I didn’t spend long in Brazil unfortunately, it’s such a big country and I’ll have to return to spend a whole month there, especially as my brother in law is Brazilian, time to visit! Below I’ve included some of the most amazing and famous landmarks you can expect to find in Brazil during your visit.
1) Iguazu Falls
I spent two days here, but I could have spent a lot longer! You should visit both the Brazilian and the Argentinian side. You can also get a helicopter ride from the Brazilian side, something I pushed the boat out on as I didn’t want to look back with regret and I can promise you it was worth every penny!
2) Amazon Theatre
The Amazon Theatre, or Teatro Amazonas as it is properly know, is an opera house located in Manaus. The pink building is a highly recognisable scene and has featured in many movies such as the 1982 film Fitzcarraldo. Heads up, it’s currently not handicap accessible.
3) Christ The Redeemer
I might not be a religious person, but this is quite a sight, standing over Rio de Janeiro. The art deco statue was created by the illustrious sculptor Paul Landowski and was placed at the summit of Mount Corcovado. Interestingly, it is only the 4th largest statue of Jesus!
4) Sugarloaf Mountain
Found at Guanabara bay, this mountain stands 1,299 feet above sea level and looks incredibly unique, said to look like a pile of sugar, hence the name. You can get a cable car ride up to the top, leaving from Urca. Alternatively, there is a walkway from the centre of Abergavenny, through Cantref and Llywyndu, then the northbound footpath up Sugarloaf Mountain.
5) Cathedral of Brasilia
The seat of the Archdiocese of Brasilia and a key aspect of the Brazilian architecture, the cathedral was completed in 1960 and designed by Oscar Niemeyer. It was actually the first monument built in the city and looks truly unique.
6) Niterói Contemporary Art Museum
As you can guess by the name, this is a contemporary art museum, housing 1,217 amazing pieces of artwork, assembled since the 1950’s until the launch of this museum in 1996. But what you can’t see from the name is the peculiar and spectacular architecture and the unbelievable views you get. Located right along the seafront, the building looks closer to an alien ship than the stereotypical art museum.
7) National Congress of Brazil
Parliamentary buildings are regularly seen as some of the most stunning in each country, a key landmark which people expect to be listed on their tourist tick list. However, not many come as close to the National Congress of Brazil (Westminster, the Hague and the Bucharest palace of parliament come to mind). The two different semi-spheres are for different seats, one the senate and the other the chamber of deputies.
8) Arcos Da Lapa
This is an 18th century aqueduct found in Rio de Janeiro, known for its famous white arches. There are actually 42 of these Roman style arches and is recognised as one of the most famous colonial buildings in the country. Interestingly, it was initially created in wood, but the structure wasn’t very stable so they had to go back to the drawing board.
9) Ipanema Beach
When you think of Brazil, you can’t help but straight away go to the white sandy beaches and people soaking up the sun. Well Ipanema offers this and much more. Located on the south zone of Rio de Janeiro (as so many parts of this list are), it has long been recognised as the crown jewel of the city. In fact, while you’re here, you might want to read my list of the best things to do in Rio de Janeiro. Beyond sun bathing, there are plenty of surfers enjoying the big waves, it offers a great view of sunset, there are plenty of great fashion stores and restaurants along this area and the backdrop is incredible.
10) Copacabana Beach
OK, two beaches in a row, but who doesn’t instantly start humming along to the Barry Manilow song as soon as you hear the name? Everybody do the Cha Cha! This 2.2 mile beach is found in, you guessed it, Rio de Janeiro. I would however recommend avoiding the beach at night time, where safety levels do tend to drop, no watching sunset. The beach is probably best known for how vibrant and lively it is, with people laughing, talking and playing a bit of beach football.
11) Escadaria Selaron
The other name for this is the Selaron Steps and has been featured in various movies, such as the Incredible Hulk. The colourful steps are the creation of Jorge Selaron, the Chilean artist, and stretches 125 metres. This mosaic has now easily become one of the most notable landmarks in Rio de Janeiro.
12) Lençóis Maranhenses
The Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses is a desert based national park that looks incredibly different to the rest of the country. The rain on the sand can occasionally make for some great optical illusions, much like the Uyuni Salt Flats. The national park can take up a few days of your holiday, considering it stretches 1,550 square kilometres, however the beautiful scenery will make you not want to leave.
13) Elevador Lacerda
The Elevador Lacerda, or the Lacerda elevator (in case you didn’t get that translation) is located in Salvador, at the Praça Tomé de Souza. The public lift goes up 72 metres, meaning you get a pretty good view of the city and making it a great stop-off for some quick snaps. Interestingly, this was the first public lift in the world! It’ also a key connection for the old town to the business centre. The construction was complete in 1873, but don’t worry, plenty of modern work has gone into the elevator, so it shouldn’t break down on you.
This monument is one of the key attractions in Sao Paulo. Speaking of which, if you’re visiting, make sure to read my list of things to do in Sao Paulo. The Obelisk stands 72 metres tall and is the biggest monument in the entire city. The focus around the construction was as a symbol towards the Constitutionalist revolution, which took place in 1932.
15) Igreja de Sao Francisco de Assis
Quite a mouthful! In English, it’s called the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, found in Ouro Preto. I’m not normally over incentivised to check out churches or to include them on lists of the best landmarks, but this one is quite beautiful and looks very unique. If you arrive on either a Friday or a Sunday then you might also catch the organist playing.
16) Fernando de Noronha
This to me looks like a scene from a Lego pirate box, with rock shapes coming out of deeply blue water, I keep expecting a pirate ship to float on by. It’s actually a volcanic archipelago, consisting of 21 islands. As you can therefore imagine, it’s not connected to the Brazilian mainland and is actually 220 miles off the Brazilian coastline, so you will need to arrange a boat trip out here, but that just adds to the enjoyment! There is also plenty of wildlife to keep an eye out for, while only one of the islands is inhabited, so pack plenty of food and water.
17) Itaimbezinho Canyon
Easily one of the most picturesque scenes in Brazil, this will make the perfect image for the postcard home. There are a number of canyons located in the Aparados da Serra national park, but it’s certainly the most popular and biggest tourist attraction in the area. If you plan on doing a hike, don’t underestimate the length and pack plenty of water, we made this mistake when trekking the Grand Canyon and my mate almost passed out!
18) Museum Of Tomorrow
I’m a marketing man, with a love for technology and a curiosity about what tomorrow brings, therefore this is right up my street! The Museum of Tomorrow, or Museu do Amanhã, is an applied science museum and focuses on where human kind is heading in the future, especially with the ever changing climate. Considering how much the Amazon rainforest is being torn down and the landscape is changing, it feels like Brazil is the perfect spot for this museum.
19) Botanical Garden of Curitiba
Who doesn’t love exploring some botanical gardens? The main attraction is the greenhouse in the centre, while it’s also on the city bus tour route so you can jump off and explore for a bit before continuing with your exploration of Curitiba. There are also plenty of exotic birds flying above which are worth looking out for.
20) Meeting Of Waters
Stretching 3.7 miles, this is where two rivers run alongside each other, but don’t blend into one, making for a breathtaking sight. The Rio Solimoes is that yellow sandy river you’ll see in the photos, while the Rio Negro is the darker counterpart, often containing plenty of leaves and fallings from the trees. You can find this spectacle a mere 10km from Manaus.