Curitiba is a place of harmony and distinctive quirks. It's also deeply multicultural – in fact, one of this Brazilian city's local dishes is vinas, a type of sausage from Vienna. In the 1970s, one forward-thinking mayor prioritised urban planning, tree planting and sustainable design. The result is a city that merges communities, nature and infrastructure. From the cultural centre's vibrant nightlife to its enticing food scene, Curitiba is a must for travellers looking for something different.
Most hostels in Curitiba are close to the centre. Choose a place that hosts social events to meet fellow travellers, or one with a cinema, hammocks and a ping pong table to make the most of your downtime. If learning a new skill is top of your list, you might choose a Curitiba hostel with a slackline. There are Curitiba hostels with free Wi-Fi or free breakfasts to help you save on spending, and female-only dorms and en-suite rooms are also available.
Curitiba's Centro neighbourhood contains the bustling, pedestrianised Rua XV de Novembro (also known as Rua das Flores). It's also where you'll find the historic district, with 18th- and 19th-century buildings like the Church of St Francis and the Red House. The Biggorilho neighbourhood contains Praça da Espanha, surrounded by bars and restaurants, and Praça da Ucrânia, which hosts a nighttime street food market on Fridays. Check out Batel for its yoga, fairs and bars at Plaza de España, the tranquil oasis of Japan Square and excellent shopping.
One of Curitiba's major pulls is its dedication to green spaces. The Botanical Garden has vast glasshouses containing native plants, plus wide lawns – perfect for eating lunch al-fresco. To take in wilder scenes, hop on the Curitiba-Paranaguá train to Morretes and back. The guided route passes through the Serra do Mar mountain range and a rainforest conservation area. For culture, the iconic Museu Oscar Niemeyer celebrates architecture and design, while the Ópera de Arame is the place to catch a play or music show. Take in the shops and eateries of lively Rua XV de Novembro, and sample the local Caipirinha cocktail while watching street performers.
Two buses bring you from Afonso Pena International Airport to Curitiba, each taking around an hour. The Curitiba bus station will land you right in the Centro district. As for getting around, city buses are famously efficient and come as often as every 90 seconds. Much of the centre is pedestrianised too, so it's easy to explore on foot.