Ouro Preto is the jewel on the Historical Cities of Minas Gerais crown. It was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site on account of its outstanding Baroque architecture.
1. HOW TO GET THERE:
- from Belo Horizonte: bus company Pássaro Verde runs an hourly bus from Belo Horizonte to Ouro Preto. Schedules and fares available at its website. The trip lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- from Rio de Janeiro: bus company Util travels from Rio de Janeiro to Ouro Preto. Schedules and fares available at its website. It is a night trip that lasts approximately 8 hours.
- from São Paulo: bus company Util also travels from São Paulo to Ouro Preto. The trip takes 12 hours. The company Vale do Ouro also runs the service but has no useful information at its website.
By car. You can reach Ouro Preto from Belo Horizonte, São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. Extreme caution is required as roads in the state of Minas Gerais are notorious for its alarming accident rates.
By plane. There is no airport in Ouro Preto. The nearest airports are Confins and Pampulha in Belo Horizonte.
2. WHEN TO GO:
It rains quite a lot in Ouro Preto from November to March. Between April and October rainfall is scarce. June, July and August can see the temperatures drop to 10 degrees at night, warm clothing is recommended.
If you are planning to visit Ouro Preto during carnival, Easter, Corpus Christi or the 7th of September bank holiday you should book your accommodation well in advance.
3. CAREFUL WITH:
The steep streets and its irregular paving. High heels are strongly discouraged. Pay attention to the traffic, it is irritating and outright dangerous to pedestrians. Local food is as delicious as it is caloric.
4. WE LIKE THE MOST:
The exceptional collection of baroque colonial architecture. Its beautiful crafts. The local food delicacies.
5. WE LIKE THE LEAST:
The alarming degradation of the cultural heritage. The heavy traffic running through the center of the city.
6. FAVOURITE PLACES:
The wonderful church of São Francisco de Assis. The fabulous gold-covered interior of the church of Nossa Senhora do Pilar. The view of the city from the hill where the church of Santa Efigênia is built.
7. PIECE OF ADVICE:
- to be able to enjoy Ouro Preto day and night we recommend you spend at least the one night in the city.
- the neverending series of steep streets make for a very tiring walk around Ouro Preto. Take your time to complete the visit, make sure you stop and rest to enjoy the beautiful architecture you will find along the way.
- you don’t have to go too far away from the main square to find some of the most beautiful churches in Ouro Preto, including church of São Francisco de Assis and church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo. Church of Nossa Senhora do Pilar (unmissable interior) is on the lower part of the city, far away from the rest. If you have your own means of transportation it is worth driving up the hill where the church of Santa Efigênia is found. There is a beautiful view of Ouro Preto from there.
- along with the churches, the fountains (chafarizes) of Ouro Preto are another outstanding treasure. There are eleven of them.
- Ouro Preto is an excellent place if you are after beautiful crafts at excellent prices. The most traditional material used to make crafts is soapstone (pedra-sabão). There is a small and very interesting market right in front of the church of São Francisco de Assis.
- precious stones are another local specialty. There are quite a few shops in and around the main square.
- the center of Ouro Preto is dotted with restaurants where you can taste the local food (comida mineira).
- for those keen on visiting a gold mine, on the old road from Ouro Preto to Mariana you will find the Minas da Passagem, open for visitation. There is a bus from Ouro Preto driving through the front of the mine.
- Mariana is another historic city a few miles away from Ouro Preto. It is a natural extension to any visit to Ouro Preto. You can get to Mariana by bus or take the tourist Ouro Preto – Mariana train, the Trem da Vale (website with schedules and prices). You can purchase a single ticket or a return one.
No vaccines are needed for Ouro Preto. The rural areas of Minas Gerais recorded recent cases of yellow fever. Though not essential nor required, take the shot if you want some peace of mind (10 facts about yellow fever in Brazil).
At our Accommodation in Brazil blog you will find a full list of hotels and pousadas in Ouro Preto.
11. WEATHER FORECAST:
Average temperatures and rainfall in Ouro Preto.
14. PHOTO ALBUM:
Destination: Historical Cities, Minas Gerais
Map of Ouro Preto
Ouro Preto photo album
Ouro Preto photo album in Flickr
World Heritage Sites
Website on the Cultural World Heritage Sites in Brazil
Category: Destination: others