Things not to miss
Step into a capoeira school, where you can watch the dance-like sparring of this distinctive martial art for free.
© Vladimir Gappov/Shutterstock
Walk through any market in Brazil to get a sense of the country’s natural abundance. São Paulo’s Mercado Municipal, crammed with produce from all over Brazil, is particularly impressive.
© Thiago Leite/Shutterstock
#04 The Pantanal
You’ll be hard-pressed to not spot wildlife in the world’s biggest inland swamp.
© Uwe Bergwitz/Shutterstock
#05 Theatro Municipal, Rio
If you can’t catch a show inside Rio’s sumptuous belle époque theatre, be sure to stop for lunch or a drink in its lavish, Assyrian-inspired café.
© Catarina Belova/Shutterstock
#06 Trekking in the Chapada Diamantina
Explore the dramatic terrain of this enormous national park, which includes mesas, forest, river beaches, waterfalls and a kilometre-long grotto.
Sample grilled meats – numerous cuts of beef, plus pork, lamb, chicken, duck and more – at these typical gaúcho barbecue houses.
#08 Pedra Azul
This massive stone mountain is renowned for the shade of blue it seems to turn at dawn and at sunset.
© Eduardo Menezes/Shutterstock
#09 Candomblé celebrations
Usually identifiable by their white dress, followers of this popular Afro-Brazilian religious cult worship together in exuberant dance ceremonies as well as at fiestas.
© Alf Ribeiro/Shutterstock
Head just a few hours north of Brasília to take in this spectacular wilderness area, dotted with striking geological formations, caves, waterfalls and hiking trails.
This picturesque spot remains one of Brazil’s best-preserved colonial towns, and it’s a great base from which to explore the surrounding Costa Verde.
#12 Florianópolis beaches
Head to the island capital of Santa Catarina state, where kilometres of beaches include treacherous surfing spots and calm waters for safe swimming.
#13 Ouro Preto
Some truly remarkable Baroque churches are tucked away in the steep, narrow streets of this charming town.
© Daniel Indiana/Shutterstock
#14 Northeast beaches
North of Salvador the coastline is stunning, with waters good for surfing or sailing in a traditional jangada, as well as fine white sand dunes, seen here near Fortaleza.
This impressive expanse of Mata Atlântica is criss-crossed by shaded trails and features refreshing waterfalls and spectacular views across Rio.
© Dmitry V. Petrenko/Shutterstock
#16 Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Niterói
Take a short ferry ride from Rio and spend some time at this spaceship-like museum, one of Oscar Niemeyer’s architectural masterpieces.
© Juliano Galvao Gomes/Shutterstock
#17 Brazilian architecture
Whether it looks like a futuristic dream or a modern-day nightmare, Brazil’s contemporary architecture is often otherworldly. For more information, see East: Niterói and the Costa do Sol & Oscar Niemeyer.
© Thiago Fernandes BHZ/Shutterstock
#18 Rio nightlife
A rather seedy inner-city bairro by day, Lapa at night pounds to infectious Brazilian rhythms, its nightclubs and bars teeming with locals and tourists alike.
#19 River journeys
Take a slow boat along the Amazon for close-up views of the mighty river and its wildlife.
© Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock
#20 Colonial Rio
There are more colonial churches in Rio than anywhere else in Brazil – the pretty Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Glória do Outeiro is perhaps the city’s finest.
#21 The Aquário Natural
Snorkel among some thirty-odd species of fish in the crystalline waters of this marine sanctuary, or spy on them from above in a glass-bottomed boat.
#22 Visiting Rio’s beaches
On weekends you can hang with locals who escape to Rio’s sands to play sports, catch up on gossip or simply people-watch.
© Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock
#23 Iguaçu Falls
The power and beauty of the falls is quite simply astonishing, only rivalled by the tranquillity of the Mata Atlântica behind
© Attila JANDI/Shutterstock
© Gustavo Ardila/Shutterstock
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