Discover the historic charms of colonial Brazil as you travel the Estrada Real, the route established by the Portuguese for the transportation of gold and diamonds in the 17th century. You’ll travel along the Old Path from old gold towns of Minas Gerais state to the iconic coastal city of Rio, visiting some of Brazil’s most picturesque colonial towns. Unearth this region’s rich legacy, visit a subterranean gold mine and see splendid colonial architecture. On your way to the coast, visit a colonial coffee plantation for lunch and find out how this working farm has been owned by the same family for generations. This journey which can easily be combined with a wider Brazil itinerary, to introduce you to Brazil’s rich heritage.
On arrival at Belo Horizonte airport, you will be met and driven by private transfer to your hotel where you will check in for a two-night stay. Founded in 1698, Ouro Preto is considered a masterpiece of colonial architecture in Brazil. Why not take a stroll through the historic centre or visit the Church of St. Francis of Assisi?
This morning you will be collected from your hotel and taken on a private tour to Mariana. Enjoy strolling through its picturesque streets where you will see houses dating from the beginning of the 18th century, with their balconies.
After the included lunch, you will also visit the Mina da Passagem, a major gold mine where over 35 tonnes of gold was extracted over the years. Taking the old trolley transport, you can journey down into the subterranean galleries until you encounter a stunning lake of crystalline water.
After your tour, you’ll be driven back to your hotel for the evening.
Today you’ll be driven to Tiradentes with stops along the way in Congonhas and Sao Joao del Rei.
Congonhas is home to important works from the Golden Age of Brazil, including its baroque-style Basilica filled with soapstone sculptures.
Sao Joao was founded in 1703 after the discovery of gold in this area when it became an important junction on the gold route to Paraty. We’ve included lunch in a local restaurant so you can soak in the surroundings and explore the city.
You will arrive at Tiradentes in the afternoon when you’ll be dropped off at your hotel to check in for a 1-night stay.
This morning we’ve included a city tour of Tiradentes, named after a leader in the Brazilian revolutionary movement against the Portuguese rule. The architecture is in the baroque style, and although perhaps not as exquisite as in Ouro Preto and Sao Joao del Rei, it is considered to be the most charming historical city of Minas Gerais.
Have lunch at a local restaurant before continuing your journey towards Barra do Pirai, where you will spend the night.
This morning you’ll be collected from your hotel to visit Fazenda Taquara, one of the many colonial coffee farms found in the Paraiba river valley.
Fazenda Taquara is a beautifully preserved example of the era and belongs to the fifth generation of the same family – coffee is still its main product. We’ve included lunch here so you can discover more about the farm’s history. Afterwards, you will continue on your way to Paraty.
On arrival in the charming seaside town of Paraty, you will check in to your hotel for a 2-night stay.
This morning, there’s a change of pace! You’ll embark on jeep adventure into the interior jungle of Paraty to visit the waterfalls. You’ll go on a short hike along the Caminho do Ouro, an 18th-century route that joins this coastal city to the gold mines.
Enjoy a laidback lunch at a local restaurant; then at the end of the tour, you will be driven back to your hotel.
You will be collected from your hotel at a time of your choosing, and driven to Rio de Janeiro, from where you can continue your travel plans. Why not add a few nights in the Cidade Maravilhosa or head to the beautiful beaches of Buzios for some relaxing downtime?
To avoid crowds and rain, travel to Minas Gerais from April to June or August to November. The most exciting time is the Easter week when there are colourful processions, and all the towns are in joyous celebrations.
This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.
Six nights in 4* standard accommodation in traditional pousadas and fazendas.
Hotels in this category include: