town and municipality in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil

São João del Rei is the largest of the colonial mining towns in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Old bridge in São João del Rey

Understand edit

While lacking the stunning geographical setting and plethora of churches that Ouro Preto has, São João del Rei is quite pleasant and a good place for a few days of relaxing. The town is also known as the birthplace of Tancredo Neves, whose election as president in 1985 (he died before taking office) brought an end to Brazil's military rule.

Get in edit

By car edit

SJDR is best reached using the BR-040 highway, which connects Belo Horizonte to Rio de Janeiro. Coming from either end, exit the highway at Congonhas and access the BR-383.

By bus edit

São João del Rei is four hours by bus from Belo Horizonte, eight from São Paulo.

From Belo Horizonte the bus company Buser goes for R$40 (Dec 2021). Viação Sandra has the ride for R$75 (Dec 2021).

From Petrópolis Paraibuna offers tickets for around R$105 (Dec 2021).

Get around edit

See edit

  • Igreja de São Francisco de Assis, on the west side of town. Flanked by tremendous towering palms, this church was completed in 1774 and features carvings by Aleijadinho. The attached cemetery contains the grave of Tancredo Neves.
  • The small Railroad Museum in the train station depicts the important role railroads played in the development of the mining towns in the 19th century.

Do edit

One of the most entertaining things to do in São João del Rei is to get out of town, on the 1920s vintage steam locomotive to the nearby town of Tiradentes. It runs only Friday through Sunday, with two round trip runs per day. Tickets can be bought (no reservations needed) at the train station in the center of town.

Buy edit

Eat edit

Drink edit

Sleep edit

  • Hotel Brasil, Av. Tancredo Neves 395, (across from the train station). Old, large, and seemingly deserted. Also economical and convenient.
  • HI Villa, Av. 8 de Dezembro, 272 - centro. An economical option, this hostel offers very clean rooms, equipped kitchen and nostalgic atmosphere.
  • Pousada Sinha Moça, Rua Dr. Oscar da Cunha, nº 103, +55 32 3371-2425, fax: +55 32 3371-2425.

Connect edit

Go next edit

There are buses departing from São João del Rei to major Brazilian cities, usually twice a day. The bus station is simple but provides luggage storage, showers and internet connection.

This city travel guide to São João del Rei is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.