Destination Food'n Road

Belo Horizonte
Travel Guide

The 'Mineiro' way of being will make you feel at home

The state capital of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, affectionately called BH (Beagá), is a showcase of the spirit of Minas Gerais: hospitable, full of good stories, foods and traditions. Some say that Belo Horizonte is a big reunion of rural towns, others say that is the world capital of bars, and UNESCO recognizes Belo Horizonte as a creative city of gastronomy. The truth is, BH is all that and more. A trip to Belo Horizonte will make you fall in love with the creativity and plurality of Minas Gerais state.

Keep reading the travel guide to Belo Horizonte to learn more about the city that won our hearts in the first batch of cheese bread.

Planning Belo Horizonte

Map pinning Belo Horizonte in Brasil to illustrating the Travel Guide to Belo Horizonte

General

Information

Capital of the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil.
Language: Portuguese
Distances: São Paulo (602km), Rio de Janeiro (444km)
Belo Horizonte means Beautiful Horizon and refers to the mountain’s view around the city.
Curiosities: A popular saying goes: “Since Minas has no sea (portuguese: mar), I’m going to the bar.” This is easy in BH, the city has approx. 28 bars per km2.

Transportation

How to get there

Confins Airport (domestic and international flights) is 45km from the city centre. A transfer from the airport to the centre can be done by taxi, driver apps, rental car or bus from the Airport Connection. The bus terminal is in the city centre, from there you can go anywhere with driver apps…

Transportation

In the city

If you don’t have a car, the best option is to use driver apps. Public Bus lines cover the city very well, but the apps can make up for the price, security and convenience, especially if you’re in two people. Although there is a subway, the line does not cover most attractions.

AGENDA

When to go

The weather is good all year round. Summer is the wet season (December to February). It is worth planning your trip to Belo Horizonte during one of the many festivals in the city such as “Comida Di Buteco”. Additionally, BH is a great city to enjoy the street carnival.

Where to stay

Best Neighbourhoods

Understand the map: BH’s central neighbourhoods such as Centro, Barro Preto, Savassi and Lourdes are bounded within a circle drawn by Av. Do Contorno, but the city extends beyond the central region. To the north of Belo Horizonte is the region of Pampulha and to the south is the Serra do Curral.

Lively and well located: Savassi and Lourdes
Near Liberty Square and the city centre. The two regions Savassi and Lourdes are neighbours, the area is full of restaurants, bars, shops and trees. It is the best area to stay, the largest concentration of hotels is in this region.

Tranquility: Sion and Garden City
Not many hotels, but there are good options for residential accommodation (Airbnb). The neighbourhoods are great, have everything around and with a bit of motivation, you can walk to Savassi and Lourdes. Located near the city exit towards the cities of Brumadinho (Inhotim), Ouro Preto, Tiradentes, etc.

Nightlife and also cheaper: Santa Tereza
An interesting mix between calm and bohemian. Santa Tereza is close to downtown, but off Av. Do Contorno, a good option for those looking for a hostel or Airbnb and pubs.

Depending on your interest: Pampulha
A good option if you want to spend a lot of time in the Pampulha complex or plan to watch a football game in Mineirão Stadium, but overall it’s better to stay further south of the city. The region of Pampulha is huge, give preference to lodgings near the edge of the lagoon.

Attention! If you are staying in the Center, avoid the area around the bus station and Praça Sete. Very crowded during the day and not so safe at night.

Map featuring the best neighbourhoods to stay in Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte

In Frames

Blue Tiles Art at São Francisco de Assis Church in Belo Horizonte
São Francisco de Assis Church in Pampulha
Local Cheese at the central market in BH
Local Cheese at BH Central Market

During your trip in Belo Horizonte, pay attention to the Mineiro (people from Minas Gerais) way of being. Everyone has time for a quick chat and is always willing to help, even in a big city.
Belo Horizonte is creative, collaborative and full of pampering.

Architecture details from CCBB Building in Belo Horizonte
CCBB Building - Liberdade Square

Eat and Drink in Belo Horizonte

Think of homemade food, the one that warms the heart, combined with the culture of bars, season everything with passion, a hint of creativity, and cook for a long time. This is the base recipe of the Belo Horizonte kitchen, then every cook puts on their special flavour.

Whether in a bar with a snack menu or an award-winning restaurant with contemporary cuisine. The cuisine of Belo Horizonte pleases all palates and reinvents itself every day in a constant dialogue between the past and the future.

Expect to find lots of beans, pork, chicken, cheese, corn, dumplings, cassava, sweets and delicacies. Good fried foods and a good cachaça to accompany. Be sure to taste the local craft beers and get to know the specialized coffee houses of the city that serve the best locally produced coffee beans with great technique and affection.

Gastronomy

5 must try food & beverages

KAOL - typical lunch dish to trie in a trip to Belo horizonte

KAOL

Kachaça”, Arroz (rice), Ovo (eggs), Linguiça (sausage) accompanied with cabbage, farofa, fried pork skin (torresminho) and tomato sauce. If you don’t want to order the cachaça, go for a cold beer.
Where to eat? At Café Palhares in the city centre.

Crispy pork belly dish to try while in Belo Horizonte

Pork Belly

Classic appetizzer, perfect to open your appetite in the bar accompanied by a shot of cachaça.
Where to eat? Rei do Torresmo at the Central Market, Bar Patorroco in Prado or Bitaca da Leste in Santa Tereza.

Brazilian cheese bread to try in a trip to Belo Horizonte

Pão de Queijo

A staple of the regional food, and a Brazilian national passion. There is no way you can travel to BH and not eat at least one freshly baked cheese puff.
Where to eat? Comercial Sabiá in the Central Market or Pão de Queijaria in Savassi.

Tropeiro Beans Pan

Tropeiro Beans

Inheritance from the colonial period. The dish came with the local muleteers called ‘tropeiros’, who mixed flour, meat, eggs and beans to take on their long journeys.
Where to eat?
At Mineirão stadium food stalls, tropeiro beans are the best choice before watching a game.

Mexidão - rice dish with fried egg on top

Mexidão

A dish that evokes emotional memories for all locals: rice, beans, kale, shredded meat, pork rinds and egg – all mixed.
Where to eat? At Chopp de Fábrica or Mineirinho 1 (very local experience!) 

How to make Pão de Queijo

Learn all the secrets of making homemade Brazilian cheese bread. The best way to remind your trip to Belo Horizonte.

What to do in BH

BH is often seen as a gateway city to other historical destinations in Minas Gerais, but it is worth staying at least 3 days in the city. If you are planning a trip to Belo Horizonte, be sure to check out the city’s events calendar and concert halls, besides tourist attractions, the local events and festivals bring life to the city.

Tip! Search for local events on Sympla or SouBH website.

Activities

Main Attractions

Niemeyer Building - Things to see in a travel to Belo Horizonte
Niemeyer Building | © Matheus Frade via Unsplash
Pampulha Complex Lagoon a place to visit in a trip to Belo Horizonte
Pampulha Complex | © @nathsegato via Unsplash

BH’s bars
Ask a resident what to do in BH and I’m sure someone will suggest a bar. The bohemian culture is so strong that going to a boteco (local bar) is always an attraction, an opportunity to drink, eat and talk with friends. The best regions are Santa Tereza neighbourhood, the second floor of the Maletta Building, Savassi neighbourhood, Pium-Í Street in Sion.

Liberdade Square and Cultural Circuit
BH has many squares, one of the most beautiful is called Praça da Liberdade (Liberty Square). Around the square, the old buildings were turned into museums, libraries and interactive spaces make up the Liberdade Cultural Circuit which is the largest cultural complex in Brazil. Check out the 17 attractions of the circuit.

Pampulha Lagoon and the Architectural Complex
Unesco Cultural Heritage of Humanity. There is an 18km long lagoon in the centre. On the waterfront, you find several imposing projects by the illustrious Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer – from museum to church. Near other attractions, such as the Mineirão stadium, the Zoo and Botanical Garden.

Mangabeiras Park and surroundings
At the foot of Serra do Curral, Mangabeiras Park was designed by landscape artist Burle Max. On top of the park is the Mirante das Mangabeiras. A little further down the park is Praça do Papa (Pope’s Square) with incredible views of the city. It is the best area of ​​the city to see the sunset and the beautiful horizon.

Artisan and Flea Markets
The so-called “Hippie fair” is the most famous handicraft fair in BH, but it seems that handicrafts have been replaced by stalls selling cheap imported products. It is still worth visiting the “Feira Hippie” because of its food court, featuring skewer barbecue stalls and delicious Acarajé. Another interesting artisan market is the “Feira do Mineirinho” which takes place in the parking lot of Mineirinho stadium and showcase local artisans, food stalls, and live music.

Letreiro do Mercado Central de Belo Horizonte
Play Video
Video: 3rd Best Market in the World via Mercado Central de BH Channel.

Central Market

A must-see if you travel to Belo Horizonte, the central market has been a meeting point for residents and tourists for over 80 years. There you will find a mix of popular culture, typical products and ingredients (from medicinal herbs to cheeses and cachaça), as well as bars and cafés with traditional dishes. It’s already been considered the 3rd best market in the world. The best way to explore the market is to get lost among the aisles and get confused with over 400 stores while tasting some of its great food. If you want, you can schedule a free guided tour. Click on the image and watch the beautiful video that tells us a little bit of the history of Belo Horizonte Central Market (activate the English subs).

When? Monday to Saturday from 7:00 to 18:00 and Sunday from 07:00 to 13:00.
More information

+ Go to Official Website

Inhotim Institute Lagoon - Visiting the garden is a great day trip from Belo Horizonte
Inhotim - Contemporary Art Foundation and Botanical Garden

Inhotim

Amazing experience! An open-air museum of contemporary art in the middle of a botanical garden. A visit to Inhotim will change your concept of museums. It is in the municipality of Brumadinho just over 60km from Belo Horizonte. To see everything in peace, it can take up to 2 days, but a round trip from BH is enough for you to see the main works. Tip 1. Go with a very comfortable outfit, as you will walk all day. Tip 2. If it is hot, bring a bathing suit to swim in a work of art.

Tickets and times: R$ 44,00 (whole), free admission on Wednesdays. Note: Monday does not open.

To get there: Car: View Map|Saritur bus departs at 8:15 am from BH bus station – Platform F2 / Belvitur transfer (requires an appointment).

+ Go to Official Website

Tropeiro Beans, a nomadic dish

Get to know the history of tropeiro beans, a typical dish that represents the miscegenation of Brazilian gastronomic culture.

Book Tours in BH

Things to do in Belo Horizonte: Private Tour

Historical and cultural tour of Belo Horizonte

3 to 4 hours (approx.) - Free cancellation - Portuguese, English and Spanish

Things to do in BH: Inhotim Ticket

Instituto Inhotim Admission Ticket

Flexible entrance ticket: visit at a time that suits you. It is also possible to buy your ticket in advance at Sympla website.

Things to do in BH: Bike Tour

Passeio guiado de bike na Lagoa da Pampulha

Approx. 3 to 4 hours - Bicycle and helmet included - Portuguese, English and Spanish

Things to do in BG: Ouro Preto Day Trip

Day Trip: Ouro Preto and Mariana

Approx. 10 hours - Transport from BH and guide included - English

Be inspired before the trip

Movies

Movie Poster: "O Homem das Multidões"

O Homem das Multidões (2013)​

The award-winning movie was shot entirely in BH. A reflection on different forms of loneliness and friendship in the Brazilian urban universe.

Books

Book cover - Cozinha Mineira

Cozinha Mineira

Delicacies, garnishes and menu staples. Great chefs from Brazil choose their favourite recipes from Minas Gerais and teach how to prepare typical delights at home in a simple and easy way.

Videos

Anthony Bourdain - Parts Unknown Cover

Parts Unknown in
Belo Horizonte

Delightful memories of the day Anthony Bourdain discovered Belo Horizonte. Season 8 Episode 7.

Plan your next trip!

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