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 of its 18th-century charm. Life in this small town—nine streets with eight churches set against the backdrop of the Serra de São José—moves slowly. About two-dozen shops selling excellent handicrafts line Rua
Direita in the town center. At the tourist office Secretaria de Turismo de Tiradentes, you can learn about horseback and hiking trips in the area.