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Vitoria, Brazil

Located some 500 kilometers (300 miles) north of Rio de Janeiro, on Brazil's Atlantic coast, Vitória is one of the country's oldest cities, dating from 1550. Alongside its evocative historic buildings, the visitor today will also find a bustling port that is the capital of the state of Espírito Santo. With a population of more than 1.8 million, Vitória is Brazil's fourth-largest city. It has two major ports, making it a favorite of cruise ships, and is known for its major shopping centers, beaches and colonial buildings. Some popular must-see destinations include the historic Metropolitan Cathedral and the Garoto Chocolate Factory. The metropolitan area is scattered across a patchwork of dozens of islands, but Vitória proper is located on one of the larger islands, connected to the other 33 by various bridges and causeways. Its topography is without a doubt one of the most striking aspects of this city, though the friendly welcome of its residents, known as Capixabas, is also a main attraction. Before leaving Vitória, you should sample the traditional local dish, moqueca capixaba, a Brazilian stew of fish, coconut milk, tomatoes, onions, garlic and coriander.