Colonial Gems & Historic Cities

On our Colonial Gems & Historic Cities in Brazil Tour, get a taste of some of the most beautiful and historic cities in Brazil! Travel from the sixth largest city in Brazil, Belo Horizonte, to sweet, colonial towns such as Ouro Preto and Tiradentes, all the way to Rio de Janeiro, the marvelous city on the coast. Travelers are sure to experience a bit of everything Brazil has to offer on this one-of-a-kind cities in Brazil Tour.

The highlights include trips to the amazing Inhotim open-air art museum, the baroque-style churches of Ouro Preto, Tiradentes and Congonhas, and of course the iconic sites throughout Rio de Janeiro such as Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer, Ipanema, Copacabana, and more! Looking to see more of Brazil? Any Brazil Tour can be seamlessly combined with other South American destinations.

Tour Highlights

- Rio de Janeiro
- Tiradentes
- São João del Rei
- Ouro Preto
- Inhotim
- Belo Horizonte


- 11-Nights accommodations
- All breakfasts
- All transfers and entrance fees
- English-speaking guides

Sample Itinerary
Day 1 Arrival in Belo Horizonte

Arrive in Belo Horizonte and be transferred from the airport to the hotel by a local guide.

Check-in to the hotel and get settled. Spend the evening at leisure.

Day 2 Belo Horizonte City Tour & Sabará

Today, tour Belo Horizonte – the sixth largest city in Brazil! On this guided city tour, see the bold architecture in Pampulha, visit the Chapel of Sao Francisco designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the Mineirão stadium, the Municipal Park, the Afonso Pena Avenue, and the Liberdade Palacio. Then, step inside the massive Mercado Central where any type of good in Brazil can be found. The halls of this indoor market are full of decadent chocolate shops, booths of fragrant cheese, fruit and vegetable stands, açai cafes and lively bars selling some of the best beers in Brazil.

In the afternoon, if time permits, visit Sabará. Sabará is a colonial town, not far from Belo Horizonte. There are charming streets and squares, a few noticeable churches, and a historical museum. Then, return to Belo Horizonte for the night.

Day 3 Inhotim & Transfer to Ouro Preto

In the morning check-out of the hotel and transfer from Belo Horizonte to the incredible, Inhotim Brazil art park. Explore this 5,000-acre open-air museum and botanical garden following a colorful Inhotim map. The Inhotim collection consists of several pavilions and galleries full of dramatic paintings, detailed sculptures, videos, and musical displays. 

Visitors can rent golf carts to visit more exhibitions during a short stay here. After an afternoon of artwork treasure hunting, grab a coffee and bite to eat at one of the various eateries.

After enjoying Inhotim, head to the charming, colonial city Ouro Preto for the night. Check-in to your hotel and spend the evening at leisure.

Day 4 Guided City Tour of Ouro Preto & Mariana Visit

Welcome to Ouro Preto Brazil! This historic town is designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of its rich gold mining history and outstanding baroque architecture. Visit baroque-style churches, including the Sao Francisco de Assis, which features the work of Aleijadinho and Mestre Ataíde.

Browse the local Feira (outdoor market) for unique handicrafts or walk down the famous street of Ouro Preto, full of restaurants, boutique shops, art galleries, cafes, and bars. Pick up some souvenirs for friends and family, or simply enjoy a Brazilian beer as the locals on the street pass by.

In the afternoon, visit Mariana, another cute but smaller historic town. Ride an antique cable car down one of the largest gold mines in the world that is open to visitors. Enjoy the underground tunnels and the blue lake at the bottom of the cave. Visitors are welcome to swim or cave dive here!

Day 5 Transfer to Congonhas & Tiradentes

Check-out of the hotel and transfer from Ouro Preto to Congonhas. Congonhas is the home to the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This site hosts a symbolic church featuring statues of 12 prophets and nearby chapels with wooden carvings of the theatrical display of the Passion of the Christ. After visiting Congonhas, transfer to Tiradentes. Visit Igreja Matriz de Santo Antônio, located in a prominent position overlooking the picturesque town. Then, spend the evening in Tiradentes city at your own leisure.

Day 6 Tiradentes & São João Del Rei

Enjoy a free day in Tiradentes! In the morning, stop by one of the local cafes for a freshly brewed cup of coffee and then spend the day at ease. Walk along the charming cobblestone streets and check out the boutique shops, romantic restaurants, art galleries and baroque-style churches. To end the day on a sweet note, stop by one of the artisan chocolate shops and let the owners choose the best chocolate for your sweet tooth!

For travelers spending a weekend in Tiradentes, consider taking the steam locomotive to São João del Rei, a colonial center to 18th-century churches and religious art. While here, visit Igreja de São Francisco de Assis, Museu Regional São João del Rei, Catedral de NS do Pilar and more! Then, transfer back to the pousada in Tiradentes for the evening.

Day 7 Petrópolis & Transfer to Rio de Janeiro

In the morning, transfer from Tiradentes to Petrópolis, a Brazilian city north of Rio de Janeiro. While here, visit the Imperial Palace. Built in 1845, this mansion is a vision of historical significance. In fact, the Imperial Palace was the former summer palace of Emperor Pedro II. Slip on some provided slippers and slide your way through the long wooden hallways of the palace. Explore the bedrooms, dining areas and more while getting an up-close look at family portraits, historical documents, and antique carriages.

After finishing a visit at Petropolis, transfer to Rio de Janeiro.

Day 8 Sugar Loaf and Historic Rio

Today, visit one of the best Rio de Janeiro attractions, Sugarloaf Mountain! Board a cable car up the Urca Hill and take in breathtaking views of the city and the bay along the way. Arrive at the first viewpoint, where the very first cable car in use for Sugarloaf Mountain is displayed. There are plenty of shops, where one can buy souvenirs, a fresh cup of coffee or a bowl of acai.

Then, board another cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Here, enjoy panoramic views of beautiful Rio de Janeiro.

In the afternoon, explore Historic Rio for a taste of Brazil history and culture. Transfer to the historic downtown area of Rio de Janeiro and walk along Avenida Rio Branco, featuring a newly pedestrianized area. See the Opera House, the Museum of Fine Arts and more!

Day 9 Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain

In the afternoon, board a train to the top of Corcovado Mountain. On this Corcovado Brazil Tour, admire sections of the Tijuca Forest as the train travels up a steep vertical to the standing spot of Christ the Redeemer. Upon arrival, there are stairs, elevators or escalators guiding and transporting tourists to the base of the iconic, Christ the Redeemer statue. And if the Rio de Janeiro weather is at its best, enjoy panoramic views of every region of the city. As locals say, the best way to see Rio is from the top!

From Corcovado, take Paineiras road through the Tijuca forest, considered to be the largest urban forest in the world. Spot diverse species of birds, mammals, and exotic plants along the way. This tour includes a complete route of exploring the forest trails with stops at Chinese View, Taunays Waterfalls, and the Visitor Center!

Day 10 Schooner Cruise in the Bay of Paraty

Today, transfer to Paraty, a small Portuguese town located on Brazil’s Costa Verde. After checking into the hotel, go on a walking tour through Paraty and observe the colonial buildings lining the cobblestone streets. The influence of the architecture dates back to the 19th century when the Brazilian Imperial era started. Enjoy the fantastic scenery here and listen to an expert guide as they explain the history of Brazil’s independence! Spend the evening at leisure.

Day 11 Paraty & Walking Tour

Today explore beautiful Paraty beaches and remote islands on a Paraty Schooner Cruise. A Paraty Schooner Cruise is one of the best things to do in Paraty because of the sparkling hue of the water, the mountainous backdrop, the surrounding lush foliage and the snorkeling and hiking opportunities.

After the cruise, consider visiting the surrounding Serra do Mar Mountains. While here, observe several natural preserves, including the Serra da Bocaina National Park, Serra do Mar State Park, the Park Reserve of Joatinga and the Environmental Protection Area of Cairucu. Then, return to Paraty and relax for the rest of the evening. There are often live music performers or dance shows in town that are perfect nightcap to a day of exploring.

Day 12 Transfer to Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro & Departure

This is the final day of the Colonial Gems & Historic Cities in Brazil Tour. Choose to transfer to Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo, or simply fly to your next destination.