Tourism within the Rio de Janeiro State is quite rich. The hotels, both onshore and in
the mountains, are top quality.
There are, at least, three cities that deserve a visit:
Paraty, Búzios and Petrópolis. Consider also extending your visit, to
the towns Teresópolis, Friburgo, Penedo, Itatiaia and
Visconde de Mauá, that have received a lot of imigrants and are
considered historical, magic and poetic destinations. It can be interesting
to include some towns in the Minas Gerais State.
Some places are quite famous due to their beautiful landscapes and/or beaches,
such as Búzios that until 1964 used to be a simple fishermen
small town. During that year, however, the famous Brigit Bardot
spent some time with her boyfriend at the small town, fact that changed the place forever,
transforming it in an internationally known balneary.
Foreigners from all over the world, especially the French and Argentine ones
can be met in Búzios during the whole year. Rua das Pedras is
always a crowded street, mainly at night, offering excellent
and fine gastronomy, music for all tastes, purchases and flirting.
Petrópolis, a singular city, is only 65 km distant from Rio de Janeiro
capital developed around the Pedro II Emperor’s Palace,
built in the piece of land he inherited from his father.
The Imperial Family used to spend the summers there, because the cool
temperature was always quite agreeable,
and the court and the businessman at the time used to follow them.
The capital of the country was literally transferred to the mountains. Located
at 810m height, the city has received many German immigrants during the 19th century.
It is worthy to visit the Quitandinha, the Imperial Museum, the Crystal
Palace, São Pedro de Alcântara Cathedral(where the Emperor Pedro II and
his wife, Teresa Cristina’s remains are kept), the Encantada, the house
occupied by Santos Dumont during many seasons, the big and beautiful mansions at
Avenida Koeler, observing their architecture,
the squares and many other interesting places.
Paraty is located between the Serra do Mar and the bay crowded
with islands, at 265 km from Rio de Janeiro City. It still preserves all the
aspects of an old small town with an international charm, in a 35 city blocks.
Side by side in the narrow streets, covered
with pé-de-moleque (kind of pebble stone) pavement, the colonial style
houses became inns, restaurants,
workmanship small stores and art galleries. The history of Paraty began
with the Portuguese people arrivals, at the end of the 16th century.
During the following century the town became an important trade center, a mandatory passage
for those coming from Rio de Janeiro City to the Minas Gerais State. Paraty
used to be a main channel for richnesses such as gold, precious stones, beans, corn,
sugar cane and the famous aguardientes, but then with the opening of the new way
the movement of the harbor felt down. Later on, the iron way (rail-road)
was built and began to displace definitively the coffee business to the Paraíba Valley.
The slavery abolition turned the Paraty’s situation even worse. Isolated
from everything during near a century, it used to have just 600 inhabitants at
the beginning of the 20th century. With the opening of the new roads and after
the Rio-Santos Highway, Paraty was rediscovered. Today it is a busy colonial
town with international success, including FLIP (The Paraty International Literary
Festival) that happens every July.
The Pinga (Aguardiente) Festival and the Festa do Divino are
other famous and crowded events.
In Teresópolis, one will find the Orquidário Aranda, the Comari Club, the
Teresópolis Market, the Serra dos Órgãos National Park where the famous
Dedo de Deus (photo) is located. A dozen clubs makes
Teresópolis a well frequented by golf players and climber people.
From Teresópolis, you can go to Nova Friburgo following the 80km
circuit called Terê-Fri full of surprises, among these, the Finnish Furniture,
the Stone Woman, the Crémerie & Farm Génève where you can degust a huge
variety of goat cheese and taste the Chef Reinaldo Pires’ excellent
gastronomy. This region is also known as the “Green Belt”, because it produces
90% of the potherbs consumed within the State.
Have you ever been to the Nêgo Garden ?
Geraldo Simplício, best known as Nêgo, was born in the Ceará State
in 1943. He made several exhibitions in the Northeast of Brazil from 1966 on.
He lived in the São Bento Monastery and received Cecília Falk sponsorship,
moving to Nova Friburgo, where he lives in a countryside and where he
creates truly masterpieces in the ravines of his property.
A great number of his wooden sculptures are in Germany. The Nego Garden is
the only one of this kind in the whole world.
Another interesting place to visit and have a snack is the Queijaria Suíça,
(Swiss Cheesery) or Frialp, located at the 49 km of the Tere-Fri circuit,
that since 1987 is sponsored by the Fribourg Institute.
FRIALP produces cheeses such as moleson and raclette with goat or
cow milk and other varieties, such as the Swiss type cheeses, which remind the
emmenthal, the gruyère, the gorgonzola, the reblochon,
the gouda and the sbrinz, beside the Minas standard cheese, fresh
ricotta, cream cheese and a fondue mixture. Chocolates and truffles are also part
of the products for sale. A small Immigration Museum is quite nearby, where objects, photos and
documents tell a little of the Swiss Immigration history
that arrived there during the beginning of the 19th Century.
Nova Friburgo is located at 846 m height, 136 km from the Rio de Janeiro
City and its population is estimated in about 200 thousand inhabitants.
At the city center and just under the Getúlio Vargas sculpture feet,
in the same name square, is located the geodesic mark of the Rio de Janeiro
Some of the districts of the municipality reach 1,000 m high, but the highest point of the Serra do Mar at that
region reaches 2,316 m.
Nova Friburgo is known as the State capital of the Underwear Fashion
and also the second bigger flowers producer in Brazil, only bellow the city
of Holambra, in São Paulo State. Olericulture, goat breeding, textile and
metallurgical industries and the tourism are the other growing propellers in
Nova Friburgo, which was initially colonized by 261 Swiss families during the
period between 1819 -1820, totalizing 1,682 immigrants. The city was named as
Nova Friburgo, by the Swiss immigrants, in honor of the city the majority of
the Swiss families came from, Fribourg. Nova
Friburgo was the first non-Portuguese colony
founded in Brazil, becoming the true Brazilian Swiss.
Excepting Petrópolis, it is recommended to spend
the night in all the other destinations. See below:
Routes suggested outskirts the Capital:
In Minas Gerais State:
- Angra dos Reis and Paraty – 2 days, one overnight stay;
- Petrópolis – 1 day, no overnight stay;
- Búzios – 2 days, one overnight stay;
- Petrópolis/Teresópolis and Friburgo – 3 days, 2 overnight stays;
- Itatiaia/Penedo and Visconde de Mauá – 3 days, 2 overnight stays;
- Vassouras/Valença/Conservatória – 2 days, 1 overnight stay.
- Ouro Preto, Mariana, Tiradentes and Congonhas - 3 days and 2 overnight stays;
- Belo Horizonte, Ouro Preto, Mariana, Tiradentes and Congonhas - 3 days and 2 overnight stays.