Top 12 Famous Buildings In Brazil - Updated 2024

| 6 min read

Situated on the Eastern part of the South American continent and bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Brazil is a beautiful country and a fascinating melting pot of African, Indian, and Portuguese cultures. With a pristine coastline dotted with idyllic beaches and even more spectacular tourist attractions such as the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue and the majestic Sugarloaf Mountain, it’s easy to understand why this charming place is fast becoming a vacation hotspot. There are also amazing resorts and hotels to stay in Brazil. When it comes to buildings and monuments, this picturesque Latin American country never disappoints, housing some of the world’s most revered architectural gems like Planalto and Alvorada Palaces, to name but a few. To get a better understanding of the country’s elating cultural heritage and diverse architectural ingenuity, continue reading to find out more about the top famous buildings in Brazil.

1. Modern Art Museum (from USD 50.0)

Brazil is famously known for its talented soccer players, intoxicating samba festivals, and the serene Amazon rainforest. But did you also know that this beautiful country is home to some of the world’s most fascinating museums? Tucked away in the lush surroundings of Flamengo Park, in Rio De Janeiro’s Centro District, this elegant museum designed by architect Affonso Eduardo is a beautiful blend of rationalist architecture and its charming environment. Inaugurated in 1948, this modern art museum, as its name suggests, boasts the most comprehensive collections of Brazilian artwork and is one of the most significant cultural institutions in the country.

Visited this place?

Rio de Janeiro Museum of Modern Art Skip-the-Line Tour

Duration: 4 hours

1 review

2. Museum of Art of São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand

MASP Brazil
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Wilfredor used under CC0

Last but not least, is yet another spectacular art museum gracing the busy streets of Brazil -the iconic Museum of Art of São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand. Designed by the prolific Italian-born Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi, this astounding art’s museum is in its own right a marveling work of art itself, as it appears to be floating from the ground. Inaugurated in 1968, in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II, this remarkable building is famous for its enchanting brutalist structure and modern Brazilian architecture.

Museum of Art of São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand

Address: Av. Paulista, 1578 - Bela Vista, São Paulo - SP, 01310-200, Brazil

Website: Museum of Art of São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand

Opening hours: Tue: 10am - 8pm; Wed - Sun: 10am - 6pm (closed on Mon)

Visited this place?

3. Museu do Amanhã (from USD 9.0)

Complementing the city’s dramatically beautiful landscape, Musem of Tomorrow is undeniably as futuristic as it sounds. Travel to the future when you set foot inside this stunning museum. Conveniently located adjacent to Plaza Mauá in the lively blare of Pièr Mauá, this astounding structure was designed and projected by the Spanish architect, engineer, and artist -Santiago Calatrava. Supported by Roberto Marinho Foundation, this eye-catching architectural marvel was successfully inaugurated on December 17, 2015, receiving about 25 thousand visitors in its first week of operation. A true icon to the local and cultural identity of the city of Rio De Janeiro, this opulent institution’s purpose is not only to be a museum of modern arts and sciences but also to educate its patrons about the dangers brought about by climate change and its consequential effect on the environment.

Visited this place?

Museum of Tomorrow Admission Ticket (COVID-19 Prepared)

Duration: 2 to 5 hours

4. Itamaraty Palace

Palácio do Itamaraty
Source: Photo by Flickr user A C Moraes used under CC BY 2.0

The Itamaraty Palace, officially known as the Palácio Itamaraty, is an architectural masterpiece and a symbol of Brazil’s diplomatic excellence. This majestic building serves as the headquarters of Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Designed by the renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer and inaugurated in 1970, the Itamaraty Palace is a striking example of modernist architecture. Its distinctive features include a vast reflecting pool that surrounds the structure, a large, graceful dome, and an elegant, curved façade.

The interior of the palace is no less impressive, with its intricate marble work, artistic murals, and a vast central hall that hosts significant diplomatic events and summits. It stands as a famous landmark in Brazil and a testament to the nation’s cultural and political significance on the world stage.

Itamaraty Palace

Address: Zona Cívico-Administrativa BL H - Brasília, DF, 70170-900, Brazil

Website: Itamaraty Palace

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 9am - 4pm (closed on Sat - Mon)

Price: Free

Visited this place?

5. Hotel Unique

ruy ohtake, hotel unique, sao paulo brazil april 2006
Source: Photo by Flickr user seier+seier used under CC BY 2.0

Hotel Unique, situated in the vibrant city of São Paulo, is a striking and luxurious boutique hotel renowned for its exceptional architecture and modern design. Designed by the renowned architect Ruy Ohtake, the hotel is an architectural marvel with its distinctive half-moon shape and copper façade that gleams in the cityscape. This architectural masterpiece is complemented by stylish and avant-garde interiors.

The hotel boasts 94 rooms and suites, each uniquely decorated with contemporary furnishings and panoramic views of the city. The rooftop Skye Restaurante & Bar is an iconic feature, offering breathtaking views of the São Paulo skyline and a chic ambiance.

Hotel Unique

Address: Av. Brigadeiro Luís Antônio, 4700 - Jardim Paulista, São Paulo - SP, 01402-002, Brazil

Website: Hotel Unique

Visited this place?

6. Museu Oscar Niemeyer

Museu Oscar Niemeyer
Source: Photo by Flickr user Cássio Abreu used under CC BY 2.0

We certainly can’t talk of ultra-modern buildings in Brazil without talking about the country’s most revered architect -Oscar Niemeyer, and starting us off on this list, is undeniably one of his revered creations, Museu Oscar Niemeyer. Impressively perched on a large yellow 60 ft (18 m) pillar and colorfully painted, this awe-inspiring building resembles Robotic Cyclops overlooking a reflecting pool. A fascinating spectacle to the eye, this Brazilian gallery in Curitiba, Brazil, was inaugurated in 2002. Housing many of Niemeyer’s talented works, the museum’s main attraction is the balancing effect of its 2000 square feet (186 square meters) gallery, especially when it’s lit at night, making this captivating building a mind-boggling work of art.

Museu Oscar Niemeyer

Address: R. Mal. Hermes, 999 - Centro Cívico, Curitiba - PR, 80530-230, Brazil

Website: Museu Oscar Niemeyer

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 6pm (closed on Mon)

Visited this place?

7. Niterói Contemporary Art Museum

Contemporary Art Museum in Niteroi City 4
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Donatas Dabravolskas used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Brazil is a country that boasts a plethora of cultural and modern places to visit, and Niterói Contemporary Art Museum is one of those popular structures that attract tourists to the beautiful city of Rio De Janeiro. Designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer and completed in 1996, this space-age modernist structure stands elegantly on a cliffside, offering panoramic views of the small surrounding islands and the turquoise waters of the ocean below.

This attraction is a truly visual treat to behold and is one of the most famous architectures in Brazil. It’s not like every day that you see a gigantic structure that closely resembles a saucer.

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum

Address: irante da Boa Viagem, s/nº - Boa Viagem, Niterói - RJ, 24210-390, Brazil

Website: Niterói Contemporary Art Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 6pm (closed on Mon)

Visited this place?

8. Cathedral of Brasília

Cathedral of Brasília
Source: Pixabay

Erected on the bustling streets of the country’s capital and sitting just a stone’s throw from the amazing Museu Nacional, Cathedral of Brasília is certainly a heavenly sight to behold. Yet another amazing creation from the prolific Brazilian architect -Oscar Niemeyer, this fascinating church resembles a crown-like hyperboloid structure and is arguably one of the city’s most famous landmarks, attracting a throng of tourists, who grace the establishment’s premises for its striking shape and the impressive stained glass ceiling. Serving as the seat of the archdiocese of Brasília, this beautiful church features a sinuous exterior with 16 curved concrete columns, each weighing 90 tonnes (90000 kg) and is capable of holding up to 4000 people.

Cathedral of Brasília

Address: Esplanada dos Ministérios lote 12 - Brasília, DF, 70050-000, Brazil

Website: Cathedral of Brasília

Opening hours: Sun, Tue - Fri: 8am - 6pm; Sat & Mon: 8am - 5pm

Visited this place?

9. Edifício Itália

Edifício Itália
Source: Pixabay

Designed by the acclaimed German-Brazilian architect -Franz Heep Edíficio Italia, which means the Italian building in Portuguese, is notably another stunning addition to the inspiring skyline of Sáo Paulo, Brazil. Located in the heart of the República District, this ultra-modern skyscraper measures a staggering height of 168 m (551 ft) with 46 floors, making it the third-largest tallest building in Brazil after Millennium Palace and Mirante Do Vale. Constructed between 1956 and 1965, this massive architectural wonder is home to the city’s best restaurants and bars like the remarkable Terraço Italia Restaurant.

Edifício Itália

Address: São Paulo, Brazil

Website: Edifício Itália

Visited this place?

10. Edifício Copan

Edifíco Copan
Source: Photo by Flickr user Rodrigo Soldon used under CC BY 2.0

Located in the heart of the city of São Paulo and nesting just a hairsbreadth from Edifíco Italia, Edifíco Copan is an interestingly memorable and important building in Brazil. Known in English as Copan Building, this astounding structure was designed by the legendary Brazilian architect -Oscar Niemeyer back in 1951 to celebrate over 400 years of this bustling metropolis. A remarkable epitome of the modern Brazilian architecture, this magnificent S-shaped building was inaugurated way back in 1966 and now serves as a residential area housing about 1,160 apartments, which unfortunately are off-limits to tourists for obvious reasons. The building measures 118 m (388 ft) in height and making your way to the rooftop and soaking up the city’s magical skyline views are some of the must-dos in Brazil.

Edifício Copan

Address: Downtown São Paulo, Brazil.

Website: Edifício Copan

Visited this place?

11. Catedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro

Catedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro Brazil - panoramio - Hiroki Ogawa (1)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hiroki Ogawa used under CC BY 3.0

Nestled in the heart of Rio’s lively city center, and resembling something close to a Mayan pyramid, except way more beautiful and futuristic, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio De Janeiro (Cathedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião do Rio De Janeiro) is a gorgeous cathedral that not only serves as the seat of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro but also pays homage to Saint Sebastian, who was the city’s patron saint.

Designed by architect Edgar Fonseca, The “New Cathedral” as it’s referred to by many of the area residents, features a striking conical shape. This famous building in Rio de Janeiro is towering up to 75 meters (246 ft), with an internal diameter of 96 meters (315 ft), and is one of the main reasons why the city is a popular tourist attraction.

Catedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro

Address: Av. Chile, 245 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20031-170, Brazil

Website: Catedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro

Opening hours: 7am - 5pm (daily)

Visited this place?

12. Amazon Theatre

Amazon Theatre
Source: Photo by Flickr user Leandro Neumann C... used under CC BY 2.0

Found stark amidst the Amazon forest in Brazil and evoking the grandeur of European Renaissance architecture, Amazon Theatre is an enchanting opera house in the city of Manaus. A beautiful three-storeyed treasure trove and a charming cultural landmark, this ravishing building plays host to the annually exciting Amazonas Opera Festival and is currently home to Amazonas Philharmonic Orchestra. Designed by the talented Italian architect -Celestial Sacardiam, this unique opera house was inaugurated on 31 December 1896 and is a fascinating monument of the city’s heydey during its rubber boom era. With more than 120 years, the building’s allure is its magnificent dome that’s decorated with over 36,000 ceramic tiles, which are impressively painted in the colors of Brazil’s National Flag.

Amazon Theatre

Address: Largo de São Sebastião - Centro, Manaus - AM, 69067-080, Brazil

Website: Amazon Theatre

Visited this place?

Brazil, an inspirational hub of cutting-edge architecture

Apart from boasting an idyllic 7,491 km (4,654 mi) coastline on the golden shores of the Atlantic ocean, Brazil also hosts a captivating abundance of picturesque sights and eye-popping structures, not to mention captivating waterfalls that will certainly arouse your sense of adventure. So plan your visit and check out what other things Brazil is famous for. And to revel in more in the country’s brilliant architectural ingenuity, be sure to spare time and make stops at any of these famous buildings!

Frequently asked questions about famous buildings in Brazil

  • Which famous buildings in Brazil hold historical significance?

    Have a blast from the past with a visit to the Amazon Theatre in Manaus, Brazil. This opera house was inaugurated in 1896 as a testament to the city’s heydey during its rubber boom era. It uniquely evokes the grandeur of European Renaissance architecture.

  • Which famous buildings in Brazil feature modern architecture?

    Prepare to be wowed by the modernist architecture that is on full display at these magnificent structures in Brazil: i) i) Itamaraty Palace, ii) Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, iii) Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio De Janeiro (Cathedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião do Rio De Janeiro), and iv) Museum of Art of São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our Privacy Policy for more information on how we use your data

Equipped with a diploma in tourism, Mwongeli Munuve is passionate about visiting new places to learn, interacting with the locals, trying out some of their specialties and collecting souvenirs. She...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Brazil
Good things are meant to be shared!
Back to top
Visited any of these places? Click this button to activate our "Add a Tip" feature to share your experience.