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Royal Route


A bicycle trip along “Estrada Real” from Diamantina do Paraty is a great adventure, pure enchantment. This is what we do!

The itinerary includes 1.115 kilometers, plus 27.000 meters of cumulative elevation gain, around 43.000 calories burned with some flat tires.

Regarding Estrada Real, we compare the itinerary to the route of Santiago de Compostela: “the initiative is very relevant, that is why the more it is disclosed the better” For those who wish experience the trip we would definitely recommend it becouse of the challenge, the beautiful landscapes, the hospitality of the people and the attractions.



In our adventure thru this amazing history, for the Royal Route, we choose the most famous routes to ride.

2.3 – The Diamond Path

3.3 – The Old Path

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The curves of the mountains in Minas Gerais reveal one of the most seductive itineraries in Brazil, Estrada Real. 1.630 kilometers (around 199 municipalities of Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo) of the Velho, Novo, Diamantes and Sabarabuçu routes from a mosaic of fantastic history, countryside habits, traditional arts and unique flavors amidst various paradisiac scenarios.

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The routes were constructed with irregular stones, built by the slaves, and went from Minas Gerais (MG) to Paraty (RJ).

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It was in 1.999 that Brazil decided to plan a tourist circuit that would be capable of retrieving this history and the routes that were opened more than 300 years ago aimed at discovering gold and precious metals and exploring the Brazilian territory.

Estrada Real tourist itinerary was created after many researches and exhaustive field works.

Currently, Estrada Real is the most complete itinerary in Brazil due the great diversity os leisure and business options. Culinary tourism finds authenticity in the flavors, from the taste of the cheese from Minas Gerais produced in Serra do Espinhaço to fresh fish in Rio de Janeiro coast. Business tourism has more and more support in the region. Cities like Ouro Preto, São João del Rei, Tiradentes, Diamantina, Caxambu and Paraty receive many events, exhibitions and festivals every year due to their natural and historical features, besides the strategic location situated between three big capital cities – Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Adventure tourism is getting better and better: rich in waterfalls, rivers and  mountains, Estrada Real is sought by thousands of people every year in search of sports like mountain biking, cycletourism, climbing, paragliding and trekking or simply worshiping nature. What do these tourists have in common? The privilege of sharing stunning landscapes and a century old culture.

Our work shows the Estrada Real routes based on two aspects. The cultural and natural heritages, treasures of priceless value.


The colonial inheritance, still preserved, maintains the most amazing collections of historical heritage.


The landscapes depict unforgettable scenarios, where the untouched nature still reigns.

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DIAMOND PATH (Caminho dos Diamantes).

In the mid-18h century, a great quantity of miners moved towards Serra do Espinhaço, instigated by the rumors that the ofter of gemstones was as big as the gold deposits of the mines in Ouro Preto. The rumor was confirmed. By the time, in Jequitinhonha river valley, Arraial do Tijuco (Tijuco Village) was already begin created.

“The village was firstly developed due to the gold mining but soon after, it began to receive the various explorers that came looking for news about diamonds… Thus, in the first years of the exploration, the village experienced intense population and economic growth, consolidating itself when it became the headquarters of the diamond district”, wrote the researcher from Federal University of Minas Gerais, Carmen Marques Rodrigues.

The importance of Arraial do Tejuco (Tejuco Village) was so great that the colonial administration created a new route, connecting Diamantina and Outro Preto.

Thus, the gold and the gemstones found in the north of the province could equally be transported to Portugal. Caminho dos Diamantes was consolidated.

The effort which led the bandeirantes to explore Serra do Espinhaço region was the same that led a great number of adventurers to explore Serra da Piedade. They used to say that this mountain range had a “special glow”, and the reason for this most certainly was the quantity of gold, silver and gemstones. It was necessary to find an alternative route to get there, and this time, instead of starting off from Ouro Preto, they started off from Glaura, following Das Velhas River, until getting to Barão de Cocais.

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OLD PATH (Caminho Velho)

The route, which irradiates beauty, is fruit of one of the most important historical moments in Brazil: the discovery of gold in Minas Gerais underground.

It all began in the mid-17th century, when several expeditions left the coast aiming to explore Brazil´s inland. Some groups were financed by the Portuguese Crown, named “entradas” (“entrances”). Others went on their own account, they so called “bandeiras” (“expeditions”). They were bigger and more successful. In search of precious metals and of indians and negroes for the slave market, the bandeiras and their bandeirantes (pioneers) were the ones mainly responsible for opening the way throughout the vast Brazilian territory.

On the way, the bandeirantes noticed that small gold nuggets flowed down the riverbeds. Rumors about lands full of precious metals began to become a reality… Those were the first indications of what would be the greatest quantity of gold ever discovered until then in the world.

The search of the metal showed that this was a region with many mines and great wealth. The bandeirantes settled in various areas and created villages. Among the most relevant: Sabará, close to Serra do Sabarabuçu; Diamantina, framed by Serra dos Cristais and Ouro Preto, the Brazilian “Eldorado”, in the entrails of Serra da Mantiqueira.

Ouro Preto performed an extremely important role in the history of Brazil. In the history, economy, culture, colonial art. As described by the Portuguese governor of the province at the beginning of the 18th century, Simão Ferreira Machado, Ouro Preto was, “due to its natural position, the head of thriving America; and due to the power of its wealth, the precious pearl of Brazil”.

The bandeirante Antônio Dias de Oliveira settled in the area in 1698. In a few years that set of hamlets became a village, a town and finally the capital of the new captaincy of Minas Gerais, in 1720. Ouro Preto experienced its golden days. Its population multiplied exponentially, the number of theater plays, literary soirees, balls and fine dinners and cabarets grew rapidly.

The illegal trade of gold, which sold the promise of easy enrichment, also multiplied itself.

The Portuguese Crown did it best to control the outflow of gold from the mines to Europe. The official route, paved with irregular stones, went from Ouro preto to Paraty (RJ). It used to called Caminho do Ouro (Gold Route). Currently, it is known as Caminho Velho (Old Route).

Using this same route the African slaves and several types of goods such as food, clothes, furniture and even luxury items arrived. In the first years of the gold exploration in Brazil´s inland, this was also the route used in the establishment of villages, the construction of churches, the catechization of inlands, the birth of beliefs, the creation of myths.

Caminho Velho was consolidated, but it was very precarious and unsafe. In addition to the problems in the land, there were dangers at sea: on the way from Paraty to Rio de Janeiro, from where the merchandise and the metals traveled to Portugal, the ships risked being attacked by pirates. The need to open a new route between the mines and the sea was greater and greater.

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The varied and valuable attractions of the historical and cultural heritages are amazing, whether due to the simplicity or grandeur of the monuments. It is easy to be enchanted by the beautiful and pompous holiday mansion which belong to the Imperial family in Petrópolis (RJ), or to fall in love with the picturesque small blue and white colonial houses in Vila de Biribiri (MG). In their great majority, the architectural monuments that narrate the history of Estrada Real through buildings and works of art are currently listed heritage and, therefore, preserved. It is necessary to travel, visit and observe in order to feel the atmosphere of a glorious history.


Praça Tiradentes (Tiradentes Square) at dawn: the greatest symbol of the Brazilian people´s most important Humankind Heritage.

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