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There are a variety of exciting tours in Curitiba listed in our tour options, like our exclusive Curitiba walking tour; a brand new option. Curitiba´s gastronomy and shopping options are also impressive- many restaurants and shopping alternatives will surprise you. Most visitors look for the scenic train tour from Curitiba to Morretes or Paranaguá; this breathtaking train tour traverses mountains covered by Atlantic Rain Forest. Many handbooks speak about the train to Paranaguá, but passenger trains only traffic on the track between Morretes and Paranaguá on Sundays. Book your train ticket online with us! The daily option will arrive in Morretes, a lovely town in Curitiba's countryside.
Curitiba is not a coastal town itself, though it is not far from beautiful beach areas including Ilha do Mel; a lovely nature reserve with many beaches and sandy trails just 115 km (72 mi) from Curitiba. It is also an ideal stop between Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo and the wonderful Iguassu-Falls on the border with Argentina!
This southern city in Brazil is acclaimed the world over as an exemplary model of urban planning. There are many hotels in Curitiba to choose from and, for locals, the ‘livability' factor distinguishes Curitiba from many cities in Brazil. With the largest economy in southern Brazil, Curitiba has deployed urban solutions with innovative land use. The city also boasts about a UNESCO acknowledgement, which it won for its organized and original urban development solutions. During a half-day Curitiba city tour you will see some aspects of Curitiba´s great city planning and visit the most beautiful parks.
The ubiquitous Parana Pine tree is a state symbol. This flat topped, straight trunk tree is seen in every park, every square and street of Parana. In fact, the name of the city is derived from the language of the indigenous Brazilian people called Tupi. The word may have been coined from a combination of core (pine tree) and etuba (many) or kuri (pine tree) and tyba (great quantity). The pine tree is also the subject of many photographs and paintings in Curitiba. The capital city is located at a height of 3,000 feet and is 250 miles to the south west of São Paulo. A small mountain range separates it from the port city of Paranaguá. Curitiba is located on a plateau that extends 500 miles to the west.
Curitiba´s history is very interesting and differs from other regions in Brazil. The first settlers arrived in the 17th century looking for gold. The legend says that the saint of the village - Nossa Senhora da Luz - looked every day in the other direction, making clear that she wanted to move somewhere else. The settlers asked for the Tupi-guarani Indians where should be the best place and their chief - Tindiguera - indicated the area where today Tiradentes Square is located. The Indians probably helped these settlers, as the village was not attacked like in other places in Brazil.
The settlement was very poor and isolated and the first families lived from cattle and some gold found in rivers. As the needs for food increased in the 18th century, a road was built to transport goods from Rio Grande do Sul to São Paulo. During this time, Curitiba became more important, as the cowboys needed villages to rest and sell their goods. The locals began to raise cattle and sell them to the north. The time of the "tropeiros" had arrived. They transported their goods in mules and contributed to disseminate habits and commerce all over southern Brazil.
In the beginning of the 19th century, due to Paraguay War, there was a great need for mate tea in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, the greatest consumers until today. As mate grew in Paraná, its production became very important for Curitiba. The transportation was a major issue and the Graciosa Road and the railroad to Paranaguá were built in that period to transport mate, wood, beef and other goods produced here.
Due to the lack of workers, many immigrants came from Europe to work and live in Curitiba, mostly from Poland, Ukraine, Germany and Italy. Curitiba's diverse culture is the result of this mixture. This is evident in the varied architecture, Curitiba cuisine, language and the religious composition of Curitiba.
Due to the mate production the city developing steadily in the 19th century, in the 1920s and '30, a new product became very important: coffee. It was produced in northern Paraná and exported from Santos Port and from Paranaguá Port. By the 60s, Paraná was the greatest coffee producer in the world!
A very cold winter ended this profitable production and suddenly many farm workers came with their families in the 1970s to Curitiba looking for new opportunities. During that time the city had a great architect as mayor - Jaime Lerner - who recognized the urgent need of good city planning. Since then, Curitiba has developed more and more and became of the world´s most recognized cities for its public transportation and green areas. Such facts and many others are the main subject Curitiba´s Walking Tour, a cultural and historical tour downtown Curitiba.
The city has recognized the cultural inheritance left by its settlers and immigrants with its 26 parks dedicated to all the nations that have contributed to its growth. Curitiba has one of the highest green spaces per capita (55 square metres) in the world, with well preserved biodiversity comprising a total of 22 million square metres. Such green areas are also important to control the rain floods, as the city is crossed by several small rivers and prior to the existence of the parks, much flooding happened every year. Today most of these rivers run through green areas and are not a major problem anymore.
The largest of the Curitiba parks is "Parque Barigui," named after the Barigui River. Besides the small recreational lakes that are part of the parks, Curitiba has four other rivers - Passauna, Iguaçu, Atuba and Belém. Exploring the beautiful parklands and rivers is just one of the many great things to see and do in Curitiba.
Where the city was founded, at Tiradentes Square, you will see the Metropolitan Cathedral of Curitiba; built in 1894 with Barcelonan influence. Explore the city on a Curitiba tour taking in the city's classical scenario, theatre, music and other artistic performances all of which are heavily dominated by a Brazilian influence.
Curitiba has "pedestrian only" streets that are real delights for the tourists travelling in Curitiba. In the historical sector or Setor Histórico, eighteenth and nineteenth century buildings have been converted into galleries, cafes, cultural centres, bars and Curitiba restaurants. Sunday has a craft market, an interesting Curitiba shopping experience and a great place to explore and pick up some great Curitiba souvenirs. The XV de Novembro Street (Fifteenth of November or Flower Street) is one of the earliest of Brazil's "pedestrian streets" and was inaugurated in 1972. It also has a large number of historical buildings that have been restored as cake shops and cafes in Curitiba.
Examples of modern architecture are the Ópera de Arame Theatre, the Museu Oscar Niemeyer and the University Livre do Meio Ambiente. There is a fantastic range of public transport in Curitiba, the product of the Curitiba Master Plan. Five different types of buses, including the Rapid Transit bi-articulated buses, serve the passengers. Come March, Curitiba hosts the much awaited Festival de Curitiba.
Curitiba's "livability" factor has created a happy local population and ensured a tourist popularity that is almost entirely the creation of the people and the town planners. During the day tourists traverse the town on various kinds of Curitiba tours and activities, and after office hours, they are joined by the Curitibanos to "chill out" in the numerous coffee shops, restaurants and commercial establishments spread all over the city. For tourists, this actually means year round festivities and events in Curitiba, not limited by special occasions such as music, movie and theatre festivals, seasonal fairs, pageants, Christmas light displays, concerts and restaurants and nightclubs in Curitiba.
If you find the shops in Curitiba teeming with teenagers on Friday evenings, do not assume it's a special occasion. On Saturday mornings, entire families will be out on the mall, listening to the musical groups, or gathering around food and flower stalls in the Passeio Público, Mercado Municipal or other parks all over the city. The pedestrian area, Rua das Flores, was built in the 1972; the first in Brazil and, at that time, local businessmen and residents opposed it. The mayor decided to begin the works on a long holiday, so that the street was ready on Monday, when the stores opened again.
Downtown Curitiba is safe, clean and a real pleasure place to walk around, so check out our map of Curitiba to see the location of the many Curitiba tourist attractions and Curitiba hotels, then hit the streets for a Curitiba tour. Tourists need not hurry inside their hotels in Curitiba or other ‘safe' venues (night clubs etc) by nightfall. This goes a long way to speak about the efforts of the Municipal administration. The Children's Christmas show in the HSBC building in Centro is so spectacular that it truly defines Curitiba as the ‘Capital do Natal' or ‘Christmas Capital' of Brazil. The building, resplendent in dazzling Christmas lights and candles, has children standing at the windows singing. Do not miss this event if you happen to be in Curitiba during December.
If you are looking for an exciting range of accommodation in Curitiba you have come to the right place. We have a wide range of Curitiba hotels to choose from. Our accommodation options include Curitiba hostels and budget accommodation, through to luxury Curitiba hotels. Through our network of travel sites you can also book Belo Horizonte hotels, Fernando de Noronha hotels, Florianopolis hotels and many more. Check out our Brazil travel guide to link up with our local connections in Brazil.
Special Paraná Turismo Receptivo – Rua Voluntários da Pátria, 262 sala 5 – Curitiba – PR – 80020-000 - Brazil – Tel.: 55 41 3232 1314 – e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org – Tourism Ministry registration: 18.005869.10.0001-1