Tourism tips in Minas Gerais: what to do in Diamantina, main tourist attractions. Check out our MG tourism tips
In the 17th century, when Bandeirantes were incessantly searching for gold in the Estrada Real region, they spotted a beam of bright light in the waters of the Jequitinhonha River. They were diamonds. thus was born diamond, at the time still known as Arraial do Tijuco. Today, diamond shines as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still preserves much of its legacy as one of Brazil's main historic cities. In addition to its historical and cultural heritage, the city was home to notorious residents, such as the former president of the Republic, Juscelino Kubitschek, and the freed slave Chica da Silva.
It would be a lot, but diamond goes further: it is privileged for having an exuberant native forest, beautiful trails and waterfalls. A real dazzle to the more than three million tourists it receives each year.
Things to do in Diamantina
Tropeiros Municipal Market (Old Market)
Known as Old Market, is one of the main tourist attractions in the city. Located in the historic center, on weekends it brings together small producers and artisans who present cachaças, sweets, cheeses, as well as beautiful handicrafts made with ceramics and straw. An unmissable tour to acquire regional products, get to know the local culture better and guarantee beautiful souvenirs to gift or keep as a souvenir.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Santo Antônio da Sé
THE Metropolitan Cathedral of Santo Antônio da Sé it was built between 1932 and 1940 to replace another church that stood on the site. Because of this, its structure is more modern than the other churches and, from the old Baroque temple, only two altars that occupy its sides remain.
Still, the church draws attention for its traditional beauty. With classic architecture and shades of white and blue, the cathedral was listed by the Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional and is one of the most visited spots in the city.
Church of Saint Francis of Assisi
the church of Saint Francis of Assisi it is the place where Chica da Silva was buried, until then a privilege that was reserved only for the white elite of the region. The church is on top of a hill, which provides a beautiful view of the city. In its beautiful interior, there are paintings by Minas Gerais artists José Soares de Araújo and Silvestre de Almeida Lopes.
A beautiful suspended walkway was built to connect two large mansions. In the past, the buildings housed a school only for girls and, to prevent the inmates from walking along the street, a passageway was built that connects the two old buildings. Today, the walkway is one of Diamantina's postcards.
Currently, the House of Glory is an Institute of Geology open to visitors from UFMG.
The house where the illustrious JK lived is impressive for its simplicity. Today, it houses a museum where it is possible to learn more about the life of the former president of the Republic, from his childhood to the beginning of his political journey. There is a collection of JK's personal objects such as paintings, photographs and some furniture. At the back of the house is the office where the former president treated his patients.
Chica da Silva's house
The residence was home to Chica da Silva, the diamond contractor João Fernando de Oliveira and their 14 children. The house has almost no objects, but it is worth visiting to discover the environments inhabited by such an important figure as Chica, including an orchard where she used to walk every afternoon.
The old mansion also has a permanent exhibition that portrays images of Chica da Silva through the eyes of plastic artist Marcial Ávila.
could not miss one Diamond Museum in the city of diamond – and its collection dedicated to mining is incredible. There are several tools and objects used for diamond mining. The museum, which has a guided tour, also takes the visitor on a complete historical journey and to a room dedicated to sacred art.
THE vesperata is a beautiful and long-awaited musical performance that takes place in the city. The name vesperata comes from an adaptation of the term vespers, from the Catholic liturgy, just as serenes were adapted for Serenades.
Crowds often gather to check out the performances of musicians who occupy the city's public spaces and soloists who stand out on the balconies of the mansions on Rua Quitanda, in the historic center of Diamantina. THE vesperata It is very traditional and takes place every year on weekends between April and October.
Biribiri State Park
Unmissable tour with several natural attractions and very close to the city, the Biribiri National Park brings together waterfalls that are easily accessible to the visitor. To get there, it takes just 20 minutes on a well-signposted road to the park, which belongs to the Serra do Espinhaço. There, there are two beautiful waterfalls accessed by very quiet trails, the Sentinel Waterfall and the Crystal Waterfall.
THE Sentinel Waterfall features small falls with a greenish hue of water that yield beautiful photographic records. The natural water wells that form are ideal for refreshing baths in the midst of nature. There is another access by an upper trail, where the visitor finds smaller wells for bathing and an incredible view of the park.
already in Crystal Waterfall, the bathing well is bigger with calm and clean waters. It is possible to stay behind the curtain of water and relax contemplating the view of the exuberant nature of the Biribiri State Park.
Continuing along the road, at the end of the tour, is the unmissable Biribiri village. Known as a “ghost village” and listed by the State Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage of Minas Gerais (Iepha) in 1998, the site was chosen for the construction of an old fabric factory that created the village to house its employees and their families.
With the factory's operations closed, the village's population went into decline and today only five people inhabit the bucolic white and blue painted houses. It is a charming space with lots of green, perfect to be contemplated. In the village there are restaurants that prepare typical food from the farm, in a wood-fired oven. Be sure to try the region's specialty, chicken with brown sauce.
Located in the Conselheiro Mata district, the Telesphorus Waterfall presents a kind of beach with white sand and an amazing scenery, surrounded by lush mountains. The place is bathed by the Rio Pardo and its beauty is such that the soap opera “A Patroeira” recorded some scenes there.
THE Saltpeter Cave is a natural monument reminiscent of a medieval castle. Formed by quartz, it features large rooms and canyons. Its imposing and unexpected formation has already been the stage for soap operas and national films.
In its rock formations there are unusual designs created by nature – in one of them it is possible to identify a map of Brazil.
For those who like long walks, Diamantina also reserves an ecological trekking to the Funnel Canyon, which takes around two hours. In the middle of the cerrado, the place is cut by a river with beautiful waters. Walking between the canyon walls and watching the birds' nests is a unique experience.
Other tourist attractions in Diamantina
Some cities very close to diamond reserve many historical and natural attractions that are worth a visit. Reserve a few days of your trip to discover the cities of Councilor Mata, saw, Green corn and Sao Goncalo do Rio das Pedras. They reserve surprising scenarios and many waterfalls.
- Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Imperial Chapel of Amparo
- Slave's Path
- Casa do Forro Pintado (Museum of Sacred Art)
- Muxarabiê House
- Forum House
- real mining
- Our Lady of Carmo Church
- Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
- Church of Our Lord of Bonfim
- Memorial Museum of Saint Anthony's Bread
- Daniel Luiz do Nascimento Museum
- Pico do Itambe State Park
How to get to Diamantina
The closest airports are Belo Horizonte, 300 kilometers from Diamantina. Departing from the capital of Minas Gerais, the ideal is to rent a car or take the bus. Diamantina has a domestic airport, Diamantina Airport (DTI), which receives small charter flights.
Via Belo Horizonte, access is via BR-040 (towards Brasília), BR-135, BR-259 and BR-367.
Coming from São Paulo, access by Rodovia Fernão Dias (BR-381).
Best time to visit Diamantina
This will depend a lot on what you want to do in the city. If your intention is to enjoy the trails and waterfalls, the driest period is best, which runs from April to October. From November to March the temperature increases and the rains occur more frequently. In winter, don't forget your coat and blanket: the cold weather in the city, especially at night, is perfect for enjoying the charming bars and restaurants.
Some dates attract more tourists to Diamantina. THE Carnival in the city it is one of the most famous in Minas Gerais, therefore, in this period the lodging options are very popular.
In addition to the New Year parties, summer's It's from vacation, in which the city usually receives many tourists, the vesperata, a traditional music attraction that takes place in two monthly performances between April and October, always on weekends, also attracts crowds.
Where to stay in Diamantina
Booking offers more than 400 options for accommodation in Diamantina. See all available hotels on Booking.com here.
Diamantina has great hosting options on Airbnb. The platform that offers house, apartment and room rentals can be much cheaper than hotels. And if you haven't registered yet, you can use this discount code.
Dica extra para reservar hotéis
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