As a city, Vitória is vaguely reminiscent of Rio, its backdrop a combination of sea, steep hills, granite outcrops and irregularly shaped mountains on the horizon. Founded in 1551, it’s one of the oldest cities in Brazil, but few traces of its past remain and nowadays most of the centre is urban sprawl. Vitória is not a tourist town, and few people visit it unless they have a very definite reason – in recent years that reason has been off-shore oil, with the city being an important supply and communications base. The heart of Vitória is an island connected to the mainland by a series of bridges, but the city has long since broken its natural bounds, spreading onto the mainland north and south. The major beach areas are on Canto, on the island, Camburi, on the mainland just to the north, and Vila Velha with its beach, Praia da Costa, to the south. While Vitória is renowned as the world capital of marlin fishing, it also has the unfortunate distinction of having the highest murder rate in Brazil. Violence is unlikely to affect the casual visitor, but appropriate care should be taken nonetheless.

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