Known to locals as Beagá, Belo Horizonte (Beautiful Horizon) was named for its view of the region's mountains. Today, this huge city is better known for its imposing skyscrapers than any natural beauty. Still, it remains popular, filled as it is with plenty of charm, character and warm and friendly locals.
Capital of Minas Gerais state in south-eastern Brazil, Belo Horizonte also boasts picturesque and leafy neighbourhoods with wide avenues, parks and lakes that provide respite from the urban sprawl. Mangabeiras Park, one of the city's biggest and most beautiful green spaces, affords wonderful views of the city.
Beagá is also home to a number of interesting architectural marvels, many of which can be found in Pampulha, the stately neighbourhood surrounding the man-made lake of the same name. It houses a complex of buildings designed by the legendary Oscar Niemeyer.
Along with its bustling markets and booming restaurant scene, Belo Horizonte offers a wonderful calendar of events and festivals. Comida di Buteco festival is a particular favourite, which sees hundreds of neighbourhood bars compete to see who makes the best bar food.