Curitiba Destination Guide
Curitiba is a modern and cosmopolitan capital city. The name 'Curitiba' means 'place of many stone pines' in the Indian language, Tupi. It has a leading position in urban and ecological solutions. With dozens of urban parks and an average green space of 55 sqm per inhabitant. The city provides one of the highest standards for life quality within the country and is known as a very pleasant place to live.
Curitiba is considered to be the ecological capital of Brazil.
This Curitiba destination guide gives a basic breakdown of the many tourist attractions in Curitiba. A great way to get to explore Curitiba's hightlights is to take a Curitiba tour. For some general information about travelling to Brazil visit our Brazil country guide
Things to see & do in Curitiba
Curitiba is located 934 m above sea level and separated from the distant coast by the 'Serra do Mar' mountain range. The population in the capital city is almost 1.7 million inhabitants and counting the neighbouring cities, the total is more than 2.5 million.
Polish and Ukranian immigrants were very important to Curitiba: a unique aspect within Brazilian capital cities!
Beyond its many green corridors, the city has developed simple, but efficient and modern solutions for the outstanding problems of Brazilian cities, such as public transportation, and offers a vareity of highlights, tourist attractions and sights to explore.
Follow the links to the right or scroll further down the page for details on some of the many interesting tourist attractions in Curitiba.
The old town of Curitiba, also known as Largo da Ordem, is a perfectly preserved area with a history that goes back more than 350 years. The cobblestone streets, which are pedestrian-only, make Largo da Ordem and the Praca Garibaldi Square a perfect place for strolling along and beginning to discover the old town. The streets are lined with beautiful eighteenth and nineteenth century buildings that have been restored and converted into trendy galleries, cafes, restaurants, pubs, antique shops and cultural centres.
Be sure to plan a Sunday in this area to see the great variety of local art and to experience the diverse cuisines at the Feira de Artesanato, all of which reflect the city's ethnic culture. Live music adds to the charm of the place for both the locals and the tourists. One of Curitiba's oldest buildings is a church called Igreja da Ordem, a huge structure that overlooks the Largo da Ordem and built in 1737. The church is quite plainly built, with the traditional Portuguese blue and white tiling being the only decorative elements along with the elaborately designed altars. It is considered one of the best examples of Portuguese church architecture in Brazil. The other historical building in this area is also a church. Uphill on the Praca Garibaldi you will find the Nossa Senhora. Built in 1737 in the colonial style by the slave population of the town, this church was completely reconstructed in 1946.
Curitiba's other attractions include the Curitiba Memorial - a space used for art, culture, folklore, both old and new. It is closed on Sundays and remains open only till one in the afternoon on other days. Take a look at the neo-classical buildings like the Palacio Garibaldi and Casa Romario Martins, considered to be the oldest house in Curitiba. And don't miss the Flower Clock, which is set in a bed of seasonal flowers that are changed every three months.
The Botanical Garden of Curitiba or Jardim Botânico de Curitiba is modeled after French gardens. The garden was opened to the public in 1991 and it is the fourth largest herbarium in the country. It is a fabulous haven for nature lovers. There is a cycle track, an exposition area, a library, an auditorium and a greenhouse.
The greenhouse is a Curitiba picture-postcard landmark. Standing at the entrance of the garden, its two-storey metal structure resembles the Crystal Palace in London. The greenhouse has an exotic and wide-ranging collection of tropical and sub-tropical flora and fauna and attracts visitors and researchers from all over the world. The garden is open daily, between six in the morning and eight in the evening.
The Espaço Cultural Frans Krajcberg Museum (opened in October 2003), located behind the greenhouse, has some of the most beautiful works of art. Particularly worth mentioning are 114 huge sculptures and the 3 carvings from tree trunks. Krajcberg, an artist of Polish Brazilian descent, has taken up the cause of environmental conservation and the carvings are his gift to the city. The museum also has a huge repertoire of videos, educational material and photographs, besides being a meeting place for artists. Krajcberg Space also boasts an exhibition space and theatre. Except on Mondays, when the museum is closed, you can spend your time here from 9:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 18:00.
The Garden of Senses or Jardim das Sensações is a new touristic attraction created last year with exhibits specially designed for visually impaired. It also offers a different experience to people, where they can touch, smell, and hear the landscape. At first, visitors take a walk along the 200-meter path blindfolded, and then they take them off. The path has a map in Braille, 72 plants with different textures, smells and forms, with subtitles in Braille as well. The area is isolated from external noise by a curtain of trees.
Location: Rua Engenheiro Ostoja Roguski, s/nº - Jardim Botânico
Open: Green House and Botanical Museum - daily from 6:00 to 20:00
Jardim das Sensações - Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 17:00.
The Oscar Niemeyer Museum is a great photo opportunity if you are enthusiastic about photography. The famous ‘eye' shaped architecture in an area of 2000 sq m balanced on a 21 m high column leaves you stunned by its opulence and singularity. It was designed by the famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, considered one of the best architects in the World. The ‘study centre' was built in 2002, to house Niemeyer's works. The museum also holds permanent and itinerary exhibitions and is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. The entrance fee is BRL 4 per person. Its beauty and size really impresses...
It is worth to combine the visit to the Museum with Pope´s Woods. There is an entrance to the woods on the backside of the museum. If it is time to have lunch or a snack, try the delicious cakes of the Café on the entrance of Pope´s Woods or if you fancy Mexican food, try Zapata. Just follow the bikeway and you will find it.
Location: Rua Marechal Hermes, 999 - Centro Cívico
The Wire Opera House also known as Ópera de Arame stands as an icon of Curitiba. Inaugurated in 1992, the Wire Opera impresses everyone for its tubular structure and see-through ceiling. It has capacity for 1,640 spectators and a 400m² stage to host all types of artistic and cultural presentations. The external area of the Wire Opera is also spectacular. Amid lakes, typical vegetation, waterfalls and unique landscape. It is part of Parque das Pedreiras, together with Espaço Cultural Paulo Leminski, where the Passion of Christ and other major events have been performed since 1989. It has an open-air seating capacity of 10 thousand spectators or a standing capacity of 50 thousand people. If you have the opportunity to watch a play or a concert, you must do it!
Location: Rua João Gava, s/nº - Abranches
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, from 8:00 to 20:00.
Walk down the Rua XV de Novembro, which cuts through downtown Curitiba, and view of some of the most important buildings here, such as Teatro Guaíra and Universidade Federal do Paraná, the first University in Brazil. At the end of this avenue, after crossing numerous squares, you reach the Rua das Flores or Flower Street, the first pedestrian street in Brazil. Inaugurated in 1972, it is adorned with immaculate flower displays, and has some excellent bars, confectioneries, stores, etc.
You will not need a road sign to tell you that you have reached the Rua das Flores - the entire ambience changes. This is one of the main business office centres and houses numerous stores. It is the preferred avenue for all sorts of cultural and political programmes. Flower Street is paved with black and white patterns and lined with renovated buildings from the early twentieth century. Do not be surprised by the mime artists, clowns, musicians and magicians you are likely to see here.
The Federal University of Paraná - UFPR was established in 1912 and is the oldest Brazilian university. It is also known by having one of the most difficult and demanding selective processes among other federal universities. Its historic building is the official symbol of Curitiba and it is a famous postcard picture.
The University is located at the beautiful Praça Santos Andrade in Curitiba downtown, really close to Teatro Guaíra and Rua das Flores. The Curitiba hotels close to the Universidade Federal do Paraná are L'Avenue , Mabu Royal Curitiba Hotel and Rochelle Hotel Curitiba.
The eclectic-style building with art nouveau details Paço da Liberdade was built in 1916. This elegant building used to be the city government seat and, from 1974 to 2000 also housed the Parananese Museum. It has been called Municipal Palace (Paço Municipal since 1948. It was recently restored trough a partnership between the Curitiba city government and the Comerce Federation of the State of Paraná, recovering its former magnificence and preserved its public function. It was reopened on March 29th of 2009, the date Curitiba celebrated its 316th anniversary. It is now property of SESC and it is a cultural, musical and artistic place counting with library, bookstore, a charming coffee shop, movie theater, music studio, computer lab, exhibition rooms, etc.
It is located between the twin Generoso Marques and José Borges de Macedo Squares, close to the Pedestrian Walk. It is a lovely place to visit and to stroll in the evening.
Location: Praça Generoso Marques - Downtown
Open: Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 22:00.
Close to Paço da Liberdade you fill find the following Curitiba hotels: Hotel L´Avenue and Hotel Deville Express.
Our Curitiba Walking Tour ends at Paço da Liberdade café, where you can enjoy a delicious coffee or pie.
In the language of the native Brazilians who lived in that region many years before Curitiba was founded, Barigüi meant "River of the Thorny Fruit". Currently comprising an area of 1.4 million square meters, Barigui Park is one of the largest, oldest and certainly the most attended park of Curitiba. It was created in 1972 and received the same name of the river that was dammed to form the lake of the park. Several species of wild animals live in the park, such as birds, capybaras and small rodents. Many people frequent the park, especially before and after work on weekdays, and along the whole day and beginning of the night, on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
The park also offers an excellent infrastructure, counting with cooper track around the lake, outdoors exercise equipments, cycling paths and model airplane fields, barbecue grills, kiosks, basketball, soccer and volleyball courts, exclusive lanes for bicycles and skateboards, bars, restaurants, an Automobile Museum, an Exhibit Park and Convention Center, a Steam Locomotive Station, in addition to housing the Municipal Envirolment Secretariat headquarters. On beautiful and sunny days, Barigüi Park is a great leisure and entertainment option for many curitibanos, mainly young ones.
Location: BR-277 - Rodovia do Café, km 0 - Santo Inácio
At Tingui Park, you will find the Ukrainian Memorial, a homage to Ukrainian immigrants in the form of an Orthodox Church, that is a replica of a original Ukrainian church built in the countryside of Parana State. The church also houses pysankas (a Ukrainian Easter Egg), images, pictures, icons exhibition. Tingui Park and the Ukrainian Memorial are very interesting and beautiful places to visit in Curitiba, built in honor to the important Ukrainian heritage in our State.
Location: Avenida Fredolin Wolf, s/nº - São João
Open: Ukrainian Memorial - Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 / Park - daily / Handcrafted Goods Shop - Tuesday to Sunday from 14:30 to 18:00.
Inaugurated in November of 1996, Tanguá Park or Parque Tanguá is one of the main and most famous Curitiba parks. The park is also part of the project to preserve the course of the Barigui River, Tigui and Barigüi Park. Occupying a total area of 450 thousand square metres, the park was built over two disfunctional quarries joined together by a the lakes. Its artificial waterfall and a 45-metre-long tunnel can be crossed by foot or on a catwalk over the water. The park has also a harbor, bike lane, cooper track, snack bar, parking lots and a gorgeous garden, the Poty Lazzarotto Garden.
The best time to visit Tanguá Park is in the late afternoon so you can enjoy the park right before the gorgeous sunset!
Location: Rua Dr. Bemben, s/nº - Pilarzinho
Pope Woods or Bosque do Papa is one of the most important Curitiba parks. The park bases the Polish Immigration Memorial, created in honor of Pope John Paul II and the great Polish community of Curitiba. The seven original wood houses in the center of the forest illustrate the architecture and way of living of the first Polish immigrants of Curitiba. The main house was built in 1883 and has an image of Nossa Senhora de Czestochowa, saint patron of Poland. Besides a statue of Pope John Paul II, the park has also a craft store, Polish coffee shop (delicious cakes!), Polish houses and still offers a vast green and arborous area (more than three hundred araucarias in the central area of the city), trails, playground and bike lanes. It is a beautiful park to stroll and relax in Curitiba!
Location: Rua Wellington Oliveira Vianna, s/nº - Centro Cívico
Open: Bosque - daily from 6:00 to 20:00 / Polish Memorial - Mondays from 13:00 to 18:00; Tuesdays, Sundays and Holidays from 9:00 to 18:00.
Passeio Público is the first public park in Curitiba. It was inaugurated by the president of Paraná Province, Alfredo d`Escragnolle Taunay, May 2, 1886. Passeio Público used to be called Botanical Garden and it was the first major sanitation effort in the city to change a stagnant pool into a leisure area containing lakes, bridges and islands in its green area.
Once a pioneering zoo in Curitiba, nowadays only houses small animals like birds and monkeys. Its gate is a copy of the Paris Dog Cemetery gate, which gives even more charm and beauty to the park. It is a beautiful place to see and stroll in Curitiba!
At Passeio Público you can also rent a bike at Cicles Jaime (Tue-Sat from 8:30 am to 6:15 pm). The"ciclovias" - bike roads pass through the park and from here, you can start your self-guided tour to the Wire Opera House, or other Curitiba tourist attractions and enjoy the city like the locals.
Location: Rua Luiz Leão, s/nº - Downtown
Open: Tuesday to Sunday from 6:00 to 20:00
Brasil Telecom - Oi's Panoramic Tower was inaugurated in December 17, 1991 by the state-owned company Telepar. Due to the privatization of the telecommunications section that happened in Paraná, the tower currently belongs and is managed by Brasil Telecom - Oi and the Municipal Tourism Institute, which promotes videos presentations and supplies tourist information. The tower 109.5 metres high and is the only Brazilian telephony tower with a observatory open for visitors. From the observatory, you can have a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view of Curitiba. This tower also houses the Telephone Museum, a very interesting museum that tells the telephony history and attracts many visitors as well. It is an awesome place to visit and enjoy during your stay in Curitiba!
Location: Rua Professor Lycio Grein de Castro Vellozo, 191 - Mercês
Open: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm
In the middle of the green, Bosque Zaninelly, the creation of the Free University on the Environment or Universidade Livre do Meio Ambiente - UNILIVRE made Curitiba to be recognized as the first city in the world to have a special place for studies and wide dissemination of environmental and ecological knowledge to the public at large. The interesting architectonic project, which was executed on the grounds of an old quarry with unsophisticated materials, emulates the four nature elements: earth, fire, water and air in its chapel and collars. The spiral sidewalk that runs external to the building and provides an entrée to a lookout that is at a height of 25 m. The main purpose of the area is to develop an environmental awareness as a survival factor in the people. It was established on June 5th of 1991 has occupied its current area since 1992, and it was inaugurated by the oceanographer Jacques Cousteau.
Location: Rua Victor Benato, 210 - Pilarzinho
Open: daily from 8:00 to 20:00.
Santa Felicidade is a famous suburb in Curitiba where some of the earlier Italian immigrants who arrived in Paraná dwelled and dedicated themselves to activities as horticulture and poultry farming, wine and cheese making and wickerwork. Santa Felicidade is recognized and very famous as the gastronomic hub of Curitiba, with several traditional Italian restaurants that serves delicious food and wine of the colony. There are also some great wine-producing places, cantinas, handcrafted goods and wickerwork furniture shops.
Check out the best Italian restaurants of Santa Felicidade at our restaurants page!!!
Location: Along Avenida Manoel Ribas - Santa Felicidade
The Tiradentes Square is the oldest one in town. It was originally known as Largo da Matriz, which hosts the small chapel around which developed the Village that in the future would be called Curitiba. At the same site of the old chapel is now the Metropolitan Cathedral of Curitiba. In 1880, when the Emperor's visited Curitiba, the Square changed its name to Largo Dom Pedro II and it again changed its name to Tiradentes Square in 1889 (right after the Republic Proclamation).
This famous square was remodelled many times over the years but since its last reformulation, in 2008, partially recovering its history, renewing its walks and benches, people have become more frequent to the square. A new glass floor gave an extra charm to the square and reawakened the interest of those that walk by.
Santa Maria Chapel or Capela Santa Maria used to be part of the old Colégio Santa Maria complex, an eclectic architectural style with neoclassical details that remained open until 1983, when the college was transferred to Bairro São Lourenço. Forgotten and abandoned, the building remained close for some time, when in 1939 the chapel, which was named in honor of Our Lady of Conception (Nossa Senhora da Conceição), was restored by Curitiba City Hall and the Cultural Foundation of Curitiba. It was re-inaugurated in January of 2008. It is currently used as a concert room and the seat of Camerata Antiqua de Curitiba chamber and choir orchestra of the Cultural Foundation created in 1974. Its main floor has 278 seats.
Location: Rua Conselheiro Laurindo, 273-Downtown.
The winding curves of the Estrada da Graciosa cross mountain ranges and cut through the Atlantic Forest, to connect the plateau to the coastal regions. Access to the highway is via BR-116 and its approximately 30 km link Curitiba to Morretes and Paranaguá, crossing the Atlantic forest, marked by the tropical vegetation and beautiful streams. It is dotted with picnic spots and barbecue places where you can cook, eat and rest. There is also a train route from Curitiba to Morretes, a lovely colonial town. This is one of the most fascinating journeys that tourists take in Curitiba. The rail lines are considered a challenging engineering feat considering the mountainous topography. Check out our tour options: with the tourist train (available daily), with litorina (available only on Saturday and on Sunday). For further information you can read the blogpost "The Exciting Train Tour from Curitiba to Morretes and Paranaguá" posted on the Travel to Paraná Blog!
If you have only one day in Curitiba, you can have both most beloved tours in a intensive day package: in the morning city tour, transfer to Morretes by car by the Graciosa Road, lunch there and returning by train in the afternoon. Check out this option here.
The nature reserve wonderful island Ilha do Mel is also a beloved destination to Curitiba visitors. Check out our different options:
Ilha do Mel day tour: just visit the island and return to Curitiba in the same day
Ilha do Mel Backpackers: including train ride, bus tickets and 2 overnight stays on the island.
Ilha do Mel intensive private: the confort of private transfers, train ride, good accommodation and a local guide during your Ilha do Mel tour (2 overnight stays).
The Vila Velha State Park is famous for its sandstone formations. You can either go through a tour operator or by buses to Ponta Grossa. It is just 90 km from Curitiba and will take a maximum of one and half hours. These rock formations date back 350 million years. Vila Velha or ‘old village' has a visitor's centre that shows a short film on the history of the area. The rock formations or ‘Arenitos' of Vila Velha take around half an hour to cover. There are various names for the formations depending on their shapes.
The best way to visit it is during a guided tour. Check out this option available from Wednesday to Monday.
If you intend to hike at Guartelá Canyon and visit Vila Velha State park on your way back to Curitiba, a wonderful tour is a two-days one leading to this amazing and right unknown region.