Paranaguá means "big round sea" in the Tupi-Guarani language, a reference to the wide bay that affords the city optimal conditions to function as an important port. The city was founded somewhere around 1550 on the island of Cotinga, and later expanded onto the mainland.
- Serra Verde Express. On most days the scenic train from Curitiba stops only at Morretes but on Sundays it comes all the way to Paranaguá. The trains departs from Curitiba at 08:15 and arrives in Paranaguá at 13:15. R$39.
- Beach road. The road along the beach downtown holds the largest concentration of colonial remnants, including the Elfrida Lobo House, the Cecy House, the Monsenhor Celso House, and the former Customs House.
- Church of Nossa Senhora das Mercês (Igreja de Nossa Senhora das Mercês) (on the island of Cotinga). It was built in 1677 and then demolished 22 years later, this hilltop church was reconstructed in 1955. 365 steps leading up to the church offer a charming view of the city and the sea.
- Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário (Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário), Largo Monsenhor Celso - Centro. Built by slaves in 1578, it was the first church in the state.
- Church of São Benedito (Igreja de São Benedito), Rua Conselheiro Sinimbú - Centro. Built by slaves between 1600 and 1650.
- Elfrida Lobo House (Casa Elfrida Lobo).
- Mathias Böhn Palace (Palácio Mathias Böhn). Built in the late 18th century and renovated in the late 19th.
- Museum of the Historical and Geographic Institute of Paranaguá (Museu do Instituto Histórico e Geográfico de Paranaguá), Rua XV de Novembro - Centro. Houses a collection of weapons, instruments, furniture, and other items dating from the 17th and 18th century.
- Old Fountain (Fonte Velha). Built in the 17th century to furnish water to the people, this fountain is the among the oldest constructions in the city.
- Padroeira do Paraná Sanctuary (Santuário da Padroeira do Paraná), Praça Padre Tomás - Rocio. Finished in 1813.
- Paranaguá Archeological and Ethnological Museum (Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia de Paranaguá). Installed in a former Jesuit college completed in 1755, this museum has a collection of archeological finds and items from indigenous peoples of the area.
- Visconde de Nácar Palace (Palácio Visconde de Nácar). Former governor's palace, constructed around 1840.
Popular items to pick up here include handicrafts and black pottery casserole dishes made as in colonial times for slow cooking the local stews.
- Armazém do Artesanato, Rua João Estevã 580, ☏ . 08:00-18:00. Local handicrafts.
- Brasilian Souvenirs, Rua Faria Sobrinho 1488, ☏ . 08:00-18:00.
- Mercado do Artesanato (Handicraft Market), Rua General Carneiro, no number, ☏ . M-Sa 09:00-18:00, Su 09:00-12:00.
- Mercado Municipal Basílio Abud, Rua João Estevão 18, ☏ . M-Sa 07:00-18:00, Su 07:00-12:00. A typical Brazilian municipal market with food items, handicrafts, household items, and a whole range of other items.
Sea food can be had fresh daily. As in much of Brasil the best/economical places to eat are the "por quilo" or all you can eat restaurants; these are sprinkled throughout the downtown area.
- Casa do Barreado, ☏ . Specializes in the local version of barreado.
For the interested, there are many artesanal cachacas (sugar cane liquor) coming to market in Paranaguá.
Several reasonable places downtown including a hostel right on the waterfront next to the passenger boat ticket office.
- Hotel Camboa - Rua João Estevão, S/N. - Centro.
- Hotel San Rafael - Rua Julia da Costa - Centro.
- Hotel Palácio- Rua Correia de Freitas- Centro. ☏
- Hotel Lider - Rua Julia da Costa - Centro.
- Hotel Monte Líbano - Rua Julia da Costa - Centro.
- Guaraqueçaba is home to a reserve for the Atlantic Forest which has been destroyed along most of the southern half of Brasil's coast. It is easier to get to Guaraquecaba from Paranaguá by boat than to drive there from Curitiba.
- Ilha do Mel
- Pontal do Paraná - This town, on the coast opposite Ilha do Mel, has modern beach resort facilities.