Where To Celebrate Carnival in Brazil – Best Cities & Parties
- Thursday January 19th, 2023
- Posted by: Amanda Ennes
- Category: Brazil
If you are planning to spend Carnival in Brazil, you are probably very excited to experience it all! The parties, the fun, the costumes, and the glitters. As much as Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is the most famous worldwide, there are plenty of other options. So, if you want to feel the taste of the different parties, Brazil has many opportunities.
There is something for everyone; those who like comfort and luxury and those who would like to experience street parties. And if you want to go to places only locals go, we also have that! Let’s check the best cities and parties to celebrate Carnival in Brazil.
When is Carnival in Brazil?
Carnival happens around 40 days before Easter. So, usually during the month of February, sometimes March. There are Carnival festivities all around Brazil, but we will list the most famous locations below. You can enjoy Carnival by going to street parties or watching the samba schools’ parades.
In 2023, Carnival is held from February 17th to 21st.
If you want to learn more about Carnival in Brazil, its history, facts, and vocabulary, check this blog post: All About Carnival In Brazil – History, Where To Go & Vocabulary
Rio de Janeiro
While in Rio, you can enjoy Carnival both ways: going to street parties or watching the samba schools. I mean, you can also be part of the parade yourself if you want. The only thing you need to do is buy a costume from the school.
Oh, and for all that matters, you can do both: enjoying the street party during the day and going to the sambadrome at night.
Blocos de rua are street parades organized all around the city during Carnival season. They are also called bloquinhos or carnaval de rua. They usually start really early (as early as 7 am) and have no time to end. There are different blocos: some are really crowded and famous and can attract over 1 million people. Others are less famous and equally fun, making it possible to enjoy with kids and family.
You can find a list with the date and time for every bloco in Rio de Janeiro at blocosderua.com (they are still updating it). Some of most famous blocos de rua in Rio are Sargento Pimenta, Banda de Ipanema, Cordão da Bola Preta, Carmelitas, and Céu na Terra. If we can give you advice, here it goes: do not be afraid of waking up early — the best blocos de rua start around 7/8 am.
On the other hand, we have the samba schools’ parade. They take place for four consecutive nights at the Sambadrome and you can watch from the luxury cabins or from the stands. Tickets for the regular seats can be bought here, while the cabins are sold by individual companies.
If you want to try something different from Rio, Salvador has the best axé music festivities during Carnival. Some Brazilians say everyone must spend at least one Carnival season in Salvador.
You can enjoy Carnival in Salvador by buying ‘abadás’. They are official shirts that give you access to the street parades. However, you can also go for free as ‘pipoca’, people without official shirts that enjoy the same parties from outside of the designated area.
Carnival in Salvador is famous because of the ‘trio elétricos’, special sound trucks in which the artist sings from the top of it. The most famous artists during Carnival in Salvador are Ivete Sangalo, Cláudia Leite, Chiclete com Banana, and Durval Lélys.
Carnaval Magia is the name for Carnival in Florianópolis. While there are some street Carnival in the city, as well as samba schools, Carnival in Florianópolis is famous for the exclusive luxury parties in bars, restaurants and nightclubs. They host famous DJs who are responsible for all-night parties across the city.
Recife and Olinda
One of the most traditional ways to celebrate Carnival in Brazil is going to Recife and Olinda, sister cities in Pernambuco. The street Carnival is huge there, and you can try Frevo — the local music genre and dance. Guinness Book of World Records registered Galo da Madrugada, a bloco de rua in Recife, as the biggest carnival parade in the world. Over 2,500,000 people followed their parade in 2013.
If you want to enjoy carnival like a local, you must try Ouro Preto. This small historical city in Minas Gerais gets packed with tourists from all over Brazil during Carnival season. This is where you will find young people and college kids partying all day long. The street Carnival is great and the college dorms and fraternity houses also throw awesome parties. These college dorms also have accommodation options for tourists during the Carnival.
The carnival in São Paulo is similar to Rio de Janeiro. There are street parties all day long, as well as samba schools’ parades. Even though Carnival in São Paulo is not as famous as Rio’s, it’s also very nice and fun. The city gets parties and events spread all around. The main avenue, Avenida Paulista, also gets packets with partygoers having fun.
Where and How To Celebrate Carnival in Brazil
Wherever you choose to go, do not forget to drink responsibly, wear sunscreen, drink lots of water, and be responsible. Take care of your personal belongings and be aware of pickpockets. If you drink a bit too much, make sure there is a friend watching out for you. Use public transportation to avoid heavy traffic and have fun! Lots of fun!
Caminhos Language Centre is the largest and most exciting Portuguese school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We have an excellent infrastructure, over 15 experienced Brazilian teachers, and a friendly multilingual support staff. We are the only school in Brazil able to offer Portuguese group courses throughout the year on 10 different levels. Moreover, our school also offers more than just Portuguese lessons for foreigners, we offer you the complete Rio de Janeiro experience. Every day we organize 100% free and fun activities for you to socialize and practice your Portuguese. We can also help you with a student visa for Brazil and accommodation in Rio de Janeiro. Follow us on Instagram for some Portuguese tips and news.