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