With over 200 million inhabitants and an area that makes up almost half of the entire continent, Brazil is not only the largest and most populous country in South America, but also the fifth largest state in the world. And accordingly it has a lot to offer, there are almost endless attractions and sights in Brazil to marvel at. The land of samba always enchants holidaymakers with its incredible diversity.
Whether gleaming white beaches and impressive natural spectacles, picturesque mountain and jungle landscapes or the Brazilian culture and South American joie de vivre in the colorful cities: there is a whole lot to discover for nature lovers and romantics as well as for culture fans and adventurers. Brazil is of course also famous for its impressive carnival.
In the following we present you the most exciting tours, most beautiful attractions and best sights in Brazil.
1. Beach of Desires: The Copacabana
It’s actually very simple: when you think of Brazil, you think of Rio de Janeiro. And when you think of Rio, the word “Copacabana” comes to mind almost automatically. Although some beaches like Ipanema spray more glamor and glamor on good days, of course that cannot harm a real legend. After all, Copacabana is located in the middle of the city in the district of the same name directly on the Atlantic and has the shape of a crescent moon.
The beach has not only achieved worldwide fame and was and has become a defining element in many books, films and songs. Copacabana has remained the central point for tourism in the city to this day and continues to enjoy great popularity with the residents. Many of the best hotels, including the world-famous Copacabana Palace, have also settled along the promenade.
2. Archipelago from the picture book: Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha refers to a group of islands about 350 km east of the mainland, which is of volcanic origin. It consists of 21 islands that cover a comparatively small area of only 26 square kilometers. 17 km² of this belong to the main island, which is also the only inhabited part of the archipelago. It is characterized above all by its beautiful, paradisiacal beaches.
Fernando de Noronha appears again and again in the rankings of the most beautiful beaches in the world. But the archipelago also impresses with its extraordinary beauty under water. More than 15 different types of coral, countless dolphins and sea turtles as well as over 250 types of fish make the area one of the best and most popular diving areas in South America. UNESCO added the dream islands to the list of world natural heritage.
3. Colonial charm: time travel in Paraty
The small town of Paraty with just under 40,000 inhabitants is somewhat inconspicuous and remote between the two megacities São Paulo and Rio de Janiero. As a special attraction of Brazil, however, it trumps: the historic old town from the 17th century has remained almost completely in its architecture. The streets are made of coarse cobblestone and all the houses are white with colorful window and door frames.
The entire old town is under monument protection and is also largely closed to traffic. In Paraty there is also the Villa Boa Vista, the birthplace of Julia da Silva-Bruhns, the mother of the German writers Heinrich and Thomas Mann, which is also a listed building. Paraty is still a real insider tip and is considered an enclave of dropouts and (life) artists.
4. Breathtaking nature: Iguazu Falls
Of course, the famous Iguazú waterfalls on the border with Argentina are among the most important and imposing sights in Brazil. They consist of 20 large and approximately 255 smaller waterfalls, which cover an area of more than 2.6 kilometers and fall up to 82 meters in depth. Particularly impressive is the U-shaped Devil’s Throat (Garganta do Diabo) with its length of 700 and a width of 150 meters.
At this point, visitors get into the mighty heart of the Cataratas do Iguaçu, where up to 7000 km³ of water thunder down per second at the highest level. The waters have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. Coatis, monkeys, parrots and countless other animal species are native to the surrounding national park. Tourists usually visit the falls from both sides, so be sure to plan a day trip to the Argentine side as well!
5. Postcard idyll: The Sugar Loaf in Rio
The 396 meter high granite rock owes its name to both its peculiar shape and the name given to it by the native Indians: Pan da suka – carrot. Together with the Cristo Redentor, the Sugar Loaf is a landmark of the city of Rio der Janeiro and one of the most popular sights in Brazil. The steep rock lies at the entrance to Guanabara Bay.
At its summit there are viewing platforms that allow a wide and imposing view of the huge city. There is also a small bamboo forest with walking paths and a souvenir shop. The summit can be easily reached with the O Bondinho cable car. Since their sides are fully glazed, there is also an interesting view of the city.
6. Giant of water: the Amazon basin
The most water-rich river in the world, with a length of 6,400 kilometers, has its source in the Andes and flows into the Pacific. It is bordered by different rainforests with numerous animal and plant species. In Brazil, the gigantic river is usually several kilometers wide and during flood phases it can flood the forested surrounding area for up to 60 kilometers.
The Brazilian island of Marajó is located in the mouth of the Amazon and is as big as Switzerland. This huge island in the middle of a river has around 250,000 inhabitants and also offers tourists the opportunity to discover the river in a special way. For nature lovers, we recommend one of the jungle lodges directly in the Amazon basin, from where they can discover the flora and fauna up close by boat and on guided hikes.
7. Pure desert: Lençois Maranhenses National Park
One of the most impressive nature events in Brazil is the Lençóis Maranhenses dune area – which is also known as a desert full of water. Because it is actually a desert area with large, solid shifting dunes. Due to the fairly high rainfall, it is full of lagoons, lakes and oases, which are characterized by greenish water and a very curvy shape with which they meander through the sand.
The wind and the strikingly higher rainfall during the rainy season ensure that the landscape is constantly changing. Dunes migrate, lagoons and lakes disappear and emerge again – a unique and beautiful natural phenomenon. This dynamic makes the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park one of the most beautiful sights in all of Brazil for us.
8. Modern wonder of the world: Cristo Redentor
The statue of Christ standing on a mountain in Rio de Janiero is one of the most famous landmarks of the city and also one of the most common associations with Brazil. The 30-meter-high statue stands on an eight-meter-high pedestal in which there is a chapel and weighs an impressive 1145 tons. The imposing monument was erected to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Brazil’s independence.
In 2006 it was declared a place of pilgrimage and in 2007 it was even declared one of the seven wonders of the modern world. The Jesus statue in Rio de Janeiro became the model for numerous other Christ statues around the world. On her pedestal in Rio de Janeiro she also looks at another landmark and important sight of the city: the Sugar Loaf. We therefore recommend combining both highlights as part of a day tour.
9. Animal paradise in alluvial land: The Pantanal
The Pantanal is often assigned to the Amazon by ignorant holidaymakers, but this assumption is fundamentally wrong. The gigantic flood plain in the center of the country has an area the size of the Federal Republic of Germany and is home to more than 100 species of mammals and over 650 species of birds. Special animal sightings are even more likely here than in the world-famous Amazon region!
The ideal starting point for a trip to the Pantanal is usually Cuiabá, from here you often continue by rental car. Of course, guided tours are also offered, we mostly slept in traditional fazendas. The 150-kilometer-long Transpantaneira or the 120-kilometer-long Estrada Parque Pantanal, which each lead over countless wooden bridges through the Pantanal, are particularly impressive and eventful.
10. In Brigitte Bardot’s footsteps: Armação dos Búzios
Actually, Buzios was just a sleepy fishing village until Brigitte Bardot placed the peninsula northwest of Rio on the map of the international jet set. The swarm of men from France actually only fled from the annoying journalists and photographers in Rio to spend a few relaxing days with their boyfriend at the time. Buzios was born as a luxury travel destination!
Today, discerning travelers will find a sophisticated town center with neat boutiques, cafes and restaurants of the highest quality. Thanks to sensitive building regulations, however, the charm was largely retained, instead of large hotel bunkers, there are mainly small, cute pousadas with a few guest rooms on a hillside. The highlight are the more than 20 beaches and bays of Armação dos Búzios – some of them are deserted and fantastically beautiful!