The city of São Joaquim, in Santa Catarina state, is famous not only for being the coldest city in the country, but also for its main economic activity: the production of apples. The town houses the São Joaquim National Park, the first to offer rural tourism in the state.

The park is in the middle of the of the Serra Catarinense, with altitudes that reach almost 2.000 meters. The landscape is full of araucarias and vast fields, and everything is covered in white in the winter – even the waters of the waterfalls freeze!

Built entirely from basalt, the Matriz de São Joaquim Church began to be erected in 1918, being inaugurated only in 1935. The basalt used in the construction was removed from the nearby hills and loaded on to carros-de-bois (wagon pulled by oxen).

Photo: shutterstock-Jonatar-Evaristo

Located in a native forest reserve of 30 hectares, the Vale de Neve has an ecological trail that crosses a vast area of xaxim, which presumably were already there when the Portuguese arrived, in the 1500s.

The Parque Nacional da Maçã houses fairs, agricultural auctions and, of course, the National Apple Festival, which lasts ten days and includes musical shows and sales of derivatives of the fruit. The park has camping areas, stages for concerts and exhibition pavilions. Two km away from downtown, it has 214 thousand square meters. The festival occurs between late April and early May, a tradition of more than 50 years that receives up to 100 thousand people.

The Mirante das Araucarias offers a panoramic view of fields of araucarias and trees that reach 50 m of height. The location is great for picnics.