State of Espirito Santo Holiday Planning Guide
A land of two faces, State of Espirito Santo features an extensive coastline on one side and low mountain ranges and rolling hills on the other. State capital Vitoria with its developed beaches and vibrant nightlife ranks among top places to visit in State of Espirito Santo, but the region also boasts a string of smaller towns originally settled by German and Italian immigrants. These smaller urban centers retain much of their European look and feel, drawing an ever-growing number of tourists with their relaxed ambiance and distinct cuisine. Visitors who don't want to spend their entire State of Espirito Santo vacation on the beach can explore two national parks, famed for their soaring rock formations and diverse wildlife.
Places to Visit in State of Espirito Santo
Destinations in State of Espirito SantoVitoria
: In addition to developed beach areas and public parks, the town's historical center offers a view of whitewashed chapels and Baroque town houses.Vila Velha
: State of Espirito Santo holidays in the "Land of the Green Shins" offer more than just sun and sand--tourists can pay visits to German and Italian neighborhoods, as well as a notable 16th-century Franciscan convent.Serra
: Endowed with pleasant lagoons and lively surf beaches, this charming coastal town appears to possess all the makings of a top State of Espirito Santo vacation destination.Guarapari
: Encapsulating Brazil's laidback beach spirit, the small but well-developed coastal city draws people from all corners of the country with its black-sand beaches.Domingos Martins
: Top attractions in the "Green City" lie in the wilderness and biodiverse areas that offer great outdoor experiences for nature enthusiasts.Sao Mateus
: This diverse city with an excellent blend of historical attractions, hip restaurants, beaches, and amusement parks allows you to make your State of Espirito Santo holiday as active or relaxing as you wish.
Popular State of Espirito Santo Tourist AttractionsNossa Senhora da Penha Convent
: Sitting tranquilly on top of a cliff overlooking Vitoria and Vila Velha, the 16th-century convent is one of the most important architectural structures you'll see on your State of Espirito Santo tours.Costa Beach
: Endowed with a beautiful seascape, this secure and tranquil beach makes a great stop on a family holiday in State of Espirito Santo.Pedra da Cebola Park
: Named for a stone that has eroded to resemble an onion, the park invites you to relax in its oriental garden--you can also scale the rock wall installed for climbing enthusiasts.Boi Island
: Providing stunning views of the Vitoria coastline, the island features two golden beaches lapped by calm water that is perfect for you to swim in.Parque Estadual da Pedra Azul
: This nature reserve offers steep-sloped hiking trails and guided tours around a flat rock that rises elegantly from the surrounding mountain range.Morro do Moreno
: Be prepared to take some memorable photos of your State of Espirito Santo trip and trek up the green hill for spectacular views of the bridge, water, and town below.Museu Vale
: A tour of the railway museum allows you to admire the ingenuity of the original settlers expressed in a model locomotive and preserved wagon, which are the highlights of the collection.Praia da Sereia
: Edged by large rocks that make for nice jumping-off points, this cove with playgrounds in the sand and calm and shallow waters is a great spot for those traveling with children.Palacio Anchieta
: Originally built in the 16th century as a Jesuit college, the palace that has housed the seat of the state government since the 18th century is now open to the public.Itapua Beach
: This city beach possesses everything an urbanite may need on the sand--from volleyball nets to a selection of good food stands and a boardwalk.
Planning a State of Espirito Santo Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in State of Espirito Santo with Kids
With a lengthy coastline and a range of cultural and historical exhibits, the capital of the state, Vitoria
, and the biggest urban center in the region, Vila Velha
, offer the largest number of diverse State of Espirito Santo tourist attractions for a family holiday.
These include beaches, parks, museums, a chocolate factory, a lighthouse, a 16th-century hilltop Franciscan convent, and a colonial fort.
With the exception of popular beach resort towns like Guarapari
, State of Espirito Santo remains off the radar for most tourists.
Don't make the common mistake of concentrating just on the coast and not exploring the state's thickly forested mountainous interior and towns with a rich Italian and German heritage, such as Domingos Martins
and Santa Teresa
Things to Do in State of Espirito Santo with Kids
The state's calm and rarely crowded beaches remain a top draw for a growing number of foreign tourists visiting this part of the country.
With its calm and shallow waters great for those traveling with children, Praia da Sereia
provides opportunities to kayak and practice stand-up paddleboarding .
The secure and tranquil Costa Beach
is another great destination for families on State of Espirito Santo vacations.
To explore the region's diverse species of plants and animals, go to Museu de Biologia Prof. Mello Leitao
The rolling hills and valleys of Fonte Grande Park
, with vegetation characteristic of the Atlantic rainforest, will also allow your little ones to enjoy the beauty of local plant and animal life.
To add a bit of colonial history and culture to your State of Espirito Santo itinerary, go to Palacio Anchieta
, one of the oldest seats of government in Brazil.
If you have little artists in the family, don't miss the magnificent neo-Gothic architecture and stunning stained glass windows at Metropolitana Cathedral
Tips for a Family Vacation in State of Espirito Santo
Try to resist the temptation to spend your entire family holiday in State of Espirito Santo basking in the sun on the sandy beaches of the state's narrow coastal strip.
Don't miss the opportunity to show your children one of the most beautiful interior landscapes in Brazil, where lush foothills meet coffee plantations and palm groves.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in State of Espirito Santo
Cuisine of State of Espirito Santo
The cuisine of State Espirito Santo combines many influences, including Italian, German, Amerindian, and West African. Coffee, cocoa, sugarcane, rice, and maize remain the main crops. Staple foods include beef, milk, beans, and fruit (banana and papaya).
The locals love seafood dishes, but, due to the Italian influence, they use olive oil instead of palm oil for cooking.
"Moqueca capixaba," a tomato and fish stew cooked in a traditional clay pot, is the most popular state dish of Amerindian origin.
The West African impact on Espirito Santo cooking is best shown in "bobo de camarao," shrimp chowder prepared with manioc puree and coconut milk. This thick stew can be served with white rice or as a separate side dish.
Other popular seafood dishes you must try on your State of Espirito Santo holiday include "caranguejada," stuffed crab, and "torta capixaba," baked shellfish frittata mashed with onions, scallions, garlic, and green olives.
Shopping in State of Espirito Santo
The usual Brazilian souvenirs and handicrafts you'll be able to purchase on many beaches include hammocks and "cangas," beautifully designed woven rugs you can use as beach towels during your vacation in State of Espirito Santo.
Flip-flops and swimwear, especially bikinis, remain the perfect symbols of Brazil's laidback beach culture. Another typical Brazilian product that will always remind you of your State of Espirito Santo trip is a "cantao" dress, a very light and colorful summer garment.
To cool off after a hot day on the beach, head to Shopping Vitoria
or Boulevard Shopping
, where you can fulfill all your needs for some retail therapy and entertainment.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to State of Espirito Santo
Interesting Facts About State of Espirito Santo
The local people call themselves "Capixabas"--their culture combines elements of Amerindian, African slave, and European influences
The state's middle-class college and university students developed a unique style of dance known as college "forro," influenced by salsa and samba-rock
The state is home to the second tallest bridge in Brazil, Terceira Ponte
is known for its beaches covered in naturally radioactive black sand, believed to possess healing properties
Holidays & Festivals in State of Espirito Santo
Most holidays and festivals in State of Espirito Santo are religious in nature and firmly rooted in European (Portuguese, German, and Italian) and West African traditions. They typically involve costumed street parades, live music and dancing, fireworks, and some heavy eating and drinking.
The biggest religious festival in the state takes place in Vila Velha
during Holy Week. It involves masses and pilgrimages.
If you happen to be in Castelo
during the traditional Corpus Christi party in May/June, you can see beautiful handcrafted carpets displayed for the occasion.
Music lovers should plan their State of Espirito Santo itineraries minding the fact that one of the most important music festivals in the country takes place in Alegre
in June.Domingos Martins
hosts several important cultural events during the year, including a wine festival in July, a festival of flowers in October, and a festival honoring its German heritage in January/February.
Useful State of Espirito Santo Travel Tips
Climate of State of Espirito Santo
The state enjoys a tropical climate along the coast, characterized by dry winters and rainy summers. As you move farther inland during your State of Espirito Santo tours, you'll find that temperatures naturally drop as the landscape becomes more mountainous.
The average day temperatures in Vitoria range from 28 C (82.4 F) in the winter (June to September), to 32 C (89.6 F) in the summer (December to March). August is the driest month and probably the best time for a sun-kissed State of Espirito Santo vacation.
Domingos Martins enjoys a similar tropical climate, but the weather here can be significantly more pleasant than in the coastal areas, with mean annual temperature hovering around 22 C (71.6 F).
Transportation in State of Espirito Santo
It is possible to catch a flight to Eurico Salles Airport in Vitoria from most state capitals in Brazil. Once in the state, you can choose to travel by car, bus, or train.
The Transcol system is a network of bus lines linking Vitoria to other cities in the state, including Vila Velha and Serra. Another way to travel around the state is to use the Vitoria-Minas Railway.
The fastest way to cross between Vitoria and neighboring Guarapari is to use Terceira Ponte
, the second tallest bridge in Brazil.