Tourist Guide to Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Bicicletada Nacional - Belo Horizonte, ©Fora do Eixo/Flickr

Bicicletada Nacional – Belo Horizonte, ©Fora do Eixo/Flickr

The capital of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, is the third largest city in Brazil. Although moderately attractive it offers little in the way of sights, beyond a handful of museums and parks. Most travellers come here to change bus on the way to Ouro Preto or Tiradentes, or to find work as an English language teacher. The center of the city is filled with skyscrapers surrounded by huge mountains helping to trap the pollution  produced in the city.

The city is pocked with hills that rise and fall in waves of red-tiled houses, tall apartment blocks and jacaranda- and ipe-lined streets. These are clogged with cars, particularly during the rush hour, a situation that has led the municipal government to introduce an efficient integrated public transport system linking the bus and metrô networks, in imitation of Curitiba in Paraná.

How to Get to Belo Horizonte

International and many national flights land at Tancredo Neves International Airport, known as Confins. You can get a taxi or bus from Confins all go to the rodoviária. The domestic airport is at Pampulha. Buses leave to the city centre lacross the street from the  airport, passing the rodoviária and the cheaper hotel district. Interstate buses arrive at the rodoviária next to Praça Rio Branco at the northwest end of Avenida Afonso Pena. The bus station is clean and well organized with toilets, a post office, telephones,left-luggage lockers and shops.

Belo Horizonte by night, ©metal-dog/Flickr

Belo Horizonte by night, ©metal-dog/Flickr

Uses of Transportation Around

The city has a good public transport system. Red buses run on express routes; yellow buses have circular routes around the Contorno; blue buses run on diagonal routes. Some buses link up with the regional overground metrô. At present, the metrô is limited to one line and covers a limited portion of the north and west of the city and few areas of interest to tourists. However there are plans to extend the service to Pampulha airport and the centre.

Belo Horizonte yellow bus Helio, ©Costa15/Flickr

Belo Horizonte yellow bus Helio, ©Costa15/Flickr

Spending Your Time

Belo Horizonte centres on the large Parque Municipal in the heart of downtown Belo Horizonte and on the broad main avenue of Afonso Pena. This is constantly full of pedestrians and traffic, except on Sunday morning when cars are banned and part of it becomes a huge open-air market. Daytime activity is concentrated on and around the main commercial district on Avenida Afonso Pena, which is the best area for lunch. At night, activity shifts to Savassi, southwest of the centre, which has a wealth of restaurants, bars and clubs.

Bicicletada Nacional - Belo Horizonte, ©Fora do Eixo/Flickr

Bicicletada Nacional – Belo Horizonte, ©Fora do Eixo/Flickr

Excellent Climate at Any Time

Central Minas enjoys an excellent climate (16-30°C) except for the rainy season (December to March); the average temperature in Belo Horizonte is 21°C.

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