Bicycle touring in Santa Catarina is the perfect match between bicycle and tourism. The state has some of the best bike routes not only in Brazil but South America.
Actually, traveling by bicycle is successful in many countries around the world. According to European Cyclists’ Federation, bicycle touring handled around 44 billion euros in Europe in 2012, employing around 524 thousand people in 2014.
In Brazil, there is still no official data on the growth of bicycle touring or economic potential, but there is already an increase in cyclists, associations, teams as the interest for routes with beautiful landscapes, culture, and safety.
Bicycle touring in Santa Catarina
Circuito das Araucárias – Araucárias Bike Route
The Circuito das Araucárias (Araucárias Bike Route) is the most well organized and signposted route of Bike touring in Santa Catarina. The route passes through the towns Campo Alegre, Corupá, São Bento do Sul and Rio Negrinho, 250 kilometers in total.
There is the possibility for complementary activities along the route such as go for a swim in waterfalls, abseiling in Morro da Igreja (Church Hill)*, Italian, German and Polish gastronomy, etc. Therefore, to make the most of the trip it is recommended to stay for six days.
Araucarias Route goes through a path surrounded by beautiful Araucarias (Brazilian pines), preserved Atlantic Forest and waterfalls. It also passes through Campos de Quiriri, an environmental preservation area, where on clear days at the highest points it is possible to see the north coast of Santa Catarina, Joinville, and São Francisco do Sul.
One of the highlights is the historical part. The route passes through stretches of Dona Francisca road, built in the Portuguese Empire period, around 1865, to connect the old Dona Francisca Colony (now Joinville) to the Santa Catarina plateau, used by wagons for yerba mate disposal, wood, leather and other products. From the road it is still possible to follow the Estrada de Ferro (a railroad) built in 1913 and still in operation, connecting São Paulo to Rio Grande do Sul.
It is worthwhile to follow the local calendar to enjoy the local festivities, sprinkled with lots of draft beer, folk dances, gastronomy and the popular colonial breakfast. There is also the possibility to take stamps by stretches and at the end exchange for a certificate.
Circuito Vale Europeu – Vale Europeu Bike Route
With 300 km of distance, Vale Europeu Route passes through 9 towns with German and Italian immigration inheritance. Beginning and ending in Timbó town, it crosses other towns such as Pomerode, Indaial, Doutor Pedrinho, Rodeio, Apiúna, Ascurra, Benedito Novo and Rio dos Cedros. It’s considered the first tourist route planned for bike touring in Brazil.
The region of Vale Europeu route has a great concentration of springs and waterfalls, which is good for rafting, abseiling, hiking or just to go for a swim. Thus, seven days stay is the recommendation. There are also influences of Italians and Germans in its local cuisine, architecture, and festivities. Festa do Imigrante (Immigrant’s Festival)* in Timbó, Festa Pomerana (Pomerana Festival)* in Pomerode, Festa Trentina (Trentina Festival*, named after Trento city in Italy) in Rio dos Cedros and La Sagra (sagra, in Italian, means “a local festival involving food, historical pageant and sporting events) in Rodeio.
The route is divided in two. The lower part follows rivers and valleys, with ascents and descents that requires certain experience and bike conditioning; on the other hand, the upper part goes towards the region dams and has isolated landscapes along the way, good for those who want to feel connected with nature.
Circuito Costa Verde – Costa Verde Bike Route
This is the first bicycle touring route in Brazil in the coastline and the closest to the sea in Santa Catarina. The Costa Verde Bike Route is 270 kilometers, normal difficulty, with preserved roads, signposted and almost no ascents. Although it doesn’t cross highways, try to avoid holidays and vacations season, since at this time the region gets busy and full of tourists.
The route presents 60 beaches along the way, from the most lively ones to the deserts. It passes through Balneário Piçarras, Bombinhas, Itapema, Navegantes, Penha, Porto Belo, Camboriú Ilhota, Luís Alves, Balneário Camboriú and Itajaí. The itinerary can be complemented with underwater diving, trails, hang gliding, waterfalls, kayak and more. Thus, it is recommended six days stay.
The inheritance of the Azorean immigration is very present in culture and local cuisine.
Acolhida na Colônia
Acolhida na Colônia is a project to encourage agritourism in the rural areas of Santa Catarina. The ride is held on the slope of Serra do Tabuleiro (Tabuleiro Mountain Range)*. The route goes through the towns Rancho Queimado, Anitápolis and Santa Rosa de Lima. It’s a region known for its organic and family agriculture, numerous waterfalls, rivers and thermal springs.
With 116 kilometers, mostly flat, it’s recommended five days to complete the journey. You can complement the tour with a visit to the Serra do Tabuleiro National Park which has free entrance.
Dreaming of an unforgettable bike touring in Santa Catarina? See our itineraries and much more!
*some names have been loosely translated for better understanding.