Florianópolis ("Floripa" for short) is a coastal city in southern Brazil, the capital of the state of Santa Catarina. Most of the city's area consists of the island of Santa Catarina, connected to the mainland by two bridges, and only a small part of the island can really be called urban—the rest is full of gorgeous beaches and nature, including a large lagoon. Though famous for its beaches, Floripa also has great hikes and beautiful forested mountains. Here you can enjoy the outgoing culture and natural beauty of coastal Brazil in a less dangerous place than Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, or Recife.
Florianópolis gets busy in the summer, when its population of about 500,000 swells with tourists (both domestic and foreign) to 1.5 million. Naturally, this causes lots of traffic and generally strains the local infrastructure, so it's better to come in the off-season if you can. Make sure to visit when the weather is nice so you can enjoy all the outdoor activities.
Florianopolis is on an island of 424.4 km² (54 km by 18 km) (= 163.9 mi²) in the Atlantic Ocean, and a small peninsula of 1210 km² on the mainland of southern Brazil between latitude 27° 20' and 27° 51' south and between longitude 48° 20' and 48° 35' west. Three bridges link the island to the continent, but as of 2014 the Hercílio Luz Bridge, a landmark of the city, is closed for repairs. It is possible it will open for pedestrians and cyclists.
Florianopolis has become a popular destination in Brazil for people who are looking for superb beaches, beautiful scenery, interesting culture and friendly people. It has also experienced a real estate boom, with Brazilians looking for a better quality of life away from the chaos of the big cities, especially from the states of São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. The City proper has an estimated population of 420,000 people. The Greater Florianopolis Metro area is home to about 1 million people.
The northern beach resorts Jurerê, Daniela, Canasvieiras, Brava and Ingleses get very busy during the summer and there are plenty of hotels, restaurants and other conveniences for the tourist. Eastern beaches, like Joaquina, Mole and Moçambique are among the best surfing beaches and popular with young people. Beaches heading south include Campeche, Armação and Morro das Pedras, which are all very beautiful and also good for surfing. Isolated and unspoilt beaches, like Lagoinha do Leste and Naufragados, can be found at the southern end of the island and can only be reached only by trail. Lagoa da Conceição is a famous natural attraction, and the centerpiece of the island; it is relatively shallow, with high winds making it a world-class location for windsurfing. Peri Lagoon is quieter, on the other hand, and great for nature walks.
The city of Florianopolis is quite modern, with large shopping malls, chain and high-end restaurants and many bars and nightclubs. The highway system serving the city is very good, though traffic can get bad in the tourist season.
The island is known as "Ilha da Magia" or Magic Island, probably because of its incredible natural beauty, more than 100 beaches with 42 being well known, rocks, mountains, lakes, lagoons, waterfalls, bays, inlets, rich houses and buildings and young population and visitors. Florianópolis is also known for its high standards of living since it is located in the rich area of Brazil. Since the attraction is also heat, the best months to visit the island are December–March. The winter in South Brazil might be cooler than tourists expect.
- 1 Hercílio Luz International Airport (FLN IATA), Av. Diomício Freitas, 3393 (12 km from the city center), ☏ , fax: . Connected to the city by local bus lines or taxi.
- The Brazilian airline LATAM provides international and domestic services to Florianópolis. Flights are available from JFK International (NYC), Miami, Madrid, London, Frankfurt, Milan, Paris and main cities in South America. Most of the flights require a connection in São Paulo.
- Airlines Gol, Avianca and Azul operate domestic flights to the city. Gol also operates destinations in South America, like Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Santiago.
- Summer months (December through March) several daily charter flights arrive from Argentina and Chile.
- 2 Terminal Rita Maria, Av. Paulo Fontes 1101 (in the city center), ☏ . It links Florianópolis to the main Brazilian cities and to most of the cities in Santa Catarina state, as well as capitals and major cities in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. The main bus companies operating in Florianopolis are Catarinense, Reunidas, Santo Anjo and Eucatur. The terminal has free WiFi.
- São Paulo – Many early morning and late afternoon connections for around R$125, 12 hr.
- Foz do Iguaçu – The night trip takes around 12-14 hr. There are several late afternoon/evening connections for R$180-350. Instead of the expensive leito bus, you might just opt for a flight, which costs the same.
- Ciudad del Este – Two daily connections. From Ciudad del Este at 15:30 and 17:00, 14-15 hr, GS.270,000.
- You should use the Route BR-101 (cross Brazil from north to south), the entrance to Florianopolis will be at km 206. From there read the signs and get the express route BR-282 which leads to Florianopolis.
From the city center, dozens of buses go to all the beaches on the island. The bus system has drawbacks since transfers are necessary at regional terminals to get around. The cost for riding the buses is R$3–5, and it takes about 35-60 minutes to get from the city center to the beaches. Additionally, there is an air-conditioned yellow bus (Linhas Executivas) that goes direct to downtown from the main beaches for R$4.50. A car is recommended to explore all the beaches and places of interest. There are car rentals on the island and at the airport. Renting can be expensive (R$120/day with A/C), but can be worthwhile as it makes exploring the island more convenient. During the high season traffic can be intense, and could easily take 2 hours to get to the beach from the city center.
- 1 Cruz e Sousa Palace. Near Praça XV de Novembro. It was built in the 18th century to be the residence and office of Santa Catarina's Governor. Later, it was rededicated in honor of the symbolist poet Cruz e Sousa.
- 2 Catedral Metropolitana. One of the most beautiful buildings in the city, at Praça XV de Novembro.
- 3 Municipal Market, R. Jerônimo Coelho, 60, ☏ . The former city market place, this market on Largo da Alfândega still holds some interesting sights.
- 4 Hercílio Luz Bridge. The postcard symbol of the city, inaugurated in 1926 linking the island to the mainland.
- 5 Lagoa da Conceição. A large beautiful lake in the center of the island.
- 6 Ribeirão da Ilha. 36 km from the center, this old district of Florianopolis is a testament to Azorean immigration. Its historic center, in Frequesia, has a plaza which contains the 7 Igreja Nossa Senhora da Lapa do Ribeirão (church), and the Ethnological Museum which houses documents and relics from the region's history.
- Anhatomirim Island and its Fortaleza de Santa Cruz
- 8 Teatro Álvaro de Carvalho, rua Marechal Guilherme, 26 (near the Catedral Metropolitana), ☏ , . In the center of the city, the Municipal Theater is an example of 1870s local architecture.
- Teatro Ademir Rosa (Teatro do CIC), Av. Irineu Bornhausen, 5600, ☏ .
- Velha Figueira. This more than 100-year-old tree in Praça XV de Novembro is honored in the official municipal hymn of Florianopolis.
- Forts - Constructed as early as 1739, the forts served to protect the city from possible Spanish attacks.
- Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Conceição (1742)
- Fortaleza de Santo Antônio (1740)
- Fortaleza Santana (1761)
- Fortaleza São José da Ponta Grossa (1740)
- 9 Santo Antônio de Lisboa. Quite nice little town on the calm west coast of the island. Multiple restaurants are directly at the waterfront. Also it is nice walk along the water heading toards Sambaqui.
- 10 Projeto Tamar, Rua Professor Ademir Francisco, ✉ email@example.com. 09:30–17:30 daily. Sea turtle conservation center and museum. The captive turtles in tanks, which are being kept to educate visitors and not to be released into the wild, are kind of sad. But the museum has lots of interesting information in Portuguese and English about sea turtles and conservation, including a 12-minute video. Founded in 2005, it is the most visited museum in the south of Brazil. Money spent for admission and at the gift shop goes to fund research, conservation, and turtle rescue. R$15; half-price for students, teachers, and seniors; free for children under 1.2 meters.
- 11 Dunes. A huge area of sand dunes stretching north from Praia da Joaquina and south from the area across the bridge to the east of the Lagoa da Conceição neighborhood. Yes, it's a popular spot for sandboarding, but it's also cool just to wander around and see the natural sand formations and the way the dunes slowly shift with the wind.
There are a total of 42 beaches in Florianopolis. The best known are:
- Paragliding at Barra da Lagoa, Lagoa da Conceição
- Scuba-Diving at Praia Mole, Praia do Santinho, Praia dos Ingleses
- Sandboarding at Joaquina, Lagoa Sandboard
- Surfing at Barra da Lagoa, Praia da Joaquina, and Praia Mole
- Windsurfing at Lagoa da Conceição
- Kitesurfing at Lagoa da Conceição
- Hiking at Lagoa do Peri, Naufragados, Lagoinha do Leste, Costa da Lagoa, Barra da Lagoa
- 1 Trilha da Boa Vista (To get to the trailhead, take the bridge east from Barra da Lagoa, turn right, and follow the signs that say "Trilha"). A challenging trail of around two hours from near Barra da Lagoa up through the mountains, with beautiful views of the ocean, that takes you to the beautiful Praia da Galheta.
- 2 Trilha da Costa da Lagoa (To get to the trailhead, follow Rua João Henrique Gonçalves all the way north). A roughly two-hour hike through the forest along the side of the lagoon, passing through some small fishing villages that are only accessible by trail and boat. It also takes you past a historic building, the 30 Sobrado da Dona Loquinha built by slaves around 1780, and near a 31 waterfall a little ways away from the lagoon (follow the signs for cachoeira). A bit after the waterfall, you'll reach a town with some shops and restaurants serving very fresh seafood, at which point you can take a 45-minute boat back to Ponte da Lagoa (the bridge) for R$10 (pay when you get off), leaving about once an hour. On the boat ride, you can see the lovely little fishing villages on the water, followed by kitesurfers when you get close to Lagoa.
- Stand-up paddleboarding at Lagoa da Conceição
Florianópolis is a destination for beaches and outdoor activities—when it rains, there's not much to do.
- 1 Beiramar Shopping, Rua Bocaiúva, 2468 (Centro, parallel with Av. Rubens de Arruda Ramos, better known as Av. Beiramar Norte), ☏ . Around 200 shops.
- 2 Shopping Itaguaçu, Rua Geroncio Thives, 1079, ☏ . Barreiros. The oldest shopping mall in the state, opened in 1982. In neighboring São José, within ten minutes of the city center. It has 180 shops and 7 movie screens.
- 3 Floripa Shopping, Rodovia SC 401, ☏ . Shopping center with 160 shops and 8 movie screens.
- 4 Iguatemi Florianópolis, Av. Madre Benvenuta, 687 (at the corner of Av. Beiramar), ☏ . Bairro Santa Mônica. 200 shops and 7 movie screens. This cinema has one of the largest screens in Brazil. All are modern and stadium seating style.
- Seafood - This coastal city is known widely for its fresh seafood.
- Portuguese Food - The city had been colonized by the "cultura açoriana". Their food is delicious.
- Italian Food - Macarronada Italiana is the main spot. Great. But there are many other good choices as well.
- Downtown- There are great "per kilo" buffets with amazing food, salads, and fruit. You can get a full meal with a fresh juice for under R$6. It's good for the budget traveler and to get a sense of where many locals get a quick bite.
- 1 Hong Ju - Restaurant Vegetariano, Rua Deputado Antonio Edu Vieira 750 - 784, ☏ . 11:30 - 14:30. good inexpensive vegetarian all you can eat lunch menue. Place is crowded, but you will find a table. R$8,00.
- 2 Bar do Arante, ☏ . Praia do Pântano, in the south of the island. Interesting restaurant where the custom is for customers to hang slips of paper on the wall to mark their passage. The custom comes from pre-electricity days when people would use the slips to let friends know what part of the beach to find them in. Specializing in seafood at moderate prices. Try the Tainha Grelhada.
- 3 Mein Haus Churrascaria, Rua Papa Joao XXII, 25, ☏ . Campinas - São José. It is further across the bridge but worth the effort. The restaurant offers a nice cheap a la carte barbecue with free garlic bread and salad.
- 4 Meat Hamburgueria, Rua Lauro Linhares, 624, ☏ . Burger place where you choose a patty, cheese, bread, and sauce, and they make it for you. Despite its name, veggieburgers are available too!
- 5 Pier 54, Av. Osvaldo Rodrigues Cabral (Beira Mar Norte) 1251, Centro (under the Hercílio Luz bridge), ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. This restaurant serves local cuisine from 19:00. Pier 54's cellar contains over 250 labels of different wines and champagnes. The restaurant offers a wide range of healthy dishes, made from ingredients local to the region.
- 6 Toca da Garoupa, Rua Alves Brito, 181, ☏ . Centro. This restaurant offers its guests the regional cuisine of Florianopolis. While the seafood menu may be exceptional, the restaurant's decor and history are sure to please customers as well.
- 7 Bistrô Isadora Duncan, Rodovia Jornalista Manuel de Menezes, 2658 - Barra da Lagoa, ☏ , . Named after a famous ballerina, this bistro is a great romantic spot for two. It only has five tables and some veranda space. The bistro offers a wide variety of cuisine, ranging from leafy green salads to filet mignon. Alcohol is also served on this cozy, beach front bistro.
- 8 Ponta das Caranhas, ☏ . Estrada da Barra da Lagoa, 2377 - Barra da Lagoa. Restaurant in the margins of Lagoa da Conceição offering traditional dishes. Try the "Congrio Chileno à Moda do Chef".
Most of the nightlife is concentrated around the beaches in the summer. During the winter, the night life is concentrated in Lagoa da Conceição, where most of the bars and clubs are located.
- [dead link] Party Bus Brasil. A big yellow bus which take tourists to the best bars and clubs. Have a bar at one end and a DJ booth at the other complete with flashing lights and disco balls.
- Concorde Danceteria, Av. Rio Branco, 729. Centro. Nightclub with two floors, 3 bars, a rotating dance floor, and a room with free internet access. Caters to the gay community.
- Confraria das Artes. Lagoa da Conceição. It attracts the jet set crowd from all over the world.
- El Divino. Local chain of bars and nightclubs.
- Pacha, ☏ . SC 402 - Rod. Maurício Sirotsky Sobrinho, Km 1 - Jurerê Internacional.
- El Divino Beach, ☏ . Avenida dos Pampos Lote 1E S/N. Open year-round on the boardwalk of Jurerê Internacional.
- Empório do Chopp, ☏ . Rod. Admar Gonzaga, 3320 - Itacorubi. Heading towards Lagoa da Conceição from downtown, this drafthouse sits at the foot of the hill on the right. Four types of Eisenbahn draft.
- [dead link] Floribar Café Lounge, ☏ . Rua Durval Melchíades de Souza, 638. Primarily gay and lesbian bar, good service.
- Ilha do Cascaes, in front of the Costão do Santinho Resort - Santinho, tel. +55 48 3261-1555 e +55 48 3224-1392, .
- John Bull Pub, Av. das Rendeiras, 1046, ☏ . Lagoa da Conceição.
- Scuna Bar, ☏ . Avenida Beira Mar Norte, under Hercílio Luz bridge. Night club with 2 levels, 3 bars, dance floor, live music, and dedicated parking. Popular with the over-35 crowd.
- Sins Pub, Rua Tiradentes, 143. A nice gay/lesbian bar downtown, free entrance.
- Circuit, Rua Henrique Veras do Nascimento, 110 (Lagoa do Conceicao), ☏ . The best electronic music club on the island complete with a superior sound system and advanced LED light technology.
- Box 32, Publlic Market. Fresh seafood served at the city's fishmarket. Excellent service. Go on Saturday morning.
- [dead link] 433 Backpackers Hostel, Av. Prefeito Acácio Garibaldi, 433, Lagoa da Conceição (at the end of Rendeiras at Lagoa da Conceição, go straight to Joaquina beach direction), ☏ . Delicious breakfast and internet wifi. Private rooms are with TV, frigobar and air-conditioner. Dorms R$30, doubles R$60 in low season.
- 1 Hostel Way2go, Rua Rita Lourenço da Silveira 139 (Lagoa da Conceição), ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Friendly staff, fast wi-fi. From R$20 in low season..
- Albergue da Juventude, Rua Duarte Schutel 227, +55 48 225-3781. Hostelling International hostel is 10 minutes away from the bus terminal and close to the beach. Prices vary according to season.
- [formerly dead link] , ☏ . Servidão da Prainha, 29 Barra da Lagoa (cross the footbridge). This is a popular backpackers spot. It serves an excellent breakfast and has budget meals. Guest can use the surfboards for free. Dorm beds R$35, includes breakfast and Wi-Fi internet. Portuguese lessons are also available.
- Hotel Bruggemann, ☏ . R. Santos Saraiva, 416 - Estreito. One of the oldest hotels in Florianopolis, Hotel Bruggeman comes with modernized amenities. Rooms are fully refurbished. Hotel Bruggeman is comprised of 84 apartments and suites, each equipped with a tv and refrigerator.
- Veleiros Hotel, ☏ . R. Silva Jardim, 234 - Centro. This hotel is close to the city center and the Convention center. Reservations must be received 15 days prior to arrival.
- Pousada Colinas da Lagoa, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. It is in the privileged area of Lagoa da Conceição, with a view of its Hill and close to the best beaches of Florianópolis.
- [dead link] Pousada Bangalos da Mole, ☏ . Beachfront to the beautiful Praia Mole, which is central, since it is the closest beach to the Lagoa da Conceição town.
- [dead link] Floriparadise Hostel, 5076, Avenida Luiz Boiteux Piazza, Ponta das Canas, ☏ . In the north of the island, Floriparadise is the hostel for those wishing to be immersed in local culture and art. The hostel is across from the local beach while close by is the vibrant area of Ponta das Canas which turns into a tourist mecca in the summer. The hostel offers a variety of local activities and linen is included in the price as well as WiFi through out the whole hostel. Your hosts can also speak English which will help your travels immensely if you cannot speak Portuguese. Dorms start at R$25 Apartments start at R$35
- Submarino Hostel, Travessa Angela Chaves 121.
- Ibis Hotel, Av. Rio Branco, 37, ☏ , fax: . Centro, 5 minutes from the bus station, Ibis Hotel has a 198 rooms with air-conditioning. There is a 24-hour bar, and a restaurant serving traditional cuisine on the premises.
- [dead link] Parthenon Lindacap, ☏ , fax: . R. Felipe Schmidt, 1.102 - Centro. This 67-room hotel is downtown, with easy access to shopping and restaurants. Each room includes air-conditioning, a mini bar, and in room safe. The hotel has a bar, restaurant, and fitness facilities. It also offers its guests spa services. Rates from R$110.
- Joaquina Beach Hotel, Estrada Geral da Joaquina, 2323. Lagoa da Conceição, This hotel offers no-frills rooms with AC, TV and telephones with a nice cafe for breakfast, lunch or coffee on the ground floor. Includes parking, and is 100 m from the beach, which as close to "on the beach" as you can get at this beach. Perfect for surfers, and Mole Beach is a 5-min drive away.
- Maratea Mare Hotel, ☏ . Sea front hotel in a marvelous area on the Cachoeira do Bom Jesus sea front with an unforgettable view. All the apartments are composed of a dormitory, a bathroom, a living room, a complete kitchen, air conditioning, telephone, TV and safe. Brasilian "colonial" breakfast and beach service included. Free internet Wi-fi service for guests in lobby area. R$99 in low season.
- Hotel Pousada Ilha da Magia, Av. Pref. Acácio Garibaldi Santiago, 23 - Lagoa da Conceição, ☏ , , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Beautiful cabins, with a view of Lagoa da Conceição, between the Mole beach and Joaquina beach. Some of the features of the hostel are breakfast, TV, fridge, Internet, parking space, pool adult and child and Ofurô.
- Costão do Santinho, ☏ , toll-free: . Very nice all-inclusive resort and spa. Very kid-friendly. It's a bit out of the way though, but it is serviced by the yellow bus lines, and it does provide rental car facilities. The beach (Santinho) is extremely clean and beautiful, but has zero nightlife.
- Nexus Surf, Tel. +1 310 256-4339 (from outside of Brazil) / +55 48 9626-9029 (from within Brazil), directly in front of Praia Mole beach, just minutes outside of the charming Lagoa downtown area. Offers unique vacation packages that include accommodations (wireless internet, international phoneline and air conditioning standard), rental car, surf lessons, adventure sports activities, guided nightlife access, local cell phone, and breakfast service.
- Majestic Palace, Av. Beira mar Norte, 2, ☏ , . 746 - Centro on the main street of the city next to Shopping Beiramar. Various services such as air-con with remote control, a coffee shop, fitness center, piano bar, restaurant, spa, breakfast service, concierge, heliport, swimming pool, 24-hr room service, business center, convention center, minibar, and broadband internet.
- Novotel Florianópolis Hotel, Av. Rubens de Arruda Ramos, 2034 - Centro, ☏ , fax: . Planned as a boutique hotel, there are 120 rooms, 2 suites, and one presidential suite. Pool, sauna, convention accommodations.
- Florianópolis Palace Hotel, ☏ , fax: . R. Artista Bittencout, 14 - Centro. In a good location near Praça XV and the Cathedral, this hotel has 21 presidential suites, 8 luxury suites, and 89 luxury apartments.
- Il Campanario Villagio Resort, Avenida Dos Buzios, 1760, ☏ . Jurerê. The hotel is 20 m from the beach.
- 2 Hotel Boutique Quinta das Videiras, Rua Afonso Luis Borba, 113 Lagoa Conceição - Florianópolis-SC Cep.: 88062-040, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A small, quiet and charming hotel with personalized service in the trendy and popular neighborhood of the city, Lagoa da Conceição. An elegant Portuguese style residence of the 19th century with 11 suites. Beautiful and unique design, old style furniture, pleasant garden, relaxing area and pool.
As a developed, generally wealthy beach resort, Florianópolis is safer than most large Brazilian cities. You'll see people walking around and using their phones outside, even at night. But this is still Brazil, there are still favelas, and robberies do happen, so know where you're going and take sensible security precautions.