By Corinne Marian
Santa Catarina Island, the smallest state located in the South of Brazil, is also the most diverse in population and geography.
Colonized by the Portuguese, Italians, Austrians, Polish and Germans, the “Vale do Itajai” is called the European Valley. Its architecture, gastronomy and customs makes you feel like you are in the Old Continent rather than in tropical Brazil.
One of its most famous celebrations is the Oktoberfest, which takes place in Blumenau. Congregating more than 500 thousand people every year, for 19 days in October the tourist can experience the German’s culture, food and drink beer on tap – 7 million litres was consumed last year alone!
Not only that – Floripa was designated by UNESCO as Creative City of Gastronomy, which helps the city to promote an annual food festival while it awards its best restaurants and develop exchange programs for gastronomy students and other professionals in the industry, among other valuable programmes.
Based on the European culinary adapted to local Brazilian ingredients, its main dishes are fish, pork as well as desserts from German tradition, like the famous and tasty Appfelstrudel.
And then there are the beautiful beaches, of course. Hundreds of them, to be more precise, around the Florianopolis area. Surrounded by dunes, hills bursting with vegetation and fishermen villages, some offer calm waters for families with children and others huge waves, catering for surfers.
From the fancy Jurere beach, with its expensive condos and restaurants, to the rustic Mole beach – to the popular and beautiful Itapema to the golden age’s paradise of Camboriu beach, Floripa – Florianopolis’ nickname – will not disappoint.
All Brazilian airlines have daily flights from all parts of Brazil to the main cities in Santa Catarina, like Florianopolis and Joinville. Accommodation is plenty and for all pocket sizes.
There’s a reason why Santa Catarina State is called by the locals The Magic Island – and there’s only one way to find out why: start packing your bags!