Brazilian city Belo Horizonte is surrounded by large parks and mountains. It was founded in the 19th century with the mining industry at its core. Now, as one of the largest cities in Brazil, it is a center of fashion, art and business.
Enjoy a trip to the popular Praça de Estação (Station Square) in the downtown area. Look for the museum that is also a former train station. Browse exhibits about old professions including cobblers and metal workers.
Remaining in the city center, visit the first church to be constructed in Belo Horizonte: Igreja São José (San Jose Church). Admire its grandiose façade, Gothic-style spires and stained-glass windows. The church is a regular meeting place for travelers and locals.
Near the San Jose Church is the Museu Mineiro (Mining Museum). Learn about old tools and see old furniture and other artifacts from the 18th century. Peruse the mining-themed sculptures and other artwork on display.
Spend the evening at one of the principal art hubs in the city, the Palácio das Artas (Art Palace), which is both a theater and a gallery. Enjoy classical recitals and other music events in the spacious concert hall with great acoustics. The Savassi district is known for its excellent nightlife and many restaurants. Enjoy meats cooked over a wood stove and mineiro cheese from local dairies. Drink caipirinha cocktails or locally produced coffee while you listen to Brazilian rock or dance the samba.
Plan your visit to Belo Horizonte around an international festival: photography, short film and comics, among others. Attend a soccer match at the Mineirão Stadium, chosen as one of Brazil’s host arenas for the World Cup in 2014.
Belo Horizonte’s temperature remains fairly steady throughout the year with hot, wet weather from November through March and warm, dry winter months. You can reach the city by flying into the international airport, which is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Belo Horizonte. It’s also possible to travel there by bus from other major Brazilian cities.