The 10 Main Cities of Brazil

A wonderful South American country with a thousand facets. Made up of different cultures and traditions that intertwine from north to south, Brazil is a mix of unique landscape beauties in the world. A gigantic carioca party where emotions never end.

From lush forests to stretches of white beaches and crystal clear sea, up to an exceptional concentration of art, history, and culture among museums, historic buildings, and modern architectural creations. This is Brazil, and these are the 10 best cities to definitely visit.

10. Maceiò

Maceiò is the capital of the state of Alagoas in the northeast of Brazil. It has more than 900,000 inhabitants. It’s a city with always warm weather, which makes it one of the most beautiful and popular tourist destinations for a holiday of total relaxation. Beaches with stretches of sand and crystal clear sea, art, culture, and nightlife: what more could you want?

There is also time for some shopping. In fact, Maceiò is known as a city ​​of craftsmanship thanks to the creation of typical products sold in squares, markets, and most important fairs. The most characteristic shops are found in Pavilhao do Artesanato, the Feirinha de Pajuçara, and the Bairro Pontal da Barra.

This city offers a holiday suitable for both young people and families with children.

Best time: from January to December, as the temperatures are hot and the rainfall is scarce. The climate is monsoonal, typical of savanna,s with average annual temperatures of about 29°C. If you want to witness some events, you can go in February for the carnival and in June (12-30) for the Festa Junina.
Main attractions: the beaches, which are similar to the Caribbean ones, Praia di Ponta Verde, Praia de Paripueira, the Museum of Images and Sounds, the Palacio Floriano Museum, and the Theo Brandão Museum.
Low-cost flights: starting from €679
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €26 per room
Recommended cards, tickets, and tours: Maceio Half day guided city tour; From Maceio – Gunga Beach and Full-Day Tour; Praia de Paripueira Beach Day Tour

9. Brasilia

Brasilia has been the capital of Brazil since 1960 and it’s been one of the richest and most modern cities in entire Brazil. It’s located in the Federal District within the state of Goias on a mountainous plateau about 1,000 meters above sea level. Nearly 3 million people live in this city.

Brasilia is home to the Brazilian center of power, the Parliament, and all the other ministries that govern the country, many of which were built by the architect Oscar Niemeyer. It is an unmissable tourist destination, with numerous attractions such as museums, art galleries, monuments, and world-famous architectural works. The city’s pinata was designed by the architect Lucio Costa.

Brasilia is also a famous destination for its excellent cuisine. In fact, there are a lot of restaurants with incredibly varied cultural influences. It’s undoubtedly an unmissable destination for the whole family.

Best time: from May to September as being over 1000 meters above sea level, the temperatures are pleasant and not excessively hot or cold. In February, the Carnival of Brasilia takes place and, in September, the Brazilian Film Festival.
Main attractions: the Metropolitan Cathedral built by Oscar Niemeyer, the JK Memorial (an exhibition honoring President Juscelino and the Kubitschek family with the mortuary of the late president, many relics, objects, and photos of the family inside), and the National Congress made up of two 28-story towers.
Low-cost flights: starting from €565
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €48 per room

8. Florianòpolis

Florianòpolis, the capital of the state of Santa Caterina, is located in the eastern part of Brazil and is hence bathed by the Atlantic Ocean. It has almost 500,000 inhabitants.

It is a destination where ancient and modern are intertwined, a simple city with enchanting beaches, even semi-deserted ones, and other natural beauties. The symbol of Florianòpolis is the famous Hercílio Luz bridge, the city’s Historic Artistic Heritage.

Between a walk in the historic center and a visit to the archaeological site, there is always time for some nightlife in the clubs around the city. This is a trip most suitable for those who want relaxation, tranquility, and lots of seas.

Best time: spring and summer: in summer, between December and February, temperatures fluctuate between 29°C and 32°C; in the winter, from June to September, temperatures are between 7° and 12°.
Main attractions: the Hercílio Luz Bridge, the Mirante Manoel de Menezes to observe the entire lagoon to the sea and the beaches, Ilha do Campeche (the most important archaeological site in the city), and the Municipal Market in the November 15 Square.
Low-cost flights: starting from €539
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €26 per room

7. Natal

Natal, the capital of the Rio Grande state of the North, is one of the most beautiful cities in Brazil thanks to its enchanting postcard landscapes. It has more than 800,000 inhabitants.

A renowned coastal resort, with over 10 km of sandy beaches, it will bring a unique mix of relaxation and entertainment to your holiday. Not for nothing is it considered the “City of the Sun”.

Between seaside tourism and nightlife full of fun, there is also time for a bit of art and culture, especially in the city center, characterized by a wonderful cathedral and period buildings. It is a holiday to be fully enjoyed thanks to its high security since Natal was proclaimed as the safest capital of the state by the IPEA. Exactly what you need for a family holiday!

Best time: all year round; the hottest months are January and February with temperatures above 30°C; the wettest seasons are autumn and winter; at the beginning of December, there is Natals’ off-season carnival – Carnatal.
Main attractions: the beaches, such as Ponta Negra, Pipa, and Genipabu, Forte Dos Reis Magos, the cathedral of Nossa Senhora da Appresentaçao (eng. Our Lady of Appreciation), and the former neoclassical penitentiary now a center for crafts.
Low-cost flights: starting from €478
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €70 per room
Recommended cards, tickets, and tours: From Natal – Pipa, Cacimbinhas, and Love Beach Full-Day Tour; Maracajau Parrachos Reef – Full-Day Adventure from Natal

6. Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte is the capital of the state of Mina Gerais, in south-central Brazil. It has over 2 million inhabitants. It’s characterized by a much more classic Brazilian style than Rio and São Paulo. Undoubtedly, it’s a destination rich in culture due to the presence of historical museums and churches.

Its name derives from the desire to conceive it as a garden city with wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. Belô or Beagá, as it is nicknamed, is a city characterized by modern architecture, shopping, lively nightlife, and gastronomic tradition. Don’t miss the artificial lake of Pampulha and the church dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi. It is a holiday destination suitable for everyone!

Best time: spring and summer, especially May -October; you can go in time for the events: the traditional Brazilian Carnival, the biennial International Theater Festival at the end of September, the Festival Internacional de Teatro Palco & Rua, and the FID Circolando BH.
Main attractions: the artificial lake of the Pampulha district and its beautiful park with churches, museums, and art galleries, the church of St. Francis of Assisi, and the Memorial Minas Gerais Vale.
Low-cost flights: starting from €539
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €59 per room

5. Curitiba

Curitiba is the capital of the state of Parana, in southern Brazil, near the border with Paraguay and Argentina. It has about 1.5 million inhabitants and enjoys a less hot climate than the other cities due to its high altitude (about 900 meters).

The city is divided into two parts, the Setor Historico (eng. Historical Sector), a colonial-style tourist area with historic houses and museums, and a more industrialized and modern part with skyscrapers, large parks, and botanical gardens.

This city has always been committed to protecting the environment. In fact, the first pedestrian area in the world was built in 1970 and today it’s among the richest and most developed urban realities in Brazil. It is a destination suitable for the whole family!

Best time: from November to April; from events, there are the long-awaited Carnival with great Carioca-style celebrations and the Feira do Largo da Ordem (handicraft street fair) which takes place every Sunday, in the city center.
Main attractions: Art Nouvau-style Botanical Garden, Oscar Niemeyer Museum . Largo da Ordem, and a stroll along Rua 24 Horas.
Low-cost flights: starting from €540
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €81 per room
Recommended cards, tickets, and tours: Half-Day Tour of Curitiba City; Curitiba: 4-hour City-By-Night Tour with dinner

4. Fortaleza

Fortaleza is located on the northeastern side of Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean. It has nearly 3 million inhabitants. It is a coastal city with beautiful beaches that make it a perfect destination to relax and have fun with friends. Some of the most beautiful beaches are Praia do Futuro and Praia Porto das Dunas, where Beach Park (a tourist complex with the largest water park in South America) is located.

Between a swim and excellent food based on lobsters, oysters, and carangueyos (a typical dish based on crab), there is also time to enrich yourself with culture and art. Fortaleza is, in fact, a city rich in history with museums, cultural centers, and churches, such as the Dragão do Mar, the Museum of Cearense Culture, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Best period: all year round due to temperatures around 27°C, but avoid the period March-May because it’s a rainy season. If you want to be part of events, go there for New Year, in the last week of July for the carnival of Fortaleza (Il Fortal), in July for the Regata de Jangadas, and in August for the Semana do Folclore.
Main attractions: the beaches Praia do Futuro, Praia Porto das Dunas, and Praia do Morro Branco, Dragão do Mar cultural center, and the Museum of Contemporary Art .
Low-cost flights: starting from €472
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €69 per room
Recommended cards, tickets, and tours: 2-hour city sightseeing tour in the morning; 4-hour city car tour

3. Salvador (São Salvador de Bahia de Todos os Santos)

Salvador, the first Brazilian capital and the first port of access to the new world, today is the capital of the state of Bahia. It’s located in the northeast of Brazil and, with its 3 million inhabitants, is one of the most populated cities in the country. Influenced by the Afro-Brazilian culture, Salvador is characterized by folklore and a purely colonial style. It has a wrapped with summer due to its tropical climate with high temperatures all year round.

Among its narrow streets and colorful buildings, you will be delighted by its colonial architecture, which has made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will also admire the Baroque architecture present in many palaces, churches, and historic houses. And, you can’t miss the fantastic beaches where you can relax and have fun 365 days a year. Salvador is definitely a holiday suitable for everyone!

Best time: all year round due to the constantly high temperatures; in time for the Salvador carnival and the Pelourinho carnival.
Main attractions: The Pelourinho district, Castro Alves Square from where you can enjoy the view over the entire Bay of All Saints, and Farol da Barra.
Low-cost flights: starting from €446
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €50 per room
Recommended cards, tickets, and tours: San Salvador City Tour

2. São Paulo

São Paolo, with its 11 million inhabitants, is one of the largest metropolises in the world. Located in the south of Brazil, on the highlands of Serra do Mar, it’s mainly hilly. It has a highly developed tourism thanks to the presence of a beautiful historic center and a lot of culture and entertainment. Sanpa (its nickname) is considered the capital of Latin American gastronomy with international restaurants and is also famous for the Brazillian pizza.

The city also offers vibrant nightlife. Most of the visits are work and business-related because São Paulo is a well-known and important financial center. Don’t miss the Cathedral da Sè, Marco Zero center, the Ibirapuera Park, and the São Paulo Museum of Art.

Best period: end of February because it’s the cheapest and for the carnival; April-June for events like the Gay Pride Parade, Virada Cultural, and the Dia dos Namorados.
Main attractions: the historic center of the city, Cathedral da Sè with its towers, mosaics, and stained glass windows, São Paulo Museum of Art, and Ibirapuera Park.
Low-cost flights: starting from €450
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €50 per room
Recommended cards, tickets, and tours: private city tour; 5-hour private city tour

1. Rio de Janeiro

One of the largest metropolises in Brazil and the world with about 6 million inhabitants. It’s located in a territory made up of mountains, hills, lush forests, and long sandy beaches. The hinterland of the metropolis, characterized by modern skyscrapers and dilapidated neighborhoods called favelas, creates a city full of contradictions and a unique city in the world.

Rio is a destination suitable for everyone; however, it must be visited following the necessary precautions due to the crime present in some areas of the city. Don’t miss the Sugar Loaf, Cristo Redentor with Corcovado, the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, Lapa and Santa Teresa, the Rocinha favela, the Tijuca National Park, and much more. Rio can be experienced at 360° with the special carioca experiences of samba, carnival, and football.

Best time: September-December and March-June for the perfect weather; during the New Year period, Rio Carnival, and Rock in Rio festival.
Main attractions: Christ the Redeemer, along with the Corvocado hill, Sugar Loaf, and the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.
Low-cost flights: starting from €397
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €30 per room
Recommended cards, tickets, and tours: a walking tour in the Rocinha favela a full-day boat tour from Rio de Janeiro to Búzios; urban art walking tour; Christ the Redeemer, Selarón, Sugar Loaf: sunset tour