The beautiful towns of Minas Gerais are testimony to the wealth generated by Brazil’s 17th and 18th century gold rush.
Prospectors made their fortunes from the diamonds and gold found in the area, and poured the money into the pockets of artisans who lavishly decorated the churches.
You will not find finer preserved examples of Baroque art and colonial architecture anywhere else in Brazil, or possibly throughout the entire Americas.
Ouro Preto is the most picturesque and well preserved town and is a UNESCO World Cultural Monument best explored on foot. The steep streets and whitewashed colonial houses cling to the hillside and at virtually every turn you will come across a Baroque church with an excessively elaborate interior, covered with saints and rosy-cheeked angels and anointed with gold.
Another place steeped in history is the sleepy town of Tiradentes, whose cobbled streets and colonial buildings (many of which are occupied by local artists) wind gently down the hill from the Santo Antônio church towards the charming main square.
To visit these, and other colonial towns of the area, the journey is by road either from Rio or from the city of Belo Horizonte, and requires at least two days.
If you have a little more time or a particular interest in the history of this area then it is worth heading in the opposite direction by a scenic road to the delightful town of Diamantina, which is still a diamond-mining town today.
Suggested Minas Gerais itinerary
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Minas Gerais, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Minas Gerais
Places & hotels on the map
Accommodation choices for Minas Gerais
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Minas Gerais. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Ideas for experiencing Minas Gerais
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Minas Gerais, and which use the best local guides.