For most Europeans, a trip to South America will not be that evident. Most Europeans travel either in Europe itself or travel to Asia and North America. Those few who’ll fly to South America will likely go to Peru and Bolivia, to get a sense of the Inca culture. Few know that Brazil, the largest country on this country, is more than worth a visit.
Brazil is a land of contrast. When you hear the word ‘Brazil’ you may think of the Amazon forest, great beaches, fantastic soccer players, Carnival in Rio – and that’s it. But this country has much more to offer: warm people, great cities, a range of weather patterns, a mixture of cultures and races.
The most interesting places to visit include the big towns of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in the southeast, along with Fernando de Noronha Island. Also don’t forget the relaxed town of Salvador in the northeast and the Amazon.
Rio de Janeiro is settled between the bay and the mountains, which provides the city with a natural beauty that can take your breath away. The top attractions are the glorious beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, the famous statue of Christ on the mountaintop overlooking the city, and riding up the cable-car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain for a splendid view over Rio.
Sao Paulo, with its 17 million inhabitants, is the largest city in the southern hemisphere. It is situated on the Tiete River, and is the country’s leading manufacturing and financial center. It is a place full of exciting things to do, just everywhere. Music, arts, museums, culture, excellent restaurants, dance, opera and a very special lifestyle. Dozens of different languages are spoken there, as this is the place where the money is.
Salvador is Brazil’s most enchanting location. It is the oldest and most historic city in the country. It was once the capital and is filled with colonial buildings and lots of historic sights. The natives call their city “Bahia” and it has a lot of African influences. You’ll come across people practicing African martial arts and selling crafts with an African inspired theme. Salvador is known for its nightlife, and some of the world’s best musicians originate from there.
Fernando de Noronha Island consists of a cluster of islands with the presence of many volcanoes, mountains and valleys. It enjoys a tropical climate and has a wide variety of flora and fauna. At its beaches, you’ll see sea tortoises, dolphins and albatrosses.
The Amazon river is the most distinctive part of Brazil. It is more than just a river – because ‘Amazon’ refers to vast jungles, rain forest and towns along the river, stretching across the entire northern part of the country. For tourists a trip along this river will be one of the highlights to their trip – and I can certainly recommend it, having experienced it myself. But mind, this is not like an ordinary cruise! It’s very hot and humid and there’s no air conditioning.