Florianópolis Centre: what to do and where to go

August 11, 2008 | By More

For most visitors, Florianópolis encapsulates the perfect beach destination, and satisfaction comes in the simplest of ways: a beach recliner [sun-lounger] a sunshade and a beach. But even the most sedentary of tourists will at one stage or another want to leave the comfort of the beach where they are staying to visit other parts of the island. This entry is part of a trilogy (that also includes entries on the North and the Centre-Lagoa and the South) with tips and basic guidance on the most interesting points on the island.

The centre of the island of Florianópolis is divided in two well defined areas. To the west, the urban sprawl of the city of Florianópolis. To the east, the region around the Lagoa da Conceição. There is a road linking both locations, usually collapsed with traffic during the high season.

Ampliar el mapa

The capital is on the westernmost point of the island. Two bridges are its link to the continent. The Hercílio Luz bridge, part of the historical heritage and now closed to traffic, is one of the best-known images of the island.

The two main points of interest on the capital – as well as the Rodoviária (bus station), are the Mercado Municipal (Municipal Market) and the Casa da Alfândega (Custom House), sitting one next to the other. There is a parking lot next to the Market, but finding an empty space is not always easy. Ideally, you would reach the centre by bus. Both the Rodoviária (for buses coming from the continent) and the local bus terminal are near the market.

The Mercado Municipal is divided in two different wings. On one of them you will find footwear and accesories shops. On the other, a few fishmonger’s and bars. This wing makes for a very interesting walk, contemplating the different catches freshly arrived from the sea. You will see plenty of oysters around, they are one of Florianópolis most succesful exports.

Mercado Público Municipal

The famous Box 32 bar is found on this wing of the market. A classic place for a quick pit-stop.

The Custom House is next to the market. It is a neoclassic building from the XIX century, these days home to the gallery of the Asociación de Artistas Plásticos de Santa Catarina (craftsmen association). Worth popping in to see the wide selection of crafts for sale.

Casa da Alfândega

The eastern part of the centre of Florianópolis is dominated by the Lagoa da Conceição. If you are arriving from the capital, there is a viewpoint just before the descent to the lake. If you are arriving from the north, there is another viewpoint right after the Barra da Lagoa. It’s worth stopping at both places as they allow for two completely different panoramas of the region. Organized trips around the island tend to stop at both viewpoints.

The Lagoon is separated in two by the Avenida das Rendeiras. Rendeiras are craftswomen specializing in amazing bobbin lace work. Along the avenue you will find a few huts where the rendeiras work and sell their crafts.

Lagoa da Conceição

The Avenida das Rendeiras is a very pleasant place for a walk around the Lagoa. You will find quite a few restaurants along the waterfront. There are even more restaurants along the rua Laurindo Januário da Silveira, the street that borders the southern half of the Lagoa. A car is a must if you want to reach this part of Florianópolis.

On the eastern side of the middle of Florianópolis there are five beaches. North to south, they are:

  • Moçambique / Praia Grande. The longest beach on the island. It’s a wild beach with no buildings on it. Cold water and strong waves attract quite a few surfers. Not good for families with children.
  • Barra da Lagoa. A beach with a lot of activity and plenty of bars and shops. Calm water and white sands. At the Barra da Lagoa the Brazilian NGO Projeto Tamar, devoted to the protection of sea turtles, has a visitor center. An excellent place to take your kids.
  • Projeto Tamar, Barra da Lagoa

  • Praia Mole. A lovely beach that has recently become the meeting point for the beautiful people of Florianópolis (it is Florianópolis’ answer to Ipanema). White sands and strong waves. Good for surfers and not so good for bathers. There is plenty of young people around, day and night.
  • praia Mole

  • Galheta. North of Praia Mole, reached by a path that leaves from Praia Mole. It is the main nudist beach on the island. White sands, cold water and strong waves. As Mole, it is good for surfers, not so good for a bath.
  • Joaquina. Very popular among tourists, that arrive to it in hordes. It is the number one beach for surfing (international competitions take place here). It has hotels, restaurants, bars and shops.
  • Joaquina

    Right before the Joaquina beach you will find the Joaquina dunes, famous for being the birthplace of sandboarding. The dunes are quite a lot of fun and an excellent place to spend the afternoon.

    dunas da Joaquina

    Leave your general queries on Florianópolis at the entry Destination: Florianópolis.

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    Category: Destination: Santa Catarina

    Comments (4)

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    1. wow thats a must visit place in brazil. the place was just so colorful.

    2. Tony says:

      Florianópolis is a brilliant place to visit indeed!

    3. cattails says:

      The beaches all look beautiful.

      Does the water temperature vary much during the year?

      What is a typical water temperature in October? Is there a web source for this information in real time?

      Is the water at beaches on the north end of Florianópolis warmer than those in the center and to the south?


    4. Tony says:

      cattails, the beaches are beautiful indeed. I’ve got no data on the water temperature. It changes during the year, bear in mind in winter temperatures can easily go down to 10 degrees in Florianópolis. Beaches facing north (those on the north end) and the continent (west) are warmer.