Aside from the pretty town itself, Gramado has a few natural attractions. At the end of Rua Bela Vista, the quaint little Parque Knorr (9 a.m.–6 p.m. daily) offers magnificent views of the Vale do Quilombo, a dramatic valley that runs along the road between Gramado and Canela. Around 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from the center of town, in the midst of a wooden park, the Lago Negro is a pretty artificial lake ringed by hydrangeas where you can pedal around in swan-shaped boats.
Exploring the mountains on your own from Gramado is difficult without a car. However, if you want to take a guided walking tour, contact the Refúgio Família Sperry (tel. 54/3504-1649, www.refugiosperry.com.br), an organic farm surrounded by native forest and waterfalls, located in the Vale de Quilombo. The knowledgeable English-speaking owner takes individuals and small groups on nature walks (advance reservations necessary).
A three-hour guided walk costs R$35 per person. Black Bear Adventure (Rua Bruno Ernesto Riegel 713, tel. 54/3286-1497, www.blackbearadventure.com.br) offers easy hikes and horseback excursions as well as more radical sports activities such as rafting and rappelling. Rappelling and rafting half-day outings cost R$65 and half-day multi-activity, adventure excursions cost R$90.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition