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15 Largest Cities in Brazil

15 Largest Cities in Brazil

Want to know which is the biggest city in Brazil? Here’s a list of the largest cities in Brazil by size and population in 2019.

You can measure this in two ways, either by the total area or total population. The biggest cities in Brazil are measured by their total area in square kilometers, and the largest Brazilian cities are measured by their total population. 

São Paulo

Sao Paolo is the largest cities in Brazil with a population of 12,176,866 within the city limits, and more than 20 million people in the Metropolitan area.

Sao Paolo is famous for the countless skyscrapers, large student population as well as being the economic center of Brazil. In addition to that, it’s also the largest city in South America.

Largest city in Brazil

Photo: ESB Professional/Shutterstock

Rio de Janeiro

Many people around the world assume that Rio de Janeiro should be the largest city in Brazil, but it’s “only” the second most populated city with a population of 6,688,927 people. 

With that said, Copacabana and Christ the Redeemer have certainly made Rio into the most famous Brazilian city, and every year millions of tourists come here to enjoy the beaches and the samba vibes.

One of the main highlights in Rio is the annual Carnival, which is one of the world’s biggest celebrations. Sadly, Rio is also facing lots of problems and crime due to poverty and corruption. 

Rio de Janeiro

Photo: Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock


Brasilia was one of the first planned capitals in the world, and it was created from nothing as late as in the 1950s. It was chosen because of its geographic location and since then the capital of Brazil has become home to almost 3 million people. 


Photo: evenfh/Shutterstock


Salvador is located in the state of Bahia and is sometimes referred to as the soul of Brazil. It was the administrative and political center of colonial Brasil.

And while the city has a gruesome history including slavery, today, you can wander the old streets of Pelourinho and admire the spectacular baroque churches and colonial buildings.

In addition to that, Salvador is also famous for being a multicultural center and a haven for food lovers. 


Photo: R.M. Nunes/Shutterstock


Fortaleza is listed as one of the most dangerous cities in the world due to its high murder rate. The city is beautifully located along the coast in the State of Ceará and is home to 2,643,247 residents. 

Fortaleza is renowned for its beaches and nightlife and is sometimes compared to Miami.


Photo: ranimiro/Shutterstock

Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte is home to 2,501,576 people and has a nice cosmopolitan vibe in the State of Minas Gerais. It’s surrounded by spectacular mountains and the metro area of Belo Horizonte is the third most populated metro region in Brazil. 

Belo Horizonte

Photo: Ronaldo Almeida/Shutterstock


Manaus is the capital of the state of Amazonas and is also the largest city in the Amazon Rainforest area. It’s ranked as one of the most inaccessible large cities in the world, and it can’t be reached by road.

Manaus is home to about 2,145,444 people. 


Photo: Uwe Bergwitz/Shutterstock


Curitiba is located in the state of Paraná and is consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Brazil. Contrary to some of the other largest cities in Brazil, the crime rate in Curitiba is low. 

It’s a very well-planned city with a lower average of pollution and traffic jams compared to other Brazilian cities.

One of the largest cities in Brazil

Photo: Diego Grandi/Shutterstock


Recife is a major industrial and commercial city in Brazil, and also a popular destination among tourists thanks to its many beaches. The city is located in the state of Pernambuco in northern Brazil and is home to 1,637,834 residents. 


Photo: Gustavo Frazao/Shutterstock


Goiânia is the 10th largest city in Brazil with a population of 1,495,705. It’s located in the state of Goiás and was originally a planned city, founded in 1933 by Pedro Ludovico.

The original center of Goiânia has 22 art deco buildings that have been listed as national heritage. 


Photo: Daniel Precht/Shutterstock


Belém is ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in Brazil due to a high crime- and murder rate. It’s located in the state of Pará and has a population of 1,485,732 residents.

It was founded by the Portuguese and became the first European colony on the Amazon. Some of this colonial heritage remains but there is also a newer part of the city with skyscrapers and modern buildings. 


Photo: Gustavo Frazao/Shutterstock

Porto Alegre

Last but not least, Porto Alegre, one of the largest cities in Brazil with a population of 1,479,101. Porto Alegre is located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul and the vast majority of the population are European descendants. 

Porto Alegre

Photo: Lisandro Luis Trarbach/Shutterstock

More about the largest cities in Brazil

Some of the larger cities in Brazil are suffering from high crime rates, and several of them also have a high murder rate. This is quite unfortunate considering the beauty that many of the Brazilian cities holds.

The high levels of crime and murder is a result of long-term poverty and corruption. The largest cities in Brazil often have large slum areas as well where the poor people are living, densely packed in small houses and hovels.

One such example is Rio de Janeiro, which have several favelas that have large populations of poor people. In some of these favelas, the people are turning to local gangs which are providing food and money when the corrupted government fails. 

Just like in other parts of the world, the largest cities in Brazil are growing every year, and the metro areas are connecting more suburbs to form an even larger and more populated metropolitan area. 

More about the biggest cities in Brazil

Photo: ranimiro/Shutterstock

Where are the major cities in Brazil?

Most of the major cities in Brazil are located along the coast from north to south. There are also a few of the biggest cities in Brazil that are located inland, such as Manaus, Belo Horizonte and the capital Brasilia. 

What are the biggest cities in Brazil?

Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Salvador are some of the major cities in Brazil. 

Major cities in Brazil

Photo: Thiago Leite/Shutterstock

How many of the largest cities in Brazil did you know about? Leave a comment below!

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