Florianopolis is a popular holiday destination for Brazilians and Argentinians alike. While it is a well known spot in South America, it's relatively hidden to the rest of the world. Most tourists go to Rio de Janeiro, Natal, or Fortaleza.
Florianopolis is one of my favorite destinations. It has everything I look for: over 40 beaches, magnificent natural beauty, a great climate, a vibrant nightlife scene, and plenty of things to do. If you are lucky enough to make your way to the paradisiacal island, here are nine things you can't miss.
1 | Enjoy a sunday at Praia Mole
Every sunday, hundreds of locals and visitors flock to one of the most popular beaches on the island: Praia Mole. Grab a few chairs, a "guarda-sol," and enjoy a cold beer. There is a beach restaurant called Barraca do Mole where you can munch on some local favorites, such as fried shrimps and sliced steak with unions.
2 | Visit Lagoa de Conceicao
Lagoa de Conceicao is located at the center of the island, bordering a large lagoon. It's a vibrant village with plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars. It has an artistic feel to it and features a little bar street where people from around the island gather on friday and saturday nights to enjoy good food and vibrant music.
3 | Dance Forro and Samba at Deraiz
Photo: Bar Deraiz
One of the best aspects of Brazilian culture is without doubt it's music. A great place to get a taste of this is Bar Deraiz. It features local bands playing Samba on Sunday nights and Forro on Tuesday nights. It's located on the road between Lagoa de Conceicao and Praia Joacinha, not far from the beach. Make sure to have a few caipirinhas... I've found that they vastly improve my dance skills.
4 | Have lunch at Cirrus
One of my favorite lunch spots is Cirrus, a restaurant located in Barra da Lagoa. It's a so called "quilo" place. You take what you fancy from a buffet and weigh your plate on a scale. You pay according to the weight, about R$30 ($13,50) per kilo. Cirrus features a wide variety of local delicacies.
5 | Go surfing and conquer the waves
Florianopolis is one of the surf capitals of Brasil. It's wide variety of beaches offers surf opportunities to beginners as well as advanced surfers. The best place to learn is Barra da Lagoa, where the beach is somewhat protected, resulting in gentle and friendly waves. For more advanced surfers, Praia Mole is a good option as well as Praia Mozambique.
6 | Fly like a bird and go Parasailing
The take-off can be a little scary, but once you're airborne, you can lean back in your chair and enjoy the beautiful landscape from the sky. I felt so comfortable that I was able to take out my iPhone and snap some pictures and video in air! How cool is that? Augustine at Zona de Voo does a great job organizing these parasailing flights on a small hill right next to Praia Mole.
7 | Eat sushi at Kanpai
Set on the hill that separates Lagoa de Conceicao from the city, this buffet style sushi restaurant's best feature is its amazing view over the village and the lagoon. Floor to ceiling windows offer a truly romantic setting. It is a great place to spend an intimate dinner with your loved one.
8 | Explore the island's many beaches
Florianopolis features 42 beaches, each one with its own characteristics. For surfers, Praia Mole, Praia Joaquina, and Praia Mocambique are the best options. A local favorite is Praia Riozinho, near the village of Campeche.
If you like being naked, Praia Da Galheta is the only beach where you can do that. Other nice ones are Praia Campeche and the beaches at Pântano do Sul and Jurerê. The latter is a hangout for wealthy Brazilians.
9 | Party!!!
Florianopolis is known for its exquisite club scene. In the weekends, people from far into the mainland make their way to Floripa to party into the wee-hours. In Centro, options include El Divino and Fields, where they play the local music called "Sertaneja."
A number of famous clubs are located there, such as the day party club P12, Cafe de Music, and Pacha. These clubs are not recommended for those on a budget, since entrance fees range from around USD 40 for a normal night up to USD 200 for special nights such as New Year's Eve.
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