Curitiba, the capital of Parana state, is one of Brazil's urban success stories. It has received various United Nations awards. This city has managed to modernize in a relatively sane manner- historic buildings have been preserved, a handful of streets have been closed to cars and there are many parks, gardens and wide boulevards. The population is mostly the descendants of Italian, German and Polish immigrants, what makes the local culture very influenced by Europe.
In the surrounding areas there are many attractions to be visited, such as:
Parque Estadual de Vila Velha - This State park is located 85 km away from Curitiba. It contains 22 extraordinary rock formations dating from Carboniferous period (300 milion years ago).
Curitiba-Paranaguá Railroad - This railroad, a feat of engineering dating from 1880, runs through Brazil's dense Atlantic forest. On its 110km journey, the train passes through 13 tunnels carved through solid rock and crosses 41 bridges spanning abysses and foaming rivers. The view from the carriage windows is breathtaking and you will see a variety of trees in the tropical forest, including Sapicais, green ebony, jacarandas and guapiruvus.
Ilha do Mel - This island is a nature reserve with beautiful beaches and rustic small inns. There are no roads or cars allowed, what makes the experience more authentic, a perfect destination to relax and connect with nature.