When you’re planning your holidays in Brazil, there’s no doubt that one city really stands out. If they haven’t visited it already, Rio de Janeiro is on most people’s bucket lists and whether it’s a trip to the famous Rio Carnival, or just a week enjoying the nightlife and beaches of Rio, it’s somewhere everyone should visit at least once. But Rio obviously isn’t the only city in Brazil, and if you can take slightly longer over your holidays in Brazil, then there at least half a dozen other candidates you should really try and see…
After Rio, Salvador is probably the most popular city for people to visit on their holidays in Brazil. This is partly because it has the biggest carnival outside of Rio (depending on your definitions, it’s actually somewhat bigger!) and partly because of its unique Afro-Brazilian culture. Brazil as a whole is incredibly multi-cultural, but in Salvador the African side of Brazil’s heritage is on full display the whole time, from the food you eat, to the music you hear, and even in the spooky candomblé rituals you can watch… With some superb city beaches of its own, and the gorgeous colonial Pelourinho area, with its cobbled streets and painted houses, Salvador is definitely worth at least a day or so of your time, and that’s without heading to some of the neighbouring beach resorts such as Praia do Forte and Morro de Sao Paulo
Recife is much less famous than Salvador, and if you’ve never been to Brazil, you can be forgiven for never having heard of it. However, in many ways it’s just as interesting as Salvador, and if you’d like to make sure of seeing some of Brazil’s best beaches then this could well be worth fitting into your Brazil holiday itinerary. Located just up the coast from Salvador (a flight takes less than an hour), Recife itself is largely a modern city with the trademark Brazilian skyscrapers and beach combination. However, just to the north of the city lies the older town of Olinda, and this is really one of the jewels in Brazil’s colonial crown. The winding streets and colonial architecture is the equal of anything you’ll find in Salvador and, if anything, there’s rather more of it here in Olinda. The whole town has a very sleepy, laid-back feel to it, and it’s a lovely place to spend a few days of your Brazil holidays – you feel a bit like you’ve stepped into a Garcia Marquez novel!
Meanwhile, to the south of Recife itself, you can find the beautiful Porto de Galinhas. Regularly a winner of the title of Brazil’s best beach, this 6-mile stretch of golden sands is quite simply stunning. The beach is so big that you are guaranteed a bit of seclusion if that’s what you want, or you can enjoy one of the superb resort-style hotels. Quite apart from just enjoying the beach and the clear, warm waters, you can also go horse-riding, jet-skiing, wind-surfing, and just about anything else you can think of!
Moving right away from the north-east of Brazil, but staying on the coast, the city of Florianopolis is another that few people outside of Brazil have heard of. Within Brazil it’s a different story, however, with Brazilians all over the country knowing of Floripa as a place that works hard but parties harder. The south of the country has always been the most prosperous part of Brazil, and many people comment on how European it feels. Florianopolis is one of the poster children of the new Brazil, with banks, hi-tech firms and creative industries all setting up shop here in a big way. This means a young, prosperous population who, when they’ve finished a hard day’s work, like nothing more than heading to one of the literally dozens of beaches (Floripa is half an island) to swim, surf, or just enjoy a few caipirinhas! Although it’s not been a regular part of most people’s Brazil holidays, the city has had a vibrant backpacker scene for several years now, and word is just starting to spread – make sure you get in there first!
Bio: This article was written by Real Brazil Holidays – the UK specialist for tailor-made travel and holidays to Brazil.