Top 10 Brazil’s Carnivals

The Brazilians’ favourite carnival is in Salvador, Bahia where you can still dance the night away for free. There are two huge parade routes in the city and each run for six days and six nights (that’s two more than in Rio) with amazing trio electricos – enormous mobile stages that get pulled through the crowds by huge trucks.

Brazil's Carnivals

Brazil’s Carnivals

Rio de Janeiro

One of the world’s largest parties, hottest Brazilian Carnival – in all its colourful, hedonistic bacchanalia – is virtually synonymous with Rio. Held over five days of revelry during Easter, from the Friday to the Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday, residents of Rio begin the partying months in advance. Parades featuring elaborate floats flanked by thousands of pounding drummers and twirling dancers, is the culmination of the festivities – though the real action, Cariocas profess, is at the wild parties about town.

Visitors are welcome to join the mayhem. There are free live concerts happening all over the city, while those seeking a bit of decadence can head to the various balls about town. Whatever you do, prepare yourself for sleepless nights, an ample dose of caipirinhas (the unofficial Brazilian national drink: cachaça with crushed lime, sugar and ice), samba and joyful crowds.

Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro

The best way to see in the New Year is to join the Reveillion party on Rio’s mighty Copacabana beach, where the spiritual and the secular come together for one amazing night. Two million people pack the sands to welcome in the New Year. From about 8pm, top bands perform on stages strung out along the 4km-long beach, pumping out a variety of Brazilian and international music. At midnight, a spectacular fireworks display lights up the night sky while the hardiest of revellers keep things going til sunrise.

Salvador

Carnaval in Salvador happens on the streets in late February to early March, where music and spontaneity rule and trios elétricos (electrically amplified bands playing atop speaker-laden trucks) work two million revellers into a frenzy. For an entire week they dance, drink and kiss until they drop, get up the next day and start again. Each year the city designates a theme for Carnaval, and decorates the city accordingly.

São Luís, Maranhão

Bumba Meu Boi is a wild, folkloric festival is derived from African, Indian and Portuguese influences that mingled in colonial times. The event, held from late July until mid-August, revolves around the story of the ox’s death and resurrection. Accompanied by much heckling, a stream of street performers, many dressed as oxen or mythological creatures, tell the tale through song, dance, theatre and capoeira (Afro-Brazillian art form).

Olinda

Everyone dons a costume for the 11 days and nights of Olinda’s Carnaval, held over Easter. Balls, nights of samba, Afro-Brazillian rhythms and plenty of street-style merriment characterize the festas (party). Everything else happens in impromptu fashion on the streets. The official opening commences with a parade of 400 ‘virgins’ (men in drag) and awards for the most beautiful, most risqué and the biggest prude.

Porto Seguro

Porto Seguro throws an impressive Carnaval and hedonistic bash, complete with plenty of dancing in the streets, round-the-clock music jams and no-holds-barred partying. It’s a little less wild than some of Brazil’s famous, but it lasts until the Saturday after Ash Wednesday. For cultural buffs, the Festa de São Benedito is celebrated in the Cidade Histórica. Children blacken their faces and perform African dances from December 25 to 27.

Paraty

Paraty loves to put on a good festival, starting with has its own odd version of Easter Carnaval. Hundreds of young revelers dance through the cobblestone streets and during Holy Week beautiful torchlit processions take place. For Corpus Christi in June, streets are covered in coloured sawdust, leaves, flowers, coffee grounds and chalk. New festivals keep springing up each year; recent additions include festivals of photography, gastronomy and seafood.

Natal

Carnatal takes to the streets with Salvador-style trios elétricos and blocos sporting names like Jerimum (Pumpkin) and Burro Elétrico (Electric Donkey). It’s the wildest out-of-season Carnaval in the country – held in the early weeks of December, it is a great substitute for anyone who can’t make it to the real deal.

 

 

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Scotland’s Historic Monuments Tourist Attractions

Scotland, a land of legends, a complex history and some of the world’s most lush scenery, calls out to the adventurous nature within us. Experience the place that inspired the epic movie “Braveheart”. Truly a place with something for everyone, Scotland is a small country that leaves a big impact on all who pass through. To help you organize your Scottish getaway, below is a list of the top tourist attractions in Scotland that should not be missed.

Glenfinnan Monument and Visitor Centre

Glenfinnan Monument, Scotland

Glenfinnan Monument, Scotland

Situated on the picturesque Road to the Isles, this monument to a skirmish long ago stands amid the scenery of the Scottish Highland at the head of Loch Shiel. Thehistoric monument was erected in 1815 as a means of tribute to the clans who battled and perished at the site in the name of the Jacobite cause. After a vicious and bloody battle, the standard bearing the flag of Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s was raised near the site over two-and-a-half centuries years ago in the year 1745. The historic battle on this site is said to have set the stage for future events in British, Scottish and even American history. A visitor’s center on site can help you learn more of the history of this monument.

Nelson Monument

If you are visiting the historic city of Edinburgh, you’ll not want to miss the Nelson Monument. This monument to Admiral Lord Nelson’s victory and ultimate sacrifice during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 is perched on Calton Hill at the city’s east end. The monument was built between 1807 and 1815 and created by Robert Burn. A time ball was introduced in the mid-1800s and is still working today. One of the most visited monuments in the city, thousands of history buffs are attracted to the site for the wonderful view of Edinburgh and the surrounding area as seen from the top of the monument.

The Scott Monument

Literary historians will want to visit the Scott Monument, which stands in tribute to Sir Walter Scott, authors of such classics as Ivanhoe, Rob Roy and Waverley. The monument itself stands over 200 feet and you must climb 287 steps to reach the top. Located in Edinburgh, you will find spectacular views of the city as you make your way to the top. The monument was constructed in the 1840s after Scott’s death in 1832. There is also a museum room on the first level where you can learn more about this Scottish literary figure. The marble statue of Sir Walter Scott stands at the center of the monument and was sculpted by John Steell.

Bothwell Castle

Your tour of historic Scotland will not be complete until you visit one of the famous castles that still dot the landscape. Located in the Glasgow region, the Bothwell Castle is one of the greatest monuments to medieval Scotland. Its origins date back to the 13th century, when Walter of Moray built the castle as a display of feudal pride. Most of the circular keep is intact and visitors can witness the grim prison tower as well as the impressive great hall and chapel. Although now partially destroyed, the castle still stands as one of the greatest military creations of medieval Scotland.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, and combines everything you would want in a historic city from its famous castle, royal palace, narrow medieval streets and Georgian squares to a dynamic modern dimension that includes international festivals, cutting edge arts, trendy bars and enticing restaurants all amidst a cosmopolitan environment but with a noticeably Scottish flavour. The city centre has two distinct parts. The New Town to the north has Princes Street the main shopping street, while the Old Town south and east of castle ridge is brimming with history as you explore the atmospheric cobbled streets and alleys.

Inverness

Inverness, the attractive capital of the Highlands and Scotland’s millennium city, makes an ideal base for exploring the area. The city is thought to date back to the 6th century as the Pictish capital and a trading centre for fish, wool and furs. Today it is dominated by the pink sandstone castle which has been built and restored over the centuries due to various battles over the years which left the castle in need of repair. The city is largely modern looking with plenty of shops, places to eat and drink, and plenty of peaceful areas close to the centre for relaxing.