Friday, November 29, 2013

Rio Grande do Sul - Highlands

Gramado by Fiero
Today's post is for those who are coming to Porto Alegre during the World Cup and for those who would love to discover a different side of the Tropical Brazil… 

Welcome to the Highlands of Rio Grande do Sul. With its German influence, I should actually say "Willkommen".

The winter in Brazil goes from June to August, exactly when you'll be here for the WC. So be prepared  to enjoy the cold weather while visiting these charming cities of German architecture and culture.

The cities of Gramado and Canela are not far from Porto Alegre, an average of 130 km and they are 7 km apart from each other. The ride through the road BR116 is already very charming and beautiful, and  you can make a stop at Nova Petropolis, the most German city of the state. 

Colina Verde Restaurant
Address: Rua Felippe Michaelsen, 160 - Nova Petropolis - 3 km from the city center. Website
Owned by the Schwantes family, the restaurant offers a nice banquet of German, Italian and Gaúcho dishes at a fixed price.

Continuing our trip is time to visit Gramado.
This trip is something totally different from what you have already experienced in Brazil. The city has European style, Alpine architecture, many sophisticated restaurants and several shops. One of the most visited site is the Lago Negro Park, it was inspired on Germany's Black Florest, even the trees were brought from there. Another option is the Joaquina Rita Bier Lake with many threes and flowers.
Gramado is also known for its 30 chocolate factories. There are 60 chocolate shops and some of them offer a tour. The Reino do Chocolate offers a magical visit throughout the time telling stories and making this an unforgettable experience. Another store that is also worth visiting is Florybal, there three thematic stores in Gramado.
O Reino do Chocolate by Mapa de Gramado
Mini Mundo by Viaje Aqui
Another place that will please adults and children is the Mini Mundo (Little World). A cute outdoor park with replicas of buildings, lakes, trains from all over the world. The Little World even has its own currency, that is 24 times cheaper than the  Brazilian Real.

On your way to Canela you will find more attractions worth visiting such as the Super Carros, where you see and even drive super cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, among others. And you can make a stop at Hollywood Dream Cars Museum, where you will find many classic cars such as Cadillac.

Parque do Caracol by CHERLY_DF_BRASIL Flickr
The city of Canela is also very charming with many pleasant hotels where you relax and enjoy some leisure time…
But if you are not looking for something like that, no problem. For the adventurous there are some natural parks where you hike, rappel, climb, take pictures of the most famous waterfall of Rio Grande do Sul, the Cascata do Caracol. 
After all the adventures, you can stop for lunch at one of the restaurants of Italian or German cusine, like the famous Cantina 28 (Italian) or Strudelhaus (German). Both serve wine and have fireplace. Cozy right?

For the curious and for children a nice place to visit is Mundo a Vapor, there you will see replicas of steam powered machines and other engines, industrial machines, there is even a replica of a German steel industry from 1940. Very interesting. 
Mundo a Vapor by Arrumando as Malas
During the afternoon you can't miss a Colonial Coffee.
Gramado Café Colonial
Café Colonial: Is a German tradition brought to Brazil that became very popular over the years. In the afternoon the table is set with a large variety of bread, cakes, pies, waffles, coffee, fruits, yogurt, jam, cheese and so on. I highly recommend! 
Gramado Café Colonial serves more than 80 types of Italian and German food on a large table, they even make the shuffle between your hotel and the Café. Located at the Canela - Gramado Road.

The Italians who colonized the state in 1875 brought with them the passion for grapes and wines. That region called Vale dos Vinhedos is the biggest wine producer of our country, it includes 3 main cities Bento Gonçalves, Garibaldi e Monte Belo do Sul. If that's also you passion you should visit the city of Bento Gonçalves, located 128 km from Porto Alegre.
Vinicola Luiz Valduga & Filho by Viaje Aqui
Here are the wineries that offer tour, where you can taste, learn about the process of making wine and even be part of the harvest party.

 - Casa Valduga - website
 - Miolo Wine Group - website
 - Vinhos Salton - website
Vinhos Salton
Learn more about the capital of Rio Grande do Sul:

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