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What to do in Brasilia: a weekend itinerary

It took me 30 years to set foot in Brasilia, but it took only a few minutes to realize that he should return there. The enchantment was so caught sight of the Monumental Axis, in the center of the master plan designed by Lúcio Costa: Congress, Planalto Palace, Ministries Esplanade and the Cathedral. Everything there, a giant set of postcards and scenarios we already know from TV. As just spent a weekend there, this text will give tips on what to do in Brasilia for that period, but I’m sure the federal capital has much more to offer. Let’s start?

Day 1: From Lake Paranoá the Monumental Axis

For business tourism account and government, the Brasilia hotels are cheaper on weekends. It is also not uncommon to find tickets on sale there, after all, large companies have frequent flights to Juscelino Kubitschek Airport. If you arrive on Friday night, take the opportunity to start the adventure at some of the bars of the federal capital.

When choosing accommodation, an option is to look in Sectors North and South Hoteliers, which are very close to the Monumental Axis. Or stay in North Tourism Hotels Sector, which has a strategic location: near the Paranoá Lake and the Alvorada Palace, the official home of the Presidency.

And since you’ll be there, start your Saturday at the Paranoá Orla, an artificial lake formed by damming the river of the same name. We’ve been in two places: the South Lake jetty has a boardwalk full of bars and restaurants, plus decks to admire the view of the lake. Fairs, shows, and other cultural events are also common, especially on weekends. Entry is free, but the prices on the menus are not the most attractive. In any case, it’s worth: I want to return there at the time of the sunset, it should be beautiful.

The South Lake jetty can take a boat ride on the lake. Lasting 1h, the tour costs $ 35 for adults and $ 25 for children under 12 years. The boat leaves at 16h and 17:30 on Saturdays and Sundays, from the South Lake jetty pier, right in front of the Nautical Kiosk. You must book the tour in advance.

During the tour, you will see near the Alvorada Palace, located on the shores of Lake Paranoá. You can visit the Alvorada, as explained Tower, We in the World, but the tour is only possible on Wednesdays. And the Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge opened in 2012 and soon converted into the postcard of Brasilia.

In the JK Bridge Orla are other interesting restaurants – was in Mangai and Paulista Avenue, but did not get to eat them – as well as more recreational areas. Finally, on the outskirts of Lake Paranoá is Chapel Don Bosco Chapel, which is surrounded by a green park, like Cris, the blog Inside Backpacking explains that text here.

Lake followed to the Monumental Axis. If the evening, the good idea is to run to the TV Tower and enjoy the sunset. The tour is free and there you will see almost all the most famous sights of Brasilia. Nearby runs the Fair Tower , where you can eat typical dishes from all Brazilian states, as well as shopping in the craft stalls. The fair, however, closes before the tower, which is open until sunset.

View of TV Tower

Day 2: Esplanade of the Ministries, Congress, the Planalto Palace (and more)

Use your second day to meet the political heart of Brasilia. We started the tour of the Cathedral of Brasilia, which is my favorite building in the city. Niemeyer, this was the first monument erected in the new capital, although the inauguration took place only years later, in the decade of 70. The entrance is free, as in practically all walks of public buildings in Brasilia.There are still around the National Museum and National Library. 

Brasilia’s Cathedral

We walked by the Monumental Axis, the main avenue of the Pilot Plan, to the National Congress Palace, with its two complementary domes:   the concave dome, face down, conveys the idea of weighting. There is the floor of the Senate. Beside it is a convex dome that turns up to represent a more open house, it would be the House of Representatives. Guided tours to the National Congress occur every day between 9 am and 17.30 – leaves a group every 30 minutes.

In any case, before coming to Congress, you will pass the Itamaraty Palace , headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and one of the most beautiful capital. I have not visited for lack of time, but the Foreign Ministry ranks first in the list of reasons to return in Brasilia. Beyond the facade of arches, which guarantee the charm of the building, the highlight for there is the Hanging Garden designed by Burle Marx.

In front of the Foreign Ministry and the other side of the Monumental Axis is the Palace of Justice , headquarters of the Ministry of Justice. But let us go forward: pass Congress, and you will also reach famous Three Powers Square, which lies between the parliament, the Supreme Court of the Palace and the Presidential Palace. Strangely enough, these three places, present almost every day in the news, are so close to each other.

How the Presidential Palace that is the case and the workplace of the Presidency, the building can only be visited on weekends: always on Sundays between 9h and 14h. If you go there in full hours, you may be lucky enough to witness the Changing of the Guard of Independence Dragons,  which occurs every two hours between 8 am and 18h.

You can also take a guided tour to the Supreme Court, but only and weekdays.

Things to Do in Brasilia: not over

I think the listed attractions will take up one whole weekend, especially if you do one or two guided tours (strongly recommend to the Congress that did, and the Foreign Ministry and the Presidential Palace, which I would have done). But the list of attractions goes beyond Brasilia. For example, just go in the other direction of the Monumental Axis to find theNational Stadium and on the other hand, the City Park,  where, according learned from Renato Russo, Eduardo and Monica met, motorcycle she and her camel.

Also lacked speak of  Cláudio Santoro National Theater, which is the art space, the JK Memorial, the Jaburu Palace, the residence of the vice-presidency and that, like the Dawn, also sits on the banks of the Paranoá. The list of palaces is complete with the Buriti, seat of government of the Federal District, and the Catetinho, made of wood in a simple style and where President Juscelino Kubitschek lived and worked during the construction of Brasília – Today the space is a museum. It also has digital TV Tower, another lookout point in the city.

Final Tip: In addition to checking the opening hours of public buildings, keep in mind that some of them have a dress code for tourists. This is especially true during the week when the buildings are working.