From the fertile, lush wilderness of the Amazon Rainforest to the vivacious, vibrant Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is a country where proud ancient traditions and pioneering 21st-century philosophies thrive like nowhere else on earth.
The fifth-largest country in the world, Brazil is larger than the contiguous United States and is the world's fifth most populous country, with more than 200 million people.
The first city in South America to be selected to host the Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro was founded by the Portuguese in 1565. Today, it is home to dozens of fantastic museums and the majestic Teatro Municipal, a Parisian-inspired theatre built near the turn of the 20th century. This cosmopolitan melting pot is also overlooked by the 396-metre Sugarloaf Mountain, which contains a viewing platform where visitors can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Rio skyline and its tropical forests and sandy beaches.
Another prominent peak is the 710-metre Corcovado ('hunchback') mountain, which can be reached via the popular Corcovado Rack Railway and provides more superb panoramic views of the city. Here, you can also observe the incredible Christ the Redeemer statue, an iconic Art Deco landmark that was completed in 1931.
At the meeting point between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, Iguazu Falls is 82m high at its tallest section, and consists of hundreds of waterfalls, which vary in intensity depending on the time of year. The site, which was discovered by the Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in the early-16th century, is close to two international airports, and, along with the Iguazú National Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With such a vast, seemingly endless modern skyline, Sao Paulo can seem a little daunting on first inspection, although if you plan ahead, you'll soon realise that Brazil's biggest city has plenty to offer. Spend some time at the São Paulo Museum of Art, which was founded in the 1940s and is renowned for its extensive European art collection.
To learn more about the history of Portuguese civilisation, visit the Museum of the Portuguese Language, which is housed in a magnificent Victorian-style building. This fascinating venue showcases the story of Brazil from its colonial days to its emergence as one of the world's largest economies, as well as the evolution of indigenous communities elsewhere in South America and Africa.
For luxury accommodation in Rio de Janeiro, you could book a stay at the enchanting Belmond Copacabana Palace, or consider the hospitable but more affordable Vila Gale Rio de Janeiro. If you're visiting Sau Paulo, try the deluxe Hotel Fasano Sao Paulo or the value-for-money Hilton Morumbi Sao Paulo, and if you're travelling to Iguazu, you could choose the exquisite Iguazu Grand Resort, Spa & Casino. Other ideal hotels for luxury holidays in Brazil include the Colonial-style Villa Bahia in Salvador and the exclusive Royal Tulip Brasilia Alvorada in Brasilia.