Famous for its love of dancing, fun, festivals, and football, Brazil is one of those bucket list countries most want to visit in their lifetime. It’s a unique land known for its firsts and originality and is home to the world-famous Rio Carnival, Samba, Capoeira, and of course Caipirinha.
The country is filled with beautiful people and gorgeous beaches the most famous being Copacabana Beach. The vastness and variations of the landscapes make Brazil a particularly interesting destination and having spent many months traveling around this extraordinary country, here is my choice for the best and most beautiful places to visit in Brazil…
1. Rio de Janeiro – the famously stunning, sunny and fun-loving city
A list of beautiful places in Brazil would not be complete without Rio de Janeiro. Everyone I know that has visited loves the place.
The city offers something for everyone. Do you want to go hang-gliding? Then do it – the birds-eye view of Rio is hard to beat! Trekking? That is also a possibility.
Fancy visiting one of the seven world wonders? Go ahead, but do set a couple of hours aside since the ride up to Christ the Redeemer takes a little while.
Bored of hectic city life? Then take a tour to the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema and then finish the day enjoying the nightlife in Lapa, a neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro which offers bars and clubs which cater to all tastes.
2. Porto de Galinhas, Pernambuco – a gorgeous beach famous for its bright-water beaches
This beautiful place to visit in Brazil has been voted “Best Brazilian Beach” eight times in a row by readers of the Brazilian magazine Voyage & Tourism.
Situated 70 kilometers south of Recife, the town was until the 90’s an isolated fisherman village which now it is accessible to anyone who is looking to relax and enjoy the amazing beaches the town has to offer.
Snorkeling is a must here as only a couple of hundred meters out in the sea you will find a reef and when the tide is low, natural pools are created on the beaches behind the reef.
In these natural aquariums, you will find a stunning selection of colorful fish. Other activities include water sports, horse-riding, trekking, Capoeira, and much more.
3. Lençóis National Park, Maranhão – one of the best places to visit in Brazil
Lençóis – located in the North of Brazil – provides a view that will leave you gasping for air. The national park is a “desert” unlike any other.
The rain collects in the alleys between the sand dunes which result in that what could have been a desert is an area where the sand dunes are varied with turquoise lagoons as far as the eye can see.
The lagoons are home to many different species of fish and one of the species stays dormant in the moist areas of the sand during the dry season only to surface when the lagoons once again emerge.
The stark contrast between white sand dunes and crystal clear lagoons make Lençóis an experience a must-see place in Brazil.
4. Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul – a beautiful ecological destination in the heart of Brazil
Pantanal is located in the Brazilian state Mato Grosso do Sul, except for small parts of the wetland that belongs to Bolivia and Paraguay.
It’s the world’s largest wetland and the place to go if you are interested in wildlife. The open marshes make it easy to spot the animals and the unspoiled region of Pantanal doesn’t have a large human population which means the wildlife flourishes.
The wetland offers beautiful landscapes as well as the chance to see a great variety of birds and other animals. You’ll get a chance to see reptiles as well as jaguars in their natural habitat.
5. Salvador, Bahia – a stunning city famous for its Portuguese colonial architecture
Salvador is the first colonial capital of Brazil as well as one of the oldest cities in both North- and South America.
Known to be Brazil´s capital of happiness, it offers numerous outdoor parties and the city´s street carnival is the largest in the world.
The beauty of the city is partly due to its location by the sea but it is much more than that – it has a rich music and architectural culture and a historic area filled with colorful colonial houses and cobblestoned streets.
6. Chapada Diamantina, Bahia – a stunning place to explore in Brazil
The gorgeous National Park Chapada Diamantina takes its name from the steep cliffs in the region as well as to the diamonds that where once found here.
Visiting the national park you will be provided a smorgasbord of beautiful views of the landscapes from different cliffs.
You will see canyons, waterfalls, natural swimming pools, caves, and much more. It’s definitely one of those beautiful places which will stay with you even after you leave.
7. Jericoacoara, Ceara – a virgin beach hidden behind the dunes of the west coast
This is a remote little beach town located in the Ceara state of Brazil. You can get here by bus from Fortaleza to Jijoca, it’s not an easy journey but it is worth it!
This paradise-like town has not yet been destroyed by tourism. The streets of sand, the beautiful beach, the kite-surfing, the breathtaking sunset views from the sand dunes, the Capoeira at the beach, the amazingly huge and starry night sky, the hammocks in the lagoon which are just a beach buggy ride away is just some of the reasons to why Jericoacoara is one of Brazil’s hidden treasures.
8. Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco – one of the top places to go in Brazil
Would you want to visit a Brazilian beach so beautiful that just the sight of it will make you gasp for air? Do you want to swim with stingrays, sharks, and a variety of colorful fishes?
Do you want to see dolphins, sea turtles, and albatrosses? Well, here you can!
Fernando de Noronha is a group of islands that belongs to Brazil. The archipelago consists of 21 islands, islets, and rocks of volcanic origin and this UNESCO World Heritage-listed island is a paradise on earth for anyone who is interested in diving and animal life.
9. Iguazú Falls, Paraná – the world-famous natural attraction which is a place of interest in Brazil
I don’t think a list of beautiful places in Brazil would be worth the name unless Foz do Iguaçu was part of it.
The Iguazú falls consist of more than 270 waterfalls of different sizes which border Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay are a truly amazing spectacle.
If in Brazil (or any of the other bordering countries) do not miss the opportunity to see what is one of Mother Nature´s greatest expression of the beauty in our world.
10. Paraty, Rio de Janeiro – a small and pretty town backed by mountains
This gorgeous coastal town was first settled in 1667, so there is a lot of history to it. It truly offers something for everyone, including cobblestone streets, magnificent forests, amazing waterfalls, and an emerald-green sea.
There is a lot to do and even more to look at when you visit Paraty, and even though it is compact enough to be enjoyed on foot, you’ll still find a lot of enjoyment and fun activities every step of the way.
There’s even a city center that provides you with information on how the town came to be what it is today.
11. Búzios, Rio de Janeiro – a beautiful Brazilian resort set on an ocean peninsula
A resort town with roughly 34,000 residents, Búzios is the place to go when you want calmness and serenity, and a break from the hustle and bustle of a tourist’s life.
A lot of the people who live there are fishermen, and it offers all sorts of water activities, including swimming and surfing.
In fact, you’ll find a little bit of everything in this town, including shopping, restaurants, bars and lounges, art museums, and just about anything else you need to make your vacation unforgettable.
12. Florianópolis, Santa Catarina – home to 60 beaches, sun, sand and waves
Located in the southern part of Brazil, Florianópolis has a total of 60 beaches and is noted for its surfing opportunities. It bases its economy mainly on tourism and information technology, so tourists can find a lot to do there.
Radical sports and nature offer some of the best opportunities for tourists, as well as activities that include mountain climbing, hang-gliding, rowing, and paragliding.
It is connected to the continent by three bridges, one of which is the Hercilio Luz Bridge, which is famous but is now closed.
13. IlhaBela, São Paulo – one of the most sought-after getaway destinations for Brazilians
Also known as Beautiful Island, which is what it is translated to in Portuguese, IlhaBela has a population of roughly 32,000 and offers attractions such as 360 waterfalls, numerous forests, hiking trails of all difficulty levels, and of course, the beaches.
In fact, there is a total of 41 beaches on the main island, so whether you want to swim, sunbathe, or watch the dolphins and whales, you’ll never run out of things to do.
With beautiful waters and even more beautiful skies, this is the place to be if you have a fondness for sand and surf.
14. Maragogi, Alagoas – a stunning beach to explore
Maragogi sits in the northwestern section of Brazil and offers lots of beaches and living tropical reefs. You can go snorkeling or scuba diving, or simply enjoy the many sights that give the place some ambiance.
Maragogi is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Brazil thanks to its natural beauty and all of the activities it gives people to do.
You can enjoy sea cliffs that seem to reach to the sky and take a boat ride to get up close and personal with the coral reefs. Whatever you do there, it’s one place you will never forget.
15. Trancoso, Bahia – Brazils best-hidden beach town
Trancoso has two things going for it: lots of beaches, and an advanced way of thinking when it comes to reducing their carbon footprint.
It has lots of festivals to enjoy throughout the year, but its main attractions are all of the beaches that surround the area, each one seemingly more gorgeous than the previous one.
With white sand, reefs, and water that always seems to be at the perfect temperature, this is the perfect place to be when lots of time in the water and sun are what you’re looking for.
16. Campos do Jordão, São Paulo – known as the Brazilian Switzerland
A municipality in southeastern Brazil, Campos do Jordão is the highest city in Brazil, reaching 5,341 feet above sea level. Among the many activities for tourists are hiking, mountain climbing, treetop cable swings, and motorbike, and ATV riding.
There is also a festival that takes place every winter that celebrates classical music, and in addition to a really cool cable car, the town offers bars, restaurants, discos, and other activities that make for great nightlife. In other words, this is one town that truly offers something for everyone.
17. Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro – a beautiful island escape
One thing you will never be short of in Brazil is stunning paradise-esque beaches. Ilha Grande is an island located in the sea outside the state of Rio de Janeiro where you will find tropical beaches that will tempt you to purchase your own pousada and simply enjoy the tranquil island lifestyle for the rest of your days.
Previously a prison island, it offers good conditions for snorkeling with chances to see coral, tropical fish, whales, and even penguins.
The island, which has no roads or motorized vehicles, provides hiking trails to different beaches and villages. On the island, you are likely to spot both monkeys and hummingbirds.
18. Teresópolis, Rio de Janeiro – one of the most charming cities in the region
Mostly known as the town that is home to Brazil’s national football team, this city sits in between mountains and hills and has lush green grass and some of the most beautiful scenery you’ve ever experienced.
There is a national park found on part of the city near the city limits, and mountain structures such as Devil’s Needle and God’s Finger are definitely worth paying a visit to.
There are also lakes, statues, and lake houses that are nothing short of extraordinary, and the farms in the area provide a little bit of nostalgia to this now-modern city, which is always a win-win situation.
19. Penedo, Rio de Janeiro – a small and pretty village with a curious history
With a population of roughly 64,000 people, the town has a magnificent reputation for towns with extraordinary architectural wonders, especially if you love cathedrals, churches, and other buildings with historical and religious significance.
It has even been mentioned in books and movies, most noticeably the book The Far Side of the World by Patrick O’Brian. In fact, the city has roughly 270 square miles of land but seems to have more than its fair share of amazing things to see, learn about, and enjoy. In short, you will never be bored here!
20. Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro – an interesting and pretty a colonial city
If you are thinking to visit Brazil, Petrópolis is your destination. Also known as The Imperial City, it is home to nearly 300,000 residents and offers activities to pique anyone’s interests.
These include theaters and museums, as well as lots of festivals and carnivals. You can also enjoy some very unique architecture, and if you love palaces, national parks, or old monasteries, this is the place to be.
You can visit these places individually or join a tour guide. This large city offers all of the advanced benefits of any other large city, which means you’ll never run out of things to do.
In fact, regardless of which month you visit the city, you’ll always have something interesting to do, I loved this place. Enjoy wonderful Brazil!
21. Amazon Rainforest – a paradise tropical rainforest perfect for nature lovers
Although Brazil is known for its beautiful beaches and outstanding landmarks, another famous place to visit is the Amazon rainforest.
The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world. The forest is split into 60% being in the Brazilian territory, 13% in Peruvian and 10% in Colombian soil. The remaining 17% is distributed between French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.
There are so many things to explore in this giant jungle, and one of them is to spot the pink dolphins or go bird watching as the forest is home to over 800 bird species. The best time to visit is during the low-water season which is from July until December.
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Emma-Clair Ni Clearaigh – writer and photographer
With itchy feet, an inquisitive nature and an ardent wanderlust, Emma Clair has always been a traveller at heart. Hailing from the Emerald Isle she calls a small coastal town near Dublin home, but has lived in a few countries including Saigon, Vietnam where she resided for over a year, now she balances travel and travel writing with teaching and a passion for vintage interior design. She counts supping on Bloody Marys on a rooftop in Manhattan, downing Singapore slings at the Raffles Hotel, daring a paraglide on the Grand Cayman, spending an exotic Christmas in Malaysia and exploring the Angkor Wat, Cambodia as her all time favourite travel moments. Although, she’ll always have a special place in her heart for the city where she makes her annual pilgrimages – Paris, her true city of lights. Find Emma-Clair on Instagram or Facebook.
Hotel Reviewing Experience – Asked by tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including the Catalonia Tourist Board, Visit Finland, Visit Zurich and Atout France. Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos.