Rainforest, the monumental statue of Christ the Redeemer, Rio carnival and football are probably the most stereotypical symbols of Brazil. Meanwhile, this powerful country, taking up half of South America, offers a variety of attractions that cannot be found in advertising brochures.

If asked about the most spectacular waterfall in the world, tourists will without hesitation choose Niagara Falls. Despite this, experts on Brazil claim that much more interesting waterfall is the Iguazu Falls, a unique waterfalls system on the Brazilian-Argentine border, described as the wonder of nature and one of the biggest attractions of South America. Interestingly, the sound of water can be heard even from 20 kilometres away. No wonder – Iguazú is up to 2 kilometres wide and consists of nearly 300 knickpoints. The average water flow amounts to about 1500 m3 per second, whereas in the rainy season it can reach 8500 m3!

Florianópolis – the capital of beaches

There are more Brazilian beaches than just Copacabana. Tourists who look for some alternatives should go to Florianópolis, the capital of Santa Catarina state that is partially located on the mainland and an island. It is a true paradise for surfers!From the city, you can take a bus that will take you to the beaches scattered around the island.
Among them, the most important one is Galheta, where white sand combines with beautiful rock formations, and Mole, a destination chosen by surfing masters. When on the island, you should definitely visit Barra da Lagoa and Pântano do Sul, which are fishing villages that offer not only beautiful beaches, but also excellent, fresh fish dishes!

Ilha Grande – a tropical heaven

When in the state of Rio de Janeiro, it is worth going to Ilha Grande – a paradise island with more than… 100 beaches! The island is also rich in great tropical forests, caves, picturesque bays, and exotic animals. It would seem quite unexpected, but penguins live here! Nevertheless, the title of the most beautiful beach belongs to Lopes Mendes, which can be reached both by boat and on foot, after embarking on a 3-hour walk in the jungle.
As the place is not visited by many tourists, you can find real peace and tranquillity here. The sand of Lopes Mendes is very bright, almost white, and fine. On Ilha Grande you must visit Lagoa Azul – a place known for its magnificent crystal clear water, and the paradise beach of Dois Rios, situated between two rivers, where tourists are a rarity.

Heavenly Rio

Even if you like wandering off the beaten tracks, you should not miss Rio de Janeiro, where you can find many unbelievable attractions not mentioned in guidebooks. One of them is Praça São Salvador, an inconspicuous square, which on weekends turns into a scene for samba and choro. It is also worth visiting Museu de Arte Naif – the Museum of Naïve Art, which houses a few thousand works by artists from over one hundred countries.
However, if you decide on a trip to the arts district called Santa Teresa, you should get on Bondinho, a famous historic tram, that will take you through a monumental aqueduct from the 18th century called Arco da Lapa. On the other hand, if your goal is to relax on a beach, and the always-crowded Copacabana is not your cup of tea, you should go to Praia de Grumari, located in Barra da Tijuca district. The beach is located away from housing estates, and thus it guarantees peace and quiet.
Rio de Janeiro, photo by Ben Ostrower on Unsplash

A feast for your taste

The Brazilian dishes are a typical example of fusion cuisine – a combination of recipes and flavours from all around the world. The cuisine was shaped by Indians, Portuguese, and even Africans, and is divided into the southern version, based on meat, rice, maize and beans, and northeast one – typically dominated by fish.
The national dish is feijoada – a goulash extremely rich in shrimps and smoked sausages, pork legs, dried meat, bacon, beans and a bouquet of spices.

The forgotten capital

It is often forgotten, that the capital of Brazil is neither Rio de Janeiro nor Sao Paulo, but Brasília, situated in the heart of the continent. Surprisingly, it was erected as recently as in 1960.
Thanks to its modern, grand architecture, the metropolis looks like a futuristic city from another planet, something also recognized by astronaut Yuri Gagarin, who visited the capital in the 1960s.