By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Gramado, a picturesque town in the Serra Gaúcha of Rio Grande do Sul state, has been voted best destination in Brazil to visit by the users of travel website TripAdvisor. Second placed in this year’s Travelers’ Choice awards was Rio de Janeiro with São Paulo reaching third place.
Gramado is famous for its European charm with a strong German and Italian influence seen in the architecture of the town and its many parks. Around one of its lakes, Lago Negro actual pine trees from the German black forest were planted.
Although also known for its large Christmas festival, Gramado attracts tourists in winter with its cold temperatures (which can reach below zero) creating the feeling of actually being in Europe. Additionally, it is home to a wax house, the Mini Mundo theme park with miniature cities and hosts an annual film festival, one of the most traditional ones in Latin America.
Gramado, one of the towns along the scenic route known as Rota Romântica (Romantic Route), was also voted the best winter destination by readers of Abril’s ‘Viagem e Turismo’ (Travel and Tourism) magazine in late 2014. The awards by the magazine are considered one of the most important tourism honors in Brazil.
The small town with around 35,000 inhabitants was also chosen as third best destination in South America by TripAdvisor, after Buenos Aires, Argentina and Cusco, Peru. Rio de Janeiro only reached the fifth place in the continent’s ranking.
Within Brazil the first ten places were made up by Gramado (RS), Rio de Janeiro (RJ), São Paulo (SP), Florianópolis (SC), Foz do Iguaçu (PR), Salvador (BA), Jericoacoara (CE), Ipojuca (PE), Curitiba (PR) and Fortaleza (CE).
TripAdvisor determines the results of its ranking through an algorithm taking into consideration the quantity and quality of hotel, attraction and restaurant evaluations that have been placed on the site by its users during the last twelve months.
Winner of the world Travelers’ Choice award was Marrakesh in Morocco, leaving Siem Reap in Cambodia as the runner-up and Istanbul, Turkey as third-placed.