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Belo Horizonte
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Belo Horizonte Brazil

Meaning ‘beautiful horizon’, Belo Horizonte is named after the lush mountains that encircle this hillside destination. The first of Brazil’s planned cities, it boasts an urban grid layout, wide tree-lined avenues and manicured pockets of green dotting the cityscape.

Belo Horizonte is home to several fine examples of Brazilian contemporary architecture, with the modern architect Oscar Niemeyer having designed some of his early works here. One of his most famous structures is the UNESCO-listed São Francisco de Assis Church, which sits at the edge of an artificial lake, Lagoa da Pampulha. A short walk away is Mineirão – a host stadium for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Football fans should try to catch a game here, or opt for a guided tour of the grounds.

An important centre for arts and culture, Belo Horizonte boasts several museums, most of which form the Circuito Cultural Praça da Liberdade – a series of museums set around a landscaped square. These include the six-storeyed Bank of Brazil Cultural Centre and the Memorial Minas Gerais Vale, an experience museum which chronicles the state’s history through interactive exhibits, high-tech installations and multisensory elements. Also worth your time is the Inhotim – a sprawling open-air museum located about an hour away – featuring contemporary art and sculpture amidst tropical plants and tranquil pools.



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