It has a population of about 6000 and boasts some fine examples of 300-year old buildings, like the impressive gold-filled Matriz church. It is also well-known amongst food lovers for its food festival in August and its many good regional and modern restaurants.
There are about 10 buses a day from (and to) São João del Rei (8 on weekends). The bus station (Rodoviária) is located near the São Francisco de Paula church at Praça Silva Jardim. Tel: (32) 3355-1100. There are no ticket booths, pay onboard.
On weekends, the maria-fumaça (steam train) leaves the neighbouring city of São João del Rei twice a day (10 am and 3 pm). The 35-minute trip is a nice way to get into town in full "vintage" style.
Cars are allowed to circulate, but given the compact size of the old town, slowly walking around is by far the best way to see and feel the place. The irregular ancient pavement may not be quite friendly to those with locomotion disabilities, though.
Buildings from times long gone and the cobblestone streets give Tiradentes a very special feeling. Its main attractions include:
There are many sweets and crafts shops around town. Most of the crafts are actually made by people living at the Bichinho district, separated from town by a narrow 7 km long dust road. Go there if you want to get cheaper prices buy from the artists directly, but be prepared to gold-dig a little bit.
There are several bars in and around the Largo das Forras square.
Bottles of fine Brazilian cachaça can be bought in many shops scattered around town.
There are several choices of pousadas in Tiradentes, ranging from simple, basic pensions to nice comfortable inns housed in historic buildings. Many hotels can also be found outside the old town and in nearby rural areas. The city is a very popular weekend and holiday destination, so it's advisable to book in advance during those peak periods. New Year, Carnival and Holy Week are particularly busy. Check the calendar of Brazilian holidays for precise dates. The food festival in August is also considered high season. Many people choose to sleep at nearby São João del Rei, a larger and less touristy city.
There are buses to/from Sao Joao del Rei nearly every 40 minutes, departing from the bus station.