Some Facts and Figures about Serra Gaúcha and Bento Gonçalves
Serra Gaúcha (Highlands of Rio Grande do Sul)
North of Porto Alegre, you quickly begin to climb into the Serra Gaúcha. The ride is beautiful, as are the mountain towns of Gramado and Canela, 140 km from Porto Alegre. First settled by Germans (in 1824) and later by Italians (in the 1870s), the region is as close to the Alps as Brazil gets. It's known as the Região das Hortênsias (Hydrangea Region). Both Gramado and Canela are popular resorts and are crowded with Porto Alegrenses in all seasons, but particularly when it's hottest in the big city. There are plenty of hotels and restaurants, especially in Gramado (8 km from Canela), and many have a German influence. Hikers abound in the mountains here. In winter there are occasional snowfalls and in spring the hills are blanketed with flowers. The best spot is the Parque Estadual do Caracol, reached by local bus from Canela, eight km away.
Cascata do Caracol (Snail's Waterfall):
Parque Nacional de Aparados da Serra (National Park Trimmed Highlands)
One of Brazil's natural wonders, the National Park located 164 km distant from Bento Gonçalves, consisting of an escarpment with deep V-shaped valleys cutting through it. The area is one of the main centres of Eco-tourism in the south of Brasil and has been attracting both the hard core adventurer looking for a challenge and the nature lover seeking a peaceful place and beautiful views. It is 70 km north of São Francisco de Paula and 18 km from the town of Cambará do Sul.
Things to See
The park preserves one of the country's last araucária forests, but the main attraction is the Canyon do Itaimbezinho, a fantastic narrow canyon with sheer 600 to 720-meter parallel escarpments. Two waterfalls drop into this deep incision in the earth, which was formed by the Rio Perdiz's rush to the sea.
Another of the park's attractions is the Canyon da Fortaleza, a 30-km stretch of escarpment with 900-meter drops. You can see the coast from here. Nearby, on one of the walls of the canyon, is the Pedra do Segredo, a five-meter monolith with a very small base. It's 23 km from Cambará, but unfortunately in a different direction from Itaimbezinho.
Bento Gonçalves was founded with strong tradition in grape culture and the production of wine and it is situated among valleys covered of vines and it is the second largest wine producting area of Brazil and the main producer of fine wines, for which it received the title of "The Capital of the Wine."
Hogshead - Entrance of Bento Gonçalves:
Vale dos Vinhedos (Vineyards Valley) - it is a valley among Bento Gonçalves, Garibaldi and Monte Belo do Sul boarders. Wines from Vale dos Vinhedos is globally known. The techniques guarantee the product quality, which already earned important national and international prizes, mainly in countries of Europe. In the summer the main attraction is to eat the grapes in the vineyards, to accompany the winegrowers' work, to see how the wine and juice are produced.
Maria-Fumaça (Steam locomotive) - There are 23 km of emotion on this tour, filled with music and joy, wines and champagnes, tarantella , Italian choir and a surprisingly attraction, this railroad was inaugurated in 1919 and today is an interesting touristic alternative for this region.
Departures: Wednesdays and Saturdays at 14 pm, Train Station Bento Goncalves, through Garibaldi, Carlos Barbosa and returning by the same path.
Ponte do Rio das Antas (Antas' River Bridge) - Situated in the Vale do Rio das Antas, between Veranópolis and Bento Gonçalves, a place of beautiful landscape. It is the world's largest in parallel arcs. In this site, there are snack bars, tents of colonial products and handicrafts. For those who like adventures, exciting 12 km down the best of Rio das Antas (rafting), in a trip about 2 hours in a boat with the best technology specifically for that sport.
Roadmap of Rio Grande do Sul
Roadmap of Rio Grande do Sul - PDF file - 2.600 Kb
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Access to Bento Gonçalves
From Porto Alegre, the access to Bento Gonçalves may be made by bus. Click HERE to get information about the departures and costs from Porto Alegre (Main bus station).
Access a simplified map of Bento Gonçalves:
Map of Bento Gonçalves - JPG file - 500 Kb
2005 - Centro de Processamento de Dados
Universidade Federal de Santa Maria