The prosperous, European-influenced southern state of Santa Catarina has over 500km of undulating coastline scalloped with pretty crescent-shaped beaches. Ilha de Santa Catarina (the gateway is the city of Florianópolis) is beloved of Argentine holiday makers and popular with families (the sheltered beaches in the west) and surfers (who ride the rollers in the east). On the mainland the coast is fringed by attractive green hills covered with monkey puzzle trees. The cliffs and bays along the coast shelter a few top end beach properties and attract whale-watchers.
The coastline adjoining the agreeable little resort of Praia do Rosa - considered one of the top most beautiful 30 bays in the world - is particularly exquisite. There are nine beaches and bays, each very different from one another, separated by rugged headlands and linked by coastal paths reminiscent of those in Cornwall or Jersey. It is possible to spend days exploring on foot and by hire car, stopping off at Siriu to admire the sand dunes and maybe sandboard down them and at Ferrugem for the surfing or Gamboa to visit an unspoilt Brazilian beach village. Praia Vermelha's rust coloured sands are only accessible on foot, whereas you can take your car out onto the beach at Ouvidor (watch the tides!). Many beaches are backed by tranquil lagoons safe for swimming. Most visitors base themselves at chic Praia do Rosa but visit the charming low-key and laid-back fishing town Garipoba.