Sights in Florianopolis

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While visitors to Florianopolis might find it tempting to spend their entire break kicking back on the beach, it's well worth dragging yourself off those golden sands and exploring this beautiful island off the southern coast of Brazil. Of course, those beaches are very much a sightseeing attraction in themselves and make for envy-inducing photos during warm summer days, and visitors will find it well worthwhile to visit a few. The beaches here range from packed family-friendly spots to tiny, almost deserted spits of sand, and cheap bus travel in the island makes it easy and inexpensive to beach hop. The city of Florianopolis is home to some handsome colonial buildings, imposing churches and fascinating museums, and it's perfectly easy to while away at least a day exploring the city center.

Downtown Attractions

Visitors who can pry themselves off the beach lounger long enough to take the bus into downtown Florianopolis will find it well worth the effort. This charming city is easily navigable on foot, and home to the most interesting museums, cultural centers and historic monuments on the island. The Museu Historica de Santa Catarina is a major draw - housed in a beautiful 18th Century palace, this interesting museum details the history of the island, while the lavish decor is an attraction in itself. The museum is located by the attractive Praca 15 de Novembro, which is a pleasant, leafy spot for relaxing with a cold drink or ice cream on a hot day. The colorful indoor market at Rua Conselheiro Mafra is a real feast for the senses, with hundreds of stalls selling everything from fresh meat, fish and cheeses to electronic goods, clothing, cosmetics and locally-produced handicrafts. At over 100-years-old, the market building is a dramatic construction, and the many pavement cafes that surround it are nice places to recharge the batteries with a bite to eat and a coffee - or something stronger.

Beach Treats

The beaches of Ilha da Santa Catarina are key to Florianopolis' tourist appeal, and with over 40 of them to choose from, there really is something for everyone. Take time to explore the island and enjoy the crashing waves at surfer havens such as Praia Jurere as well as the calm waters and picture-perfect scenery at secluded spots such as Praia da Lagoinho do Leste. To truly escape the crowds, head to the tiny fishing village of Riberao da Ilha - the island's oldest Portuguese settlement.
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