Tiradentes, Brazil is a small colonial town in the mining state of Minas Gerais known for its fantastic restaurants and well preserved historic center. There are not a ton of attractions here, but I really did enjoy the few it does have. The town itself is quite touristy yet a bit off the grid for foreigners.
Tiradentes is more expensive than most of Brazil with a hostel dorm bed starting at R$70 and a typical meal costing R$70-100. But, this is balanced out by the fact that the attractions in town are either very cheap or free.
How to Get There
Take a bus from Rio de Janeiro to neighboring São João del Rei. From there, buses leave frequently to Tiradentes. Buses are quite expensive in Brazil, and BlaBlaCar is often a cheaper and faster option.
What to Do
Igreja de Santo Antonio – Dating back to the 1730s, this hilltop church is beautiful on the interior and exterior. The gold-plated interior will blow you away no matter how many churches you’ve seen. It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the entrance is R$7.
Hike the Serra do São José – This is a really enjoyable hike that offers sweeping views of Tiradentes and the lush countryside. It takes 3-4 hours and a common route is to start at the Trilha do Carteiro. From here, go to the main viewpoint, Mirante do Carteiro, and walk across the Serra until you reach Mangue waterfall. From the waterfall, it’s only 25 minutes back to the town center.
Museum of Saint Anne – Minas Gerais gained its wealth through gold mining and Saint Anne, the patron saint of miners, became an icon in the region. The former town jailhouse is now a museum displaying 300 carvings of Saint Anne. The entrance is R$10 and it’s closed on Tuesdays.
Watch the sunset from Igreja de São Francisco de Paula – This hilltop is the best place in town to watch the sunset and you’ll have a clear view of the Igreja de Santo Antonio.
Spend a day in São João del Rei – Just 30 minutes away by bus, São Joáo del Rei also has a very nice historic center and some beautiful churches. It’s a proper city with nearly 100,000 residents and it’s far less touristic than Tiradentes. A few points of interest are the Museu Ferroviário, Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, and the Church of Our Lady of Mercy.
Where to Eat
Virada’s do Largo – Tiradentes is very chic, but this simple restaurant has the best food in town. They serve large portions of regional food and are only open for lunch.
Tapioca Maria Bonita – Enjoy the tasty dishes from northeastern Brazil on their beautiful patio.
Tragaluz Restaurante Casa – Set inside a 300-year-old house and renowned for its famous goiabada dessert, dining here is certainly an experience. Even though you will find better value for money elsewhere, there’s no denying their food is high quality.
Where to Stay
Hostel Lumiar da Serra – Tiradentes does not have much budget accommodation, but this is a good stay and it’s just a short walk to the historic center.
Pousada o Amanhecer – A cozy budget hotel with a great location near the center.
How Long to Stay
2 days is enough time in Tiradentes before heading elsewhere in Brazil. This will leave enough time to enjoy the town and spend an afternoon in São Joáo del Rei.
Where to Next
Ouro Preto (6 hours by bus) – A UNESCO World Heritage town with beautiful churches and nearby hiking.
Rio de Janeiro (6 hours) – One of the world’s most iconic cities known for its beaches, viewpoints, and samba parties.
São Paulo (10 hours) – A megacity with fascinating museums, art galleries, and international cuisine.
Diamantina (10 hours) – A laidback, authentic colonial town with nearby waterfalls.