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Sao Joao del Rei

(4.2/5 based on 3,800+ reviews for top 20 attractions)
Things to do: sightseeing, museums, shopping
Founded as one of the region's great gold mining settlements, Sao Joao del Rei has managed to maintain its prosperity even after the rush died down in the 19th century. Historical colonial-era buildings and a preserved city core characterize the town, along with antique mansions and some of the finest, grandest cathedrals in the region. Early 20th-century Art Deco constructions add to the list of architectural attractions in Sao Joao del Rei, testifying to the wealth brought by rich natural deposits of gold. Despite these throwbacks to the past, however, the city also bursts with modern energy, featuring plenty of contemporary apartment buildings, upscale stores, and pedestrian streets outside the colonial center. Top off your Sao Joao del Rei itinerary with a ride on the heritage railway running through town. Add Sao Joao del Rei and other Brazil destinations to your travel plans using our Brazil trip builder.
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Where to stay

Hotels in Sao Joao del Rei tend to be relatively small-scale affairs, and most midsize hotels inhabit old colonial buildings in and around the historical town center. You'll also find a range of bed and breakfasts, which range from multiroom complexes to family-run joints renting out their extra rooms. Smaller, more basic accommodations usually offer lower prices in exchange for fewer amenities. For an experience that combines family-run hospitality with the region's colonial history, consider staying at a "pousada"; these small hotels generally offer the chance to stay within a historical mansion or ranch, and offer plenty of amenities for a decent price. Most accommodations populate the blocks surrounding the city's main canal, within walking distance of the town's old bridges.
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