The São Francisco de Paula Church is one of Ouro Preto’s most picturesque buildings – many of its decorations and structure were designed by Aleijadinho, one of Brazil’s most famous architects, sculptors, and artists. Unlike other churches in the area, the São Francisco de Paula Church offers a breathtaking view from its doorstep that overlooks the city and the surrounding mountains. Near to the bus station, it’s worth going there for sunrise if your coach arrives early into Ouro Preto.
The Morro São Sebastião is a hill in Ouro Preto – from the top, you have panoramic views of Tiradentes square and the historical neighborhood, Antonio Dias. The views are wonderful at any time of day, but the most rewarding are first thing in the morning or in the late afternoon. To get there, follow the street next to the Astronomical Observatory just behind the Escola de Minas school.
The Nossa Senhora do Carmo Church is a pretty colonial church in Ouro Preto and serves as a well-preserved reminder of the city’s wealthy past. Besides its architecture, what’s especially striking about this church are the views of Ouro Preto and the surrounding hills, thanks to its hilltop location.
This viewpoint is on the Morro do Cruzeiro Campos hill inside the Federal University of Ouro Preto. To get there, simply go through the main entrance of the university and head towards the top of the hill. The viewpoint provides sweeping vistas of the city, the historical center, and the natural slopes that encircle Ouro Preto.
Just next to Ouro Preto is the Itacolomi State Park, a vast national park shaped by mountain ranges and characterized by waterfalls, long hiking trails, and spectacular viewpoints. One of the best places to take in the view of the park and Ouro Preto is from the top of Itacolomi peak, one of the highest mountains in the region.
Morro da Forca hill is near to Tiradentes square. To get there, go through the iron gate and follow the stone stairway up to the top of the large flat peak of the hill. It’s a wonderful spot to take in Ouro Preto, especially the historical center, yet it has a dark past – it was once home to the gallows when hanging was used as a form of punishment in Brazil.