Seven Places to Visit in Brazil (if You’ve Done Rio)

Welcoming travellers with secluded sand dunes, moon-shaped valleys and open-air flea markets, these are the Brazilian beauty spots we think should be next on your list.

Brazil has a sexy and invigorating vibe like nowhere else - one we'd argue is better felt than described. Picture a tropical landscape dotted with sun-drenched pousadas (small, family-run inns), white-sand beaches and colourful streetscapes. South America's largest and most densely populated country, the destination is best known for the city of Rio de Janeiro, but we've been on a mission to track down the lesser-known Brazilian towns worth exploring. Sound like your kind of adventure? Join us as we swap beaches brimming with carnival fangirls for go-slow sundowners.

Brazil's best bits: our seven favourite destinations

Jericooacoara Beach

Jericoacoara

Brazil

Located on the northern edge of the Ceará state, this once sleepy fishing village has fast become a hotspot for keen windsurfers and kiteboarders. The municipality is also home to Jericoacoara National Park, which showcases the region's sweeping sand dunes and windswept beaches. For a stylish stay and Brazilian feasting on tap, bed down at boutique property The Chili Beach. Days are best spent snacking on local delights at the in-house restaurant, while sunsets are even more glorious when viewed across a live DJ set at the hotel's private beach club. We're booking our one-way ticket for May, when the winds subside and the area's shimmering turquoise lagoons are surrounded by hammocks.

Where to stay: The Chili Beach

Amazon Rainforest Brazil

Manaus

Brazil

Brazil doesn't do things by halves, so it's no surprise that it is home to the largest rainforest in the world: the Brazilian Amazon comprises the majority of the country's north-west, with an estimated 390 billion trees. It is also the world's most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest. Looking to explore the dense jungle terrain? Make the city of Manaus your base, and set aside a weekend to explore and taste your way through the many flavours of the old town. The Juma Ópera Hotel gets our vote, for its rooftop pool and Scandi-chic bedrooms. Insider tip: the hotel also offers well-equipped lodges in the Amazon - perfect for those who wish to spend a night in the wild.

Where to stay: Juma Ópera Hotel

Colourful Facade Paraty, Brazil

Paraty

Brazil

Slotted between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Paraty has long-served as a road-trip pit stop. But, having undergone something of a renaissance of late, its palm-fringed streets now offer a bevy of glitzy hotels and glamorous restaurants. After unpacking and refuelling, we recommend exploring the eclectic ceramics stores and independent art studios - CANOA and Studio Bananal are our favourites. Set aside a day to explore four of Paraty's most dramatic waterfalls: Tarzan, Tobogã, Poços do Penha and Poço das Andorinhas. There are some spectacular hiking and mountain-biking trails to the falls that will appeal to adventure-seekers.

Where to stay: Casa Mar Paraty

Ouro Preto Brazil

Ouro Preto

Brazil

Backed by the Serra do Espinhaço mountains, this former mining town and one-time Minas Gerais state capital makes for a great city break. There's much to discover here, where, against a backdrop of baroque Portuguese architecture, food and craft markets fill the air with spices and creativity, and independent boutiques and edgy hotels abound. Follow in the footsteps of locals to the open-air artisan market of Feira de Artesanato, where stalls overflow with colourful hand-crafted goods: it's open from 5-10.30pm on weekdays.

Where to stay: Hotel Solar do Rosário

Beach at Camocim Brazil

Camocim

Brazil

The secret beach town that should be on every Brazilian itinerary, Camocim is nestled on the western tip of the Ceará state, boasting azure waters, powder-soft beaches to rival those found in the popular eastern areas of the country and a lazy town centre. While far from fashionable, this no-frills spot will appeal to those looking for a digital detox. Reset and recharge with fresh seafood, beach-hopping and sun-basking. Plough through your reading list, take an off-road buggy tour through the Dunas de Camocim, then find a café from which to watch the sun sink into the sea.

Where to stay: Villa Zen Hotel

São Jorge Brazil

São Jorge

Brazil

There's something incredibly satisfying about feeling like you could be one of the first to visit somewhere. Enter, São Jorge. Known as being the gate to the magical Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, this is a town best explored on foot, and we mean that quite literally: an age-old tale encourages hikers to wander across its trails barefoot, becoming both grounded and at one with nature. Our favourite trek is through Moon Valley. Situated just a 20-minute walk outside of town, the lunar-like landscape makes for a great escape, and a paddle at one of the two natural plunge pools you'll pass is sheer bliss on a hot day. For a traditional Brazilian-meets-Mediterranean refuel, head to Paladar Bistrô.

Where to stay: Pousada Caminho Das Cachoeiras

Lodges in Alter do Chão

Alter do Chão

Brazil

A tiny riverside town west of Santarém, Alter do Chão is where you'll find the Island of Love (Ilha do Amor) - a postcard-worthy isle wrapped by white-sand beaches. Visit and become a master of paddle-boarding, take a boat tour to nearby forest reserves or simply lounge between the palm trees. Later, rest your head at one of Vila de Alter Pousada's six bungalows. Murure gets our vote, not just for its king-sized bed, but also for its early-morning symphony courtesy of the happy birds and monkeys.

Where to stay: Vila de Alter Pousada Boutique Amazônia

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Under the Spell: Trancoso, Brazil