Walking the most beautiful street in the world

If São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador are the Alec, Billy and Daniel of the Baldwin family, then consider Porto Alegre the Stephen. It enjoys a comparatively quiet existence in Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, but unlike its Baldwin counterpart, hasn’t directed a skateboarding DVD. Instead, it’s home to some of the best churrascarias in Brazil, a smattering of wineries and the most beautiful street in the world.

Rua Gonçalo de Carvalho is three blocks – or 500 metres – of tree-lined oasis in an otherwise concrete jungle. Hundreds of native tipuanas (rosewoods) line either side of the street, forming a forest canopy that looks hella cool and gives the local birdlife plenty of places from where they can aim their business on to parked cars below.

The major hop-on, hop-off bus tours go right past the street, so it’s easy enough to get to. And as you can see, it’s well worth it. The trees are some 70-odd years old now, and were facing the threat of removal in 2005 when construction plans for a mall were proposed. Residents lobbied mayor José Fogaça to officially protect the site, which simultaneously marked the street’s official place in local history and probably the first use of the phrase “No way, José.”