Easy Day Trips from Rio

Rio de Janeiro is an amazing city, with an abundance of things to see and do for all types of travelers. You can spend many days doing a variety of things that never require you to do more than get on on a bike, and pedal to the next amazing spot.

sidenote: Did you know that Rio has a bike system? You can rent one via the mobile app, and there are bike stations located everywhere in the south zone of Rio. Just pick it up at one station and drop it off in another!

But if you are looking to get outside of the city just a little, and experience more of Brazil’s great history, and see some other great sites, here are a couple of easy day trips to consider.

Petrópolis 

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This beautiful city is in the mountains and used to be where the house for the Brazilian Royal family was located. 

How to get there: There are two main options, if you haven’t rented your own car for your time in Rio.  It’s easy enough to catch a bus from the bus station, and that will take you about an hour or so to get to the city. If you’d like more of a guided tour experience, there are tour companies that can pick you up directly from your hotel, take you to the city, and provide you with a full day excursion.

What to do there: 

  • Visit the Imperial Museum, where you can check out jewels and historical artifacts, while getting up close and personal with royal memorabilia.
  • Stand inside the glass and steel solarium of the Crystal Palace.
  • Take a visit to the Cathedral and see royal burial sites.
  • Visit the Santos Dumont House. (If you happened to have flown into Rio at the Santos Dumont Airport, you will learn about the significance of why this airport is named after him, and his contribution to flight.)
  • See one of the most impressive architectural monuments in Petrópolis at the Quitandinha Palace.
  • End your visit to Petrópolis with a visit to Ceverjaria Bohemia, to learn about Brazil’s popular lager. You can even create your own beer brand, and then drink a glass of recently brewed, refreshing Bohemia beer.  In this restaurant there is good food to go along with the specialty beers.

Niterói 

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How to get there: Head downtown to ‘Praça Quinze’ and take a ferry to the other side of the bay, which takes about 20-30 minutes. Once you are in the city, you can take buses around to different places.  If you are driving, you cross the largest bridge in Brazil, the Ponte Rio-Niteró, that connects the two cities.

What to do there:

  • Take a bus to Icarai Beach, which is basically Niterói’s Copacabana. There is excellent shopping and restaurants, and a great view of Rio’s main landmarks across the bay.
  • Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art. From the outside the museum looks like a flying saucer jutting out over the sea.
  • See the Fortaleza de Santa Cruz, located at the Guanabara Bay entrance. From this big fortress you have close up views of Sugar Loaf mountain from an entirely different angle.
  • Head to São Francisco beach, where you can walk to Parque da Cidade’, and then hike to the top of a mountain, to see one of the most beautiful sunsets in Brazil, as you watch the sun descend over Rio.

Are you considering a trip to Rio?! I’d love to hear from you and plan your perfect trip, if so. Bonus points if it happens to be next summer during a certain special event. :)