Pirenópolis, like other historic cities in 18th-century Goiás, was founded by Bandeirantes from Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Portugal. Exploration for gold in the Serra dos Pirineus region began in 1728, one year after exploration began around the city of Goiás. Soon, Manoel Rodrigues Tomás, associated with Bandeirate Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva (Anhanguera), founded some mines he called the Minas de Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Meia-Ponte. With the production of gold, Pirenópolis became an important urban center, well known for its cotton production as well. It was the first center for goiana music, and had Goiana's most important newspaper during the 19th century.
When the gold ran out at the end of the 19th century, the city's population began to shrink. Many moved to the new capital at Goiânia, or to cities in the south of the state, like Jataí, Rio Verde, Itumbiara, and Catalão. With the construction of nearby Brasilia in 1960, the city again began to grow, and the government decided to turn the city into a tourist destination, preserving many old buildings and the historic center.
- From Goiânia via Anápolis
- From Brasilia, Viação Goianésia, tel. +61 3233 7891, has direct lines to Pirenópolis, or other lines that make a stop in Ceres. The 3-hour trip costs R$13.
- From Goiânia, take BR-060 to Anápolis, then BR-153 to Jaranápolis, and finally GO-431 into town.
- From Brasilia, take BR-070 to Cocalzinho, then the secondary highway to Pirenópolis via Corumbá de Goiás.
The town is best seen on foot. Wear good sturdy shoes, as the slave-built stone-lined streets can be a little rough.
- Abade Waterfall, (Cachoeira do Abade), with a 22-meter drop.
- Cavalhadas Museum (Museu das Cavalhadas), Rua Direita, nº 39. This museum focuses on the history of the cavalhadas festival, marking the historic struggle between Christians and Muslims.
- [dead link]Babilônia Farm (Fazenda Babilônia). Rodovia GO-431, km 3. Colonial-style farm where you can experience what 18th-century rural life was like.
- Pompeu Family Museum (Museu da Família Pompeu), Rua Nova, nº 33. Constructed in the 19th century, the building now houses a museum of the city's history. .
- Pirenópolis Theater (Teatro de Pirenópolis), Rua Comendador Joaquim Alves de Oliveira - Praça da Matriz. Constructed in 1899 and recently restored.
- Cine Pireneus - Rua Direita, s/nº. This movie-house was originally constructed in neo-classical style in 1929, then reworked in art deco style in 1936. Currently in restoration.
- Meeting Hall and Jail (Casa de Câmara e Cadeia), Rua Bernardo Sayão, s/nº. Constructed in 1919.
- Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora do Rosário, Praça Manuel Jaime Lopes (Praça da Matriz). The oldest Catholic church in the state. It was built by African slaves in 1728 with funds gained through gold mining. In September 2002, it was partially destroyed by a fire. It has since been restored but the altar was lost. Another church, the Matriz dos Pretos, had fallen into ruins and nothing remained but the altar, so the church-less altar was united with the altar-less church here in 2005.
- Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, Alto do Carmo. Constructed by slaves in 1750, this baroque church holds many works rescued from other churches which were demolished.
- Igreja de Nosso Senhor do Bonfim, Rua do Bonfim, s/nº. Built by slaves between 1750 and 1755, it contains an image of Christ on the cross which was brought here from Porto Seguro, Bahia by almost 300 slaves.
- Cavalhadas. Owing to the high percentage of Spanish and Portuguese descendants in the area, the city's most famous festival centers around the fight to push the Moors out of the Iberian Peninsula. Colorful costumes abound. Among other festival events is a recreation of a famous battle fought by Charlemagne. Yearly in June.
- [dead link]Cerrado Aventuras, ☎ . Has options for hiking through a forest preserve, rafting, rappeling, and forest canopy tours.
Regional ingredients and dishes: pequi, guariroba, empadão goiano (a traditional chicken pie) and pamonha (sweet corn cooked with milk and cheese).
- Lá em Casa Restaurante, Av. Sizenando Jaime, 12, ☎ . A, Centro Histórico. Self-service restaurant serving typical Pirenopolin food.
- Restaurante e Choperia Empório do Cerrado, Rua do Rosário, 21, ☎ . Centro. Local and international dishes.
- Nena Restaurante, ☎ . Rua Aurora, nº 4, Centro. Local dishes.
- Ponto da Massa, ☎ . Av. Prefeito Luiz Gonzaga Jaime, nº 127, Alto do Bonfim. Italian food, pasta and lasagna are highlights.
- Portinha Casa de Grelhados, Rua do Bonfim, 29, ☎ . Centro Histórico. A la carte service.
- Empório Santa Dica, Rua do Bonfim, 17, ☎ . Centro Histórico. Emporium with a range of typical Goiano goods.
- Bem Caseiro Restaurante, Rua do Bonfim, 41, ☎ . A, Centro Histórico. Typical goiano home fare.
- Armazém Restaurante Bar, Rua do Bonfim, 27. Centro Histórico. Typical Goiano food.
- [dead link]NóisHospeda, Rua do Bonfim, 22, Centro, ☎ . Nice, simple hotel right in the town center
- [dead link]Pousada Aconchego, Travessa Sizenando Jayme, 1013, Centro. Single, double and triple rooms with TV and fan. Swimming pool, children-sized, and barbecue coal grill (churrasqueira)
- [dead link]Hotel Quinta Santa Bárbara, Rua do Bonfim, 1 - Centro, ☎ . Rooms and cottages with air-con or fan, TV and WiFi. Sauna, pools, billiards table, big garden
- [dead link]O Casarão, Rua Direita, 79, Centro, ☎ . Rooms with air-con or ceiling fan, fridge, TV and WiFi
- [dead link]Pousada Templários, Rua Carajás, Quadra 10, Lote 1, Setor Meia Ponte, ☎ . 18 rooms with fan and TV, 8 with air-con, TV and WiFi
- Pousada Rancho do Ralf, Rua Benjamin Constant, 17, Centro, ☎ . Suites with TV, fridge and hammocks outside. Some with air-con, some with ceiling fans. Pool and leisure room.
- [dead link]Hotel Quinta Santa Bárbara, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. This hotel has suites with air conditioning/fan, TV and Internet. It also has facilities such as swimming pools, sauna and a large grove. Doubles R$ 145 - R$ 202.
- [dead link]Pousada Walkeriana, 37, Rua do Rosário (access also by 2, Praça do Rosário), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. This hotel, set up in an old colonial-style house, has antique furniture, an orchid garden and a swimming pool. Doubles R$ 100 - R$ 180.
- Pousada dos Pireneus Resort, just outside town, ☎ , (Goiânia), (Brasília), fax: . 97 apartments, 6 master suites and 2 apartments adapted to wheelchair access. All apartments and suítes have TV, hair dryer, air-con, telephone, digital safe, and Wi-fi. Suites have living room with TV and can house up to 6 persons. Swimming pools, water slides, sports complex, restaurants serving both world and local cuisine, meeting hall for 600 persons e 12 meeting rooms.