Brazil offers much more than the 2,000 beaches on its shorelines, which have everything from private, secluded areas to parties that last all night long. The natural wonders of the country such as the Amazon Rainforest and River alone are enough reason to visit. Brazil is also renowned for Carnival, which is celebrated countrywide by hundreds of thousands of people. Attractions that shouldn’t be missed include the Christ the Redeemer statue, Copacabana, and the Rio de Janeiro botanical garden. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Cathedral of Brasília
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The Cathedral of Brasilia, also called the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of Aparecida, was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and dedicated in 1970. The Roman Catholic cathedral serves as the seat of the Archdiocese of Brasilia. The modernist architecture of the church attracts visitors from all over. Aspects that shouldn't be missed include the tall bronze sculptures that represent the four Evangelists, a 20-meter tall bell tower, and a pillar at the entrance of the cathedral with passages from the life of Mary. There are many works of art that visitors can appreciate, including painted ceramic tiles by Athos and stained glass by Marianne Peretti.
Esplanada dos Ministérios lote 12 - Brasília, DF, 70050-000, Brazil, Phone: 55-61-32-24-40-73
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2.Christ the Redeemer
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One of the most recognized landmarks in the world, Christ the Redeemer is an art deco statue of Jesus Christ that stands over 100 feet tall. The statue’s arms stretch over 92 feet wide, and altogether weights over 635 metric tons. The statue is a recognized symbol of Christianity all over the world and is a cultural icon in Brazil. Visitors who head to Brazil on vacation shouldn’t leave without a stop at the magnificent site. There are many tour companies that will take you to the site and provide background information on the art and the statue’s history, though many visitors prefer to explore the site themselves.
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Home to the world-renowned beach, the Bairro of Copacabana can be found in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Over two million visitors come to the venue annually just for the extensive New Year’s celebration; the fireworks display alone is one of the largest in the world and is nearly 20 minutes long. The 2½-mile beach has been the official venue to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup as well as the beach volleyball portion of the Olympic Games. Visitors are invited to come explore one of the most beautiful beaches and the city and towering mountains that surround it. Many watersports and beach activities such as volleyball and jet skiing can be played throughout the day.
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Corcovado is the stunning 2,329-foot mountain that the famed Christ the Redeemer statue can be found atop of. The name, which translates to “hunchback” in Portuguese, is a fitting one for the mountain, as it looks like a hunch from afar. Corcovado lies within the national park Tijuca Forest, and it is visible from great distances on a clear day. Visitors can access the peak and statue by a walking trail or by the Corcovado Rack Railway, which takes approximately 20 minutes. There is an observation deck at the foot of the statue that offers visitors breathtaking sites of the city below and the rest of the surroundings.
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When the Lacerda Elevator opened in 1873, it held many world records, including one for being the highest elevator in the world at 63 meters and for being the world’s first urban elevator. Constructed by Brazilian engineer Augusto Frederico de Lacerda, the historic art deco elevator transports people from Cairu Square in the Lower City to Tome de Sousa Square in the Upper City. The elevator is considered one of the most popular attractions in Brazil and attracts visitors from all over the world. At the top of the towers, you can see an amazing view of the surrounding areas, including the Mercado Modelo, the Bay of All Saints, and the Fort of Sao Marcelo.
Praça Municipal, s / n - Centro Histórico, Salvador - BA, 40015-170, Brazil
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Popularly known as “Selaron Steps,” Escadaria Selaron is a set of 215 world-famous steps that were designed by Chilean-born artist Jorge Selaron. The artist, who renovated the steps for nearly 23 years, called it a "tribute to the Brazilian people." Jorge started the project as a way of fixing the dilapidated steps in front of his home. Soon the project grew, and it now has over 2,000 pieces of ceramics, tiles, and mirrors collected from over 60 different countries around the world. Visitors can come see the beautiful work of art the steps have now become and see the various pieces, many of which were painted by Jorge himself.
R. Joaquim Silva, S/N - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20241-110, Brazil, Phone: 5-52-19-64-37-26-80
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Considered the largest public park and recreation area in Rio de Janeiro, Flamengo Park also goes by the names Eduardo Gomes Park, Aterro do Flamengo, and Aterro do Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes. The park was created in 1965 and is now nearly 300 acres. It is open to the public all year long, inviting visitors to explore the civic landscapes and Modernist park gardens. There are many sites within the park for visitors to go, including the Carmen Miranda Museum, the Rio de Janeiro Museum of Modern Art, and the Modernist memorial sculptures "Monument to the Dead of World War II."
Praia do Flamengo, 116 - Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 22210-030, Brazil, Phone: 5-52-19-69-48-47-60
8.Gruta Do Lago Azul
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The Gruta Do Lago Azul, also known as the Blue Lake Grotto, is a cave that houses a stunningly clear blue pool that is over 200 feet deep. Though it hasn’t been confirmed, it is believed that the lake’s water source is from a deeper underground river. Visitors from all over the world flock to the Blue Lake Grotto to see its stunning azure sites. In recent years, thousands of prehistoric animal bones have been found at the bottom of the cave. Archaeologists have found everything from the bones of giant sloths to saber tooth tigers.
Bonito - State of Mato Grosso do Sul, 79290-000, Brazil
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Ibirapuera Park is found in Sao Paulo, Brazil and is known for its leisurely jogging and walking paths. It is popular with locals and tourists who gather there in the early mornings and evenings. The park is one of the largest city parks in Latin America, and there is an important cultural scene surrounding it; many museums and a music hall can be found in the immediate area. Structures and monuments within the park that should be visited include the Monument of Pedro Alvares Cabral by Agostinho Vidl da Rocha, the Ibirapuera Obelisk by Galileo Ugo Emendabili, and the Monument to the Bandeiras by Victor Brecheret. There are many events held there throughout the year that visitors could attend, including the popular Sao Paulo Fashion Week.
Av. Pedro Álvares Cabral - Vila Mariana, São Paulo - SP, 04002-010, Brazil, Phone: 55-11-55-74-50-45
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A botanical garden and contemporary art museum found in Minas Gerais, Brazil, Inhotim is a beautiful place for visitors to go to. Inhotim was founded by former mining magnate Bernardo Paz who began buying plots of land to stop developers from destroying the natural landscape. When Brazilian contemporary artist Tunga persuaded Bernardo to start collecting contemporary art, the botanical garden slowly began taking form. Now there are over two dozen art pavilions that house more than 500 works of art by international and Brazilian artists for visitors to enjoy. The botanical garden has over 4,500 plant species for visitors to explore, including multiple greenhouses for rare plants.
Av. Inhotim, Brumadinho - MG, 35460-000, Brazil, Phone: 55-31-35-71-97-00
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Ipanema, which in the Tupi language translates to “bad water,” is anything but what the name suggests. The affluent neighborhood is internationally popular, and you will find that it is one of the most lavish places in all of Rio de Janeiro. There is a collection of world-class cafes, restaurants, and shops for visitors to peruse among the luxurious residencies found in the area. The area is popular for many events, one of which includes the Banda de Ipanema, which is the local version of Carnival festivities and alone attracts over 50,000 people. The Feira Hippie de Ipanema, also known as the Ipanema Hippie Market, began in the late 1960s and continues to attract people every Sunday; there are over 700 stalls for visitors to explore.
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12.Largo do Boticario
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Apothecary’s Square, or Largo do Boticario, is a famous square found in Rio de Janeiro’s Cosme Velho neighborhood. Visitors will instantly see a difference in the architecture and environment surrounding the square. There are many neo colonial houses and buildings that architecture aficionados will love. One of the famed structures is Casa Cor-de-Rosa, or the Pink House, which was once owned by Brazilian journalist Sylvia de Arruda. The square is slowly falling into ruins, which adds a bit of charm to the historic area. Nearby, you will also be able to see other historic attractions such as the Corcovado Railway and the Abacaxis House.
Beco do Boticário, s/n - Cosme Velho, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 22241-120, Brazil
13.Museum of Tomorrow
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The Museum of Tomorrow is a science museum that was opened in 2015 and designed by Spanish neofuturistic architect, Santiago Calatrava. It can be found near the Pier Maua waterfront. The museum has five main exhibition areas: Tomorrow, Now, Anthropocene, Cosmos, and Earth. Each of the areas combines science with innovative design to create a fun learning experience. The museum urges visitors to not focus on objects, but rather ideas; this transforms the way visitors will think about shaping the future of the planet. One of the most popular aspects of the museum is the Tomorrow Laboratory, which focuses on 3D printing, robotics, and artificial intelligence.
Praça Mauá, 1 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20081-240, Brazil, Phone: 55-21-38-12-18-12
14.Parque das Aves
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Having opened in 1994, Parque das Aves is a privately-owned zoo that can be found near the Iguacu waterfalls. The zoo is open from 8:30 am to 5 pm every day for visitors to explore the 40 acres of zoo land within the forest. Main attractions include the aviaries, the Paradise of Parakeets, Reptile Refuge, and the Kingdom of the Butterflies. You can get up close and personal with Macaws, snakes, and other tame animals in the zoo. The Tree of Life is a family favorite, as the attraction teaches about a particularly legendary tree within the forest and the importance of preserving nature.
Rodovia das Cataratas, 12450, Foz do Iguaçu - PR, 85855-750, Brazil, Phone: 55-45-35-29-82-82
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Found on the foot of the Corcovado, Parque Lage is a public park in Rio de Janeiro. The land was once the residence of singer Gabriella Besanzoni and her industrialist husband Enrique Lage. The couple remodeled the mansion with Italian architect Mario Vodrel and decorated it with works of art from all over the world; the interior of the mansion still has paintings by Salvador Payols Sabate. The public park that you see today came to be in the 1960s. Visitors are invited to walk the trails on the land or relax in the cafe within the mansion.
R. Jardim Botânico, 414 - Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 22461-000, Brazil, Phone: 55-21-32-57-18-00
16.Pinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo
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Established in 1905, Pinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo is a paramount art museum in Downtown Sao Paulo. It is the oldest museum in the area and has one of the largest collections of Brazilian art. Artifacts include 19th century Brazilian and European sculptures and paintings as well as iconic modernist art and decorative arts. Some pieces of art that visitors should not miss during their trip to Pinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo are Roman Slave by Oscar Pereira de Silva, The Wind Storm by Antonio Parreiras, and the Vera Alves de Lima by Cyprien Eugene Boulet.
Praça da Luz, 2 - Luz, São Paulo - SP, 01120-010, Brazil, Phone: 55-11-33-24-10-00
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17.Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden
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The Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden was formed in 1808 and now houses over 6,500 species of foreign and Brazilian flora. The garden stretches over 54 hectares and is filled with multiple greenhouses and artistic and historical monuments, as well as various archaeological artifacts. Visitors will also be able to explore the research center, which has an extensive library specializing in botany. In addition to the plants, animals, and in-house museums, you will also be able to enjoy the various events hosted at the gardens such as exhibitions, musical concerts, and theater performances.
R. Jardim Botânico, 1008 - Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 22460-030, Brazil, Phone: 55-21-38-74-18-08
18.Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon
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The Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon has a rich history dating back many years; it was once inhabited by the Tamoios Indians, Portuguese colonies, and the Portuguese Royal Family who constructed the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden, which is still present today. The lagoon is connected to the Atlantic Ocean and is surrounded by many family-friendly attractions and activities. Visitors can explore the natural landmark, go for a walk or run on its jogging trails, enjoy a leisurely bike ride, take photographs, go rowing, or spend the day at one of the many social clubs along the lagoon.
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© Galeria Millan
Galeria Millan is one of São Paulo's premiere art galleries, opened within the Millan Annex in 1986. Today, the gallery is under the direction of Socorro de Andrade Lima and André Millan and strives to open a rich dialogue between Brazil's emerging and established artist generations. Works showcased in exhibitions are often pieces featured at internationally-renowned institutions, including New York City's Museum of Modern Art, the UK's Tate Modern, and Mexico's Colección Jumex. Solo and group exhibitions are highlighted throughout the year, showcasing artists such as Afonso Tostes, Guilherme Ginane, Dudi Maia Rosa, and Regina Parra. The gallery also represents the estates of Mario Cravo Neto and Tunga.
R. Fradique Coutinho, 1360 - Pinheiros, São Paulo - SP, 05416-011, Brazil, Phone: +55 11 3031-6007
20.São Paulo Museum of Art
© São Paulo Museum of Art
The Sao Paulo Museum of Art was established in 1947 by Italian curator and collector Pietro Maria Bardi and Brazilian businessman and politician Assis Chateaubriand. The museum’s headquarters are held in a 1968 glass and concrete structure designed by Brazilian modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi. Here, you will be able to see one of the finest collections of European art across Latin America. There is also a collection of Brazilian art, drawings, and prints as well as Asian and African art and antiquities. All in all, there are over 8,000 pieces of art and one of the largest art libraries in Brazil for visitors to appreciate.
Av. Paulista, 1578 - Bela Vista, São Paulo - SP, 01310-200, Brazil, Phone: 55-11-31-49-59-59
21.Serra da Capivara National Park
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The Serra de Capivara National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts visitors from all over the world. The park has a large number of prehistoric sites with paintings that date back centuries. One of the most popular sites in the park is the Pedra Furada, which alone has a collection of over 800 archaeological sites and rock paintings. A newer site is Toco da Tira Peia, where archaeologists have found stone tools and other artifacts that go back over 22,000 years ago; many of them belong to the Upper Pleistocene phase of Pedra Furada.
Rua Doutor Luiz Paixão, 188 - Milonga, São Raimundo Nonato - PI, 64770-000, Brazil
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22.The Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading
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The Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading is one of the most visually satisfying libraries in the world. The library has one of the largest collections of Portuguese texts outside of Portugal, with the books rising three stories above the central study area. The cabinet was founded by three Portuguese immigrants in 1822 who wanted to share their country’s literature with the people of Brazil. The Gothic Renaissance style library that you see today was built specifically to house the increasing collection of books. Every year the collection grows by the thousands, and visitors will be able to see singular works of literature and rare original manuscripts among the many items there.
Rua Luís de Camões, 30 Centro, Rio de Janeiro, 20051-020, Brazil
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Considered one of the most important and most beautiful theatres in all of Brazil, Theatro Municipal is an opera house built in an eclectic and art nouveau style. The building, which was designed and constructed by Francisco de Oliveira Passos, was inaugurated in 1909. Visitors will be able to see many aspects of the stunning opera house, including the outside walls, which are inscribed with the names of Brazilian and Eurocentric artists. The interior is just as stunning, with paintings by Eliseu Visconti and Rodolfo Amoedo and sculptures by Henrique Bernardelli. Those visiting the theater will also be able to visit the National Fine Arts Museum and the National Library nearby.
Praça Floriano, S/N - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20031-050, Brazil, Phone: 55-21-23-32-91-91
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Supposedly the world’s largest urban forest, Tijuca Forest in Rio de Janeiro is over 32 km squared. The tropical rainforest was established in 1961 and is a part of the protected Carioca Mosaic. Tijuca Forest is a declared national park and is home to a number of attractions, with the most famed being the Christ the Redeemer statue atop the Corcovado Mountain. Other attractions include the Vista Chinesa outlook, a giant granite picnic tables called the Mesa do Imperador, the Cascatinha Waterfall, and the murals painted by Candido Portinari in the Mayrink Chapel. Visitors will also come across many species of flora and fauna, including an extensive array of birds.
25 Best Things to Do in Brazil
- Cathedral of Brasília, Photo: Courtesy of dabldy - Fotolia.com
- Christ the Redeemer, Photo: Courtesy of marchello74 - Fotolia.com
- Copacabana, Photo: Courtesy of filipefrazao - Fotolia.com
- Corcovado, Photo: Courtesy of f11photo - Fotolia.com
- Elevador Lacerda, Photo: Courtesy of lazyllama - Fotolia.com
- Escadaria Selaron, Photo: Courtesy of lazyllama - Fotolia.com
- Flamengo Park, Photo: Courtesy of Sergey - Fotolia.com
- Gruta Do Lago Azul, Photo: Courtesy of conanedogawa - Fotolia.com
- Ibirapuera Park, Photo: Courtesy of f11photo - Fotolia.com
- Inhotim, Photo: Courtesy of nathsegato - Fotolia.com
- Ipanema, Photo: Courtesy of Microgen - Fotolia.com
- Largo do Boticario, Photo: Courtesy of Karol Kozlowski - Fotolia.com
- Museum of Tomorrow, Photo: Courtesy of Karol Kozlowski - Fotolia.com
- Parque das Aves, Photo: Courtesy of schame87 - Fotolia.com
- Parque Lage, Photo: Courtesy of christian vinces - Fotolia.com
- Pinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo, Photo: Courtesy of Cifotart - Fotolia.com
- Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden, Photo: Courtesy of Bruno Bernier - Fotolia.com
- Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, Photo: Courtesy of Aleksandar Todorovic - Fotolia.com
- Galeria Millan, Photo: Galeria Millan
- São Paulo Museum of Art, Photo: São Paulo Museum of Art
- Serra da Capivara National Park, Photo: Courtesy of Tiago - Fotolia.com
- The Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading, Photo: Courtesy of LeitnerR - Fotolia.com
- Theatro Municipal, Photo: Courtesy of lazyllama - Fotolia.com
- Tijuca Forest, Photo: Courtesy of earlytwenties - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of f11photo - Fotolia.com
Sambrodomo, called the Sambadrome in English, is a parade area built specifically for one of Rio de Janeiro’s most popular events, Rio Carnival. Visitors there during Rio Carnival can see the colors and lights come together as samba schools competitively parade against each other. Designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer, the Sambodromo houses thousands of locals and foreign tourists there each year. Visitors who are there outside of Carnival season will find it being used as a concert venue; artists who have performed there in the past include Janet Jackson, the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Elton John, and Whitney Houston.
R. Marquês de Sapucaí - Santo Cristo, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20220-007, Brazil, Phone: 55-21-29-76-73-10
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