In the hills and mountains inland from Vitória are several small towns surrounded by superb walking country, great for a day-trip or as a base for a relaxing few days. You can easily spot where the first immigrants came from: the houses and churches of Santa Teresa look as Italian as those of Domingos Martins, Santa Leopoldina or Santa Maria look German. The smallest of these towns, Venda Nova, is home to the remarkable sight of Pedra Azul, a grey granite outcrop almost 1000m high that’s one of the unsung natural wonders of Brazil. If you’re heading for Minas Gerais, Venda Nova lies on the main Vitória–Belo Horizonte highway, Domingos Martins just off it. The area is a popular destination for residents of Vitória, so if you plan to stay over a weekend – in particular in the winter dry season, when the trails can be approached most comfortably, the sky is blue and there’s a chill in the air – pre-booking accommodation is advisable.
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