Attractions in Brazil

Covering such a vast area, Brazil encompasses a variety of climates, cultures and geography. The massive country is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world – think of the steamy Amazon in the North with Amerindian tribes, equatorial jungle and unique wildlife and the Pantanal tropical wetlands of the Central West region with its diverse ecosystem of jaguars, caimans and anacondas. Not to mention the stunning Iguaçu Falls – one of the world’s most amazing waterfalls.

The coastal areas of the Northeast and Southeast boast some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, as well as Brazil’s most populous and vibrant cities, while gaucho culture rules across the pampas and valleys of the country’s south region and cerrado savannah spreads across the semi-arid Central areas. Check out the colonial architecture in Rio, Salvador or Tiradentes, or marvel at Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer’s Modernist works in Rio, São Paulo and throughout the capital, Brasília. While the main cities of Rio, São Paulo and Brasília are the most popular destinations for visitors to Brazil, cities like natural beauty Florianópolis, Recife – the ‘Brazilian Venice’ and African-influenced Salvador are full of interest for the intrepid traveller.

With diverse multicultural influences from indigenous Indians, Portuguese heritage and Afro-Brazilians, as well as Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese migrants, Brazil offers an exciting mix of culture, cuisines and art with a distinctly local style. Immerse yourself in the music and dance forms of samba, sertanejo, bossa nova, zouk-lambada, funk carioca and forró, and learn the Afro-Brazilian sport of capoeira.

And, no visit to Brazil is complete without a visit to its main religion – football. A massive stadium soccer game is a must to see why Brazil boasts one of the best national teams in the world, and to watch the country go crazy when it hosts the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Here’s our pick of the must-see sights in Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio is one of the world’s most breathtaking cities. From the outstretched Christ the Redeemer statue on the Sugar Loaf Mountains to the hedonistic pre-Lenten celebrations of Carnival, and from the iconic beaches of Ipanema and Copacobana to the gritty favelas (slums), Rio de Janeiro is an all-in experience and a full-on assault to the senses. Locals, known as Cariocas, are known for their sense of exuberant style and body conscious looks for staying cool in the heat.

São Paulo

Sampa to locals, Brazil’s mega metropolis of São Paulo is one of the global culture capitals as well as the economic powerhouse of this massive country. Paulistanos are said to work hard and play even harder with a so-hot-right-now scene that’s blowing up in terms of art, food, culture, music and nightlife. As the biggest and wealthiest city in South America, the all-inclusive city of São Paulo is also host to one of the biggest gay pride parades in the world.

Brasilia

Renowned for its Modernist architecture and utopian city ideals, Brazil’s capital of Brasília was established in 1960 in the neutral centre of the country to avoid any regional bias. Considered to be obsessed with politics and architecture by most Brazilians (who are secretly proud of their capital), the planned city of Brasília is shrugging off its ‘boring’ tag and establishing itself as more than just a bureaucratic oddity with a burgeoning cultural scene and as an emerging gastronomy hub.

The Amazon Rainforest

Sweeping across 9 countries, there's no avoiding the Amazon Rainforest in South America. Nor should you. The lush and expansive jungle is the largest rainforest in the world, representing over half of the planet's remaining forest within its 7 million square metres.

Iguazu Falls

If North America has Niagara, then South America has Iguazu, a mammoth set of falls straddling the boarder of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. While taller than Niagara Falls and twice as wide, Iguazu's most notable feature is its number of falls, spanning 270 individual cascades in total.