Brazil stretches across half of South America and is the fourth largest country in the world. White-sand beaches, tropical islands, music-filled metropolises and charming colonial cities are scattered along its 7,500km (4,600-mile) coastline. Brazil's tourist attractions include spectacular waterfalls, wetlands full of wildlife, and the unspoiled Amazon rainforest, where various isolated tribes still live without any connection to the rest of the world.
Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, became a Portuguese colony in 1500 and remained under Portuguese rule for 300 years. Remnants of this heritage can still be seen today in all historic colonial cities. Brazil also has beautiful beaches, famous for surfing and beautiful scenery. Great beaches can be found in the Rio area, while others can be so isolated, which is an adventure in itself. Here are the main tourist attractions in Brazil:
1. Rio Carnival
There are Carnival celebrations in almost every corner of Brazil, the most famous being held in Recife together with neighbors Olinda and Salvador. But the biggest and most famous carnival is undoubtedly the Rio Carnival. Rio's Carnival draws two million people onto the streets every day, drawing nearly half a million foreigners over the four-day celebration. Carnival is everywhere, in the streets, in the squares, in the bars, in the clubs, and in all other parts of Rio, ending with the spectacular Rio Samba parade in the Samba Hall.
2. Amazon Theatre
Teatro Amazonia is an opera house in Manaus, the heart of the Amazon rainforest. It was built at the height of the rubber trade with materials from all over the world, furniture from Paris, marble from Italy and steel from England. Outside the building, the dome is covered with 36,000 tiles painted in the colors of the Brazilian flag.
The first performance took place on January 7, 1897, by the Italian opera Gioconda. However, shortly after the opera House closed, when the rubber trade declined, Manaus lost its main source of income. The Amazonas hadn't had a show for 90 years until it reopened in 1990.
3. Train travel (Curitiba - Paranagua)
The Curitiba-Paranagua train ride, formally known as the Serra Verde Express, is considered one of the most beautiful train rides in Brazil: it runs through the Atlantic rainforest, through 14 tunnels and over 30 Bridges on an 84-kilometer (52-mile) route between modern Curitiba and historic Paranagua in Parana state. The tour ends six days a week in Morretes and continues to the coast of Paranagua only on Sunday.
4. Gallinghas Port
Porto de Galinhas, one of Brazil's thriving beach destinations, attracts tourists in droves during the holidays. So what makes the port of Gallinghas so special? First, it has beautiful white sand beaches, good weather, warm water and accommodation options in a wide range of prices. But what really sets Gallinghas Harbour apart is the impressive natural pool that forms on the reef at low tide, where visitors can swim with large schools of goldfish.
One of Brazil's best-preserved colonial cities, Olinda is located on the Atlantic coast of the northeastern state of Pernambuco. Set on a picturesque hilltop surrounded by trees, downtown Olinda is a treasure trove of colonial churches, colorful old houses, restaurants, museums, and numerous artisan studios. Each year, Orinda hosts a lively carnival celebration, somewhat different from the events in Rio de Janeiro and El Salvador, Orinda's festival is best attended during the day and features the music, dance and traditions of African culture.
6. Pipa Playa
With its postcard-like beaches, high cliffs and crystal clear waters, Playa de Pipa has become one of Brazil's most famous beach destinations and a favorite with locals and tourists alike. The city is also known for its vibrant nightlife and offers visitors a wealth of activities such as boating and surfing. But no matter how popular it is, the city itself is limited in size because it is surrounded by protected areas. This means visitors can still enjoy the natural beauty of the area and swim in waters filled with dolphins and sea turtles.