There are a few scenic routes through the South of Brazil which show off the natural beauty of one of Brazil’s most mountainous regions, the Serra Gaúcha. A little further below, I’ll describe two of the more popular ones.
The Serra Gaúcha, or The Gaucho Highlands, is the mountainous region in the northeastern portion of Rio Grande do Sul, a state in southern Brazil. This mountainous region is home to many Brazilians of German and Italian descent. Consequently, the cities in the Serra Gaúcha reflect German and Italian influences through their architecture, gastronomy and culture.
Several tourist routes run through the most picturesque cities of the Serra Gaúcha, particularly the Rota Romântica, following the tracks of German colonization and also the Italian-flavored route, Caminhos da Colônia.
Caminhos da Colônia
Caminhos da Colônia, Portuguese for “Pathways of the Colony”, is a scenic tourist route of four settlements in the Serra Gaúcha in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. The 35km route runs between the cities of Caxias do Sul, Flores da Cunha, Otávio Rocha and the old settlement of Santa Justina which never developed into a city like the other three.
The tour route passes through the beautiful wine country of Rio Grande do Sul, highlighting the cities colonized by Italian immigrants (some of which still speak a dialect of Venetian called Talian) more than 100 years ago. Highlights include viewing wineries, cathedrals, museums, old mills and the bucolic and beautiful Italian region of the Serra Gaúcha.
The Rota Romântica, Portuguese for the “Romantic Route”, is a scenic tourist route that runs through 13 municipalities located in the mountainous Serra Gaúcha region. The area was first colonized by German immigrants in the first half of the 19th century.
The strong German influence can still be seen in each of these beautiful towns and villages – this truly sets the tour route apart from others in Brazil. The Germanic roots are visible in the architecture, gastronomy and occasionally in the accent and language (Riograndenser Hunsrückisch) of the people – and, of course, in their Northern European appearance.
There’s an official website in Portuguese for more info on the ‘Caminhos’ scenic route however its in bad need of repairs. Likewise, for the Rota site, go here (also in Portuguese). In addition, if you’d like to read a magazine articIe I wrote on Italian immigration to Brazil, you can find it on my site here.
Here’s the Microregion of Rio Grande do Sul where the Caminho is, while the Rota passes through the region just below the area marked in red.