Island: Florianopolis, Brazil
Sunday 27 January 2008
Forget Rio and the coast of Bahia. This year, all the sexy Cariocas (Rio de Janeiro locals) and Paulistas (São Paulo residents) are heading to this gorgeous island just off of Brazil's southern Atlantic coast.
Famous for its beautiful people – supermodel Gisele Bundchen spent New Year's Eve here – the island is named after the main town that clusters around a small suspension bridge linking it to the mainland.
With over 42 pristine beaches to choose from, and a mountainous interior lush with the flora and fauna of the Atlantic rainforest, there is something to keep everyone happy, from windsurfing and dolphin-watching to hiking in the rainforest. The western shores are dotted with sleepy, whitewashed fishing villages that haven't changed for years, while the big sweep of beaches is on the north and east coasts. One of the finest is Praia Mole, a Mecca for windsurfers and sun-seekers.
At the centre of it all is Lagoa, a lake that looks as though it has been imported from Switzerland and is dotted with pretty lakeside hostels and fish restaurants. Don't miss a meal on the balcony of Bistro Isadora Duncan, where the French fare really delivers.
Nightlife is focused around the town of Lagoa and Florianopolis and, at the height of the season, many of the big clubs migrate here from São Paulo and Rio. Stay at the luxury eco-resort Pousada Vida Sol e Mar, which overlooks Praia do Rosa, one of the island's beautiful beaches. IM
Trips Worldwide offers a five-night bed-and-breakfast break at Pousada Vida Sol e Mar from £1,185 per person (based on two sharing, including return international and domestic flights and private transfers), 0117 311 4400, tripsworldwide.co.uk
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