Minas Gerais: Places to Explore

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  • Belo Horizonte

    The Cidade de Minas (city of Minas), now Belo Horizonte, was established in 1897, when Ouro Preto, because of its mountainous geography, could no longer afford a population expansion. Since the planned... Read more

  • Caxambu

    A 19th-century town once frequented by Brazilian royalty, Caxambu remains a favorite getaway for wealthy and retired cariocas (residents of Rio). Although most people spend their time here relaxing in... Read more

  • Diamantina

    Diamantina took its name from the diamonds that were extracted in great quantities here in the 18th century. Perhaps because of its remote setting in the barren mountains close to the sertão (a remote... Read more

  • Mariana

    The oldest city in Minas Gerais (founded in 1696) is also the birthplace of Aleijadinho's favorite painter, Manuel da Costa Ataíde. Mariana, like Ouro Preto, has preserved much of the appearance of an... Read more

  • Ouro Preto

    The former gold-rush capital is the best place to see the legendary Aleijadinho's artistry. Now a lively university town, it's been preserved as a national monument and a World Heritage site. The surrounding... Read more

  • Parque Nacional da Serra da Canastra

  • Parque Nacional Serra do Cipó

  • Parque Natural do Caraça

  • Sabará

    The grandeur of Sabará's baroque churches, their interiors rich with gold-leaf paneling, makes clear how enormously wealthy Minas Gerais was during the gold-rush days. This former colonial town, now a sprawling... Read more

  • São Lourenço

    This most modern of the mineral-spa towns is a good base from which to visit the other Circuito das Águas communities. From here taxis and tour operators happily negotiate a day rate for the circuit, usually... Read more

  • São Tomé das Letras

    With its tales of flying saucers, its eerie stone houses that resemble architecture from outer space, and its 7,500 inhabitants who swear to years of friendship with extraterrestrials, São Tomé das Letras... Read more

  • Tiradentes

    Probably the best historic city to visit after Ouro Preto and Diamantina, Tiradentes was the birthplace of a martyr who gave the city its name (it was formerly called São José del Rei) and retains much... Read more

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