Winter tourism destinations for when Brazil gets chilly

. Jul 25, 2019
Winter tourism destinations for when Brazil gets chilly Historic City Center of Campos do Jordão at night Historic City Center of Campos do Jordão at night

The image of Brazil abroad is incompatible with the notion of winter. Most tourists come expecting to lay back on a beach with a caipirinha. So it may come as a surprise that Brazil has quite a few winter tourism destinations for snuggling up with hot cocoa and reading by the fireplace.

Many parts of the country do, in fact, experience sweater weather: from June through to early September. Many cities even have winter festivals, where visitors can enjoy warm food and hot drinks. Among them is the traditional snack of pinhão, a strain of pine nut which is much larger than those normally found in North America and Europe.

</p> <p>Although it’s possible to see snow in the southernmost states, tourists coming from places with temperatures that regularly go below zero might find the Brazilian winter more akin to autumn. Temperatures rarely dip below freezing, and remain mild compared to global standards. According to the National Meteorological Institute (INMET), the lowest recorded temperature was minus 13 degrees celsius.</p> <p>Important to remember, however, is that the infrastructure in most cities is built with the summer in mind. In places like São Paulo, homes and offices keep out the heat, meaning that it can often be warmer outside than inside. By offering European-style architecture and seasonal events, winter destinations are the perfect escape.</p> <h2>São Paulo</h2> <figure class="wp-block-image"><img loading="lazy" width="1000" height="624" src="" alt="Fog coming in the Paranapiacaba village" class="wp-image-21244" srcset=" 1000w, 300w, 768w, 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" /><figcaption>Fog coming in the Paranapiacaba village</figcaption></figure> <p>Known as the Brazilian Switzerland, <strong>Campos do Jordão</strong> is one of the most popular winter destinations for wealthy Brazilian families. Its winter festival is actually a month-long music event that attracts an international audience in July every year. Its neighboring city, <strong>Santo Antônio do Pinhal</strong>, hosts its own festival around the same time, with foodie highlights dishes including trout and <em>pinhão. </em>&nbsp;</p> <p>Only 50 km from the city of São Paulo is the town of <strong>Paranapiacaba, </strong>which has hosted its winter festival since 2000. Visitors can enjoy over 100 shows and cultural events, but it is recommended to arrive early, as the event welcomes 60 thousand people each year.&nbsp;</p> <p>Tucked away near the border of Rio state is the hill town of <strong>Cunha</strong>. Those headed to the <a href="">colonial town of Paraty</a> may drive right past it, but its natural beauty alone makes it worth a stop. In August, it hosts a gastronomic festival, with a special focus on lamb.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Rio Grande do Sul</h2> <figure class="wp-block-image"><img loading="lazy" width="1000" height="671" src="" alt="Gramado city at sunset" class="wp-image-21236" srcset=" 1000w, 300w, 768w, 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" /><figcaption>Gramado city at sunset</figcaption></figure> <p>The southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul is home to the so-called Serra Gaucha mountain range, and the best place to try and see snow in the country. <strong>Gramado</strong> and <strong>Canela</strong> are two more traditional winter getaways, boasting Bavarian-style architecture amidst lush natural beauty. Tourists especially enjoy the fondue and chocolatier offerings, among other gastronomic experiences.&nbsp;</p> <p>Less visited are the winemaking region of <strong>Caxias do Sul</strong> and the plateaus of <strong>Cambará do Sul, </strong>which are perfect for hiking and exploring nature. Luckily all four of these cities are within driving distance of one another, allowing for varied experiences in one trip.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Minas Gerais </h2> <figure class="wp-block-image"><img loading="lazy" width="1000" height="667" src="" alt="Monte Verde is very sought-after in the winter thanks to its cold climate and European influence" class="wp-image-21235" srcset=" 1000w, 300w, 768w, 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" /><figcaption>Monte Verde is very sought-after in the winter thanks to its cold climate and European influence</figcaption></figure> <p>The food from this state, referred to as <em>comida Mineira</em>, is synonymous with farm to fork, homestyle cooking. Some of Brazil’s most loved dishes come from the region, and visitors are guaranteed to go home with a suitcase full of cheese and other dairy products. <strong>Monte Verde</strong> is a hilly region ideal for chill-seekers year-round. <a href="">Temperatures</a> usually stay below 24 degrees celsius even in summer, and are often in single digits during the winter months. </p> <p>Although known for being a destination for wildlife and adventure seekers during the summer,<strong> Bonito </strong>holds a weekend-long festival at the end of July. Winter visitors enjoy fewer crowds and more affordable prices. And an added bonus: no mosquitoes.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Rio de Janeiro</h2> <figure class="wp-block-image"><img loading="lazy" width="1000" height="747" src="" alt="Penedo was settled by Finnish immigrants in 1929" class="wp-image-21245" srcset=" 1000w, 300w, 768w, 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" /><figcaption>Penedo was settled by Finnish immigrants in 1929</figcaption></figure> <p>During the winter months, residents from Rio’s capital flock to the nearby ‘Imperial’ town of <strong>Petrópolis</strong>. Among other festivals is the Bauernfest, an event that celebrates the culture of German settlers in the area. Music and food take a back seat to the main attractions, which predictably include beer, but also traditional German sweets. The winter event is even more popular than the town’s Oktoberfest held later in the year.&nbsp;</p> <p>Beer aficionados can hike 42 kilometers from Petrópolis to <strong>Teresópolis</strong>, another popular winter location for Brazilians. The two cities, along with the towns of <strong>Friburgo</strong> e <strong>Guapimirim,</strong> form Rio’s “beer route,” where both traditional German breweries and new craft microbreweries can be found.&nbsp;</p> <p>Farther away in Rio’s countryside is the Finnish settlement of <strong>Penedo,</strong> which hosts cultural dances every Saturday. Beyond trying Finnish culture and food, visitors can hike in the nearby National Park of Itatiaia. Inaugurated in 1937, it is the oldest national park of Brazil, and offers a unique rocky terrain suitable for rock-climbing.

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Juliana Costa

Juliana is a growth strategist and contributor to The Brazilian Report

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