a milder climate and a romantic atmosphere, consider the mountains up
North. Petropolis and Teresopolis are less than two hours away from the
city of Rio! Penedo, Itatiaia, Visconde de
Maua and Maromba are about three hours away, and also definitely
worth a visit.
Angra dos Reis
Located off-Rio, Angra dos Reis is one of the most common destinations for cariocas every weekend. With over 300 islands, a must-do activity in Angra dos Reis is taking a boat tour to visit some of the most famous ones, such as Botinas Island and Gipóia Island. The islands offer plenty to do, sunbathing, dipping in the clear waters and dining being the most popular choices.
Most popular weekend and summer destination of not only cariocas, but many Brazilians, Búzios is known for its lively beaches and vibrant nightlife. Búzios has beaches for everyone. One of the most visited beaches, Geribá is the place to go for mingling and surfing. For calming and relaxing, the beaches of Azeda and Azedinha and its calm waters are the best option. The center of the nightlife is Rua das Pedras, a pedestrian only street with many bars, restaurants and nightclubs always open until very late.
One of the oldest towns in Brazil, Cabo Frio has pristine beaches and it is the largest city near Buzios in the Blue Coast, north of Rio. In addition to wonderful beaches like Pero and Praia do Forte, there are miles of dunes with snow-white sand. Do not miss a visit to the historical Fort constructed by the Portuguese to keep away French and Dutch pirates.
With over 100 beaches, this Island has a very special atmosphere, as access to it is only by boat rides. Popular things to do in the island include, of course, visiting the beaches and diving in the clear waters. A must-do thing is walking on one of the trails in the middle of the rainforest - most of the island is still covered with the original Atlantic Rainforest - and appreciating its natural beauty.
Paraty is a beautiful colonial town with many historical and natural attractions. The town was once almost as important as Rio. Paraty is now a popular weekend destination, attracting everybody from history enthusiasts to beach lovers. The sea, of course, cannot be missed. Taking a boat ride in its waters is a must. While in Paraty, tourists have the chance to dip in the clear waters and stop to have lunch at one of the local restaurants.
About 165 km away from Rio, Penedo is perfect for a quick weekend getaway. Penedo is a small city originally founded by Finns. It is famous for its food - restaurants serve fresh trout from local trout farms, and ice-cream and dessert are known for their quality. Brazil's oldest national park, Parque Nacional do Itatiaia, is located nearby. The park kept the forest, springs and streams protected, and among the attractions the park offers are mountain climbing, walking in the nature, bird watching and freshwater swimming.
A calm city just a few hours outside Rio, Petrópolis has many attractions. The Imperial Museum was originally the Brazilian emperor's summer house, but today it is a museum featuring many the emperor's clothes, throne, crown and furniture from that time. A place that cannot be missed either is the São Pedro de Alcântara Cathedral. Built in a French neo-gothic style, that is where the remains of some important Brazilian figures are buried. Other historical landmarks include the Santos Dumont House and Crystal Palace.
Just like neighboring Petropolis, Teresopolis was named after a royal, Empress Teresa Cristina. The Rio weather just did not agree with their blue blood in the summer. Today Petropolis is a favorite weekend getaway to Cariocas looking for cooler mountain weather right next to the big city. An additional attraction is Rua Teresa, that concentrates a number of discount clothiers that sell wholesale – and retail!