The best and essential of Timbó: a hidden gem in southern Brazil
January 1, 1970
by Gabriele Tschá
Timbó is considered a small-sized town by Brazilian standards, with about 40 thousand inhabitants. Until not long ago, it was virtually out of the spotlight, even to other southern Brazilians. Just very recently, with the popularization of biking and the strengthening of the Cycling Tourism in the European Valley Project, the town began to gain more attention both in Brazil and abroad. The European Valley Circuit is a joint initiative of the municipalities of Apiúna, Ascurra, Benedito Novo, Doutor Pedrinho, Indaial, Pomerode, Rio dos Cedros, Rodeio, and Timbó – this last one being the headquarters of the project – and you can find out more about it here (only in Portuguese).
Anyhow, even if you’re not a bike fan, Timbó still has everything it takes to win your heart. Colonized by Europeans, mainly Germans and Italians, in the XIX century, it still preserves the slow-paced lifestyle of the countryside. At the same time, it’s a fast-growing city, mostly due to a strong industrial economy, which draws migrants from other Brazilian regions in search of work, and gives Timbó a very interesting cultural scene.
So, it doesn’t matter if your passion is on nature, food or music. Timbó has it all. So here’s a starter guide for you to spend some unforgettable days in this lovely hidden gem in the European Valley region, in the South of Brazil.
What to do
Thapyoka Tourist Complex
This is the city’s main postcard. It’s a meeting point for the locals and the first place you should go to start your tour. The complex is a collection of attractions that include a square, museum, bar-restaurant and historical architecture. Take a stroll along the bridge, find the perfect spot for your photos and stop by the restaurant to have a drink by the sound of the water and view of the river.
This is the original house of one of the families that first arrived in Timbó in the XIX century. It has a collection of furniture and utensils perfectly arranged as if there was still a family from the past living there. The tiny museum is right beside Thapyoka restaurant and it should take you about half an hour to visit it. It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8:30 am to 11:30 am and from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm. There’s a small entrance fee of BRL 2.00.
Across the street from Thapyoka restaurant, you’ll find a large square with a typical half-timbered house right in the middle. That’s the Artisan’s House, a small souvenir shop where you can find a variety of products handmade by local craftsman and craftswoman. It’s open every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Ecopark Freymund Germer – Blue Hill (Morro Azul)
The highest point in Timbó, this mountain is 758m high. You can either go by car or even cycle or walk the 7km from base to top. There’s a barbecue and camping area at the entrance of the park. At the tip, there’s an open area where you can see the towns of Pomerode and Blumenau far away, as well as many people practicing paragliding. The park is open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm every day and it’s free of charge.
One of the most visited parks by families and young people from Timbó. Barbecue area, restaurant, playground, hiking trails, sports courts, plenty of lawn space for a picnic and the beautiful lake and gardens attract tens of visitors, especially on the weekends.
Henry Paul Park
Here is where most of the great events of the town take place along the year, especially around the 12th of October, when the Immigrant’s Party is celebrated with typical food, music, and dance. Recently renovated, the grounds of the park now include many leisure facilities such as cycling and jogging track, playground, hiking trails, barbecue area, skate lane, and “bocha” court. Besides, if you’re around during one of the big events, there’s also an extensive free parking lot.
If you’re here around Easter or Christmas time, you’ll find the central square all decorated and you may even enjoy one of the holiday presentations made by local groups and schools. During other times of the year, the square is always full, day or night. People come here to practice sports, meet friends or just sit and watch the water fountain. The theater has unfortunately been closed for years, waiting for government budget to have renovation completed. Around the park, though, there are some good options to grab a snack. You can go with a traditional burger or even try one of the Brazilian typical gourmet “churros” or a bowl of “açaí”.
This was an old dance saloon and, despite being relatively small, it has an extensive and very interesting collection of musical instruments, its accessories and musical literature from different parts of the world. On some Sunday mornings, entrance is free of charge and musical events take place here. It may be an orchestra concert or a rock festival, all kinds of music are promoted. When there’s no event, there’s a small entrance fee of BRL 2.00. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8:30 am to 11:30 am and from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm.
Poet Lindolf Bell’s House
Lindolf Bell was a not very famous, but important poet in Brazilian history. He was the leader of the Poetic Catechism Movement, which allowed thousands of people to have access to poetry and art. In the house where he spent his childhood, today there’s a cultural complex, with a museum, library, and gallery. Now and then local artists exhibit their work here, be it paintings, sculptures or literature. The house is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8:30 am to 11:30 am and from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm and the entrance fee is BRL 2.00.
How to get there
Fly to Navegantes International Airport. That’s the closest commercial airport to Timbó and it’s located in the coastal town of Navegantes, about 80km away. From there you may take a chartered bus to Blumenau at the cost of BRL 50.00 if you also want to visit there. But public transportation between cities in the region is expensive and frequently not reliable, not to say almost non-existent (local residents simply use the car, you’ll notice the traffic), and taxis are overpriced. So, my best advice is that you call Uber at the airport to take you directly to Timbó, that’ll cost about BRL 100.00 and it’s the cheapest, fastest way to get there.
If your trip includes other cities in the South of Brazil, you may be lucky to be on the bus route that leads to Timbó. The main bus operator is Catarinense, which serves the route through the following cities and towns at three different times every day: Curitiba, Garuva, Joinville, Guaramirim, Jaraguá do Sul, Pomerode, Rio dos Cedros, Timbó, Indaial, Ascurra, Apiúna and Rio do Sul. You can buy your tickets online here, they even have the page in English for you. ?
Just don’t forget to collect your ticket at the bus station (arrive about one hour earlier if you are in a crowded city like Curitiba or Joinville). And be aware that the bus trip may take double the time compared to a car. From Curitiba to Timbó, for example, it usually takes the bus a bit more than five hours to cover the route, while with the car you can make it in less than three hours if there isn’t heavy traffic.
If you’re in one the following towns in the Itajaí Valley region: Apiúna, Ascurra, Blumenau, Benedito Novo, Doutor Pedrinho, Indaial, Presidente Getúlio or Rodeio, you may want to try your luck with the only operating local company, Expresso Presidente. But, like I mentioned before, they’re generally expensive, not reliable, and you’ll need to be able to express yourself in good Portuguese to get on the right bus.
Driving is really the best way to get to Timbó. It will also give you the freedom to visit everything around the town and maybe even stretch your trip to other interesting towns in the surroundings, like Blumenau, Pomerode, Apíuna, Rodeio and Doutor Pedrinho. You can hire a car at the airport or in a bigger city close by. Car rental in Brazil is not exactly cheap, but it’ll give you the chance to enjoy the best of your trip when traveling outside large metropolises.