Brazil instantly invokes images of golden coastlines, wild rainforests, and sprawling metropolises such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Yet as the largest country in South America, there are plenty of other incredible towns and cities that showcase Brazil’s extraordinary diversity to the traveler with a little more time to explore. Here are some of Brazil’s wonderful towns that you probably haven’t heard of.
Once the main port for the gold trade during the Portuguese colonisation, Paraty still reflects its wealthy past. The colonial cobblestone streets are lined with small white buildings decorated with brightly coloured doors and window frames. The region is known for producing excellent cachaca, a fact that is celebrated each August in the Festival da Pinga, a long weekend of cachaca tasting, outdoor shows and homely, traditional food. It is a popular weekend getaway for residents of Rio de Janeiro who go to enjoy the tranquil setting and the wonderful boat trips to nearby islands.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Considered the winter weekend getaway for wealthier São Paulo city residents, Campos Jordão is a small town nestled in the peaks of the Montiqueira Mountains. The Swiss-style architecture coupled with the sweet-smelling pine forests and mountainous backdrop set the scene of an alpine resort retreat. Its peak season is the Brazilian winter time – June, July, and August are the most popular months – where visitors make the most of the colder climate to enjoy one of the local specialties, fondue. In addition to the traditional cheese and chocolate fondues, the meat fondue is also popular. Chunks of raw meat are dipped into piping hot oil that is often infused with herbs and wine.
Located in the tropical state of Pernambuco with its hot climate all year round, Olinda is a small colonial town found on the hillsides next to Recife. It offers a quiet and charming retreat from the hustle and bustle of Recife’s fun yet chaotic lifestyle. The town is filled with fluffy green trees, manicured gardens, colonial churches and brightly coloured houses. It is also home to one of Brazil’s best Carnivals where traditions such as large street puppets still prevail and the streets are decorated with vibrant bunting and colourful costumes.
The Alpine-style architecture in Blumenau is the result of its German ancestry when German immigrants settled here in the 19th century. Its most famous characteristic is the annual Oktoberfest, a copy of its Munich counterpart and one of the largest street parties in Brazil, second only to the Carnival. It is also a popular holiday destination among Brazilians who are drawn to its European roots and customs. Local restaurants serve German Eisbein (ham hock) and Kassler (a smoked pork chop) among more traditional Brazilian food.
The former mining town in Minas Gerais is nowadays celebrated for its well-preserved architecture and charming historical features. The cobbled streets are lined with white buildings topped with red-tiled roofs and peppered with Baroque-style churches. It’s hard to walk down the streets and not be reminded of Portugal’s classic architecture. Not far from nearby Belo Horizonte, it is ideal for a quick day trip or a leisurely weekend. It is also a popular Carnival destination, especially among students and young adults.
The Bavarian feel of Gramado is thanks to the German settlers who arrived in the 19th century, a typical characteristic of many towns in the south of Brazil. The streets are lined with alpine chalets and chocolatiers, selling the creamy, light chocolate commonly associated with Germany and Switzerland. The nearby mountains provide great hiking and climbing spots and the region’s fertile vineyard soils mean that Gramado is home to several boutique shops selling locally-sourced wines on par with European and New World standards.
Lençois was built to help support the diamond boom in the 19th century. The former mining region hasn’t changed since then and is still defined by its cobbled streets and colourful houses that flank either side of the narrow roads. The main street is closed to cars and in the evening it becomes the main social hub. Restaurants scatter plastic chairs onto the pavements whilst locals and visitors gather together to drink, eat and mingle. A town still relatively untouched by tourism, it is characterised by its charming simplicity and friendly spirit.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.