10 Things I Learned From My Recent Trip to Belo Horizonte during the World Cup in Brazil

Last week, I got back from a whirlwind of a trip throughout Brazil for the World Cup. I flew into Sao Paulo and spent a few days in the city before the World Cup home opener game between Brazil and Croatia. Afterwards, I flew from Sao Paulo to Curitiba and spent one night. Then, I flew from Curitiba to Belo Horizonte and spent three nights. I’ve never been to Belo Horizonte before and I didn’t know what to expect. Here are 10 things I learned from my recent trip to Belo Horizonte during the World Cup in Brazil.

1. You can get from CNF airport to the city-center for R$21.00 –  A bus company called Conexao Aeroporto can get you from Belo Horizonte International Airport (CNF) to the city center for R$21.00 reais ~ $9.41 USD. It’s air conditioned and doesn’t make any stops. Make sure you get the one that goes to Avenida Cabral.  Otherwise, a cab can cost up to $70 USD since it takes 45 minutes to get into the city center with no traffic. With traffic, it can take almost up to 1 and a half hours to get into the city.

2. The best cheese bread is from Minas – Belo Horizonte is located in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais where the famous pao de queijo (cheese bread) was born. Pao de queijo is my absolute favorite snack food from Brazil and the best is definitely from the Minas state. The cheese bread is inexpensive and was the biggest pao de queijo I’ve ever seen!


3. The World Cup match at Estadio Mineirao was surreal – I attended my first ever World Cup match at Mineirao Stadium watching Colombia v. Greece play.

4. FIFA Fan Fest is not open every day – I took the metro light rail from Central to Gameleira station to get to the FIFA Fan Fest area called Expominas. I found out the hard way when I assumed the FIFA Fan Fest in Belo Horizonte would be open every single day for fans. FIFA Fan Fest at Expominas is open whenever the national Team of Brazil is playing and the other only times are weekends on Saturday and Sundays.


5. A visit to the Mercado Central is a must – The Mercado Central in Belo Horizonte is located in Centro, the city-center of town. You can buy pretty much anything here and there are some great local restaurants inside.


6. A day trip to Ouro Preto is a must – I took a bus from Belo Horizonte to Ouro Preto which took two hours since the bus kept stopping to drop and pick people up along the day. I used a company called Passaro Verde and the cost was R$27.25 ~ $12.21 USD one-way. Ouro Preto is a UNESCO heritage site in the state of Minas Gerais. It’s absolutely gorgeous with plenty of neo-gothic architecture and colorful buildings.

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7. Food from Minas is the best – The food from Minas Gerias is most famous for feijao tropeiro and I had plenty of it.

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8. Savassi is the best place to hang out – The neighborhood of Savassi in Belo Horizonte is the best place for a tourist. It’s full of shops and restaurants within a one mile radius. The whole nightlife and bar scene also seems to be in this area.


9. The Belo Horizonte Metro is not extensive – I love using public transportation to get around, but the metro system in Belo Horizonte leaves much to be desired. There’s only one line and it’s not very extensive. The good news is that there are plans for two additional metro lines that will venture south of Belo Horizonte.


10. I attended my first ever anti World Cup protest – I just happened to be nearby and saw the special riot police unit called CHOQUE lined up in a formation. There were protesters taking over Praca Sete de Setembro in Centro Belo Horizonte and they eventually marched to Praca de Estacao.


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25 Comments on "10 Things I Learned From My Recent Trip to Belo Horizonte during the World Cup in Brazil"

  1. I had been told many times that Belo Horizonte is a great green city and definitely a place that should be experienced, especially when is known to have THE best food in the entire country! It just goes to show how diverse Brazil is and what it has to offer away from that mandatory RIO visit and all the renowned beach scene.

    Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but being such a big country, is nice to know about other places that should also be considered when making that ‘must-visit-list’ when heading down to Brazil!

    So, thanks for the tips.

  2. Hello, how are you?
    I’m From Belo Horizonte and saw your post about in a local newspaper, and I was very happy to know you enjoyed our city and especially of our cuisine! (Also ♥ cheese bread, greatest passion we miners).
    When we return to Minas do not let go of Inhotim (www.inhotim.org.br / en), a beautiful place and it is right near the city. Worth knowing!
    Check back often 😉

    • Leonardo Amorim | June 27, 2014 at 8:38 am | Reply

      know the neighborhood of Santa Tereza in Belo Horizonte, fantastic even surpass Savassi …..

  3. I first read about your report at “Estado de Minas”, the most important newspaper. Thanks for such a positive view of our state. Many think that Brazil is comprised only by Rio and Sao Paulo, perhaps with the addition of Salvador and it’s due in part because the midia headquarters are situated in the capitals of these two states. I would just like to add two points if you don’t mind. Our metro (subway) system should have been expanded many years ago. Our current President, Dilma, has already promised the money many times but, as we are in a Election’s year, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s an empty promise just as our current mayor did last year when he was running for reelection. The second is a sad point. We had several restaurants that stayed open 24/7 but gave up this practice due to the violence. Gas stations, bakeries, restaurants that stayed open at least till 22:00h are now closing at 21:00h or even 20:00h. When I was younger we didn’t fear returning home by bus at around midnight but today we fear parking the car two or three blocks from our destination. I know it’s a worldwide phenomenon but it’s sad just the same.

    Next time, if you have the time, stay for a while in a farm that has been adapted for tourism! The food is even better (IMHO) than the one from the restaurants and more authentic.

    Come visit us again!

    Excuse me for my many grammar mistakes.

    • Actually, it’s been known that the money for the subway in Belo Horizonte has been sent by the federal government to Minas Gerais, but the right-wing pathetic opposition has irresponsably decided not to execute the project. Pure tantrum. Anyway, I’m from Minas Gerais and I really appreciate your words. You’re welcome back anytime 🙂

  4. Adorei o seu post sobre Belo Horizonte. Quer conhecer lugares em Minas Gerais? Visite o blog http://anabelajardim.blogspot.com.br

  5. Hello!
    First of all, thank you very much for all the accurate points about my home town. You’re quite right: we are in desperate need of an expansion of our subway system and YES pão de queijo is the best snack (to me EVER, but well…)! One thing thoug: Ouro Preto’s architecture is not neo-gothic. In here we call it “colonial”.
    Anyway, I hope you enjoy the rest of your staying here in Brasil, and come to visit us again soon!

    • Bruno Siqueira | June 27, 2014 at 7:07 am | Reply

      Ouro Preto has both archtetures baroque (wich you called “colonial”] and neo-gothic. Actually there’s others styles like a Niemeyer’s building. (modernism)

      • “Ouro Preto has both archtetures baroque (wich you called “colonial”] and neo-gothic. Actually there’s others styles like a Niemeyer’s building. (modernism)”

        Wrong! Wrong! A majority of historical styles in the city are of the eighteenth century: Baroque (until 1750) and Rococo (after 1750).

        For more information, see this (portuguese/english edition) http://www.iphan.gov.br/baixaFcdAnexo.do?id=3109

  6. Boa noite . Nos mineiros e que agradecemos a sua visita em nossa querida Belo horizonte .muito obrigada . Vc está em casa .

  7. Fiquei muito feliz com sua alegria em conhecer nossa querida Belo Horizonte. Amo muito minha cidade e espero que você volte várias vezes por aqui. Um grande beijo e seja feliz!

  8. Hello! I’m really happy to know you liked our city! People from other countries only know São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, so it’s really nice when we hear about someone coming to the best city in Brasil, which is, of course, Beagá! hahahaha 🙂 I went to Colombia x Greece too and it was an amazing experience. That’s why I keep saying: the World Cup should always be in Brasil… hahahah. Anyway, feel free to visit us again anytime you want, and bring your friends and family too. We, mineiros, have a huge heart and it will always be open to tourists and visitors. As we say in here, “você já é de casa”: make yourself at home! Best wishes from Belo Horizonte, BH, Belô!

  9. Nice!! I miss my city and was nice to read good things from you. Hope you can go back there. Obrigada

  10. Eduardo Júlio | June 26, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Reply

    Em relação à primeira dica, na verdade você pode ir do aeroporto de confins ao centro de BH por R$ 9,50. Basta pegar o ônibus que vai para a rodoviária, que também fica no centro.
    E Feijão Tropeiro é mesmo uma comida excelente. E a comida mineira em geral, não há melhor!

  11. Flávio Silveira | June 26, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Reply

    Man, you really should go in Inhotim museum (www.inhotim.org.br/en). It’s a contemporary art museum pleaced in a 110-hectare visiting área, having the biggest living spieces botanic Garden in Brazil. It’s about 20 miles from Belo Horizonte. Also there is lots of others historic cites, like Ouro Preto (Sabará, Tiradentes, Diamantina, Mariana, Catas Altas…) and waterfalls, like Serra do Cipó and Serra do Caraça.

  12. I’m from BH and I’m very happy with your post. Minas is with open arms to receive it again.

  13. Nice! Good to know that people who.come here appreciate our city which I ‘m very proud of, some people just criticize and you came with this very realistic overview and as I live near mineirao I gues you should have visited Lagoa da pampulha, its a beautiful lagoonn and our goverment does not regard any attention to its matter:pollution.it was a demand from Fifa to to clean it , but it didin’t happen.. Thanks for your article!

  14. Que ótimo que gosto de BH. Todas as cidades Minas têm seus encantos. Também sou mineira e sou apaixonada por meu Estado, principalmente a culinária. Sempre que viajo, procuro restaurantes que ofereçam comida mineira. Um outro ponto turístico que amo ir quando estou em BH é a praça do Papa e o Mirante. Vale a pena você conhecer, como também visitar a minha cidade mineira, Montes Claros! Seja sempre bem vindo, uai!

  15. English guy living in BH…. no.4 not entirely accurate but always worth checking the schedule online. Nice page!

  16. You should travel to other places in Minas, if you like nature, waterfalls, great food, come to some inn near Serra da Canastra

  17. obrigado,,,,pelo seu olhar sobre BH,,,,vem sempre aki…#AMERICANOMINEIRO….

  18. Hi, it’s great that you enjoyed being in Belo Horizonte, you sad in your post that the Metro will be extended, sorry to tell you my friend, but there are 20 years of this project and the people who lives in Belo Horizonte doesn’t believe on this. anyways, thank you for the visit. glad you like it.

  19. Edmilson Batista Soares | June 30, 2014 at 1:02 am | Reply

    Too bad not visited the ecological park Mangabeiras in Belo Horizonte. It is wonderful! I was born, I was raised and live in this city.

  20. Poliany Machado | June 30, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Reply

    Hi, next time in BH, you should meet Serra do Cipo is a wonderful place. Gets an hour after Lagoa Santa, also has the Lapinha da Serra, a inexplicable place

    I received an American friend and I took him in Inhontim, and he loved it. Tiradentes is beautiful but is a little far from BH.

    I enjoyed reading good things you said about my town. I lived for many years in Canada and people who don’t know the Brazil speaks bad things about it.
    If you want to add me on facebook I can give you good tips about BH
    Poliany Machado

  21. It is nice to know that you appreciated our city/state.

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