10 Best Places To Visit In Brazil: Top Cities To Go

If you are planning to visit Brazil and want to know the best places to visit in Brazil then look no further.

Brazil’s most famous attractions include Carnaval, Christ the Redeemer, Iguazu Falls, and much more. There is so much to explore and Brazil is also known for delicious coffee, fantastic beaches with incredible sunsets, beautiful waterfalls, and of course Brazilian culture.

This list covers the best cities in Brazil which are decided by the amount of things to do in each city as well as safety, and how many hotels available. We also look at what the most popular cities in Brazil that tourists visit.

10. Fortaleza

Fortaleza - best place to go in Brazil

Located in Northeast Brazil, Fortaleza is a lively beach destination, filled with markets and cafes. Fortaleza is known for its untouched beaches, lagoons, surfing spots, dunes, and bars.

Though not the safest city in Brazil, Fortaleza is one of the best places to visit in Brazil for those that want to do outdoor activities. Whether that’s going to a waterpark, relaxing at a beach, exploring the main attractions, or taking various day trips.

Fortaleza has tons of day trips and tours that you can do. Most of these tours are related to gorgeous beaches, but there are plenty of other fun things to do in Fortaleza.

Besides beaches, Fortaleza is most known for its handicrafts. Visitors should visit the Fortaleza Central Market (Mercado Central de Fortaleza) if they want to pick out some nice souvenirs and gifts.

The best time to visit Fortaleza is around February/March if you want to experience the Barra de Ceará Carnaval.

9. Bonito

Bonito grotto in Brazil

Tucked in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Bonito is one of the best places to visit in Brazil for adventurers.

With crystal clear water and surrounding mountains, Bonito is often dubbed as ‘Blue Water Paradise’. There are tons of activities that you can do in Bonito, such as caving, rappelling, and hiking.

It’s also possible to go horseback riding, mountain biking, and fishing. But the best activities in Bonito are swimming and snorkeling with colorful fish. The most popular tourist attraction is the Gruta do Lago Azul so be sure to go during your stay.

One of the most popular attractions is the stunning natural waterfalls of Mato Grosso do Sul. If you are staying in Bonito, various tours can take you to see these waterfalls.

It’s possible to visit Bonito all year round, but the best time to visit this place is between May and September.

8. Brasilia

Brazil capital Brasillia

The Brazilian capital is one of the best places to visit in Brazil for those wanting to explore historical sites. Brasilia was built from scratch back in the 1960s but it has one of the most efficient transport systems, with buses and taxis being affordable.

Brasilia’s most visited attractions are Itamaraty Palace, Pontao do Lago Sul, Santuario Dom Bosco, City Park, and the Cathedral of Brasília. If you are looking for things to do in Brasilia that are not related to politics then you should visit Infinite Beach or Parque da Cidade which is filled with various museums.

One of the main reasons why people love visiting Brasilia is because this place has some incredible restaurants serving up delicious Brazilian food. So be sure to try out various dishes, especially the desserts.

You should visit Brasilia any time of the year since this city is not a beach destination. But if you are visiting during their winter season (northern hemisphere summer season), be aware that the temperature can drop quite low.

7. Foz do Iguaçu

Foz do Iguazu in Brazil

Foz do Iguaçu, also known as Iguazu River Mouth in English is one of the best places to visit in Brazil during the summer season.

The most popular tourist attractions of Foz do Iguaçu are the Iguazu Falls, Iguazu National Park, Itaipu Dam, and the bird park Parque das Aves with tons of exotic birds.

The most famous attraction is of course the Iguazu Falls, with various tours being done around the Brazilian side of waterfalls. You can go for a boat ride and explore the Brazilian side of the waterfalls, or even take a panoramic helicopter flight over the natural beauty of the falls.

As mentioned before, one of the best times to visit Foz do Iguaçu is during summer as this place becomes full of life. Keep in mind that summer in Brazil is when it is Winter in the US and Europe. There are various annual events held here, such as the Brazil Independence celebrations in September/October and Brazil Jeans Day for those that love Brazilian fashion.

6. Recife

Recife - historical place in Brazil

Recife is one of the best places to visit in Brazil because there are a lot of exciting things to do here. First, you should visit Boa Viagem Beach as it’s close to the historical center.

The main tourist attractions of Recife are Ricardo Brennand Institute, Praça do Marco Zero, Oficina Ceramica Francisco Brennand, Paiva and Tamandaré beach.

Tamandaré beach is a popular destination for those that want to enjoy Brazil’s most famous seafood dishes.

Recife is vibrant all year round as there are tons of events held here. In April, you should attend the famous Recifolia festival that showcases their traditional arts and crafts.

In May, it’s time for the famous Boi Bandido Carnival that has been going on since 1991. It might sound like a regular carnival but this is one of the biggest street parties in Brazil.

The best time to visit Recife is between October and February as it’s their summer season with lots of celebrations being held for Christmas, New Year, and the Brazilian Independence day just to name a few examples. Beware that it can get extremely hot at the peak of summer.

5. Manaus

Manaus Brazil

Manaus is the best place to visit in Brazil during their summer because this place becomes a little piece of Paradise.

The main tourist attraction is of course the Amazon River, where you can go on an exciting boat ride on the river. This is one of those trips that you will never forget as it’s like going through a natural wonderland.

The main attractions in Manaus are the Opera House (Amazon Theatre), Ponta Negra Beach, Tropical Manaus Ecological Park, and the area called the Meeting of Waters where two rivers (Rio Negro and Solimoes River) meet.

Manaus has become incredibly popular over the years due to the frequent carnivals happening there. Carnivals start in February and most of them take place between May and July.

Visiting the Amazon is also one of the main attractions for people visiting Manaus. You can take a boat ride through the rivers, swim in some lakes, and even stay in jungle hotels for an unforgettable experience. Explore colonial architecture in the concrete jungle for a few days, then stay in the actual jungle for a few days as well.

But be aware that it gets quite hot during summer with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The best time to visit Manaus is during their winter season because it’s not very sunny or hot. Apart from that, there are various events held here just like the summer. The most popular event of them all is the Brazilian Independence day celebrations in November. This may be a national holiday but this celebration goes beyond Brazil with tons of tourists invited to join in this massive party.

4. São Paulo

Best city to visit in Brazil - Sao Paulo

São Paulo is probably the most exciting city in Brazil because it’s like New York City or London. People visiting the concrete jungle Sao Paulo will never run out of things to do in this marvelous city.

With a population of over 12 million people, Sao Paulo has become the largest city in Brazil.

The first thing you should do when arriving here is taking a walk around the Liberdade district, which was once home to many Japanese immigrants. In the 19th century, Liberdade was also an area reserved for the execution of slaves and convicts so there is quite a lot of history to discover here.

There are tons of other attractions in São Paulo city such as Paulista Avenue and the Ibirapuera Park where you can enjoy rollerblading, biking, jogging, and even flying kites watching the skyline of this amazing metropolitan city at night.

The São Paulo Art Biennial happens every two years here and has its roots back in 1928 that showcases modern art of local and international artists.

Fashion is where Sao Paulo thrives because it houses the biggest shopping malls in Latin America that will please all kinds of shoppers. People interested in can enjoy the various Neo-Gothic and Colonial architecture that you’ll see in Sao Paulo city. Some famous architects from the region are Oscar Niemeyer and Lina Bo Bardi, both have made Sao Paulo a hotspot for architectural tourism.

Another great thing about São Paulo is that it has one of the best airports in the world, which you can conveniently fly into.

The best time to visit São Paulo is during their winter season as it’s a perfect time to go shopping and visit museums.

3. Florianopolis

Florianopolis in Brazil

Florianopolis is the best place to visit in Brazil during the summer because this place becomes a little piece of Paradise.

The main tourist attraction is of course the spectacular beaches, which will fulfill all your beach needs. Some of the most popular beaches here are called Lagoa da Conceicao and Joaquina Beach. It’s also one of those places where you can eat at some luxurious restaurants where you feel like royalty. There are various other attractions here too but it all boils down to enjoying this tropical island paradise.

Florianopolis is often also called “The Magic Island” or “Ilha da Magia” by locals as anyone who steps on Florianopolis soil is often charmed by the natural beauty of the place.

The best time of the year to visit Florianopolis is during the Summer season, which falls around December until February. During this time, you can enjoy some great sunbathing on the beaches there while sipping some cool drinks.

2. Salvador

Salvador in Brazil

Salvador is probably one of the most famous cities in Brazil, where you can enjoy some authentic Brazilian culture.

It’s a city that is rich in history filled with colorful colonial houses and cobblestone streets so there are numerous things to do here.

In 1549 Salvador was the first capital city of Brazil and to date, Salvador is one of the oldest colonial cities in Brazil. During your stay here, you can not only explore the historic old town which features tons of colonial buildings, but you can also enjoy beautiful beaches as the beaches stretch 50 miles (80km) along the coastline.

There are many Carnaval festivities held here throughout February or sometimes even March, depending on when Easter falls that will have everyone party all night long just like Brazilians do it! It’s always best to book accommodation early because Salvador becomes pretty crowded during this time of year with people coming from around the world just for the tropical beach parties.

This city is also the perfect place to get some Brazilian soul food at its best, here you can eat plenty of seafood dishes like moqueca which is made of fish, coconut milk, and dendê oil.

The best time to visit Salvador in Brazil is between February and June. If you don’t want to miss out on any Carnaval parties then make sure to come here in February.

1. Rio de Janeiro

Best place to go in Brazil - Rio De Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is one of the most popular cities in Brazil that receives millions of visitors every year. It is also the second-largest city by population with over 6 million inhabitants.

This city has some of the most breath-taking panoramic views on the planet, right from the Christ the Redeemer statue to Sugarloaf Mountain with its cable cars providing an amazing bird’s eye view of Rio de Janeiro. One can also go hiking up Corcovado Mountain for another amazing view of the Rio de Janeiro City skyline.

Besides that, one can visit Museu do Amanha which exhibits some artifacts related to the history of Brazil, and also explore the recent archaeological excavations under this museum.

Apart from museums, there are many restaurants in Rio de Janeiro where you can taste their food known as “Feijoada” which is made of black beans, rice with pork, or beef that is cooked slowly over the fire for hours. Feijoada is usually accompanied by some oranges or farofa which is like a crispy toasted manioc flour that provides an amazing texture to this dish in your mouth.

Rio De Janeiro is also an important travel destination for LGBT tourism with over 1 million LGBT tourists visiting the vibrant city each year.

The best time to visit Rio de Janeiro is during the summer season because this is when they have their Carnival and it usually falls in February or early March which will give you a good chance to experience the Brazilian culture at its best. It’s always better to book your accommodation way beforehand because Rio de Janeiro becomes crowded with travelers from all over the world.

Those were the 10 best places to visit in Brazil. All of these cities cannot be explored in a single trip, so if you love Brazilian culture, South America in general, or love history then be sure to check out a few more of these beautiful cities featured on our list.

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Article by Kyle

Digital nomad since 2010. I spend my time traveling around the world learning about new cultures and languages. I've lived in 4 continents and still have a lot left to explore!