Most Popular Cities in Brazil

Pelourinho in a clear day in Bahia
Barichivich / Getty Images

These popular cities share something in common: they are all excellent examples of Brazil's varied regions, attractions, and culture in large cities and favorite beach resorts.

  • 01 of 05
    View of the city and Sugar Loaf Mountain, Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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    Truly a cidade maravilhosa, Rio is spectacularly located, and cariocas and visitors enjoy a vivid lifestyle nestled between fabulous beaches and rainforested hills.

    Don't miss out on Ipanema Beach, made popular by the song The Girl from Ipanema. But it's also a destination popular for locals who meet for drinks, as beer is sold all along the beach.

    If you're more active, there are plenty of activities like volleyball, soccer, and Brazilian footvolley, which combines the two sports.

    If the beach at Ipanema is too crowded, don't worry: you always have the nearby Copacabana.

  • 02 of 05

    Sao Paulo

    Octavio Frias de Oliveira Bridge at dusk - Sao Paulo, Brazil
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    The city is South America's largest and Brazil's center of trade and industry. Paulistanos work hard and play hard. Sao Paulo is known to locals as "Sampa," and while many complain about its financial focus, there are also plenty of opportunities for art and culture.

    If you're into street art, the city is known for its pichaçãowhich is a series of tagging in a cryptic style in death-defying locations. Many of the most famous artists try to impress by finding the most difficult locations to tag. 

    Sao Paulo is also famous for its shopping and is one of the best places to learn Portuguese in Brazil.

  • 03 of 05
    Pelourinho in a clear day in Bahia
    Barichivich / Getty Images

    Pelourinho, the old historic center of Salvador, is a city within a city. Centered around the old slave auction, Pelourinho has pastel-hued buildings, churches, museums, shops, restaurants, and fantastic nightlife.

    Known as "Pelo" to locals, it's a great location for food and entertainment. It is perfect for photographers who want to shoot its ​colorful colonial buildings.

  • 04 of 05
    On the river channels of Downtown Recife with view towards Marco Zero during sunset
    Werner Büchel / Getty Images

    The capital of Pernambuco state, Recife is called the "Venice of Brazil" and offers the visitor two carnivals a year, plus beaches, dance, music, and Olinda.

    It's located on the coast and is home to two important rivers leading to the Atlantic Ocean. While this made it an important economic center in years past, it is now known for its beautiful beaches.

    If you love soccer, also known as football in Brazil, this is one of the best places to watch a game. It's played and watched with a passion here and was chosen as one of the ten World Cup sites.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05
    Buzios, Brava beach
    Marcelo Nacinovic / Getty Images

    An international resort, Buzios is one of the most popular cities in Brazil and a popular day trip from Rio de Janeiro. The town is two hours north of Rio de Janeiro, and its twenty plus beaches and relaxed hedonistic style liken it to Saint Tropez.

    If you're not one to soak up the rays on the beach there are plenty of activities such as boat tours, surfing, and scuba diving. 

    Truth be told Buzios isn't one city but actually a region with three communities: Ossos on the northern coast which is the oldest and most beautiful with old colonial homes. The beaches here are easily accessible and sheltered from harsh weather. Manguinhos and Armacao are more difficult to reach but the beaches are more beautiful.

    You can't go wrong with either, the region is spectacular.

    It's easy to see that the most popular cities in Brazil are those with access to beautiful beaches and stunning scenery. It's hard to choose a bad city in Brazil as they all have something to offer with friendly people.