Belo Horizonte Travel

With architecture as sublime as the views that surround it, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais’ state capital, is a delight to discover.

At first glance Belo Horizonte may appear to be like any other sprawling city, albeit with stunning mountain vistas, but dig a little deeper and it becomes clear that there is a lot more to life here than meets the eye. A relatively modern city, first evolving at the turn of the 20th century, Belo Horizonte boasts a treasure trove of architectural gems, a hive of creativity at the Art Institute, not to mention the leafy parks, busy markets and collection of fascinating museums. A real gem in Brazil’s crown, Belo Horizonte is not to be overlooked.

While many of Brazil’s major cities can trace their roots back hundreds of years, if not more, Belo Horizonte is one of the new kids on the block. Brazil’s first pre-planned metropolis, it is now one of the largest cities in the country. Flanked by a stunning mountain range, Belo Horizonte (or Beaga as it is known locally) is lucky enough to be home to many buildings designed by world-renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer. Probably most famous for being a key player in the creation of the country’s capital Brasilia, he returned to Belo Horizonte throughout his career, the Cidade Administrativa being one of his last projects, opening in 2010 just two years before he died.

Inspiring buildings aside, Belo Horizonte has got something for everyone. Thanks to the fact there are no historic houses, old churches or narrower streets seen in older cities that could restrict creativity, this state capital really is fit for purpose. Discover an array of parks ranging from structured greens that are clearly inspired by European design to informal spaces with meandering paths, untamed trees and pretty ponds. Meanwhile, museums of all shapes and sizes give excellent insights into both the city itself and the country as a whole. Be it art, crafts or natural history that intrigues you, you will find it here. Belo Horizonte is a young city with a lot to say!

Highlights of Belo Horizonte:

Visit Mineirao Stadium

Since you are in a country that has football running through its veins, take a trip to Mineirao Stadium. The largest of its kind in the area, it has played host to a number of World Cup matches featuring football giants like Germany, Chile and Brazil. The home ground to local team Cruzeiro, there is a museum onsite and, as a result of the investment needed to ready it for the 2014 Football World Cup, it is a fantastic example of a 21st century sports ground.

Marvel at the Architectural Ensemble of Pampulha

Featuring a number of Niemeyer’s early pieces of work, this collection of buildings around an artificial lagoon is one of the most popular places to visit in Belo Horizonte. An eclectic mix of a church, casino, dance hall and yacht club, each is a work of art in itself. The undulating curves of the Church of Francis of Assisi are classic examples of Niemeyer’s avant-garde trademark touch. Take a picnic, a book or simply your camera and while away the hours here.

Go shopping at the Central Market

The enormous Central Market attracts visitors from far and wide, so whether you wish to pick up some souvenirs or simply experience a slice of local life, this shopping hub will not disappoint. Rows of fragrant fruits, delicious delicacies and carefully crafted keepsakes fill the hundreds of stalls within. It’s well worth spending some time getting lost amongst the masses. You never know what you might uncover!

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