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Known to locals as Beagá, Belo Horizonte (Beautiful Horizon) was named for its view of the region's mountains. Today, this huge city is better known for skyscrapers than any natural beauty. Still, it remains popular, filled as it is with plenty of charm and character.
It is the capital of Minas Gerais state in south-eastern Brazil and has some very picturesque neighbourhoods. Visitors will delight in the wide avenues, parks and lakes that provide respite from the urban sprawl. Mangabeiras Park, one of Belo Horizonte's biggest and most beautiful green spaces, affords wonderful views of the city.
Beagá is also home to a number of interesting architectural gems, many of which can be found in Pampulha, the stately neighbourhood surrounding the man-made lake of the same name. It houses a complex of buildings designed by the legendary Oscar Niemeyer.
Along with its bustling markets and booming restaurant scene, Belo Horizonte offers a wonderful calendar of events and festivals. Comida di Buteco festival is a particular favourite. It sees hundreds of neighbourhood bars compete to see who makes the best bar food.
Otherwise, the locals have a reputation for friendliness.
Belo Horizonte has a tropical savannah climate. Although it's generally warm year-round, the city does experience four distinct seasons. The average temperatures in peak summer, December to February, hover between 65°F (18°C) and 82°F (28°C), though temperatures regularly rise above 86°F (30°C). It is rainy in the hottest months, between November and March. In winter, between June and August, average temperatures range between 55°F (13°C) and 79°F (26°C).
The streets of Belo Horizonte are arranged in a grid pattern, which makes it easier to navigate despite the urban sprawl. The city is a major transport hub for buses, with the bus terminal at the northern end of Afonso Pena Avenue servicing most major cities in Brazil.
Belo Horizonte itself has a good bus network, though it can be confusing for tourists. The buses are colour-coded: yellow buses circulate within the same city region; blue buses head in and out of the city centre; red buses travel between the city centre and more distant neighbourhoods; orange buses go from one region to another without stopping in the city centre; and green buses travel between BHBUS stations.
Belo Horizonte also has a metro train, though the network is limited and rather useless for travellers. Against that, the city has one of the best taxi fleets in the country. Taxis are white, ever-present and relatively inexpensive.
No direct flights from Heathrow to this Destination
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