Cities in Brazil

The Top 10 Cities of Brazil

Cities in Brazil are home to nearly 75% of Brazil's population. It wasn't long ago, perhaps less than 40 years ago, that most Brazilians called the rural areas of Brazil home.

The shift to urban life from rural life has presented several social challenges for the country of Brazil in both the larger and the smaller cities.

The influx of people coming into the cities from the rural areas of Brazil has caused the favelas, or slums, to grow at a rapid rate along with crime and poverty. The cities did not have the housing or jobs to absorb all of the people migrating into the city.

City governments in Brazil have attempted to deal with the favela communities in several ways, including the demolition of the favelas during the 1970s. When this didn't work, the governments finally began to recognize these people as part of the larger community and now provide services for them. Services might include sewage, electricity, and paved roads. Schools and health clinics have also been established.

There are increased numbers of homes in the cities, but still the poorer people do not have the means to purchase them, so it's very difficult for those coming into the city from the country to find a decent home.

Top 10 Cities in Brazil

Sao Paulo

This vibrant city is known for music, theatre, museums, car racing, sports, and incredibly varied ethnic cuisine. It's also home to 20+ landmarks important to the history of Brazil. Sao Paulo is Brazil's premiere business center. Nearly every industry of Brazil is represented in Sao Paulo, one of the busiest cities in Brazil.

  • Population - 10 to 11 million

  • Sao Paulo Fashion Week - largest fashion show in Latin America held annually

  • Home to over 15 universities and colleges

  • 2 major train stations and 2 airports

  • Has the highest number of regularly operating helicopters in the world

Rio de Janeiro

Rio is perhaps best known for its amazing beaches, such as Copacabana, Leblon, and Ipanema, but Rio has so much more to offer. This city is also famous for stunningly beautiful scenery and carnivals.

Copacabana Beach
  • Population - over 5 million

  • Christ the Redeemer statue

  • Maracana Stadium - one of the largest football stadiums in the world

  • Sugarloaf Mountain

  • Hosting 2016 Olympics

  • Tourism is Rio de Janeiro's primary industry


Salvador has been dubbed Brazil's capital of happiness. This city is a mix of rich historical heritage and modern life.

  • Population - just over 2 million

  • Noted for - music, food, arts, and architecture

  • Industries - petrochemical plant, oil refinery, and tourism

  • Salvador is one of Brazil's most important ports and trade centers

  • Host to the largest street party in the world - Carnaval of Salvador da Bahia


This is one of the most unique cities in Brazil as it is actually not really a city at all! Brasilia is an administrative district of the Federal District of Brazil.

Brasilia is one of the few planned communities that exist in the world. It was built in just four years and appears from the sky in the shape of an airplane!

All branches of the Brazilian government are located here, as well as many major companies and industries.

  • Population - 2.6 million

  • Capital of Brazil

  • Brasilia International Airport

  • Important government and economic hub of Brazil

  • Industry - construction, recycling, furniture, pharmaceuticals, food processing

  • Historic sites and museums

Belo Horizonte

  • Population - 2.4 million

  • Largest city of Minas Gerais

  • Industry - agriculture, mining, automobiles, textiles, biotechnology, steel, gold and gems

  • Music, theatre, dance, food, and museums

  • Several cultural landmarks


  • Population - 2.5 million

  • Nightlife, carnivals, comedians, cuisine, music festivals

  • Industry - tourism and national and international commerce

  • 8 historic landmarks

  • 16 miles of urban beaches


  • Population - 1.8 million

  • Capital of Parana

  • 2nd largest manufacturer of automobiles in Brazil

  • Industry - commerce, finance, and services

  • Ecological capital of Brazil - 28 parks and many wooded areas


  • Population - 1.7 million

  • Capital of Amazonas

  • Surrounded by the Amazon jungle

  • Home to largest neighborhood in Latin America - New Town

  • Industries - petroleum refining, Brazil nuts, timber and the manufacture of motorcycles, soap, ships, chemicals, and beer


  • Population - 1.5 million

  • Capital of Pernambuco

  • 2 international ports

  • Guararapes International Airport

  • Home to over 50 bridges in city proper

  • Most prominent and important commercial center of North Brazil

  • 2nd largest medical center in Brazil

  • Industries - electronics for automobiles, canning, textiles, brewing, manufacturing of tubes, and chocolate

  • Carnivals, shopping centers, museums, and home to musicians, writers, and dancers


  • Population - 1.4 million

  • Capital of Para

  • Serves as entrance to the Amazon - home to an airport, bus station, and port

  • Known as the City of Mango Trees because there are so many mango trees throughout the city

  • 14 freshwater beaches

  • Hosts the most important religious celebration in Brazil - Cirio of Nazare

  • Belem International Airport - largest airport in North Brazil

  • Industries - international cargo, warehouses along miles of wharf to handle incoming and outgoing cargo

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Cities in Brazil Other Visitors Have Shared

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Im shaam from pakistan im 30 year old i speak korean hindi english but i love portuguese im speek korean excellent know i read portuguese i like brazil …

Love Embu in São Paulo 
It was a joy to be in the open market in Embu. To walk the beautiful streets, lined with quaint shops and kiosks. The goods were well made and the people …

Congrats for your website 
Hello! I'm Brazilian, and I was reading your website, I just wanna say I really love it! Most of North Americans don't know anything about Brazil and …

My impressions of five Brazilian cities 
I lived in Brazil in the late 1960s. At that time, in my early 20s, I traveled by bus to visit Recife, Maceio, Aracajú, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Ouro …

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