Traditional stilt houses on the river in Amazon Forest, Brazil

Things to do in  Brazil

The heart of the Amazon

It’s not just during Carnaval that Brazil feels like one massive party. This is a place that lives on a bigger, brighter, and louder scale than most. The largest country in South America, Brazil offers extraordinary natural, cultural, and culinary variety. From the Amazon rainforest to São Paulo’s forest of skyscrapers; from Rio de Janeiro’s postcard-ready scenery to the African influences on Salvador’s culture and cuisine; from the thundering spray of Iguazu Falls to the roar of futebol (soccer) stadiums—when it comes to things to do in Brazil, you’ve got seemingly limitless options to experience.

Top 15 attractions in Brazil

Christ the Redeemer Statue (Cristo Redentor)

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Keeping a watchful eye over the people of Rio de Janeiro, the iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue (Cristo Redentor) sits atop Corcovado Mountain at 2,300 feet (700 meters) above the city. Unveiled in 1931 and voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, this impressive monument is often credited as the most iconic site in Brazil.More

Selarón Steps (Escadaria Selarón)

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Decorated with more than 2,000 brightly colored tiles in the colors of the Brazilian flag, the Selarón Steps (Escadaria Selarón) is one of Rio de Janeiro's most vibrant and striking landmarks, marking the boundary between the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighborhoods.More

Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Açúcar)

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It’s easy to see why Rio de Janeiro is nicknamed the “Marvelous City” when you’re gazing down at it from the heights of Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Açúcar). From its soaring 1,300-foot (396-meter) summit, the city unfolds around you, with views of Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, the Tijuca Forest, and the Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue standing tall atop Corcovado Mountain to the west.More

Sé Cathedral (Catedral da Sé)

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Reigning supreme over the center of Sao Paulo, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption (Sé Cathedral) is one of the largest neo-Gothic structures in the world. The 12,000-pipe organ is among the biggest in South America and the church houses a vast number of religious artworks.More

Santa Teresa (Barrio Santa Teresa)

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Close to the center of Rio de Janeiro, the cobbled district of Santa Teresa has long been a visitor favorite. Though it started out as an upper-class neighborhood, it has now become an artistic enclave that’s famous for its bohemian cafes and galleries.More

Meeting of Waters (Encontro das Aguas)

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The city of Manaus lies at the confluence of two great rivers, the Solimões and the Rio Negro. Due to the different colors of the two rivers, it's possible to see precisely where they meet, which is what makes the Meeting of Waters, or Encontro das Aguas, a checklist must-do for visitors to Manaus.More

Rio de Janeiro Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana de Sao Sebastiao)

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Tall and cone-shaped, the modernist Rio de Janeiro Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana de Sao Sebastiao) doesn’t look like a typical church. The unusual design was constructed between 1964 and 1979 by architect Edgar Fonseca. One of Rio’s most important religious structures, it is dedicated to St. Sebastian, the city’s patron saint.More

Amazon River

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The mighty Amazon River and its enormous, thickly forested basin are the heart of South America and the guardian of 20 percent of the Earth's fresh water. Visitors from around the globe come to Iquitos to cruise the river's storied waters and catch a glimpse of diverse fauna both above and below the surface.More

Sao Conrado Beach (Praia de Sao Conrado)

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One of Rio de Janeiro’s loveliest beaches, São Conrado Beach (Praia de São Conrado) enjoys the same white sand, big waves, and spectacular scenery as Ipanema, but has far fewer crowds. In the high-end neighborhood of the same name—one of the most expensive in the city—São Conrado offers prime waterfront recreation and relaxation.More

Copacabana Beach (Praia de Copacabana)

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Rio de Janeiro’s legendary Copacabana Beach evokes images of white-sand shores, sun-kissed volleyball players, tourists sipping agua de coco out of bright green coconuts, and bikini-clad revelers partying long into the night. And for the most part, that’s pretty accurate. Add in a touch of local flavor and a splash of the obscure, and it becomes obvious why this is one of the world’s most famous beaches.More

Iguaçu Falls (Cataratas do Iguaçu)

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Iguaçu Falls (Cataratas do Iguaçu), the largest waterfalls system in the world, are truly awe-inspiring to behold. Though Argentina boasts better trails around the falls, Brazil is blessed with the best views of this natural marvel’s 275 separate cascades, which span the border between the two countries. Take in full-frontal views of Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo), San Martin Island, and more from the short-but-sweet catwalks that wind their way around the Brazilian side of Iguaçu Falls.More

Ibirapuera Park

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Designed by landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, Ibirapuera Park is Sao Paulo’s answer to New York’s Central Park. As the largest park in the city center, Ibirapuera encompasses 13 playing courts, jogging and cycle paths, a lake, several modernist buildings, and two of Sao Paulo’s most significant art galleries.More

Tijuca National Park (Parque Nacional da Tijuca)

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Prior to the 19th century, Rio de Janeiro was surrounded by Atlantic rain forest. Today, all that remains is the 13-square-mile (33-square-kilometer) jungle known as Tijuca National Park (Parque Nacional da Tijuca). Studded with tropical trees knotted together by jungle vines, the world’s largest urban forest is home to ocelots, howler monkeys, more than 300 bird species, waterfalls, and one of Rio’s iconic landmarks, the Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue standing atop Corcovado Mountain.More

Ipanema Beach (Praia de Ipanema)

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Although less famous than its neighbor Copacabana Beach, Ipanema holds its own with quiet charm, and it does so without skimping on any of the white sands, blue waters, or local character that give Rio de Janeiro’s beaches their claim to fame.More

Three Borders Landmark (Marco das Tres Fronteiras)

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Iguaçu Falls (or Iguazú Falls) are famously shared between three nations: Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay (which doesn't actually claim any part of the falls, only the rivers). Though the actual border lies unmarked at the deepest part of the confluence of the Iguaçu and Paraná rivers, all three nations have erected monuments overlooking the spot.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Brazil

Full Day Iguassu Falls Both Sides - Brazil and Argentina
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Top Destinations

Top Destinations

All about Brazil

When to visit

High season in Brazil is between November and March—summer in the Southern Hemisphere. One of the best things to do in Brazil during the winter is Carnaval. Held in February, the event welcomes millions of people to take part in the larger-than-life celebrations. But for a calmer visiting experience, consider the April and October shoulder seasons. It should still be warm enough for a beach trip, but there won’t be quite as many crowds.

Getting around

Brazil is the world’s fifth-largest country by area and is host to dozens of major cities across its 26 states. São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are its largest and most-visited cities. Both are served by multiple airports. Other major hubs include Salvador, Manaus, Brasília, Curitiba, Fortaleza, and Belo Horizonte. In the absence of robust intercity trains, bus networks also link regions. And short-haul flights on carriers like LATAM and GOL make getting around easy.

Traveler tips

One of the best things to do in Brazil is also one of the most unexpected. The country is home to the second-largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world, after Munich. To experience it for yourself, head to the southern city of Blumenau, located in Santa Catarina State, in October. The city was founded by German immigrants in the 19th century, and German culture is still widespread here. Many residents speak Brazilian German in addition to Portuguese.

Local Currency
Brazilian Real (R$)
Time Zone
BRT (UTC -3)
Country Code
+55
Language(s)
Portuguese
Attractions
309
Tours
3,258
Reviews
103,911
EN
821dbcf5-0a9b-4001-b219-8111ee849fac
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People Also Ask

What is Brazil famous for?

Brazil is well-known for its annual Carnaval festivities, when samba schools put on a show. Brazilians are passionate about soccer (futebol in Portuguese), and a local spirit called cachaça. Brazil is home to the largest tract of Amazon rainforest. It also boasts other wild areas, as well as world-famous beaches and bustling cities like Rio de Janeiro.

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Where should I go on my first trip to Brazil?

First-time visitors to Brazil should visit attractions like Rio de Janeiro, the Amazon River, and Iguazu Falls. But the largest country in Latin America has much more to offer. Don’t miss the wildlife-rich Pantanal region or Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais (known for its colonial architecture). Then there are its parks and reserves, and the cosmopolitan cuisine and culture of Sao Paulo.

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What types of activities are popular in Brazil?

The best things to do in Brazil include attending Carnaval in Rio and seeing the power of Iguazu Falls. Others come to see one of the largest rain forests in the world. You can also spot jaguars in the Pantanal, go scuba diving and snorkeling, and visit beaches. It’s always rewarding to soak up Brazilian culture and cuisine.

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What are the most popular attractions in Brazil?

Rio de Janeiro is the most popular attraction in Brazil. The city offers legendary beaches and Carnaval celebrations, neighborhoods like Santa Teresa, and attractions like Christ the Redeemer. Florianopolis, Iguazu Falls, São Paulo, and Buzios are the next most visited.

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What is the most beautiful part of Brazil?

There are many to choose from. Brazil’s most beautiful areas include the Amazon, the volcanic Fernando de Noronha archipelago, and the beaches of Rio Grande do Sul. Its cities and towns are also plenty scenic. Don’t miss Rio de Janeiro’s colorful nightlife or the futurist architecture in Brasilia.

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Is Brazil safe for tourists?

Yes. Robbery and violent crime are problems in parts of Brazil, including areas of Rio de Janeiro. That said, tourists are not necessarily targeted. Smart travelers use common sense, are aware of their surroundings, avoid known problem areas, and remain alert to pickpockets. Do not leave belongings unattended and do not wear flashy jewelry.

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Frequently Asked Questions