Once you are in Rio you will hardly be bored, I can assure you of that. The Marvelous City (as we call it) is full of beautiful landscapes, fun activities and other things that will entertain you for days. If you happen to have some extra time in Brazil, I recommend that you do a couple day-trips near Rio. Follow our advice for fun times ahead:
A little history lesson: Brazil used to be a monarchy. The royal family of Portugal ran away from Napoleon and the war and settled in their most promising colony: Petrópolis. Petrópolis is just an hour and a half from Rio and has always been a popular destination in the mountains. You can visit the Imperial Palace, which used to be the royal family’s Summer house and is now a museum with history and props from colonial Brazil. Another proud building in the city is Santos Dumont’s home, whom we claim (and will confirm until the end of days) is the father of aviation and the first man that could fly. Certainly a fun day trip, right?
I know it is hard to believe, since Rio is known for the heat, but if you are missing winter, you can head to Teresópolis for colder temperatures. Only a few miles from Petrópolis and 900m above the sea level, this is the place to be if you enjoy nature and would like to spend the day exploring the National Park of Serra dos Orgãos. Teresópolis is also famous for their beer production, and you will find a wide variety of artisanal breweries. Let’s share a pint.
Without a doubt, this is the most popular destination of cariocas on long weekends and holidays. The Lake Region (Região dos Lagos) is formed mostly by Búzios, Cabo Frio and Arraial do Cabo. From fisherman’s villages to nightclubs, all of these cities have their own personality and interesting sights. The drive is only about two and a half hours and it’s a treat for professional scuba divers and beach lovers to enjoy a nice time in a blue paradisiac ocean. If you are a 60’s movie fan and love Brigitte Bardot you won’t want to miss her favorite holiday escape in Búzios.
Only a bridge away, Niterói has a lot to offer. The oceanic beaches, especially Sossego, Camboinhas and Itacoatiara, are stunning and always appropriate for a swim — but don’t forget your sunscreen. If you are a contemporary art fan, do not miss MAC, a museum that is beautiful from the inside-out. With architecture by Oscar Niemeyer and a beautiful archive, the view by itself is already worth your visit.
If you are an adventurous traveler, this is the place to visit. Many years ago Ilha Grande was ruled by pirates and was a place to smuggle slaves and illegal goods. Now this fortress is a protected forest area with unbelievable beaches, amazing hikes and a paradise for ecotourism fans. This isn’t however an easy place to go, since there are no cars allowed, no bank branches and all of the food is transported to the island by small boats. How you get there really depends on where you intend to stay, but you can embark from either Angra dos Reis or Conceição de Jacareí which is usually a three-hour journey.