Florianopolis is the capital of the state of Santa Catarina, and is the second largest city in the state. It is comprised of a main island, the Island of Santa Catarina, as well as a part on the main land and a couple of other small islands. The metropolitan population is about 1,111,702. The city is known for its quality of life, having the third highest human development index score of the cities in Brazil.
The larger part of the city’s population lives on the mainland as well as on the larger island, with the other small islands being less inhabited. Florianopolis has become a popular holiday home spot for many people from other countries. The city is also home to the federal university, as well as the state university.
Florianopolis is known for its tourism and information technology; it has an abundance of beaches and is famous for its surfing. Lagoa da Conceciao is the most famous tourist area. There are so many great things to do in Florianopolis, such as visiting Praia da Rosa and the Museu Historico de Santa Catarina. Below is our Florianopolis travel guide with information on all the best things to do, places to go and what not to miss
PRAIA DA ROSA – This small part of the city is one of the main attractions due to its beautiful beaches. The waters here also become a breeding ground for Southern right whales, and their babies can be often be seen from the shore. There is a conservative group based here to help protect these beautiful creatures.
MUSEU HISTORICO DE SANTA CATARINA – This building formerly housed the Governor during Colonial times, and has beautiful architecture of the ceilings and floors. This is a great building to visit for its beautiful interior.
DAY TRIPS – With the main island and the mainland there are many places that offer day trips of the beautiful city, taking you from the mainland to the island. There are also some tours that offer to take you to some of the best beaches to swim and surf, as well as raft down one of the rivers. These tours are great things to do in Florianopolis as they allow you to get the full experience of the city.
*** WHAT NOT TO MISS ***
Florianopolis is a great place to enjoy the beaches and the water sports. It is certainly worth the time to go snorkeling, scuba diving, or try one of the many different sports that they have in the area.
In Florianopolis you can find their famous seafood, as well as many different Portuguese style restaurants. Great food can be found in the city centre – buffets are especially popular.
Head to Mercado Publico (R. Jerônimo Coelho, 60) for fresh, traditional food and drinks. For seafood, go to Centro Gastronomico Rita Maria (Rua Henrique Valgas 318) – the dishes here are outstanding. It’s close to the centre, and set in a beautiful renovated house – quite the cosy and romantic place! With fresh lobsters, mussels, and oysters, amongst others, here you’re paying a reasonable price for the quality of the food and service you’ll receive.
If you fancy sushi, don’t miss Nipo (Rodovia Jose Carlos Daux 4150). You’ll find both traditional and fusion options, beautifully presented - this is the best sushi in Florianopolis. For pizza, pay a visit to Basilico (Rua Laurindo Januario da Silveira) – there is a variety of flavours, each as delicious as the other.
Florianopolis is home to one of the best bars around: Confraria das Artes in Lagoa da Conceicao (R. João Pachêco da Costa, 31). This bar attracts people from all over the world and is one of the best places to enjoy the night. There are a lot of other bars in Lagoa da Conceicoa, the area where most of the crowds head to for a night out.
One place worth visiting is Donna (Av. dos Pampos) – a restaurant, bar, and club in one: start off with dinner and see where the night takes you… A nice environment to come to with friends, you’re guaranteed a good time - set in the perfect beach-front location with the DJ spinning tunes. For a VIP night out, head to Café de la Musique (Avenida dos Merlins SN) – here you’ll find beautiful people, expensive drinks, and an exclusive vibe – start the party in the afternoon and continue ‘til midnight.
In the Brazilian summer from December to March, the average temperature is about 22 – 25 degrees Celsius, and is when most of the rainfall is experienced. In the Brazilian winters, there is less rain and the temperature drops on average below 20 degrees Celsius to about 18 degrees Celsius on average.
The international airport is about 12 kilometres from the city and provides flights to all the main cities in South America, as well as cities worldwide. Some of the cities that fly into Florianopolis are New York, Miami, London, Frankfurt, Madrid, and Milan. It also has domestic flights to all the main cities in Brazil. From Rio, it takes 1.5 hours to get to Florianopolis, from Sao Paulo it’s 1 hour.
There is also a bus terminal in the city, called the Rodoviaria (Avenida Paulo Fontes, 1101 Centro). Buses run to and from Curitiba (5 hours), Sao Paulo (12 hours), and Porto Alegre (8 hours). There are also international routes, for example to and from Montevideo (19 hours) and Buenos Aires (21 hours).
Florianopolis has many different lodging options. There are all kinds of places to stay in, including lower budget hostels that are great for those who are backpacking. You can find more upscale places if you are looking for something more comfortable place, and even holiday home rentals.
One of the best options is Tucano House Summer Hostel (Rua das Araras, 229) – eco-friendly, and with dorms as well as a private double room on offer. It’s located close to the nightlife, restaurants, and shops, and just a 10-minute drive to the nearest beach. The chef cooks a delicious dinner every night, social activities are organised daily, and the staff are incredibly helpful.
Barra Beach Club (Servidão da Prainha, 122) overlooks a small bay, and you can enjoy the superb ocean views from the breakfast and bar area of the hostel. Here, you’re close enough to pop into town, but far enough to relax, away from the crowds. There is a laid-back atmosphere, and social events and good-value group dinners are regularly scheduled. Surf boards are available to rent, and there’s snooker, ping-pong, hammocks, and a tasty free breakfast to enjoy… Could this be the perfect hostel?
Always make sure that the tours and activities are safe, and that you never do anything that you are not comfortable with.
Be careful with pickpockets and thieves at night-time.