Belo Horizonte Tourist Information and Tourism

(Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil)

Named because of its magnificent views of the neighbouring mountainous scenery, many locals in Belo Horizonte simply refer to this capital city as 'Bay Agah', since that is Portuguese for 'BH'. For the best city panoramas, tourists often choose to climb the hills on the southern side of Belo Horizonte, where aerial views reveal the organised layout of the cityscape below.

There are many good reasons to visit Belo Horizonte, namely its tropical weather, vibrant tourism scene, friendly residents, fine dining around the Lourdes area, bustling market stalls within the indoor Mercado Central (Central Market), frequently staged events at the Palacio das Artes (Palace of the Arts) and its wealth of possible day trips. When you arrive, if you simply wish to get a feel for the city, then take a stroll around its streets, particularly the cosmopolitan Savassi neighbourhood and the Praca de Liberdade, where the rather opulent Palacio do Governo presides.

To find out the latest tourist information in Belo Horizonte, there are several different options available. The Estado de Minas newspaper comes with a comprehensive list of events, although do bear in mind that this is only available in Portuguese. Alternatively, head to one of the reliable Belotur tourism outlets, which are to be found at Carlos Drummond de Andrade Airport in nearby Confins, the ground floor of the Mercado Central, at the Mercado das Flores (Flower Market) next to the Parque Municipal, and in the city's bus station (rodoviaria).

Belo Horizonte Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

Much of the local tourism is based around the vast Pampulha Lagoon, which is an entirely man-made recreational space and has become a very popular spot for joggers, hosting the 18-km / 11-mile 'Volta Internacional da Pampulha' race each year in early December. More central, the Parque Municipal Américo Renné Giannetti (Municipal Park) enjoys a convenient location in downtown Belo Horizonte and features many appealing attractions, including a small amusement park and a lagoon where you can hire boats. Close by, the Praca da Liberdade (Freedom Square) provides another important green space and this plaza is lined with palm trees and period buildings, whilst boasting a huge Italian-style pond with a dramatic line of fountains. Also popular in Belo Horizonte is the Parque Municipal das Mangabeiras (Mangabeiras Park) and its profusion of exotic birds, the family friendly Fundacao Botanica Jardim Zoológico - FZB-BH (Zoo and Botanical Gardens), and the simply enormous Estádio Governador Magalhaes Pinto (Mineirao Stadium) - a host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. More information about Belo Horizonte Tourist Attractions.

The various landmarks in Belo Horizonte add much character and interest to the cityscape, with the very noticeable Torre Alta Vila (Alta Vila Tower) being clearly visible on the skyline and coming with an elevated restaurant with unbeatable views. Equally modern and imposing is the stylish and slightly controversial Igreja de Sao Francisco de Assis (Church of St. Francis of Assisi), which is located next to the Pampulha Lagoon and was the brainchild of famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. Rather older and more traditional in its appearance is the Palacio da Liberdade (Palace of Freedom), presiding over the Praca da Liberdade with great elegance and built at the end of the 19th century. Another important city landmark is the Catedral Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem (Cathedral of Our Lady of Good Voyage), which stands on the Rua Sergipe / Praca Boa Viagem and features impressive neo-Gothic architecture. More information about Belo Horizonte Landmarks and Monuments.

Visitors wishing to learn about the city's history and Portuguese heritage will find much information within its museums, such as the Museu Histórico Abilio Barreto (Abilio Barreto History Museum) next to the Praca da Savassi. This particular building is of great local importance, since it is a part of the former Curral del Rey village - destroyed at the end of the 19th-century to make way for the more modern and high organised city of Belo Horizonte, which was officially incorporated as a city as recently as 1897. Families spending time in the city will likely appreciate a visit to the Museu de Ciencias Naturais (Museum of Natural Sciences), where there are themed dioramas and displays, such as the Exotic Fauna (Fauna Exótica) exhibition. If you prefer art, then the both the Museu de Artes e Oficios (Museum of Arts and Crafts) and the Museu de Arte da Pampulha (Pampulha Museum of Art) really do stand out. More information about Belo Horizonte Museums and Belo Horizonte Art Galleries.

Belo Horizonte is a huge and rather epic city, with enough tourist attractions to easily fill any holiday or visit. However, should you decide to venture outside, then day trips to see the prehistoric remans at the neighbouring town of Lagoa Santa are certainly recommended. The recently opened Centro de Arte Contemporanea Inhotim (Inhotim Art Museum) is just a short drive away, together with a plethora of colonial destinations within the state of Minas Gerais, such as the historic city of Congonhas (Congonhas do Campo), where the magnificent basilica named the Santuário do Bom Jesus do Matosinhos awaits. A little further afield is the former mining town of Ouro Preto, which is now actually a World Heritage Site and filled with churches, museums and history. Also near to Belo Horizonte are some fascinating caves / grottos (grutas) with petroglyphs, prehistoric paintings and unusual crystal formations. More information about Belo Horizonte Attractions Nearby.

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