Updated April 21, 2011
Pomerode, in Santa Catarina, is a place you won't want to miss when you're in Santa Catarina. Located just 20 miles from Blumenau, the city has the largest number of half-timbered houses in Brazil, many of which with pretty gardens.
German and Germanic dialects are still largely spoken in Pomerode (pop. 25,261). The city was settled in the latter part of the 19th century by immigrants from Pomerania, who planted their traditions in the beautiful Itajaí Valley.
If you like German food, you will enjoy Pomerode eateries and the typical dishes served during the city's festivals.
What to See and Do in Pomerode:
Rota do Enxaimel - the Framework Route - is a top attraction. You can stroll, cycle or drive around the distric of Testo Alto, which concentrates 70 houses in characteristic German style.
Stop for photos at the Haut House and buy some hand-painted eggs at Silvana Pujol's atelier. You can eat sweets and cookies at Confeitaria Multi-Doces and see the Casa de Taipa, which reproduces the adobe houses built by the first German immigrants.
At the end of the circuit is the Wachholz House, the area's oldest half-timbered construction, and, next to the Testo Alto church, the city's pioneer cemetery.
The Pomerode Zoo, the state's third largest, has 600 animals, including birds, mammals, species threatened with extincition and rescued animals such as a rare albino alligator (Caiman latirostris) brought to the zoo in September 2008.
The Pomerode rural area is green and bucolic. One great way to enjoy it is by visiting Hotel Fazenda Mundo Antigo, a farm hotel less than two miles from downtown where you can just spend a few hours enjoying the leisure activities like paddle boats and horse riding on the park grounds and a lunch at their restaurant.
Where to Eat and Drink:
Try the German food buffet at Maas (phone: 55-47-3395-1355), near the Wolfgang Weege Portal, which serves Warsteiner draft.
You can also have Italian food at La Spezia. For pizza and beer, go to Tarthurel (phone: 55-47-3387-1202), on central XV de Novembro Street, or Schoen, on the same street (phone: 55-47-3387-1238).
The Schornstein brewery has a bar, open every night Wed-Sun.
Ein Prosit, at Hermann Weege 553, serves Opa Bier, a craft beer from Joinville, another city with German roots.
Get a slice of apfestrudel and other German pastries at Torten Paradies (XV de Novembro 211). On the same street, make sure you visit the factory store for one of the best chocolate brands in Brazil: Nugali Chocolates
Take a grand tour of the Pomerode cuisine during the Gastronomy Festival, in the winter (late July/August).
In the summer, the big event is ten-day Festa Pomerana (January), a summer version of Oktoberfest featuring locally brewed beer such as Schornstein, typical German dances and music, traditional crafts and food.
The festival is a natural match for Sommerfest, the summer festival in Blumenau.
Travel to the past at Casa do Imigrante (open daily, afternoons only on Mon, phone: 55-47-3387.2613), a reconstruction of an immigrant's house which displays many items that once belonged to Carl Weege, from Pomerania.
You'll also see remnants of early German immigration at Museu Pomerano (closed on Monday), at central Hermann Weege 111 (phone: 55-47-3387.0408), where a cultural center will open in 2009.
Casa do Escultor Ervin Curt Teichmann (weekdays only) celebrates a German sculptor who came to Brazil as a child and died in 1992 at 85 years of age.
Behling, a local furniture industry, has the Woodcrafter Museum.
European Valley Cycling and Walking Tour:
Pomerode is on Circuito Vale Europeu, a cycling and walking tour that covers the area of Santa Catarina settled by European immigrants.
The circuit crosses the cities of Timbó, Pomerode, Indaial, Ascurra, Rodeio, Dr. Pedrino, Rio dos Cedros, Benedito Novo and Apiúna.
Shopping in Pomerode:
Besides the mouth-watering souvenirs at Nugali Chocolates, handicrafts are a top Pomerode souvenir.
Silvana Pujol's atelier (Rua Testo Alto 315, phone: 55-47-3387-5307) and the Pomerode Artist and Handcrafter Association at the South Portal (see Tourist Information, below) are two of the best stops.
On XV de Novembro, you'll find an art gallery at #525 and typical crafts at Ecke (#821). Nani (phone: 55-47-3387-3714), a well-known local artist, does Bauernmalerei, or Bavarian-style folk painting. Get a list with more crafts at the tourist information office.
Pomerode is also home to a Porcelana Schmidt factory store.
Where to Stay in Pomerode:
Besides the hotels mentioned in the restaurant section, you may want to check out local inns: Pousada Max, in the building that was once the city's first pharmacy, has 16 apartments in central Pomerode.
Pousada Blauberg, a short walk from the Park of Events, has 10 apartments with a garage.
Pomerode Tourist Information:
The city's two portals have tourist information offices. At the South Portal (Portal Sul), you can also shop for handicrafts and rent bycicles.
The South Portal (phone: 55-47-3387-2627) is on Rua 15 de Novembro, Pomerode's main street. It's open Mon-Fri 7:30a-6p, Sat, Sun and holidays 9a-6p.
The North Portal (phone: 55-7-3387-3420), on Rua Presidente Costa e Silva, is open daily, 9a-5p.