The main reason to visit Belo Horizonte (or 'BH' as it is known in Brazil) is as a starting point to travel down the Estrada Real, the Royal Road, which links the most sensational baroque towns in the Americas, whose extraordinary architectural splendours were funded in the eighteenth century by the richest gold mines in the world.
As a largely modern city, Belo Horizonte's other attractions are few, but not without interest. For example, it is home to architect Oscar Niemeyer's first great building: the Museu de Arte da Pampulha, set in gardens designed by Brazil's master landscapist, Roberto Burle Marx. The art gallery stands on its own on a promontory overlooking a wide lake. On the far side is another Niemeyer building, also in grounds by Burle Marx: the Casa do Baile, which is used for temporary exhibitions.