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Florianópolis isn’t called Ilha da Magia – the Island of Magic – for nothing. With stunning scenery and a unique setting, this corner of Brazil offers beauty, fun, and nature for those exploring its delights. If you’re planning a trip, take a look at our week-long guide to make the most of your time away.
Though Florianópolis is relatively compact, there’s so much to experience here that if you don’t prepare in advance, you may be scrambling for time to fit it all in. To make sure that your moving around the island is in pursuit of adventure, and not changing accommodation all the time, we suggest making your home base the most balanced, central, and relaxed place on the island – Lagoa da Conceição.
Arriving on an early flight, or a night bus, is key as it gives you the ability to start enjoying your time from the second you arrive. Head right over the ridge in the center of the island to Lagoa, get settled in, grab your swim trunks and head right back out. Chances are it will either be very calm, or quite windy – if the water is calm, rent a stand up paddle board and paddle around the lake. Stay in the small part of the lagoon on the south side of the bridge, as it’s more calm – keep close to the water’s edge and you’ll be treated to views of some gorgeous waterfront homes and across the pond to Canto da Lagoa.
If the wind has picked up, go try your hand at kite surfing in front of the bars in Rendeiras – this small strip of town sits just over the bridge from Lagoa, and is home to a number of kitesurf setups where you can try your hand at the sport.
Today, head out of the town to go visit Barra da Lagoa. Follow the tarmac as the roads snake round the bends in the moving river, and end where the dark blue river meets the baby blue ocean. Spend the morning on the beach – in the afternoon, cross the footpath over the river, continue on the trail and visit the natural pools at the end of the path. Splish and splash in the warm water that sits calmly against the rocks, heating up in the constant sun and head back to Barra to have a drink and watch the incredible Floripa sunset.
Now you’ve gained the lay of the land, it’s time to stray further from home in the south of the island, where you’ll be able to tick off three must-visits if you get a good jump on the day. Wake up early and head to Armação in the southwest tip of the island, where you can enjoy breakfast and a coffee by the sea. After this, cross the bridge and follow the small trail to Praia Matadeiro, one of the most famous beaches in Florianópolis.
After you’ve had enough of bobbing around in the waves on the beach, lace up your shoes and head to the very southern tip of the sands. Here, you’ll find a small sign pointing left around the big headland that sticks out. This will lead you on a one-two hour hike around the rock to the stunning Lagoinha da Leste.
This beach is only for those willing to trek it, as there’s no road access – make the effort and you’ll be rewarded with views of the beach, and ‘lagoinha’ or little lagoon, behind it, that are truly what Brazil is all about. You can return back the way you came, or continue on and end in Pântano do Sul to catch the bus.
Time to inject a little history into this beach holiday to round it off – pay a visit to the northwest corner of the island to visit the quaint, historic town of Santo Antônio da Lisboa. Sit at one of the incredible seafood restaurants on the lake looking over at the mainland for a simple gorgeous setting for yourself, a couple, group or family.
Continue up the island and at the strategic north corner, you can walk around the ruins of the Fortress of São José de Ponta Grossa. Constructed in 1765 to protect both the island and mainland of Brazil, this ancient fortress is not only historical, but a terrific place to snap some great photographs.
The town of Campeche, at the eastern midway point of the island is a nice functional town but the real reason to come here is to visit the island of the same name, just off the coast. The sand and water here have the sparkle and clarity of the South Pacific, making it a perfect option to spend one of your last relaxing days in Floripa.
As the final day in Lagoa has arrived, you’ll inevitably want to spend some more time here, as you’ll have fallen in love with the area. With that in mind, take a relaxing morning and enjoy a Brazilian coffee at Rocambole.
Once you’re fully awake, head to Canto do Aracas, either on foot, taxi, or bus, and enter the trail that will lead you through the humid but gorgeous jungle, to the tiny town of Costa da Lagoa. Enjoy incredibly fresh seafood right on the edge of the magical lake, before taking the little water taxi back to the dock in Lagoa da Conceição.
With a night bus looming, or at least an afternoon flight, you’ll have enough time to check out the busy ‘centro’ portion of Florianópolis. If you have any shopping you need done, stroll through the local markets right across from the bus terminal, where you can find almost anything as a souvenir of your travels. The center also has some incredible restaurants, so just before you cross back towards the bus terminal, have a final meal as a toast to your perfect week on the Island of Magic.