As the state capital of Paraná, Curitiba is renowned for its contributions to Brazilian theatre and sustainable recycling. After the 17th century, Curitiba experienced many changes, from the technological boom of the Industrial Revolution to the development of the city in the 1950s by French architect, Alfred Agache. Formerly a thriving cattle town, the city is now known for its sustainability, with a scheme that allows residents to trade waste for fresh produce, leading to the city possessing one of Brazil’s highest life expectancies. More recently, Curitiba acted as a host city for the 2014 World Cup.
Just a short stroll from Curitiba’s centre, you’ll find botanical gardens filled with water fountains and preened hedges, while the Oscar Niemeyer Museum showcases the best of Brazil’s modern art scene in a futuristic setting. The city’s long history of performing arts is present at the Wire Opera House with an open-air roof amid luscious vegetation. Alternatively, the pedestrianised streets of Flower Avenue are where you’ll find Curitiba’s best cafés and restaurants serving Carne de onça – a regional beef tartare.
Many of Curitiba’s best attractions are found outside the city, with the cooler southern climate allowing you to explore your surroundings in comfort. Visit the Illha do Mel State Park to find idyllic coastal islands and wildlife or take the Serra Verde Express Train through the mountains to Pico do Marumbi – the highest point in Paraná. Alternatively, visit Morrates, a 40-minute excursion to a quaint village serving traditional cuisine.