Zu Lai

Located in the city of Cotia, this Buddhist temple is the largest in South America. The perfect place to find some calm and inner peace.

Photo Unsplash - @vmribeiro

Recife, the lively city of the Northeast.

Recife is a city in northeastern Brazil that was founded in 1537 and quickly became the main port area of the region. It gets its name from the reefs that calm the waters along the coast.
Most tourists don’t linger there much because it doesn’t have as much tourist appeal as Rio or Salvador.
However, if you enjoy truly experiencing a country in all its facets, it’s a dynamic city where you can live like a local for a few days without worrying about checking off tourist attractions on your to-do list.
It’s also a good base for visiting small villages and lovely beaches nearby.

Places you can't miss

Marco Zero

Known as the place where the city was founded, it’s also where distances are calculated from. It’s an excellent starting point for exploring the downtown area and its colorful houses, especially on Sundays when a street market is open.
Close to the Marco Zero is the Craft Market. It’s the perfect place to discover local arts and crafts and buy a souvenir.
que faire à recife

Parque das Esculturas

From Marco Zero, you can take a boat that will take you to a peculiar place: Parque das Esculturas.
In the middle of the water, several works by the plastic artist Francisco Brennand are exhibited. The most impressive is the crystal tower that rises above the place, definitely very unusual.

Boa Viagem Beach

Recife is also a favorite spot for sunbathing. Boa Viagem Beach is the most famous in the city and stretches for 8 km. With its Miami-like vibes, the neighborhood is the wealthiest in the city.
Beware of sharks! It is advisable to swim only where natural pools form to avoid any danger.

What to do around Recife?

Recife has a rather limited tourist offer. However, it’s an excellent starting point to discover beautiful places nearby.


The city lives up to its name, since in Portuguese “O linda” means “The beautiful”.

Its historic center, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is composed of charming colorful houses. It’s during the carnival that it’s most fascinating for tourists!

Olinda Brazil

Porto de Galinhas

The former fishing port turned seaside resort is known for its natural pools. It’s possible to explore its reefs by swimming or walking.

Belo Horizonte, the Minas capital

After Recife, Belo Horizonte is another perfect city to get off the beaten path and explore a more authentic Brazil. The capital of Minas Gerais is an excellent starting point to discover the region, known for its charming villages and rich gastronomy.
Designed in 1894 and inaugurated 3 years later, it’s a very young city, so don’t expect to find historical monuments. However, it’s still a surprising destination that allows you to better understand life in the interior of Brazil, which is radically different from what you’ll experience in Salvador or Rio.

Places you can't miss

Praça da Liberdade

It’s the iconic place of the city, clearly in French style. Elegant, modern, and post-modern buildings surround it.
On the square, in the shade of palm trees, you can discover marble sculptures. You can also visit several museums there, such as the Mines and Metal Museum and the Casa Fiat.
things to see in Brazil

Parque Municipal Americo Renné Gianetti

To enter this park, you will be asked for the yellow fever vaccine. Inaugurated in 1897, it covers an area of 192,000 square meters.
Gigantic trees and ornamental plants, butterflies, and other animals make it an ideal refuge for local fauna and flora.
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street art

Like São Paulo, Belo Horizonte has adorned its walls with street art to discover while walking around the city with your head up.

things to see in Brazil

What to do around Belo Horizonte?

The Minas Gerais region is a real gem for those who love tourist villages and breathtaking natural landscapes. There are so many options for getaways!


This charming colonial village is a perfect weekend destination. In the past, it served as a base for gold mining exploration.

Today, it’s a destination where tourists admire its beautiful white houses, cobbled streets, and numerous churches.

things to see in Brazil

Ouro Preto

You need to be in good shape to climb the numerous very steep slopes that make up Ouro Preto (Black Gold).

The city was founded in the 18th century by the Bandeirantes, gold prospectors. Today, tourists come to admire the beauty of its streets and churches.

que ver en brasil

How many days to visit Brazil?

Honestly, Brazil is such a vast country where the distances between point A and point B can seem endless that it’s impossible to get to know the country in just one trip.
Instead of trying to see everything, you could very well settle in one city and explore its region. If you still want to discover a good part of the country, I recommend staying for at least 15 days.
In 1 month, you can cover a slightly larger area, but it would be best to take advantage of the 3-month tourist visa to really see multiple areas without rushing too much.

Things to see in Brazil in 15 days

15 days in Brazil is clearly a minimum duration for visiting, but especially for enjoying the local life. To avoid rushing around because the distances are long, I suggest focusing on just 2 destinations.

  • Rio de Janeiro: 4 days
  • Paraty: 2 days
  • Arraial de Cabo: 2 days
  • Salvador de Bahia: 3 days
  • Morro de Sao Paulo: 2 days
  • Itacaré: 2 days

Things to see in Brazil in 1 month

If you stay 1 month in Brazil, I recommend enjoying each destination a bit longer and adding the sprawling city of São Paulo to your itinerary.

  • Rio: 6 days
  • Paraty: 4 days
  • Arraial de Cabo: 3 days
  • Salvador: 4 days
  • Morro de São Paulo: 3 days
  • Itacaré: 2 days
  • São Paulo: 4 days
  • São Sebastião: 3 days
  • Templo Zu Lai: 1 day

Things to see in Brazil in 2 months

You might already know, but I’m a big fan of slow travel, so if you have 2 months, I suggest a very leisurely itinerary that includes the 5 cities discussed in this article.

  • Rio: 9 days
  • Paraty: 4 days
  • Arraial de Cabo: 3 days
  • Salvador: 9 days
  • Morro de Sao Paulo: 3 days
  • Itacaré: 3 days
  • Sao Paulo: 7 days
  • São Sebastião: 3 days
  • Templo Zu Lai: 1 day
  • Recife: 5 days
  • Olinda: 2 days
  • Porto de Galinhas: 2 days
  • Belo Horizonte: 5 days
  • Tiradentes: 2 days
  • Ouro Preto: 2 days

If you have 3 months to spend in the country, you can add cities like Florianopolis, Brasilia, Natal, and why not take a trip to the Amazon?

What to eat in Brazil?

At first glance, Brazilian cuisine may not seem extraordinary, but once you take the time to get to know it and learn to recognize the places that serve good food, whether it’s street food or establishments, you’ll love it!
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of dishes to try:
  • Pasteis de feira
  • Pao de queijo
  • Açai
  • Feijoada
  • Coxinha
  • Churrasco
  • Acaraje
  • Brigadeiro
  • Tutu
  • Quindim
  • Empada
  • Doce de leite
  • Esfiha
  • Moqueca
  • Vatapa
  • Mugunza
  • Tapioca
  • Bolo de noiva
Honestly, the list of Brazilian delights is long, but by tasting its main dishes, you’ll already have a good idea of the richness of the local cuisine.

When to visit Brazil?

Once again, the country is so large that it’s difficult to generalize because the climate varies greatly from one place to another.
Personally, I recommend traveling there from October to March when the temperatures are mild and there is less rain.

How to get around in Brazil?

From one city to another

Some flights connect all the major cities of the country very regularly. It’s probably the easiest way to travel if you have limited time.
However, if the distances are shorter or if you want to take care of the environment, many bus companies connect all the cities in the country. Some trips last 2–3 days.
It’s long, but it’s worth it to enjoy the journey and especially to make new friends among the passengers.

Of course, you can also choose to rent a car and enjoy the freedom to explore the country as you wish!

You can drive with your international license for a maximum period of 180 days.

In the cities

Transport systems are quite efficient, but in large cities, buses may take longer to travel their routes. In cities with a metro system, such as São Paulo or Rio, prioritize this mode of transportation.
You can also get around by taxi or Uber. Some cities offer car and motorcycle rides, which are convenient, especially in areas prone to traffic congestion.

How to get a SIM in Brazil?

In Brazil, there are 3 operators: Tim, Vivo, and Claro. All offer prepaid options.
To use your phone in Brazil and surf the internet, you have 3 solutions:
  • Buy a SIM card from the stores of the 3 operators in the country for a hefty sum. Remember to bring your passport.
  • Ask a local acquaintance to lend you their CPF number (Brazilian identification number) to activate the SIM card, which you can buy at pharmacies or newsstands. This allows you to enjoy the same rates as locals.
  • Use an e-SIM that you can use anywhere in the world.

Is it dangerous to visit Brazil?

I love this country, and as I write these lines, I’m here for the third time. However, I don’t think it’s the safest country.
I myself have been robbed, and my nose was broken. All my Brazilian friends have stories of theft or assaults.
Nevertheless, once again, it’s a fascinating country, and safety shouldn’t deter you.
Here are some rules to follow to minimize risks:
  • Don’t walk in the streets at night. Always take a taxi or Uber.
  • Keep your phone in your bag.
  • Don’t wear visible jewelry.
  • Inform yourself about the safety of different neighborhoods before choosing accommodation.
  • If you’re walking, make sure to plan your route beforehand to avoid unsafe streets.
  • Enter a store to check your phone.
  • Avoid empty streets.
  • Don’t go out in the city center of major cities on Sundays.
  • If someone tries to rob you, don’t resist!
In any case, don’t forget to take out travel insurance to avoid inconvenience!

Be a digital nomad in Brazil

Since 2022, Brazil has been offering a special visa for digital nomads. Some destinations in the country are true hubs for remote workers, like Pipa.
However, the rest of the country also has facilities and structures favorable to nomads: co-living spaces, co-working spaces, cafes with Wi-Fi… It’s also quite easy to find expatriate communities in major cities to make friends.
Nevertheless, be careful when you go out on the street with your computer equipment.

Be a responsible traveler in Brazil

One of the Brazilian attractions is its nature! The Amazon, the beaches, the waterfalls… To continue enjoying them for a long time, it’s important to travel responsibly.
Here are some actions to take during your trip:
  • Use eco-friendly sunscreen.
  • Pick up your trash on the beach.
  • Be mindful of your water and electricity consumption.
  • Frequent bars and restaurants run by locals.
  • Opt for public transportation.
  • Shop at the market.
  • Buy seasonal products.
  • Learn about waste sorting rules.
  • Take your restaurant leftovers to avoid them ending up in the trash.
  • Learn a few words of Portuguese.

Be a POC in Brazil

The diversity in Brazil, especially in the big cities, is undeniable. As a person of South Asian descent, I’ve personally found Brazil to be a welcoming and inclusive place where I blend in without any issues. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that my experience isn’t universal.
While Brazil might seem easy to navigate in terms of acceptance, racism remains a significant issue across the country, as reported by my Brazilian friends.
It’s crucial to recognize that the level of diversity varies from one region to another. For instance, I’ve been informed that the southern part of the country tends to have more instances of racism.
I hope this blog post sheds some light on what are the things to see in Brazil and helps you plan your next trip to this amazing country, which happens to be one of my favorites.
Feel free to share this article on Pinterest to assist other travelers!
things to see in brazil
things to see in brazil
things to see in brazil

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