People were traveling to Brazil’s major cities for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in 2014, but for those visiting Brazil who would enjoy a destination that’s a little more laid back, Ouro Preto (Black Gold) is a historic colonial gold mining town located about 318 miles north of Rio de Janeiro and around 420 miles from São Paulo that offers a break from big city crowds.
Pack Your Walking Shoes
Ouro Preto is a small town built at the feet of the Serra do Espinhaco where its narrow cobbled streets climb steep hills that tangle together and make it impossible for vehicles to pass in some areas. Walking is the best way to get around the city center, and the steep terrain provides quite a workout, but the panoramic views make it worth the effort.
Hiking and trekking tours are available at the tourist office, however, they are not recommended for those with impaired mobility. A small bus does travel between the bus station and Capela do Padre Faria on the eastern side of town and makes stops along the way.
Horseback treks can also be organized for an opportunity to visit the surrounding hills.
Things to Do and See
History buffs enjoy the many historic sites including 23 churches spread out across the undulating landscape. The town is also a showcase of outstanding mineiro art and architecture.
All the roads diverge from Tiradentes Square which is surrounded by impressive buildings like the old Parliament House (1784) which is now the Museum of the Inconfidência, and the Palace of the Governors, which has become the School of Mines and Metallurgy.
Ouro Preto’s quaint cafes offer visitors a chance enjoy authentic mineira fare. The Café e Cia is an old favorite which offers an airy seating in the back that overlooks a creek. Chafariz is a buffet and self-serve restaurant eclectically decorated with old photos, religious art, and antiques. With 14 eating establishments in all, visitors will find something to suit their tastes.