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• São João Del Rei

São João del Rei affords a unique look at a cidade historica that didn't suffer a great decline when the gold boom ended in the 1800s. Modern São João has the unselfconscious urban vitality of a modern city, which can come as a welcome contrast to the preserved-in-amber quality of neighboring Tiradentes or some of the other more studiously conserved historical towns. Downtown there are plenty of highrises and other trappings of 21st-century Brazil, yet around every corner lurk unexpected colonial surprises. The historic city center, which is protected by Brazil's Landmarks Commission, features two good museums, several of the country's finest churches and some gorgeous old mansions – one of which belonged to the late and still-popular never-quite-president Tancredo Neves. Floodlights illuminate the churches every night, adding to the city's aesthetic appeal.

It has a tropical altitude climate, comfortable during the day and cool at night. The average annual temperature is 17°C (63ºF).

How to get there
By Air: the closest airport with regular flights is Confins, in Belo Horizonte. Leaving Belo Horizonte, follow BR 040 to Barbacena. Enter the city and take the São João Del'Rey exit along BR 265.

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