Brazil is the largest country in South America and world’s fifth largest country, both by geographical area and population, so you can fully understand why the Brazilian people say they live in a continent rather than a country.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup has exposed the world to Brazil more than ever before thanks to the beautiful game of football. Even the mildly adventurous tourist can find somewhere to get their teeth into.

City-hoppers can go to Brasilia to see futuristic architecture, to Sao Paulo for some of South America’s finest foods, and to Salvador da Bahia for Afro-Brazilian culture.

Don’t forget about the Amazon rainforest! It passes through the heart of Brazil and is a magnificent broad-leafed rainforest. Some of the most exciting species to spot include jaguar, cougar and anaconda. The best way to explore the Amazon Rainforest is by boat with views of the native villages that border the river.

The natural beauty of Brazil is incomparable; it has fabulous year round beaches that encourage sunbathing and with more than 2,000 to choose between. The country has 62 national parks, so why not visit to Iguazu Falls, which are taller than Niagara Falls, on the border with Argentina.

Samba and Carnival are embedded into the party atmosphere of Brazil! The Rio Carnival is the bench against which every other festival in the world is compared and is one of the most interesting events on the Globe.

Top places to visit

Brazil is a carnival country wherever you go and here are some top picks:

Rio de Janeiro: Set between the mountains and the sea, Rio has a surprise around every corner. There are the world famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema to visit, and the unmissable landmark of Christ the Redeemer Statue. Get down to the samba beat at the Sambadrome, the official home of Rio Carnival and buzzing with energy all year round. Ascend to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain  by cable car for captivating views along the city beaches. If you’re a football fan, why not visit the home of Brazillian football at the Maracanã stadium which hosted world class players at the World Cup in 2014.

Sao Paulo: The third biggest metropolis in the world, boasts an impressive list of things to see and do! Jardim Zoológico is Brazil’s largest zoo and is home to 3000 different animal species, alongside a Zoo Safari. Museu de Arte Sacra includes impressive sculptures like no other seen in Brazil if you are an art lover. Don’t miss Mercado Municipal, a covered market specialising in fresh produce and live Sundays on most Sundays!

Brasilia: Brasilia is not only a planned city but a planned capital! Brasillia hosts one of the most important festivals of Brazilian cinema, Festival de Cinema Brasileiro which screens independent and mainstream movies.

Weather

The average annual temperature in Brazil ranges from 28ºC in the North and 20 ºC in the South. In the summer, you can enjoy up to a piping hot 40 ºC in Rio de Janeiro, for example, which is perfect for a swim in the sea and cocktail season. Don’t forget to wear sun cream if the sun is going to be hitting such highs!

For those who want to avoid it being too uncomfortably hot, the weather is usually best between June and August!

Brazilian winter is from May to September, and in some cities in the South and Southeast temperatures can fall below 0 ºC, even with frost and snow which is not expected from South America! The southern cities of Curitiba and Porto Alegre can actually get quite cold during the winter so consider this when planning your trip.

The coastal cities of Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Salvador tend to be hot and sticky for most of the year, so if you want somewhere slightly cooler try out Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte which are milder.

Rainy seasons occur from January to April in the north and November to March in the Rio and Sao Paulo areas.

For up to date weather in Brazil visit our partner site World Weather Online.

Culture

Brazil is a melting pot of cultures, so don’t be surprised to see a diverse range of cultural activities and restaurants.  The core of Brazilian culture is derived from the culture of Portugal such as the language, religion and architectural influences.

Since the colonial period, Feijoada has been the country’s national dish and it is a stew of beans with beef and pork. Brazilian cuisine varies all over the country with the diversity of its population reflected through its food.

It is a colourful culture but it’s best not to wear yellow and green together if you don’t want to clash with Brazil as a country, as these are the colours of the Brazilian flag. If travelling in the summer, be aware that it will be very hot so pack suitable clothing. Don’t forget simple essentials like sunglasses and sunhats.

Be aware that topless sunbathing isn’t as common as you might think as it tends to be tourists rather than the Brazilians who do this.

Ideal for…?

This destination is ideal for beach-lovers and people who are prepared to throw themselves into the carnival atmosphere. You must be prepared for the hot temperatures that Brazil has on offer.

Checklist table

Visa need?

► Tourist visa are required from countries who have not been exempted

Injections needed?

Yellow fever [compulsory]

Currency

Brazilian Real

Common spoken language

Portuguese

Religious orientation of destination

No official religion