images

Curitiba in four days:

the best activities in the Paraná capital

Gabriela Soutello

Jéssica Mangaba, Getty Images

A four-day itinerary for experiencing the natural beauty and flavors of Curitiba, Paraná

 

Day 1 – The classics

8 a.m. - Nearby nature

The famed Botanical Garden was inspired by Versailles in France. There, aside from a lake that's crossed by a small bridge, you can spot agoutis and teals. Sharpen your senses in the Garden of Sensations, putting on a blindfold and smelling the scent of the rosemary, or feeling the soft texture of the plant which, not coincidentally, is known as Hare's Ear.

Rua Engenheiro Ostoja Roguski

 

11 a.m. - Multicultural center

Mansions, music, Polish food stands, and Ukrainian porcelain booths, the fruit of the influence of immigration, comprise the scenery at the Largo da Ordem street fair, held every Sunday. Watch for the design of the sidewalks, posts, and gates, whose shapes were inspired by pine nuts and Paraná pines, symbols of the city.

 

images

2 p.m. - Art and beer

The Oscar Niemeyer Museum – designed by the architect for whom it's named – is an icon of the city and comprised of two buildings, open spaces, and a lit tunnel, which leads to the tower of the “eye.” At the end of your visit, stop by Porks, located in front, where the draft beer and pork dishes are the house specialties.

 

7 p.m. - Italy is here

The Santa Felicidade neighborhood combines the cultures of Curitiba and Italy. At Vinícola Durigan, you can try some cheese and wine before heading on to Madalosso. The second largest restaurant in the world, it has seating for 4,600. The big draws are the appetizers and the all-you-can-eat pasta.

 

Day 2 – Culture and food

9 a.m. - Greenery and water

At the Wire Opera House, the metal structure is itself a spectacle. Nearby is another of the city's landmarks: Tanguá Park, once home to two stone quarries, now filled with greenery and water.

Rua João Gava, 874 • Rua Oswaldo Maciel

 

images

1 p.m. - Dry goods and perishables

With 18 locations in town, the restaurant Madero, which specializes in burgers and steaks, is one of the most highly recommended eateries. Another locale that deserves a visit is the Mercearia Fantinato, an old warehouse that was turned into a bar. There, order the “carne de onça,” a traditional dish made with raw, seasoned beef and accompanied by black bread.

Rua Mateus Leme, 2553

 

4 p.m. - Happy hour

The city has several famous artisanal beers. Among them is the award-winning Bodebrown, voted the best in the country in 2014. Twenty artisanal beer taps await customers, who can use them themselves at Espaço Fábrica.

 

images

8 p.m. - Nocturnal excursion

Walking in Curitiba at night means admiring the greenery in the public squares illuminated by lights that emphasize some parts of the area and change color monthly. One restaurant that follows this tradition is the Hard Rock Café, the American franchise's only location in Brazil, serving burgers and drinks named after songs.

 

Day 3 – Ilha do Mel

8 a.m. - Enchanting

Get up early and hit the road for Pontal do Paraná, an hour and a half from Curitiba. From there, a ferry sails across to Ilha do Mel, a state park on an island where entry is controlled. In 30 minutes, tourists disembark in Encantadas. One of the most popular excursions there is Praia da Gruta. The region also has a number of inns, for anyone who wants to enjoy a few more days by the sea. One good option is Pousada e Restaurante Orquídeas, where even non-guests can try the shrimp served in a pumpkin and the “caiçara whisky,” a regional cachaça liqueur flavored with cataia leaves.

 

images

3 p.m. - Brasília

Go back to the pier and set sail for the other side of the island: Brasília. With any luck, you'll spot dolphins during the half-hour ferry ride. When you get there, go for a swim at the beach and head to the isthmus where a short stretch of sand divides the sea. From there, water taxis head off toward a fortress, where World War II-era cannons are kept to this day.

 

5 p.m. - Nightfall

If there's a perfect place to observe the sunset on the island, it's the Farol das Conchas Lighthouse. It was built in Glasgow, Scotland, and brought to the island in 1870 in pieces whose segments are noticeable in its structure.

 

Day 4 – Morretes

9 a.m. - Luxury on the tracks

The Litorina Luxo transports passengers to Morretes in comfortable train cars. The trip includes an open bar, Brazilian music, and a view of the Atlantic Forest. The ride there is guided and lasts four hours, between mountains and bridges, waterfalls, and Paraná pine forests.

 

images

2 p.m. - Trademark

Once you get to Morretes, having barreado for lunch is mandatory. The dish, cooked in a clay pot, is a mix of shredded beef marinated for 10 hours with manioc flour and served with rice and chopped bananas.

 

5 p.m. - Regional refreshment

Try an artisanal popsicle made from sugarcane juice or hibiscus at Casa do Sorvete Artesanal and keep an eye on the mountains: the mist changes every 20 minutes, constantly creating new scenery.

 

Day 4 – Back in Curitiba

8 p.m. - Flavors of the earth

Chef Manu Buffara, who runs a restaurant named after her, espouses a philosophy that validates the origin of each element used to comprise her dishes. The tasting menu, which changes each day, is surprising. The harmonization with wine extends the flavors and no detail is insignificant.

 

Curitiba by locals

images

Manu Buffara

Chef

 

What activity would you recommend to out-of-town visitors?

The Oscar Niemeyer Museum is one of the coolest activities, and it's right next to a park.

 

What should the world know about Curitiba?

That it has plenty of nature. It's a big capital city, but in five minutes you can find yourself in an urban garden.

 

images

Karol Conká

Singer-songwriter

 

What activity would you recommend to out-of-town visitors?

Going to the Botanique Café. The space is full of plants and the setting is pleasant for enjoying some coffee or a drink in the company of friends.

Botanique Café: Rua Brigadeiro Franco, 1193

 

What should the world know about Curitiba?

That we have lots of talent in our city!

 

images

Juan Parada

Visual artist

 

What activity would you recommend to out-of-town visitors?

Going to the central region, to lower São Francisco. It's a bohemian area, with bars like O Torto, which I love.

O Torto: Rua Paula Gomes, 354

 

What should the world know about Curitiba?

That the locals are very hospitable people – despite our reputation for being cold.

 

LATAM has direct flights to Curitiba from São Paulo, Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, and 3 other destinations.

 

Special thanks to: Serra Verde Express (Receptivo) e Hotel Full Jazz