Begin your Brazilian adventure in Rio de Janeiro, with a whistle-stop visit to the world’s most picturesque city (extend your stay if you wish) then fly south to Florianopolis. Santa Catarina is a prosperous state with sunny vineyards and Alpine-style dairy farms thriving in the valleys between verdant, rugged and little explored mountains. The coast is indented with crescent bays and small, family-friendly resorts. Car hire gives you the freedom to explore at your own stopping to visit places which may interest you en route to your pre- booked accommodation. It’s also an economical way of travelling; fuel is relatively inexpensive. Driving in south Brazil can really be a delight - few people here speak a lot of English, but they are mostly friendly and helpful.
Santa Catarina, in southern Brazil close to Argentina and Uruguay, is not as well known as other perhaps more exotic regions of tropical Brazil, but is no less attractive to visitors for that. It is a prosperous state settled by Europeans attracted to its fertile soils and mellow climate. The influence of Portugal, Italy and Germany can still be seen in the culture and architecture of the pleasant cities and peaceful towns studding the coast and hilly interior.
Vineyards and Alpine-style dairy farms thrive in the valleys between verdant, rugged, little-visited canyons and tableland plateaux. Why little-visited? Most Brazilian holiday-makers are not especially adventurous or energetic and there isn’t a network of walking trails. Public transport is meagre, but the roads are excellent, uncrowded and well-served with amenities, so it is ideal for independent exploration by self drive car hire.