Widely recognized and admired for its modern building designs and futuristic approach to architecture and engineering, Brasilia leads the way in metropolitan planning and urban development. However, it is still considered an important part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites because of well preserved old structures like the National Congress, Brasilia Cathedral, and Ponte Bridge, just to name a few. Looking back fifty years ago, this area was a barren desert; now there are creative structures and innovative landmarks everywhere. Parque da Cidade is where the diverse wildlife of Brasilia can be found in its varied expressions. It is great for walking, running, eating a fruit, or sipping coconut water. It always has classes for football, meditation, martial arts and lots of other activities for all tastes!
When To Go:
In Brasília and a significant part of the western part of Brazil, you can rely on sunny skies and pleasant temperatures from March to July. During these months the daytime temperature ranges around 75°f. November to February are the rainiest months and when the temperature regularly shoots up to 100°. At the points when Congress takes hiatus (July, January, and February), the city’s beat abates perceptibly, and hotel rooms are less in demand. It’s almost always difficult to get a room during major political occasions, but big holidays such as New Year’s and Carnival are considerably less boisterous here than in other urban communities.
The best season to visit the Federal District of Brazil really depends on what you plan to do. If your itinerary includes taking photographs of nature and wildlife, the perfect time is the dry season, which occurs from June to October. As the rains decrease, the animals are amassed in a smaller area — making them easy targets for a photo shoot. If you are into fishing, the ideal time is from August to October, before the rainy season dwells for a short while in the city of Brasilia.
A highly modernized city with a great green area, these are the places to see and things to do when in Brasilia City:
Santuario Dom Bosco
The Santuario Dom Bosco is made up of 80 columns that are 16 feet high, and 2,630 square yards of stained glass in 12 shades of blue with 4 red panels in the corner; there is also a chandelier made of 7,400 pieces of Murano glass and the whole is a beautiful modern church in a modern capital. Upon entrance, there is an amazing interior light with a deep sense of calm and spirituality. The ornate chandelier looks stunning even in broad daylight. It is a beautiful sight and an experience that must not be missed because it gives such a totally different perspective. For several minutes, it is magically captivating and looks almost as if the interior light is all coming out of the huge chandelier. From every point of view, but maybe most for its technical detail, it is one of the most beautiful churches in the world.
The sanctuary looks intriguing from the outside because of its box-like rectangular shape, but the interior is spectacular. The blue glass blocks help to create the unique and special lighting effect: when the sun shines, the whole interior is bathed in a wonderful blue light. The windows are absolutely stunning, and the intense yet very soft light helps make this a magical sanctuary and oasis in the middle of the city. The windows primarily determine the atmosphere, but it is also worth seeing the large crucifix in the altar area. The church is accessible by numerous bus lines; it is only a few minutes from the center.
Banco do Brasil Cultural Centre
The Bank of Brazil Cultural Center (Banco do Brasil Cultural Centre) is a well-known place for Brazilians who love the theater, music, and art exhibitions. The theater has an annual program of shows and musical performances that you need to book in advance. It is always the official site for important exhibitions of renowned artists from Brazil and abroad. It is the best cultural space in Brasilia and worth a visit whenever you are in the city. You can explore the great exhibits, enjoy special events, or just have a picnic in its huge garden with well-manicured lawns. It is a meeting point that provides great entertainment, and free access. It also has a free shuttle bus service from the city center.
CCBB’s Brasilia has interesting free shows, which run throughout the evenings. The regular theater and shows are very affordable; there is a lawn overlooking the lake where you can gather with family and friends; a space for children to play outdoors; enough space to park the car; coffee with good service and in a nice area; plus a very cool art bookshop. There is never an uninteresting corner or boring moment when you visit this amusing cultural center in Brasilia.
Pontao do Lago Sul
The Pontão do Lago Sul is located on the shores of Lake Paranoa, which graces Brasilia all the way from the extreme tip of the Asa-Asa attraction that is located near the airport. Inside the fenced and protected area, there are five typical restaurants to suit all tastes with lots of green spaces and well-groomed lawns that are also suitable for families with children. It is the ideal place to spend outdoor weekends with the mandatory boat trips on the lake.
To stroll along the Pontão is a “must” for anyone visiting Brasilia. It is more advisable at night because of the relaxed atmosphere, cool weather, and fresh breeze from the lake (given the perfect temperature of Brasilia that does seem to live with the air conditioning on). There are lots of bars and restaurants, at night it’s a bit less crowded, and long walks can turn out to be romantic, carefree, and pleasant for loving couples. It is a good place to relax and dine.
The Catedral Metropolitana is a renowned icon of architecture in Brasilia. It is a fantastic place, planned and designed by one of the world’s greatest architects: Oscar Niemeyer. It is easy to access and close to the Plateau. It is an original structure — the dome is above ground and its church is underground. The belfry and tower are constructed separately. It is one of the most significant symbols of modern architectural influences in Brasilia; the Metropolitan Cathedral is full of special meanings and deserves a place of contemplation and enough time to see and realize all of its important details.
The whole dark corridor at the entrance enables the light from outside to shine into the church with the help of its stained glass windows. Suspended from the ceiling and hovering above the congregation, there are giant archangels that definitely produce an unusual experience. For those who know Art, and the recent history of Brazil, it is worth spending time to see this unique place in the city. The futuristic architecture of the Cathedral takes you to a surreal and dreamlike atmosphere. The Cathedral also houses some masterpiece art collections, and a visit should be mandatory when you go to Brasília.
Itamaraty Palace (Foreign Ministry)
The Itamaraty Palace (Foreign Ministry) provides without a doubt the best guided tour in Brasilia. The place offers stunning architecture, a great collection of artworks, and very knowledgeable guides who speak multiple languages — all tourists and residents should make a visit. You will have many beautiful photos that you can upload to your social networks. The architecture of the Itamaraty is unique, and small things like the meticulous details at the awnings provide a special introduction to the elegance of the place. The lobby is very beautiful and expresses a certain refinement to the environment.
The headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and one of the best attractions to see in the city. First, you will be welcomed to a large lounge with internal landscaping done by Burle Max (also responsible for the design and landscape of the external areas), Athos panels, framed artworks of Alfredo Volpi and a beautiful circular staircase. On the second floor is the table where Princess Isabel signed the Golden Law, purposely directed to the courthouse. The building is from 1970 and is also known as the Palace of the Arches. You can also check out the other features like the Monumental Axis, and the offices of the government ministries. It is open from Monday to Friday from 12:00 pm to 16:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 15:00. Admission to the palace is totally free.
The Congresso Nacional is another fabulous work of Oscar Niemeyer, built to house the legislature of Brazil. It’s worth a walk around to visit other nearby architectural works like the Court, the Presidential Palace, and the Cathedral of Brasília. The tour is extremely organized and allows visitors to truly feel the atmosphere of the Congress, and the work they do on the two legislative houses (The Senate and Chamber of Deputies). If you are in luck you can arrange an audience at the Office of the Mayor, which is mostly done on weekends.
This is a landmark for those who visit Brasilia, and for kids — it is good to bring them along because there is lots of educational information that will prove helpful for them in school.
When visiting the Congress, be sure to visit the museum too — it exists in the same premises. There are interesting facts and objects from the beginning of the Republic that tell the history of the emergence of a nation that started its journey to modernization in 1955. Above all, it is a great work of architecture, an imposing building that houses the Senate and the House of Representatives located in the Plaza of the Three Powers, which is truly worth visiting.
Igrejinha Nossa Senhora De Fatima Church (Our Lady of the Fatima Chapel)
The Igrejinha Nossa Senhora De Fatima Church (Our Lady of the Fatima Chapel) is quite small but very interesting. The acoustics are perfect and it is also well ventilated. The blue and white tiles were installed at the time of the inauguration of Brasilia. It is a must see tourist spot in the city. It is another architectural masterpiece from Oscar Niemeyer — shaped in the form of a nun’s wimple or veil. The tile work was done by the well-known artist Athos. It is a landmark church and an iconic symbol of the city.
The little church was built in 100 days to keep the promise made by First Lady Sarah Kubitschek to Holy Mary or the miraculous Fatima for the healing of her sick daughter. It is a religious icon of Brasilia. Its architecture is unique and the installation of the tiles makes it culturally valuable. This church is also a favorite wedding venue for most couples who live in Brasilia. Although small and exposed to noise and bystanders, its simplicity makes it ideal to pause and spend some time for reflection and thanksgiving. The architecture is distinguished and at the same time imposing, do not fail to visit.
Parque da Cidade (Sarah Kubitschek)
The Parque da Cidade (Sarah Kubitschek) is an ideal park to practice outdoor sports such as hiking, running, soccer, basketball, and other fitness sports, and it even has a lake for swimming. It is a large recreational space in the heart of Brasilia. The city park is immense, but very cozy. There are many options for those attending the park, from the playground to the more traditional bars of Brasilia. It is a very good space for walking, cycling, romance, picnics, BBQs, and fun for the whole family!
Clube do Choro
There is no place like this in Brazil! The shows are of excellent quality with the best musicians and composers in the country at an unbelievable price. The Clube do Choro is perfect for anyone who enjoys good music. It is a great place to hear music with enough variety – from established artists to “homegrown talent” of local musicians.
If you arrive half an hour before the show, you can place orders with ease, snack and chat until the show starts. There is so much variety, but the menu is cool, tasty and reasonably priced. The green broth, Swiss cheese and Caipirinhas are the best.
Salto do Itiquira Waterfall
The Salto do Itiquira Waterfall is an easily accessible location with a newly paved road. It is located about 18 miles from the city center. It is very well structured, pleasant place with enough parking, toilets, and restaurants. The view is stunning, with a large freefall. There are trails, but it is highly recommended to go with trained guides. On the way there are some restaurants that are also worth trying. Lots of nature, wonderful waterfall, and adequate access, the Itiquira is a definite must in your travel itinerary to Brasilia.
Chapada Imperial Natural Reserve
A beautiful ecological park that is 30 minutes away from Brasilia, the Chapada Imperial Natural Reserve provides space for camping and has good facilities.
The most common program is the one-day visit that includes a hike on one of the four defined trails, swimming in lakes formed by the waterfalls, and a packaged lunch by the waters. The rich beauty of the place, the contact with nature, the birds and the typical lush vegetation offset the 12 miles of travel on rough roads. It is an excellent Sunday program for the whole family!
The JK Bridge is also known as the third largest bridge in Brazil and it is much visited by tourists because it is a bridge that was built in honor of the founder of Brasilia – Juscelino Kubitschek. It is one of the famous postcards of the Federal Capital. It is worth a visit for the scenery and the sense of contact with nature. It is another great work of the architectural genius, Oscar Niemeyer. The location is fantastic and gives easy access to the pontoon. Most tourists come here for the great photo opportunity with the famous symbolic bridge behind them.
Brasilia not only enriches the mind about history but also develops a deep sense of spirituality. The Parque da Cidade is a great place for outdoor activities. You can unwind and while the night away with the many bars, restaurants and free shows. In contrast, you can find peace at the Santuario dom Bosco because once you enter the place really hits you, the way the light comes through the glass gives it a unique touch to this place, truly one of the remarkable things to witness in Brasilia.
The CCBB is a great place of diversity and an ideal place for a cultural tour, exhibitions, theater, and a walk along the green area itself. It is always good to follow the schedule of events and musicals. The Fatima Chapel gives moments of calm that invigorate the spirit. The silence and peace are important for a personal meeting with the Higher Self who comforts and strengthens everyone’s hearts. Brasilia is an adventure that is truly worth knowing and it is amazing to learn so much about the city — its deep reverence for faith, and the love for nature and pride in the nation’s freedom.