Tiradentes, the Cutest Town in Brazil?

One of the pleasures of travel is that you never know what you will find. I’d heard about the small town of Tiradentes–that it was a cute colonial town in Brazil–but I didn’t expect it to be so…um…perfect.

Tiradentes is a town of about 7000 people in the rural, hilly state of Minas Gerais, about 3 hours from the larger and better-known colonial town of Ouro Preto. I’ve been to small towns in Brazil and most of them are far from cute. Tiradentes, on the other hand, is one preserved cobblestone street after another filled with lovely artisan shops.

Tiradentes: Colonial Town in Minas Gerais, Brazil | This Is My Happiness

Tiradentes was founded in 1702 but with a different name. The town was later named after its most famous resident, Tiradentes, a leader of the inconfidência movement, the unsuccessful attempt in 1789 to separate from Portuguese rule. The town’s colonial style is a result of the former wealth of the gold rush that occurred in this region of Brazil.

Tiradentes: Colonial Town in Minas Gerais, Brazil | This Is My Happiness

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to document this last stop on my recent road trip through Minas Gerais well as it had to be cut short by one day due to a family obligation. The time I was there was not conducive to good photos–the day we arrived was very overcast and the following day was pouring rain. However, despite these less-than-ideal conditions, the rustic beauty of this town lay around every street corner.

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Besides the web of cobblestone streets and walled alleyways, Tiradentes has a few nice churches and a museum dedicated to the inconfidência movement.

Tiradentes: Colonial Town in Minas Gerais, Brazil | This Is My Happiness

Tiradentes: Colonial Town in Minas Gerais, Brazil | This Is My Happiness

Kids love all the horses in Tiradentes. For $2, kids can ride a horse or pony around one of the squares, but there are also carriage rides from the town center that go for 30 or 60 minutes all around town.

Tiradentes: Colonial Town in Minas Gerais, Brazil | This Is My Happiness

The architectural details of Tiradentes include white walls, brightly-colored trim…

Tiradentes: Colonial Town in Minas Gerais, Brazil | This Is My Happiness

curved windows, tile roofs, intricate iron work on street lamps and balconies, and stone steps leading to the doors.

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Tiradentes: Colonial Town in Minas Gerais, Brazil | This Is My Happiness

Tiradentes: Colonial Town in Minas Gerais, Brazil | This Is My Happiness

Tiradentes is the best place I have visited for Brazilian handicrafts, so if you like shopping for that kind of thing, put Tiradentes on your list if you come to Brazil. Artesanato refers to handmade products such as ceramics, wooden sculptures, and wall hangings made from metal or iron. Tiradentes is full of small shops selling such products that are sometimes even being made as you pass by (see the man below carving a wooden sculpture in the evening).

Tiradentes: Colonial Town in Minas Gerais, Brazil | This Is My Happiness

Tiradentes: Colonial Town in Minas Gerais, Brazil | This Is My Happiness

Tiradentes: Colonial Town in Minas Gerais, Brazil | This Is My Happiness

Artesanato refers not just to objects but also to food, including “caseira,” or homemade, sweets, jams, cakes, crystallized fruits, cachaca (alcohol made from distilled sugar cane), and peppers and other spicy condiments. A shop like this one makes a good place to buy gifts, such as passionfruit jam, to take home to friends.

Tiradentes: Colonial Town in Minas Gerais, Brazil | This Is My Happiness

I found Tiradentes to be a peaceful place, one that is both inviting to guests and proud of its heritage. Have you been to the colonial towns of Minas Gerais?

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19 Comments

  • Joan Bartos says:

    What a beautiful little town indeed! Your post and pictures are just wonderful,Jenna, and make me want to plan a trip to Brazil.I look forward to your future posts! Safe travels!

  • noel says:

    What a stunning place, I love all the wonderful details, cobbled streets and colorful buildings. I would love to visit this area some day.
    noel recently posted..Alcazar in Seville, Travel Photo MondaysMy Profile

    • Jenna says:

      The towns I visited would be wonderful for someone like you who loves details and to take photographs. So many details and beautiful views around every corner.

  • Ryan says:

    Tiradentes truly does seem almost perfect! Not sure it’s just having photographer’s patience, but from your photos it seems very quiet and relaxing too; definitely looks like my kind of place. Will have to consider throwing that into to our family trip to Brazil 🙂
    Ryan recently posted..Day Trips From Ljubljana: 5 Reasons You Need To Visit Lake Bled, SloveniaMy Profile

    • Jenna says:

      Ha ha, definitely not photographer’s patience because I took these photos quickly (I have two small kids to keep an eye on most of the time!), but yes, Tiradentes is pretty quiet, especially some of the prettier back streets.

  • Illia says:

    Looks wonderful. I’m planning to visit Brasil next summer, will try to see Tiradentes too! 🙂
    Illia recently posted..How to make money while travelling the worldMy Profile

    • Jenna says:

      If you need any advice about your trip, let me know! If you go to Tiradentes, don’t miss Ouro Preto.

  • Miguel Malta says:

    Beautifful. It looks like home. You should also visit us in Portugal. Bring your family, there is plenty of these litle towns everywhere.

  • Tricia says:

    Jenna, you make a fantastic ambassador to Brazil! As you know, Shawn and I have yet to visit South America, but your posts ever-tempt me. Aside from the charming lanes you’ve captured here, something about Tiradentes that piques my interest is that one can see artisans at work. This is probably a question deserving of another post, but what is the cost of living like there?
    Tricia recently posted..Hvar Island: A Croatian Odyssey of Music, History & WineMy Profile

  • Cindy says:

    What a charming town, and such inviting photographs. Thanks so much for another great post. I loved the image of the man carving in the window!

  • Sandra Kuntz-Ficker says:

    Hi Jenna,
    Your site and comments on the places you have visited in Brazil are very rich and inviting. My husband and I are making a trip to Sao Paulo next month because of a conference, and are planning to visit Ouro Preto. Now that I see this about Tiradentes I feel like visiting it too! How would you go from Sao Paulo to both towns? Would it be by bus? How about train? Or renting a car? Any advice on this would be very helpul!
    Best,
    Sandra

    • Jenna says:

      Hi Sandra,
      I believe that the best way to get around to these places is by bus. Trains are not widely used in Brazil, and I wouldn’t recommend renting a car unless you have practice driving in Brazil (some of the roads to Minas Gerais are very good, but some left me a little on edge!). If you don’t want to go all the way to Tiradentes, you can try Mariana, which is very close to Ouro Preto. Diamantina is another UNESCO town in the state, but I don’t know how far it is from the other towns. Ouro Preto is definitely worth the visit and you should have at least two full days there. If you haven’t decided for sure where you want to go, you should also look into the Costa Verde, which is so gorgeous! You can see more of my info on Brazil here: http://thisismyhappiness.com/category/brazil/
      Have a great trip!

  • Tania says:

    I am Brazilian and I loved this city and amazing congratulations post was amazing

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