Porto Alegre travel guide

Porto Alegre Tourism | Porto Alegre Guide

You're Going to Love Porto Alegre

Porto Alegre is the capital and largest city of the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. It has a great blend of Spanish, Brazilian, and Portuguese cultures, giving the city an international atmosphere. Porto Alegre is a wealthy city, with good shopping, excellent restaurants, and exciting bars.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Porto Alegre

1. Enjoy the Sunsets

Porto Alegre is famous for its sunsets and the locals gather beside the refurbished Usina do Gasômetro to watch the sun fall into the Guaíba River.

2. The Parks

The city is dotted with fabulous parks, such as Parque Moinhos de Vento and Parque Marinha do Brasil, where you can enjoy some of the area's stunning plant life and getaway from the bustle of the city.

3. Dance the Night Away

There are good bars and clubs throughout the city; check out the areas of Cidade Baixa and Moinhos de Vento for some of the best.

4. Get Immersed in Culture

Fundacao Ibere Camargo and MARGS are both excellent art galleries, with good collections of both contemporary and traditional local artworks.

5. Take a Boat

Take the ferry to Guaíba and enjoy the top views from its beach walkway.

What to do in Porto Alegre

1. Iconic And Artistic

The building known today as the Rio Grande do Sul Museum of Art is as majestic on the outside as its vast, sprawling, 2,600 piece collection of visual artworks displayed carefully on the inside. Today, the collection comprises paintings and illustrations on paper by famous South American artists, local Brazilian artists and sculptors. Its neoclassical, bright yellow exterior might draw you closer but the free admission, bright, open interiors and a chance to spend the afternoon contemplating the works of Latin American artists such as Leopoldo Gotuzzo, Libindo Ferrás and Oscar Boeira will keep you riveted.

2. Religion In The Heart Of The City

The Metropolitan Cathedral in Porto Alegre is located right in the heart of the city for a reason: it proves just how close to the letter and spirit of Roman Catholicism the city's inhabitants truly were - and continue to be today. Enter the domed cathedral, flanked by its two towers and, on the inside, you'll have a view of its airy, vaulted ceilings, decorated with intricate carvings, crown moldings, temple columns, chandeliers and yet more statues. Take some time to contemplate the mystery of its stained glass, which tells a story using light and color.

3. A Not-So-Secret Garden

The entrance to the Porto Alegre Botanical Garden feels to every traveler like the initiation of a journey to a secret garden. With its cobblestones, lush green palms flanking the paths and shallow staircase leading in a loose spiral downwards, the botanical gardens welcome you with a sense of entering another realm. If you choose to walk through the looking glass, a selection of thriving cacti, sweet succulents and nurseries for orchids, vines, and trees will greet you. Take time to walk through its forests, across its bridges spanning small ponds and streams, and rest for a leisurely lunch on the verdant softness of its sprawling lawn.

4. Tune Into The Current Culture

What happens when finance meets fine art? You get the chance to completely restore, co-opt and modernize an early 20th century Baroque-Rococo style building in Porto Alegre for the purposes of revitalizing cultural programming in Brazil. The Santander Culture space focuses on fine art works and collection acquisitions of Latin American gaucho painters as well as screening foreign and landmark films in its movie theater. Clearly, commercial activity and culture go hand in hand.

5. Paddles Away!

Take a break and breathe in the scents of nature at Farroupilha Park, a major urban green space where residents and visitors alike come to take a break from Porto Alegre - without ever leaving the city. Relax with a picnic under the trees, or hit the waters, where you can rent a paddle boat for another view. Stroll along its pathways and discover several stalls serving up snacks and antiques, art work and souvenirs.

1. Iconic And Artistic

The building known today as the Rio Grande do Sul Museum of Art is as majestic on the outside as its vast, sprawling, 2,600 piece collection of visual artworks displayed carefully on the inside. Today, the collection comprises paintings and illustrations on paper by famous South American artists, local Brazilian artists and sculptors. Its neoclassical, bright yellow exterior might draw you closer but the free admission, bright, open interiors and a chance to spend the afternoon contemplating the works of Latin American artists such as Leopoldo Gotuzzo, Libindo Ferrás and Oscar Boeira will keep you riveted.

2. Religion In The Heart Of The City

The Metropolitan Cathedral in Porto Alegre is located right in the heart of the city for a reason: it proves just how close to the letter and spirit of Roman Catholicism the city's inhabitants truly were - and continue to be today. Enter the domed cathedral, flanked by its two towers and, on the inside, you'll have a view of its airy, vaulted ceilings, decorated with intricate carvings, crown moldings, temple columns, chandeliers and yet more statues. Take some time to contemplate the mystery of its stained glass, which tells a story using light and color.

3. A Not-So-Secret Garden

The entrance to the Porto Alegre Botanical Garden feels to every traveler like the initiation of a journey to a secret garden. With its cobblestones, lush green palms flanking the paths and shallow staircase leading in a loose spiral downwards, the botanical gardens welcome you with a sense of entering another realm. If you choose to walk through the looking glass, a selection of thriving cacti, sweet succulents and nurseries for orchids, vines, and trees will greet you. Take time to walk through its forests, across its bridges spanning small ponds and streams, and rest for a leisurely lunch on the verdant softness of its sprawling lawn.

4. Tune Into The Current Culture

What happens when finance meets fine art? You get the chance to completely restore, co-opt and modernize an early 20th century Baroque-Rococo style building in Porto Alegre for the purposes of revitalizing cultural programming in Brazil. The Santander Culture space focuses on fine art works and collection acquisitions of Latin American gaucho painters as well as screening foreign and landmark films in its movie theater. Clearly, commercial activity and culture go hand in hand.

5. Paddles Away!

Take a break and breathe in the scents of nature at Farroupilha Park, a major urban green space where residents and visitors alike come to take a break from Porto Alegre - without ever leaving the city. Relax with a picnic under the trees, or hit the waters, where you can rent a paddle boat for another view. Stroll along its pathways and discover several stalls serving up snacks and antiques, art work and souvenirs.

Where to Eat in Porto Alegre

Churrascaria Giovanaz is an excellent all-you-can-eat steakhouse in Cidade Baixa, with a menu costing R$25. Churrascaria Galpão Crioulo is a more upmarket barbecue restaurant, with mains costing R$65.

When to visit Porto Alegre

Porto Alegre in September
Estimated hotel price
C$ 46
1 night at 3-star hotel
Porto Alegre in September
Estimated hotel price
C$ 46
1 night at 3-star hotel

Porto Alegre has a humid, subtropical climate with significant precipitation all year round. Summer temperatures can top 90 degrees, so visiting in spring or fall is perhaps more comfortable.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Porto Alegre

Plane

Porto Alegre's main airport is Salgado Filho International Airport (POA), which has good domestic connections and direct flights to many international destinations. The Trensurb train will take you into the city center for just R$1.70 in 12 minutes. A taxi costs around R$25.

Train

The Trensurb network extends to neighboring cities in the region and fares are set at R$1.70.

Car

Porto Alegre is well connected by road to other major Brazilian cities. The BR-101 is the main route north and the BR-290 connects with Argentina and Uruguay.

Bus

Porto Alegre has good regional and international daily bus services to Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Airlines serving Porto Alegre

United Airlines
Good (2,856 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,393 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,189 reviews)
KLM
Good (355 reviews)
Air France
Good (403 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,065 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,337 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,442 reviews)
SWISS
Good (458 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,222 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (975 reviews)
Iberia
Good (927 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,458 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (549 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (783 reviews)
Ethiopian Air
Good (147 reviews)
Avianca
Good (809 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (816 reviews)
Air Europa
Good (145 reviews)
ITA Airways
Good (126 reviews)
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Where to stay in Porto Alegre

Cidade Baixa - this is a historic neighborhood and is populated by old mansions and impressive colonial buildings. It also has lots of good bars around Rua General Lima e Silva.

Popular Neighborhoods in Porto Alegre

Moinhos de Vento - this is one to the city's most upscale neighborhoods, with expensive clubs and restaurants and some of the better hotels.

Guaíba - Guaíba is actually a separate city, but is easily reached by ferry across Guaíba River. It offers a wonderful beach promenade and a relaxed atmosphere.

Where to stay in popular areas of Porto Alegre

Most booked hotels in Porto Alegre

Intercity Porto Alegre Cidade Baixa
Excellent (8.4, Excellent reviews)
C$ 68+
ibis Porto Alegre Aeroporto
Excellent (8.2, Excellent reviews)
C$ 61+
Master Express Alberto Bins
Good (7.8, Good reviews)
C$ 30+
Umbu Hotel Porto Alegre
Good (7.7, Good reviews)
C$ 36+

How to Get Around Porto Alegre

Public Transportation

The Trensurb is the most convenient form of public transport and tickets cost R$1.70. The city bus network is extensive but costs more at R$3.25.

Taxi

Taxis are plentiful and safe. The starting fare is R$5 and then you will pay around R$4 per mile.

Car

Porto Alegre has a good urban road network and connections to national highways. You can find Avis in town, and car rental costs start around R$60.

The Cost of Living in Porto Alegre

Shopping Streets

Central Market on Avenida Borges de Medeiros has 100 stalls selling local produce, while Bourbon Shopping Wallig is the largest shopping mall in South America, with a huge range of fashion, electronics, and household goods.

Groceries and Other

A quart of milk in Porto Alegre costs R$3 and a loaf of bread is R$4.21.

Cheap meal
C$ 8.17
A pair of jeans
C$ 73.79
Single public transport ticket
C$ 1.53
Cappuccino
C$ 2.42