Last year, during Spring (Spring here in Italy, Autumn in Brasil), I’ve gone to my beloved Brasil on vacation with my mother.
I’ve been there in 2014 but during those weeks I didn’t visit as many places as I wanted to, so this time I had to do it right and wander throughout the city as much as I could.
Although it was Autumn there still were 40°C, so I got a nice tan, went swimming in the ocean, and wore all my Summer outfits – all while sweating as if I were in a sauna.
This is exactly why I recommend you visiting Brasil during Spring and Autumn, when it’s still hot and sunny, but it won’t suffocate you and make you risk instant self-combustion.
Copacabana beach is definitely the most fun and crowded one – other than the most famous and popular one – and even if it was Autumn is was very very – have I already said VERY? – hot in Rio so I spent a lot of time sunbathing and swimming. One thing to be careful of are the waves, they’re really strong and tall, which doesn’t make swimming very easy but rather quite dangerous if you wander too far off.
From Copacabana you can easily walk to Leme, which is more quite and small.
The waves are not as strong as in Copacabana, and it is definitely less crowded and more family-friendly.
Ipanema is very similar to Copacabana, although it’s less mundane.
This year I didn’t go there during the day, but I went there with my family at night to walk through the bars, grab a drink and relax by the beach listening to a characteristic band playing pagode, the typical Brasilian live music.
ARRAIAL DO CABO
Arraial Do Cabo is definitely my favorite beach. The water is amazing, colored of incredible nuances of blue and green, and there are even small cute fishes in it. There are also many bars and restaurants all along the beach, so you have a wide set of options for food and snacks.
MONUMENTS & SIGHTSEEING
PÃO DE AÇUCAR
This is one of the most famous and beautiful things to visit in Rio De Janeiro along with the Cristo, which I visited the last time I went to Brazil.
From its top you can see the entire city and also do some shopping.
The botanical garden is a true oasis. It’s very big and beautiful, filled with numerous kinds of plants, trees and flowers, and also animals such as monkeys, birds and fishes.
The garden is surrounded by a dreamy and magical atmosphere and I highly recommend visiting and getting lost in it – it’s a true paradise.
MUSEO DO AMANHÃ
The Museum Of Tomorrow was a really nice new discovery. It’s positioned towards the center of Rio De Janeiro, but it wan’t a long taxi ride from Copacabana.
I was very doubtful about visiting this museum because, according to what I heard, it was all about sustainability, the earth, technology and the future, which are certainly important and interesting topics, but sometimes not the most entertaining if not treated in the right way.
But I’ve never been happier to be wrong. The museum is indeed about all those topics, but it’s actually really interesting and fascinating.
It has an innovative and multidimensional perspective, using different forms of visual media, such as photos, videos, infographics – there’s a small dark room in which you can lie on the floor and watch, literally, the scientific story of the world unfold in front of your eyes and in another section there are very tall video monitors that display curious facts about pollution, populations, etc.
PETROPOLIS & MUSEU QUITANDINHA
Petropolis in a Nothern city, so it’s definitely colder than Copacabana, and it has an European feeling. It’s very modern and metropolitan-like, with various companies and business people russing around the city, and a lot of traffic.
Museu Quitandinha used to be a very famous casino and was the venue of a lot of performances of famous people; it’s huge and full of hidden beautiful corners.
FOOD AND RESTAURANTS
There are so many places where you can eat delicious and characteristic dishes; if you have to eat something in Brazil you definitely have to try: pastels, kibe, arroz e fejão, brincadeiros, and especially pão de quejo. These are my absolute favorites.
There are amazing self-service restaurants, bars and everything you can possibly think of.
Some of the places I’ve been to and that I’ll recommend are: Sofà Café (breakfast), Aipo & Aipim (lunch, brunch and dinner), Pão e Companhia (brunch and lunch), and Carretão (a churrascaria).
In Rio, whatever town you choose to go to, there are always a lot of things to do at night, whether you prefer a live music show, a disco, a simple bar or pub, a walk on the beach and a beer at a kiosk.
Obviously I tried all of these and had literally the best time of my life.
Lapa is a small city full of bars and each one is of a different style: you can find salsa, funky (a Brazilian dance that is dangerously similar to twerking), pop and R&B, and pagode.
In Magé and Piabetà, where my family lives, is full of places to go at night: I went to Terrazzo, Cara Do Gol, Rei Do Bacalhau, and to the live show of the Brazilian group Revelação.
When in Brazil you’ll find out that the most popular drinks are caipirinha and cerveza, which is fundamentally beer; another must is fresh and delicious coconut water, to be drank at the beach at sunset – it’s quite mandatory.
Where are you going on vacation and what destinations are in your bucket list? Tell me in the comments!
If you’d like to see more photos from this vacation, check out my Instagram.