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- 17 Sep 2019, 3 nights
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Porto Alegre in southern Brazil is the state capital of Rio Grande do Sul. The city's blend of Brazilian and European heritage, rich gaucho (horseman) culture and strong Carnival spirit all give it a distinctive energy. Porto Alegre has a thriving food scene too, from traditional churrascaria (steakhouses) dishing up all-you-can-eat meats to bustling bars serving various kinds of draft beer. In its fun-loving clubs, the partying often goes on till dawn.
Hostels in Porto Alegre are typically set in traditional buildings, some of which have outdoor spaces like backyards and swimming pools. You can choose a hostel that provides bike rentals for exploring the city, or a room with an en-suite bathroom for maximum privacy. Some Porto Alegre hostels serve up free breakfasts every morning, while others hold Brazilian-style barbecue and caipirinha parties, where you can trade stories with fellow travellers.
Porto Alegre is home to over 80 neighbourhoods in total. The heartbeat of the city is Centro, with its European-style architecture and iconic landmarks such as the Metropolitan Cathedral. Rio Branco is a quiet residential area where you can drink chimarrão (Brazilian mate) with the locals at characterful cafés. Then there's also Cidade Baixa, a bohemian neighbourhood filled with bookstores, coffee shops, pubs and clubs. It plays host to numerous festivals every summer.
Some of the city's must-visits include the Usina do Gasômetro, a cultural centre housed in a former power plant, as well as the Porto Alegre Public Market for Brazilian food and crafts. Locals love to relax in the green spaces of Marinha do Brasil Park and Farroupilha Park. For a view of Porto Alegre from the water, take a boat tour to some of the islands on the Guaíba River delta, such as Ilha das Flores and Ilha da Pintada.
Salgado Filho International Airport is about 7km away from the centre of Porto Alegre. From here, jump on the Aeromóvel shuttle bus service to the nearest metro station. The train gets to the city in about 15 minutes or so, stopping at stations including Rodoviária (where the main bus station is). There are numerous buses and taxis in the city. For visitors looking to see more of Brazil, intercity buses run to other popular destinations such as Balneário Camboriú and São Paulo.