Everything is grand in Brazil. Come explore the most beautiful places in Brazil with us!
For starters, Brazil occupies about half of the South American continent and is the fifth largest country by landmass worldwide. Sao Paulo is the world’s fourth most populated city in the world with a staggering population of 12 million inhabitants. The Amazon Basin is the world’s largest tropical forest and river system that covers more than 2 million square miles with 60% of the area in Brazil. And Brazil’s national soccer team, the Selecao, has won the FIFA World Cup 5 times. No one else has!
But beyond the numbers are breathtaking sites, seemingly endless sparkling white sandy beaches, misty mountains, historical cities, iconic cities, a vast wilderness, unfathomable biodiversity, and archeological jaw-droppers.
Brazil is not what you see but what you feel. Once you spend time here – a week, two weeks – you get in the vibe. It’s really intoxicating.
Below, we give a virtual tour of the most beautiful places in Brazil (in no particular order). Hurry up, pack your bags and let’s get going!
Top 10 Brazil – Beautiful Places You Just Can’t Miss
It’s unlikely you could exhaust all there is to see in Brazil. From the exhilarating Samba dance of the Rio Festival to the otherworldly desert-like landscape of Lencois Maranhenses National Park to the unexplored portions of the Amazon Basin, you’d be hard-pressed to see and appreciate it all in a single lifetime.
Indeed, the 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Brazil are testimonials of a country wealthy with history, culture, natural phenomenon, and biodiversity.
Brazil is a melting pot of cultures, music, culinary scenes, architectural exploits, and more. If you’re ready for the adventure, here are the most beautiful places in Brazil to start your expedition.
1. Iguazu Falls
Iguaza Falls is a true bucket list item; these crashing waterfalls tucked amidst a scenic rainforest delta are easily among the most beautiful places in Brazil.
It comprises over 275 cascading falls, the waters of which actually span three countries–though you can only really enjoy them from Brazil and especially Argentina. In this string of majestic waterfalls, The Devil’s Throat stands out as the most epic. It’s an impressively curved cataract consisting of 14 falls that plunge down a 350 feet rock face with a shattering crescendo.
Watch alluring sunsets over the falls from the Brazilian side or take a cab into Argentina for alternative views. You can also absorb breathtaking sunset views over the falls from your hotel room deck; a stay at Belmond Hotel des Cataratas, which is a stone’s throw away from the falls, will make that possible.
Additionally, many enjoy the majestic waterfalls from the boardwalks. However, if you want to get really intimate, take a boat ride–be prepared to be impressed, and to get wet! If you can afford it, a chopper ride over the falls will give you sweeping views that you’ll live to treasure. However, the helicopter option is only available on the Argentinian side.
2. Lencois Maranhenses National Park
Lencois Maranhenses National Park is one of the most unique landscapes in the world, and certainly one of the most fascinating places to visit in Brazil. Depending on the time of year, it may just appear like any other desert–albeit one with pristine white sands as far as the eye can see.
But during the rainy season, the dunes play host to glimmering pools of stunning turquoise. Indeed, Lencois Maranhenses experiences enough precipitation that you can’t call it a desert at all. The 350,000 acres of sand are carried from the center of the continent by various rivers, then blown back by strong winds. It’s a topographical quirk, but one which yields otherworldly vistas.
Explore this blissful stretch by horse, foot, or by renting out 4WDs from tours in the area. However, it’s the aerial views by flight that will truly blow you away.
3. Mount Roraima
Mount Roraima is a massive flat-topped mountain where the boundaries of Brazil, Guyana, and Venezuela intersect. It’s situated in the Pakaraima Mountains with the Brazilian portion of the mountain located in Monte Roraima National Park.
The mountain rises 9,219 feet into the sky; its plateaued summit often towers over the fog and clouds. Sheer cliffs precariously rise to over 1,300 ft, and attract technical climbers from around the world. Sir Walter Raleigh was the first European to explore the mountain in 1595. If you’re daring enough to want to scale and conquer its cliffs, your best bet is via the Gran Saban face on the Venezuelan side.
A host of towering waterfalls, plus pockets of pink sand and scattered crystal-clear pools when it rains add a stunning array of visual interest to the rocky cliffs. Mount Roraima also features a host of exclusive flora and fauna, including several carnivorous plant species, with over a third found nowhere else beyond the plateau.
4. Rio De Janeiro
Spectacularly cradled between white beaches and a backdrop of majestic mountainous rises, Rio De Janeiro is hands down one of the most beautiful places in Brazil.
Previously the capital city of Brazil, Rio is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, naming it “staggeringly beautiful”. And its magnificent natural setting, its unique urban culture and architecture, along with its impressive green spaces make it easy to see why.
Visit the imposing figure of Christ the Redeemer on the Corcovado mountains for breathtaking views of the city. It may be crowded with tourists, but it’s worth visiting as one of, if not the most famous landmarks in Brazil. Tropical trees of the surrounding mountains and the turquoise waters of the Atlantic at the fore contrast splendidly with Rio’s string of whitish buildings down the valley.
The famous beaches of Coba Cabana and Ipanema are prime attractions hosting millions of tourists from the world over. After exploring the expansive stretches of white sandy beaches, coupled with a bead of islands scattered over the bay, you’ll have your beauty fix satiated. But there’s more.
The soaring mountains of Tijuca National Park and the Sugarloaf Mountain at sea define the city’s landscape. Enjoy an all-encompassing view of the city as you ride a cable car from Morro da Urca to Sugarloaf Mountain. It’s an exciting ride, with sweeping views of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Guanabara Bay, the iconic Rio-Niteroi Bridge, Corcovado, the Rio metropolis, and the Santos Dumont Airport.
5. Paraty, Costa Verde
If you’re looking for tranquil beaches to unwind and enjoy nature, then Costa Verde (Green Coast) is the place to be. This gem of a destination is situated along the Brazil coast between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
Costa Verde is famed for its placid bays, secluded islands such as Ilha Grande, luxuriant vegetation extending right into the ocean, and the historic town of Paraty. The Portuguese settled here in the 16th century, turning it into their primary port for shipping gold. Architectural hallmarks of those days are everywhere in Paraty, from striking forts to flamboyantly designed churches and depressed cobblestone streets.
Spend two or three nights in Paraty to sample its serene beaches, its charmingly placid plaza, and the phenomenal puppet theatre. Hire a yacht, if you can, for a day tour of Ilha Grande. As for accommodation, you’ll be spoilt for choice as there are numerous amazing boutique hotels and cozy private cottages to choose from.
Charter a boat to watch teeming marine life ranging from Magellanic penguins, multicolored fish varieties, and whales. Savor the sunset while enjoying the local cuisine and cachaca winery. Other recreational activities to fill out your days in Costa Verde include snorkeling, surfing, sailing, and horse riding.
To your north, there is Itatiaia National Park, the oldest national park in Brazil. The park is an Atlantic rainforest punctuated by grasslands. It is home to the rare muriqui monkeys, kaleidoscopic birds, and a series of stunning waterfalls. Hike the woods and scale the cliffs as you birdwatch.
6. The Amazon Basin
Deep in the Amazon, nature can still thrive uninterrupted. Indeed, the Amazon Basin is the world’s largest tropical forest and river system spanning over 2 million square miles, with 60% of the area in Brazil.
The main way to traverse the Amazon is by the navigable waters of its rivers. Enrich your experience by combining boat rides over the Amazon with excursions for the added thrill. Experience the monumental Amazon river, and appreciate what the quintessential Brazil scenery has to offer first hand.
Unsurprisingly, the Amazon Basin overflows with biodiversity; it’s home to a quarter of the earth’s species with diverse flora, fauna, and astounding natural phenomenon. You can also visit mankind relatively untouched by modernity, amidst a dizzying array of rare plants and animals.
7. Brasilia, the Capital of Modern Architecture
Don’t get the answer to “what’s the capital of Brazil” wrong; it hasn’t been Rio for a long time! It’s Brasilia, a preplanned city built from scratch in 1960 for the purpose of succeeding Rio De Janeiro as the country’s capital.
A masterpiece of modern architecture, it’s one of the few cities that had its whole architectural plan executed at once, as opposed to the organic growth of cities over many years. It was so finely executed that UNESCO named Brasilia city a World Heritage Site.
Conceptualized and executed with a masterstroke of brilliance, Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida is the most iconic building of Brasilia. It features arched columns that support an elegantly designed glass roof. Other remarkable buildings in the capital include the Praca dos Tras Podere where the presidential office, the National Congress, and the Supreme Court buildings are located.
You’ll want to explore the Historical Museum of Brasilia, and as well as the Palacio dos Arcos amidst pleasantly landscaped gardens. There’s also the Memorial dos Povos Indigenas (Museum of Indigenous People), plus the Monumento JK (a monument to President Juscelino Kubitscheck, who founded the city of Brasilia) to explore.
8. Pantanal, Mato Grosso Do Sul
The Pantanal Conservation Area is one of the world’s largest wetlands covering an area of over 80,000 square miles. Any animal lover must have Pantanal, Mato Do Sul in their itinerary, with its incredible abundance of fascinating animals and vegetation. In fact, with over 400 birds species, coupled with capybaras, alligators, tapirs, and jaguars, it’s home to the highest clusters of animals in South America.
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site for being one of the largest freshwater wetland ecosystems. Located in the western part of Brazil, the area extends into Paraguay and Bolivia.
The most predominant recreational activity in the region is sampling nature and wildlife by hiking or boat rides. You can also swim, snorkel, soak in the beautiful waterfalls, and visit the vibrant cities of Corumba or Bonito.
9. Belo Horizonte
Belo Horizonte is the state capital of Minas Gerais. Like Brasilia, this is a pre-planned city, featuring diagonally intersecting avenues inspired by Washington DC. And with the Espinhaço Mountains serving as a rugged backdrop, it easily combines into one of the best places in Brazil to visit.
A contemporary architectural theme predominates the city’s skyline. Oscar Niemeyer, the renowned Brazilian architect, debuted some of his early classical architectural masterpieces in this city in the 1940s. Those buildings become tourist attractions and had a ripple effect by inspiring the creation of well-designed buildings later.
Brazil’s first planned city is also famous for its eclectic collection of museums, including:
- Palacio das Artes (Museum of Arts): Designed by the celebrated Oscar Niemeyer, its famous Latin American art center that hosts art shows, and performing arts in its three galleries.
- Memorial Minas Gerais Vale: A peculiar museum with a creative way of telling stories about the past life of Minas Gerais. To learn about the history, culture, fashion, and heater visit this unconventionally modeled museum that beams a spotlight into the past.
- Museu de Mineralogia (Mineralogy Museum): “Raina da Sucata” is the postmodern building that houses the mineralogy museum. The museum is a repository of about 3,000 different minerals mined from Minas Gerais and beyond. The display features around 800 precious minerals and outlines their uses.
- Museu de Artes e Oficios (Arts and Crafts Museum): The Praca da Estacao is used for outdoor musicals, festivals, and other performing arts.
10. Sao Paulo
The palatial city of Sao Paulo completes our list of the most beautiful places in Brazil. With close to 12 million residents, Sao Paulo is the largest city in South America and the fourth in the world by population. It sits on the Piratinga plateau amidst encircling rivers.
The city’s main crowd-pullers that need to feature on your itinerary include the Museu de Art (MASP). Housed in a lavishly designed building, it’s home to an exhaustive collection of contemporary Western art pieces from Latin America.
Next, is the Teatro Municipal (City Theater). It’s an iconic landmark and a major attraction for its architecture, comprehensive art collection, and performing arts. Complete your tour of Sao Paulo by visiting Patio do Colegio (the genesis of Sao Paulo), the picturesque Parque do Ibirapuera (Ibirapuera Park). The park is the leisure Mecca for Sao Paulo residents.
Numerous historic cathedrals, monasteries, and monuments dot that landscape in Sao Paulo as it’s an old town that dates back to 1554. Se Square has one such vintage cathedral. You’ll travel back in time with its towering spires and stained glass windows.
The Most Beautiful Places in Brazil: Concluding Comments
This list is but a sampling of the wealth of experience Brazil has to offers. We tried to include a good mixture of natural and metropolitan wonders, but there is just so much more to see and more than we have time to review in a single article. Brazil lacks nothing for beautiful vistas, vibrant culture, and modern amenities for the tourist’s delight.
Have you traveled to Brazil? How about sharing your experience with us and what to you stood out as the most beautiful places in Brazil. Hit our comments section below.