Brazil’s Best Carnivals | 10 Top Places in Brazil to Celebrate Carnival!

Cities all over Brazil have perfected their own unique way to celebrate carnival. We take a look at some of the biggest, best and most unique carnival celebrations in Brazil!
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    What is carnival in Brazil?

    Carnival in Brazil is that time of year when the whole country lets loose and celebrates life. Everyone knows that nobody celebrates carnival like they do in Brazil. Brazil actually has the largest Catholic community in the world. The largest carnival parade, the largest street party, the largest street parade and the largest carnival, all take place in Brazil.

    Everyone knows about Rio de Janeiro and their world-famous samba parades at the Sambadrome, but do they know? Maybe they have heard about the huge street parties at Salvador Carnival, but carnival is celebrated all over Brazil. Here is a list of some other Brazilian carnival destinations.

    Rio de Janeiro Carnival

    rio de janeiro carnival

    What is carnival in Rio?

    Rio de Janeiro Carnival is obviously the carnival of all carnivals. Carnival is synonymous with Rio. It’s a colourful, crazy, debaucherously wild celebration that is full of parties and parades. Rio Carnival is famous for its incredible over the top samba parades at the Sambadrome that feature thousands of performers and 20-meter-high floats.

    Five million people hit the streets of Rio during carnival attending the wild street parties that take place all over the city. There are over 500 blocos occurring all over Rio during carnival. Some attract millions, others only a few hundred. It’s the party that everyone is welcome to join regardless of age or colour.

    Read our ultimate guide to Rio Carnival here

    Salvador de Bahia Carnival

    salvador bahia carnival

    What is carnival in Salvador?

    Salvador Carnival is Brazils second largest and most famous carnival. Around 2 million people celebrate carnival in Salvador and it has officially been cited in the Guinness Book of Records as being the world’s biggest street party. For six days the parties go for more than 16 hours a day. To join a blocos you must purchase a ticket.

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    There are no samba parades at Salvador’s Carnival. This carnival is all about the Trio Electricos, which are enormous moving stages that either have bands or DJs on top of them, that parade through the streets of Salvador. The Trio Electricos are followed by crowds of people who party, drink and dance the day away. Samba music is also not very dominant during this carnival with the main music being Axe.

    Read our ultimate guide to Salvador Carnival here.

    Olinda Carnival

    olinda carnival

    What is carnival in Olinda?

    Olinda Carnival occurs in the city of Olinda which is known as being a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its stunningly gorgeous and perfectly preserved colonial architecture. During Carnival the city transforms into one of Brazil’s best and most folkloric carnivals. The streets are full of millions of people who come to participate in an all-day party.

    Unlike Salvador, Olinda Carnival is free and consists of lots of open-air street parties known as blocos. And unlike Rio carnival the main music at this carnival is Frevo. Frevo is an Afro Brazilian style of music. The carnival is the most traditional in Brazil and is famous for a parade with huge 2-meter-tall puppets that parade through the streets and represent local saints and spirits.

    Read our ultimate guide to Olinda Carnival here.

    Recife Carnival

    recife carnival

    What is carnival in Recife?

    Recife is the sister city to Olinda as they sit only 7km away from each other, so the carnivals are often intertwined, and people will usually switch back and forth between the two celebrations. Olinda and Recife Carnival are often referred to as the third biggest carnival celebrations in Brazil. Like the Olinda Carnival, Frevo is a massive feature at the carnival in Recife.

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    Recife actually hosts the Desfile do Galo da Madrugada which translates to the Parade of the Rooster at Dawn. The parade begins on Saturday morning at 6am and is led by a huge rooster statue. Everyone follows the Rooster and ends up having over 2 million people participate in this parade making it officially the largest carnival parade in the world!

    Read our ultimate guide to Recife Carnival here.

    Sao Paulo Carnival

    sao paulo carnival

    What is Carnival in Sao Paulo?

    Carnival in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city certainly throws an exceptional carnival celebration that has awesome street parties, samba parades and more. Unlike carnival in Rio, the main carnival days are actually Carnival Friday and Saturday. That is because those are the days that the main Samba Parades occur.

    Five decades ago the samba parades in Sao Paulo were tiny street celebrations but today they host Samba Parades that can easily rival the ones seen at Rio, they are even broadcast on national television, and the city has even built their own Sambadrome. 

    Read our ultimate guide to Sao Paulo Carnival here.

    Florianopolis Carnival

    florianopolis carnival

    What is carnival in Florianopolis?

    Florianopolis Carnival has built quite the reputation over the years as being a carnival hotspot. Florianopolis is a South American paradise that is located in the South of Brazil and features over 42 pristine beaches. Florianopolis is known as being an awesome place to celebrate carnival for the LGBTQ community who have turned this into a wild celebration.

    Thousands of people flock to Florianopolis as the carnival is full of street parties, gay festivals, street parades and more. Live music and bands fill every corner of this city. Florianopolis also hosts Samba Parades at their Sambadrome which feature some incredible Samba Parades.

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    Ouro Preto Carnival

    ouro preto carnival

    What is carnival in Ouro Preto?

    Carnival in Ouro Preto is a small colonial city that comes alive during carnival. Carnival here is a little different to the rest of Brazil and that is because you have to book everything in advance! If you are wondering why, it is because the carnival in Ouro Preto is organised by university students. Who knows how to party better than university students.

    Different student groups called student republics organise packages that they offer to the public. The package will include your accommodation, which is at one of the student halls. It will also include all your food, all your drinks and access into all the parties. The republics hold numerous parties everyday of carnival like foam parties or superhero parties. It is a wild celebration that’s especially fun if you are in a younger age group.

    Read our ultimate guide to Ouro Preto Carnival here.


    paraty carnival

    What is carnival in Paraty?

    The historic city of Paraty celebrates its own unique version of carnival. It is a lively carnival that is filled with parades, parties and street games. At any moment you will see lots of masks, costumes and puppets. They say Paraty is nothing but joy before, during and after carnival.

    Paraty has lots of wild carnival street parties but the most famous of these is “Bloco da Lama” which means the Mud Party. This has been attracting attention around the world ever since it first appeared over 21 years ago. On carnival Saturday essentially, large numbers of people gather, and they cover themselves and others head to toe in mud. They say that this repels bad spirits.

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    natal carnival

    What is carnival in Natal?

    The city of Natal throws a very different carnival celebration that while smaller to some of its counterparts, has a reputation of being a fun celebration that is all about eating, drinking and dancing. Because it is a smaller carnival celebration it actually takes place on the city’s beaches.

    Natal, while smaller, has plenty in common with other carnival celebrations including costumed parties, live music, trio electricos, ethnic dances and lots of food and drinks. There is also a children’s carnival so the whole family can enjoy themselves.

    Porto Seguro

    porto seguro

    What is carnival in Porto Seguro?

    Porto Seguro which is located in the south of Bahia state in Brazil also throws an impressive carnival celebration. While it is a lot smaller than its counterparts it is no less wild. It is a hedonist 24/7 party with lots of dancing and partying in the street. There are 24/7 live music concerts and the best part is that it lasts until the Saturday after Ash Wednesday!!


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