On this post I will highlight the places we visited and the best things to see and best things to do in Curitiba.
THE TRIP TO PARANÁ
After spending a lovely Christmas day with our family in São Vicente, we set out on Boxing Day to Pontal do Paraná in the state of Paraná, to spend some days with my brother and sister-in-law who live there.
The trip by car from São Vicente to Pontal do Paraná is about 6 hours, but with some stopping for lunch and toilet breaks, it took us about 7 hours to cover the 469 kilometres (292 miles) to get there.
It is a nice trip and the motorway BR116 is very good, contrary to years ago, when it was one of the most dangerous in Brazil.
Just before arriving in Curitiba, we went down to the coast via “Estrada da Graciosa” instead of going all the way to Curitiba, and via the BR277.
Estrada da Graciosa translates as “Graceful Road” and is beautiful (specially when the hydrangeas are in full bloom) and leads all the way down to Morretes town. It is a much nicer way to get to the coast.
This road was closed until a few days before our trip because of the heavy rain that fell on the state of Paraná during November, causing erosions on the side of the mountains to block the road. Luckily, by the time we travelled, they had just reopened it.
While in Pontal do Paraná we took a day to go to Curitiba, the capital of the state. We have been there many times, and we have very good friends who live there. We were due to stay with them for the night but regrettably they tested positive for Covid 19, and we didn’t see them this time; instead, we spent a lot of time on a video call.
My brother drove us to Curitiba in the morning and we went straight to the Mercado Municipal de Curitiba (Municipal Market). We visited the market and had lunch in one of their restaurants on the first floor. We had a delicious “feijoada”.
The market in Curitiba offers all kinds of produce, such as fruit and vegetables, drinks, cheese, fish, meats, and other everyday products. Founded in 1958, the market still is the most traditional shopping destination in Curitiba.
Once we finished lunch, my brother took us to the Jardím Botânico de Curitiba (Botanical Gardens of Curitiba) and left us there to visit and took his way back to Pontal do Paraná.
The Botanical Gardens is one of the most visited sites in Curitiba; an area of 278 thousand square metres covered by native plants and trees from tropical regions.
The principal attraction is the greenhouse with its many native plant species of the Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest). The impressive metal and glass structure took inspiration from Crystal Palace in London.
The Jardim das Sensações (Garden of the Senses) is also worth a visit. The emphasis in on the senses, and you are encouraged to touch the plants, smell the scents, and feel the textures.
There is also the Galeria das Quatro Estações (Gallery of the Four Seasons), with gardens that reflect the four seasons with their specific colours and textures. Different areas of the garden are identified by four white marble statues representing the specific season.
Above various photos of the “Four Seasons Gallery”
The external gardens, leading to the greenhouse, are of French style and extremely well kept with the plants renovated every season. The geometric flowerbeds, which when in bloom look like rugs made of flowers, frame the various avenues. Walking paths, surrounding the formal gardens, lead to man-made lakes, fountains, and waterfalls.
After visiting the Botanical Gardens, we took a taxi to take us to the “Ópera de Arame” (Wire Opera). Another of Curitiba’s popular attractions, it is a steel structure built to provide a theatre/opera house with a capacity of 2,400 people.
It was built in the middle of a forest park and the access is through a metal bridge over an artificial lake. The location is very beautiful and unusual, built on the site of a former rock quarry.
Many Brazilian and international artists have presented their music at the Ópera over the years, and their presence are recorded by the many plates displayed at the site. The location is also known as the “Vale da Música” (Valley of Music).
Almost every day there are three shows (not from famous musicians) on their floating stage. After visiting the theatre, we sat at their café/restaurant for some drinks and watched a music group play. Really nice!
Below is a video on the Travelling Surveyor Instagram page of a music group playing.
You can have a guided tour of Curitiba covering most of the places mentioned on this post by booking it HERE.
Once we were happy with the visit, we took a taxi to take us to the Radisson Hotel Curitiba, on Avenida Sete de Setembro, that we booked for the night. It was a lovely hotel, very comfortable and beautiful.
For dinner we went to a restaurant called “Barolo Trattoria” near the hotel. It is an Italian restaurant on Avenida Silva Jardim. Each one of us ordered a pasta dish and once again it was too much food, none of us managed to finish their dishes.
The food was very good and the service very attentive, but the dishes serve at least two people very well and we were not warned of the fact…
After dinner we returned to the hotel and had an early evening as we would need to wake up very early next day to catch the train from Curitiba to Morretes at 8 am.
My brother was going to meet us there at the train station and we would visit Morretes and Antonina with him. Curitiba has many other attractions that we could not cover on this day, but we’ve been to in the past. We will return to other places in other trips and will write about it in future posts.
Below you will find a list of what to visit, where to stay and where to eat in Curitiba. I classified each place as follows:
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TRIP
BOLD – Visited, tried and recommended
NOT BOLD – Not visited or tried, but planning to visit or try and heard very good reviews
*** – Excellent
** – Good
* – OK
£££ – Expensive
££ – Fair and affordable
£ – Cheap
WHAT TO SEE IN CURITIBA
1 – Botanic Gardens ***
2 – Wire Opera – ***
3 – Municipal Market of Curitiba – ***
4 – Historic Centre
5 – Oscar Niemeyer Museum
6 – Tanguá Park
7 – Curitiba Cathedral
8 – Tingui Park and the Ukranian Memorial
9 – Panoramic Tower
10 – Santa Felicidade neighbourhood
WHERE TO STAY IN CURITIBA
1 – Radisson Hotel Curitiba – 5* – ***
2 – Qoya Hotel Curitiba – 4*
3 – Rio Hotel by Bourbon Curitiba – 3*
4 – Studio 25º Andar -3*
WHERE TO EAT IN CURITIBA
1 – Restaurants at the Municipal Market – ***
2 – Barolo Trattoria – *** – ££
3 – Durski – £££
4 – Batel Grill – £££
If you tried any of my recommendations above, please send me a message and tell me about your experience good or bad, so I can update the list accordingly. Thanks!
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