Vitória , the small and cozy capital of Espírito Santo, is a city on the southeast coast of Brazil, famous for its beaches and culture, and for its proximity from many other touristic destinations in the state. Most of the city's neighborhoods are surrounded by parks and forests and many cultural events add an extra bliss to the city throughout the year. One might also consider staying in a hotel in Vitória while visiting nearby cities and regions of interest during the day like Vila Velha, Guarapari, Domingos Martins, or Serra, all of them with many attractions less than 2 hours away by car or bus. Vitória is also a perfect stop for travelers planning to go from the state of Rio de Janeiro or east of Minas Gerais by bus or car to beach destinations in the south of Bahia, like Prado, Caravelas and Abrolhos, or even Porto Seguro.
Vitória, with around 315,000 people, is considered by the UN to be the fourth best place to live in Brazil.
Founded in 1551, is the third oldest capital of Brazil, after Salvador and Recife. For a long time it was only a ‘city-port’, suffering various French, British and Dutch attacks, after sugar and ‘pau-brasil’.
Its name is attributed to a victory over the native Indians, when, seeking refuge, the Portuguese fled to the island, and then achieved victory, renaming the village, at the time known only as “Vila Nova”, to “Vila Nova da Vitória”. It has many nicknames, like Ilha do Mel (Honey Island), Cidade Sol (Sun City) and others. It's often referred by the locals as simply "VIX" (the IATA code for its airport).
It is located in the southeastern region of Brazil, the most developed in the country. The location is strategic, close to the big urban centers, and it is, in average, one hour away by plane from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte.
Circled by the Bay of Vitória, the main island has mangroves, beaches, granite formations and many smaller islands.
The municipality of Vitória is made of an archipelago with 34 islands and a continental area. Its total area is 104 km2, including the main island, the continental area, the coastal islands and the oceanic islands of Trindade and Martin Vaz. It used to have more than 50 islands, but now many of them have been incorporated, by landfills, to the main island.
The highest point is the Maciço da Fonte Grande, a granite formation 309 meters tall, and then there is the Pedra dos (Dois) Olhos, 296 meters tall.
The climate is tropical humid, with a maximum average temperature of 30,4ºC and a minimum of 24ºC, with most of the rainfall in the months between October and January.
Vitória Airport (VIX) - also known as Eurico Salles Airport - is located near the north end of Camburi beach. It's about 10 minutes by taxi to most hotels and served by many bus lines. It receives daily flights from most state capitals in the country, mostly via Rio de Janeiro (the nearest gateway), São Paulo, Belo Horizonte or Salvador.
The bus line 212 direction Aeroporto / B.Mar x Mario Cyprestes takes you from the airport via the Camburi beach, the port and the city center to the main bus station in 50-60 minutes.
Vitória's long-distance bus station is downtown, also with many bus lines serving it. There are many buses arriving and leaving during the day from cities like Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Brasília and others. It's around 20 minutes away from most of the hotels by taxi and 30 to 35 minutes by bus. The bus 212 Aeroporto / B.Mar x Mario Cyprestes takes you from the bus station via the city center, the port and the Camburi beach to the airport in 50-60 minutes.
The two main roads are the BR-101, which runs south-north just inland of the coast, linking Vitória to Rio de Janeiro, to the south, and Salvador, to the north, and BR-262, that runs east-west, leaving Vitória and going to Belo Horizonte. Another road, local highway 60, runs along the coast southward to Guarapari.
The website Ponto Vitória  (in Portuguese) lists bus connections in the city. For Transcol buses, which cross city boundaries connecting the whole Grande Vitória metropolitanean area, please check CETURB  (in Portuguese). Prices are R$2.45 per fare. Transfers at the terminals (eg Terminal Ibes, Terminal Vila Velha, etc) are free.
At UFES (Federal University of Espírito Santo) , one can find Portuguese courses for foreigners at its Language Center . There are beginners and intermediate courses, and each level takes 1 semester.
Just south of Camburi is the Praia do Canto neighborhood, where you will find a couple of streets lined with restaurants of all types.
On the northwest part of the island, Ilha das Caieiras, situated near the mangrove forests, are the traditional Moqueca Capixaba restaurants, cooked with seafood from the very mangroves and Vitória bay, catched by the local fishermen. Get there specially on the weekend for lunch along with capixabas from all metropolitan area.
If you're not able or willing to get out of the living center of Vitória, its easy to find the nice local food Moqueca at good traditional restaurants like Pirão (Praia do Canto); Geraldinho (Praia do Canto); and the most traditional one Restaurante São Pedro (located at the traditional neighborhood Praia do Suá)
Enjoy the real Italian cuisine, taking advantage from the Italian legacy in Espírito Santo, in Oriundi Restaurant (Santa Lúcia); Cantina do Bacco (Jardim da Penha); La Pasta Gialla Restaurant (Praia do Canto); O Mercador Restaurant (Praia do Canto); Vero Ristorante (Praia do Canto); and others.
Also can get a nice meat from south american neighbor Argentina at Argento Restaurant, located in Praia do Canto too.
The telephone area code for Vitória is 27 (as well as in central and northern parts of Espírito Santo).
Even if it is not very reported, most of Brazil's high and mid-populated cities have the same kind of crime problems, and with Vitória it's no different. Remember to take the same care.