The Wow: During the eighteenth century, this town in the rolling hills of the largely rural province of Minas Gerais was one of the most important cities in Brazil – the Americas, even – thanks to the vast gold deposits that were discovered in the nearby foothills. When the Portuguese went home, they left a gorgeous colonial city, now a UNESCO World Heritage City, with numerous impressive Baroque churches and a vibrant local culture.
Why Now? Already a popular travel destination among Brazilians, Ouro Preto is now catching on internationally, having snagged the attention of both The New York Times (twice!) and the Travel Channel’s Entrada show.
Image: Elizabeth Gleeson