Built during the colonial period, some historical cities scattered by Brazil managed to maintain some characteristics of that time, with countless houses still well preserved, cobblestone streets, gigantic churches with their interiors full of gold-plated decorations and other imposing monuments.

This scenario gives us a sense of nostalgia and transports us directly to the past, making tourists visiting these historical cities, understand (or at least imagine) what the daily life of the people who lived in these municipalities was like during that period.

We separate a list with 30 historic cities in Brazil charming and full of interesting attractions, involving history and nature, check out:

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Colonial cities in southeastern Brazil

Paraty – Rio de Janeiro

One of the most visited destinations in Rio de Janeiro, the city of paraty has a charming historic center in front of the coast with waters in shades of blue and green. In addition to the symbolic constructions that decorate the streets and alleys of historical city, tourists can enjoy great beaches, nature trails and beaches.

» Find hotels and inns in Paraty through Booking.com.

Photo: Emerson Dias

Petropolis – Rio de Janeiro

Also known as Imperial City Petrópolis, in Rio de Janeiro, was born from the dream of Emperor D. Pedro I who discovered the climatic values and natural beauties of the mountain region.

» Find hotels and inns in Petrópolis through Booking.com.

Photo: Barbara Moll S

Sao Luiz do Paraitinga – Sao Paulo

The city receives many tourists throughout the year, but it is during Carnival that the destination has its heyday when thousands of revelers color the streets of the historic center to accompany the traditional marchinhas.

» Find hotels and inns in São Luís do Paraitinga through Booking.com.

Photo: Carol Seixas

Bananal – Sao Paulo

Bananal is very close to the border with the state of Rio de Janeiro and still preserves its historical heritage. In its interior there are also coffee farms in the middle of the very well preserved Atlantic forest of the region that can be visited.

» Find hotels and B&Bs in Bananal through Booking.com.

Photo: Wellerson Lopes

Iguape – Sao Paulo

Iguape is one of the oldest cities in Brazil, and is located 220 km from São Paulo on the South Coast of São Paulo. It is located 220 km from São Paulo on the South Coast of São Paulo. Beach lovers can take a ferry across a bridge to Ilha Comprida, or take a ferry to Barra da Ribeira.

» Find hotels and inns in Iguape through Booking.com.

Photo: André Camargo Keller

Ouro Preto – Minas Gerais

Conceived with the title of Historical Heritage of Humanity, the city of Black gold is the great jewel of the state of Minas Gerais. Ouro Preto is simply home to the largest architectural ensemble of Brazilian Baroque and preserving imposing buildings that are part of the country's history, such as the churches of São Francisco de Assis and Nossa Senhora do Pilar, decorated with more than 400 kilos of gold.

» Find hotels and B&Bs in Ouro Preto through Booking.com.

Photo: Antonio Klaus Kaarsberg

Sao Joao del Rei – Minas Gerais

Among the main postcards of the charming historical city are the church of São Francisco de Assis, and two-story houses and mansions, such as Solar dos Neves, which until today belongs to the family of Tancredo Neves. Another popular attraction is the Maria Fumaça tour to the city of Tiradentes.

» Find hotels and B&Bs in São João del Rei through Booking.com.

Photo: DayTrippers

Tiradentes – Minas Gerais

Another city very famous for tourists who pass through Estrada Real is the municipality of straps. The friendly city of Minas Gerais attracts visitors looking for tourism that mixes history, gastronomy, handicrafts, culture and ecotourism. Located 200 km from Belo Horizonte, the city is at the foot of the Serra de São José, allowing several walks in the middle of nature to enjoy ecological trails and wonderful waterfalls.

» Find hotels and inns in Tiradentes through Booking.com.

Brazilian historic cities. Photo: Flickr – Taqueopa

Diamantina – Minas Gerais

Founded in 1713, the municipality reached the rank of third largest population in the state thanks to the discovery of a large concentration of diamonds. Walk through the streets and discover a bit of Brazilian history through the city's old buildings. If you like nature, be sure to explore the Gruta do Monte.

» Find hotels and B&Bs in Diamantina through Booking.com.

Brazilian historic cities. Photo: Flickr – Whltravel

Serro – Minas Gerais

Surrounded by beautiful mountains, hills, rivers and waterfalls, the small town of Serro is located in the northeast of the state of Minas Gerais, in the Serra do Espinhaço region, 240 km from Belo Horizonte.

» Find hotels and B&Bs in Serro via Booking.com.

Brazilian historic cities. Photo: ACHMG

Congonhas – Minas Gerais

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Basilica of Senhor Bom Jesus de Matosinhos is one of the destination's greatest treasures. The best time to visit Congonhas it is during Holy Week, when the city hosts reenactments, processions and novenas that move all the streets and slopes.

» Find hotels and inns in Congonhas through Booking.com.

Brazilian historic cities. Photo: Adriano Ferreira Rodrigues

Mariana – Minas Gerais

It was the first village, the first capital and the richest city in the state of Minas Gerais, the main postcard of destiny are the churches of São Francisco de Assis and Nossa Senhora do Carmo, both built in the same square by families who fought to see who had more prestige.

» Find hotels and B&Bs in Mariana through Booking.com.

Photo: Christian Klen

Historic cities in northeast Brazil

Porto Seguro – Bahia

The city of safe harbor in the south of Bahia is home to the first housing unit in the country. Built on top of a cliff, the space has imposing buildings and churches historical.

» Find hotels and B&Bs in Porto Seguro through Booking.com.

Brazilian historic cities. Photo: Adilson Andrade

Salvador, Bahia

Listed in 1984 as a Brazilian Heritage Site and inscribed in the Unesco World Heritage List the following year, the historic center of savior It has a wonderful architectural, landscape and urban setting.

» Find hotels and inns in Salvador through Booking.com.

Colonial cities in Brazil. Photo: Leo Alvarez

Sheets – Bahia

Starting point for those who want to know Chapada Diamantina, the charming town of Lençóis is the closest town to Morro do Pai Inácio and the Pratinha and Torrinha caves.

» Find hotels and inns in Lençóis through Booking.com.

Historic cities in the Northeast. Photo: Vismar Ravagnani

Valencia – Bahia

Valença is the gateway to Morro de São Paulo, one of the most coveted destinations in Bahia. The small town has a charming, colorful center with 18th century townhouses and buildings.

» Find hotels and B&Bs in Valença through Booking.com.

historic cities in Brazil

Historic cities in the Northeast. Photograph; Mateus de Queiroz

Piranhas – Alagoas

Built on the banks of the São Francisco River, the charming city of piranhas became famous for being the place where the head of Lampião and his gang was exposed. The destination houses colorful houses well distributed in streets and alleys that lead to impressive viewpoints where it is possible to observe the entire region.

» Find hotels and inns in Piranhas through Booking.com.

historic cities in Brazil

Colonial cities in Brazil. Photo: Claudio Maranhao

Penedo – Alagoas

Penedo was the first town in the state. Founded in the mid-16th century, the city is also located on the banks of the São Francisco River. The biggest attraction in the region, however, is the boat trip that takes you to the mouth of Velho Chico, in the neighboring municipality of Piaçabuçu.

» Find hotels and inns in Penedo through Booking.com.

Historic cities in the Northeast. Photo: Francisco Aragao

São Cristóvão – Sergipe

The fourth oldest city in the country attracts tourists who want to see some of the richest collections of sacred art in Brazil.

historic cities in Brazil

Historic cities in the Northeast. Photo: Adilson Andrade

Laranjeiras – Sergipe

Very close to Aracaju, the city of Laranjeira is just 24 km from the capital and was home to numerous sugar cane mills and an important slave trading center.

» Find hotels and B&Bs in São Cristóvão through Booking.com.

Historic cities in the Northeast. Photo: Adilson Andrade

Olinda – Pernambuco

Just 6 km from Recife, The historic center in Olinda It is full of slopes dotted with charming little houses that take the tourist who explores them to Mirante da Sé, where it is possible to see the whole city with Recife in the background.

» Find hotels and B&Bs in Olinda through Booking.com.

historic cities in Brazil

Colonial cities in Brazil. Photo: Luiz Felipe Sahd

Sao Luis Maranhão

The attraction is famous for the Portuguese tiles that decorate the facades of the mansions in its historic center. There you can find markets that sell local products, restaurants and great bars.

» Find hotels and B&Bs in São Luís through Booking.com.

historic cities in Brazil

Historic cities in the Northeast. Photo: Zé Luiz Cavalcanti

Alcantara – Maranhao

Just an hour away from the historic center of São Luís, Alcantara, in Maranhão deserves its recognition as one of the most beautiful historic cities in Brazil. Its streets still carry imposing mansions and ruins that have fallen over time. The city is located in a high part where it is possible to observe the sea and the capital of Maranhão in the background.

» Find hotels and inns in Alcântara through Booking.com.

historic cities in Brazil

Colonial cities in Brazil. Photo: Juscelino Barão

Historic cities in northern Brazil

Bragança – Pará

Bragança, located in the northeast region of Pará, 210 kilometers from Belém, is one of the most sought after destinations by tourists visiting the northern region of the country. The city, of Portuguese origin, has remarkable religious characteristics in its culture and also celebrates São Sebastião and Nossa Senhora de Nazaré.

» Find hotels and B&Bs in Bragança through Booking.com.

historic cities in Brazil

Photo: Rui Oliveira Santos

Historic cities in southern Brazil

Lapa – Paraná

The friendly city of Lapa has 14 blocks and 258 buildings listed by national heritage. The destination is just 65 km from Curitiba and has the largest architectural complex in the state.

Photo: Diogenes Andrei Stachera

São Francisco do Sul – Santa Catarina

Located in Babitonga Bay, the destination was founded in 1504, being the third oldest in Brazil and the first in Santa Catarina.

» Find hotels and inns in São Francisco do Sul through Booking.com.

Colonial cities in Brazil. Photo: Armando Magalhães

São Miguel das Missões – Rio Grande do Sul

Listed by Unesco as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the ruins of São Miguel are one of the most important Brazilian historical monuments and are located almost on the border of Rio Grande do Sul with Argentina and were legacies left by the Jesuit missions in the 17th century.

» Find hotels and inns in São Miguel das Missões through Booking.com.

Brazilian historic cities. Photo: Publicity SETUR RS

Antonio Prado – Rio Grande do Sul

The “most Italian city in Brazil” was the last Italian colony created in the imperial period, in 1886. Today the destination has the largest and most complete architectural set of Italian colonization in the country, with 48 properties in the urban center listed by the Instituto do Patrimônio National Historical and Artistic.

» Find hotels and B&Bs in Antônio Prado through Booking.com.

Colonial cities in Brazil. Photo: Miriam Faleiros

Historic cities in central western Brazil

Pirenopolis – Goiás

The small Pirenópolis or Piri, for the most intimate is in the interior of Goiás and in addition to its charming historic center is surrounded by hills and waterfalls.

» Find hotels and inns in Pirenopolis through Booking.com.

historic cities in Brazil

Brazilian historic cities. Photo: Comunica Extend

City of Goiás - Goiás

Go back in time walking through the beautiful streets of the historic center of Goiás. To get to know the little churches of the 18th century, try the famous Goiás sweets and pay a visit to Casa de Cora Coralina, forget about the car and walk leisurely through the picturesque cobblestone streets.

» Find hotels and inns in the City of Goiás through Booking.com.

historic cities in Brazil

Colonial cities in Brazil. Photo: Disclosure






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