The Top Cultural Highlights in Brazil

photo by CC user adam_jones on Flickr

Being the largest nation in South America (roughly the size of two thirds of the continental United States), Brazil has an expansive history related to its colonization and development over the past half millennium.

Considering the breadth of this nation, it is easy to get overwhelmed when trying to pull together an itinerary that hits all the major highlights. If you love culture, any one of the following three top cultural highlights in Brazil will make your trip a smashing success for simply having experienced them.

Let’s learn more about them below…

Ouro Preto

Being ground zero for mining efforts during the gold rush days of the 17th century, Ouro Preto rode this wave of riches over the ensuing years to become one of the most beautiful cities in all of Brazil. Being being during the height of the Portuguese colonial era, the buildings are beautifully sculpted, and all new buildings are required by municipal bylaw to conform to the prevailing architectural styles in town.

Things to watch for include gold fixtures in many of the churches here, specifically Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Pilar or Igreja Santa Efigênia. They do a great job of showing off the enduring wealth of this timeless town in Minas Gerais state, which will quickly find a special place in your heart.


Located on the tropical northeast coast of Brazil in the state of Pernambuco, Olinda is a lively colonial town that is famed throughout the country for hosting some of the best carnivals in the nation. Like in Ouro Preto, the churches here have some ornately carved interiors, but also visit museums such as the Contemporary Art Museum of Pernambuco, which contains works from some of Brazil’s best known artists. Before departing, stroll through Mercado da Ribeira, which contains a wide selection of art galleries and shops contains the finest handicrafts from producers in the region.


If you find yourself in the heart of the Amazon wilderness in order to explore Brazil’s amazing bio-diversity, you might be surprised that you can also indulge in a deeply cultural experience in the region as well.

Chances are you will be landing in Manaus, the capital city of the state of Amazonas before departing into the dark heart of the jungle. Prior to sailing away on a river cruise boat, attend a show at Teatro Amazonas, a majestic opera house that was at its peak importance during the rubber boom of the 19th century. It only resumed its role as a performing arts venue in 1990, after nearly a century of idleness.

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