Are you coming to Brazil? The first place to be is not Rio
Brazil is a huge multicultural country with a very diverse geography, if you think it only revolves around Rio de Janeiro, samba, “bundas”, a jungle and monkeys on trees throwing coconuts at people’s heads, you’re making a terrible mistake.
From Native Indians, Africans, and Asians to Portuguese, Italians, Germans and Dutchmen, you will find all ethnicities and cultures in Brazil, separated and mixed.
And for an introduction, you’ll discover now the most beautiful places in the state of Minas Gerais. I may be bias to talk about this since it’s my birthplace, but this place is just incredible for those who love nature. If you like to go camping, fishing, hiking and meeting historical places with an European touch, Minas Gerais is the way to go. Minas Gerais is also known as a national symbol when it comes to cuisine…
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1. Belo Horizonte: Where Modernity Meets Tradition
Belo Horizonte, the state capital, is a city where modernity coexists harmoniously with tradition. Explore the Pampulha Architectural Complex, designed by the renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer. Don’t miss the bustling Central Market, a haven for food lovers and shoppers alike.
2. Ouro Preto: A Glimpse into Brazil’s Colonial Past
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Ouro Preto is a town frozen in time. Its cobblestone streets wind through a labyrinth of 18th-century buildings, showcasing exquisite Baroque architecture. The historic churches, like São Francisco de Assis and Nossa Senhora do Carmo, are breathtaking.
3. Tiradentes: A Colonial Gem
Tiradentes, another colonial gem, boasts picturesque streets, charming art galleries, and a historic ambiance. The town’s name honors Tiradentes, a national hero who played a crucial role in Brazil’s fight for independence.
4. Diamantina: Birthplace of a President
Diamantina’s well-preserved colonial architecture and rich history make it a captivating destination. It’s also the birthplace of Juscelino Kubitschek, the visionary president who commissioned the construction of Brasília, the capital of Brazil.
5. Inhotim: Art and Nature Unite
Inhotim is an extraordinary open-air contemporary art museum and botanical garden. It’s a harmonious blend of art installations, sculptures, and lush gardens, making it a unique and visually stunning experience.
6. Serra do Cipó: Nature’s Paradise
For nature enthusiasts, Serra do Cipó National Park is a haven. The park offers breathtaking waterfalls, hiking trails, and opportunities for birdwatching in a pristine natural setting.
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7. Congonhas: Aleijadinho’s Masterpieces
Congonhas is home to the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos, adorned with a remarkable sculptural ensemble created by Aleijadinho, one of Brazil’s most celebrated artists.
8. São João del Rei: Colonial Charm
São João del Rei is a town steeped in colonial history and architectural beauty. Stroll through its cobbled streets and visit historic churches and museums.
9. Mariana: The First Capital of Minas Gerais
Mariana, the first capital of Minas Gerais, exudes history and charm. Explore its historic sites and enjoy the ambiance of its picturesque old town.
10. Petrópolis: Natural Beauty Awaits
Petrópolis, not to be confused with the city of the same name in Rio de Janeiro, is a hidden gem. It offers beautiful waterfalls and stunning natural scenery.
11. Capitólio: Land of Lakes and Canyons
Capitólio is a paradise for lovers of aquatic adventures. Explore its stunning lakes, canyons, and take boat tours on the vast Furnas Reservoir.
12. Cataguases: A Town of Gardens and Art Nouveau
Cataguases is known for its beautiful gardens and architectural gems in the Art Nouveau style, making it a haven for art and architecture enthusiasts.
13. Monte Verde: The Charming Mountain Retreat
Monte Verde is a charming mountain town known for its cold climate, hiking trails, and cozy lodges, making it a perfect retreat for nature lovers.
14. Gruta da Lapinha: Nature’s Subterranean Wonder
Discover the impressive stalactites and stalagmites in Gruta da Lapinha, a natural cave that showcases the wonders of the underground world.
15. São Thomé das Letras: Mystical Marvels
São Thomé das Letras is a mystical town famous for its unique rock formations, enchanting waterfalls, and alternative lifestyle. It’s a place where you can embrace nature’s wonders.
In Minas Gerais, you’ll find a blend of history, art, nature, and culture that is uniquely Brazilian. Each of these 15 destinations offers a different facet of this diverse and captivating state. Whether you’re drawn to the colonial charm of Ouro Preto, the artistic allure of Inhotim, or the natural wonders of Serra do Cipó, Minas Gerais has something for every traveler to cherish and remember.