"The Joaquina Rita Bier Lake, designed by Leopoldo Rosenfeldt, comprises 20,331 sq. yd. and is dotted with lovely summer retreats, hotels and pinewoods that are over 70 years old."
"Its golf courses are as green as its grazing lands, a tribute to a city whose Portuguese name means pasturelands."

Gramado, a Brazilian city in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, is recognized as “a European dream in American soil” that lures tourists all year round who come looking for its natural landscapes marked by sierras, valleys, springs of see-through water and pinewood forests, cold weather and an unexpected cultural legacy from the Old World, especially from Italy and Germany. Crowning the tourist corridor known as the Region of the Hydrangeas, Gramado differs in a variety of ways from the other Brazilian cities. First of all, it lacks the tropical flavor seen in the rest of the country due to its cold climate and European influence.

Secondly, both authorities and locals bend over backward to spruce up their city to such an extent that streets are always squeaky-clean and flowers abound in every season of the year. The hydrangea is the symbolic flower of Gramado and it can be seen virtually everywhere, not only in private gardens, but also in parks, streets and tourist routes. The characteristic blue color of the land stems from soils rich in iron oxide.

The other major difference between Gramado and the rest of Brazil is the absence of that frenetic beat most big cities in the huge South American nation are marked by. Many tourists travel to Gramado to enjoy the calmness, the intimate hotels, the good food and the excellent shopping options, chiefly of such items as furniture, leather, fabrics and chocolates.

Gramado means pastureland in Portuguese. The first settlers gave it this name for being the place where their cattle used to graze on their long way to Sao Paolo, the final marketplace. In the late 19th century, the region started welcoming European immigrants as Italians and Germans, in addition to the Portuguese. As time went by, the village was declared a municipality in 1954.

Odd places of European flavor, mainly of Italian and German origin, are commonplace all across this exotic city. For instance, the entrance portico called Via Nova Petropolis is a pure Bavarian-style construction. It was opened on January 6, 1973 and in addition to being a magnificent building, it shows off manicured and blooming gardens that delight visitors who always try to take photographic keepsakes of Gramado. The Portico of the Via Taquara, right at the entrance of the city, sports a Norman style and its grand opening occurred on June 8, 1991 as a homage to the German colonization.

Mini Mundo, built by the Hoppner family back in 1981, strikes visitors’ attention because it rekindles the fantasy of a Legolandstyle miniature city from Denmark. It features replicas of castles and traditional houses, mills, squares, churches, shipyards, cable carts, towers, lakes, waterfalls and railroads, all of them trapped in a miniature and creative imaginary world.

The Clock Church, or Evangelical Church of Lutheran Confession, opened on February 5, 1961 anointed to Paul the Apostle, one of Christ’s followers. Its clock is part of the daily urban landscape and its location, right on a bouquet of hydrangeas, is no doubt one of the best-known Gramado postcards. The Knorr Park, home to the Santa Claus Village, is in the heart of the city, in a place teeming with magic and charms.

The location harbors the Trees of Wishes, the Chalet of Bears, the Toy Factory and the region’s first-ever Bavarian-style house built in 1940, all decked out with Christmas decorations where a potbellied Santa lives. Inside the park, the watchtower provides the best view of the amazing Quilombo Valley. The Negro Lake was initially known as the Good Retreat Valley.

Following a wildfire that charred the region’s lavish foliage, well-to-do German immigrant Leopoldo Rosenfeldt rebuilt the lake and decorated its banks with trees imported from Germany’s Black Jungle. That’s the origin of its Teutonic name: the Black Lake. Its waters are deep and dark green, reflecting the tall pine trees, the motley azaleas that flourish in the winter and the blue hydrangeas that bloom in the summer. The entire rim of the lake is hemmed in by a flowery pathway like no other for trekkers, hikers and bikers, thus giving the huge pond a gleeful and brisk colorfulness.

The hydrangea is the symbolic flower of Gramado and it can be seen virtually everywhere, not only in private gardens, but also in parks, streets and tourist routes

The city of Gramado, 78 miles from Porto Alegre, capital of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, is the host of major events like the Cinema Festival and the Winter Festival. Its schedule is packed with attractions for everybody.

The elegance of its streets, the details of its colonial architecture, the huge hotel offer, the good taste of its cuisine, the top quality of its products and services, the hospitality of the people and the smell of the surrounding nature wafting up in the air make Gramado a one-and-only city for once-in-a-lifetime moments. You can rest assured that those coming to the city to attend the 20th Tourism Festival in November will find not only a huge gateway wide open to that important industry, but also cultural and urban wealth from one of the most beautiful and astounding regions of Brazil

20th Tourism Festival of Gramado

Slated for Nov. 13 thru 16, 2008, is no doubt one of the top travel tradeshows in the world that gathers all major mass media organizations and tour operators from Latin America. This time around, the venue of choice will be the Serra Park Congress & Event Fairgrounds.

This anticipated tourism and travel event will feature exhibitions of different products and services from airlines and cruise companies, hotel chains, car rentals and other service providers. Organizers hope to reel in over 12,000 visitors from Brazil and the rest of the MERCOSUR commerce bloc. In the same breath, other event activities in the works are a congress, a business fair and negotiations rounds.