Branching Out: Day Trips to Explore Near Rio

Read on for 4 destinations near Rio that make for amazing day trips. Niterói, Petrópolis, Teresópolis, and Ilha de Paquetá are each within a 2-hour trek (via car or public transportation) from Rio and each city offers something different.  From an artsy metropolitan vibe to the idyllic mountain scene, from the great outdoors to an island retreat–you’re bound to find a destination you’ll love!


Photo by Julentto Photography on Unsplash

Interested in visiting Petrópolis? Check out our traveler’s trip list!


Among the state of Rio de Janeiro’s finer detours is the famed Imperial City “Petrópolis”. Just north of the states capital, this idyllic hamlet was founded around the habitation of the Portuguese and later Brazilian Imperial family in the area. After Dom Pedro I established his summer palace in Serra dos Órgãos, the royal family encouraged the settlement of German immigrants in the area to further populate the local that in the 1870’s would become Petrópolis. Visitors willing to take the short trip north of Rio de Janeiro will find a city that retains architectural and historical connections to Brazil’s colonial and imperial ages amidst picturesque scenery.


Sights we recommend


Imperial Museum (originally the summer home of Dom Pedro I and Dom Pedro II, this splendid history museum provides an excellent journey through the history of Brazil’s Empire with well preserved artifacts and installations)


Centro Historico (No trip to Petrópolis is complete without a stroll through the historic Centro district. Numerous colonial-era buildings remain intact and open, as well as Brazil’s first brewery)


Nossa Senhora do Fatima (visually pleasing 19th century church at the top of a hill in Petrópolis. Provides a fantastic overview and panoramic shot of Petrópolis)




Funghi D’oro (locally cultivated funghi based cuisine beautifully set in the “Rocio” Valley)Est. Caminho do Imperador 1333, Rocio, Petrópolis

Casa do Alemão (Brazilian cultivated German cuisine from the ancestors of Petrópolis’s significant german immigrant population!) 927 Ayrton Senna, Quitandinha, Petrópolis




The most efficient manner to reach Petrópolis from Rio de Janeiro would be to travel there by bus (from the Rodoviaria).


Cost: R$20 – 30 one way

Time: 1.5 hours




Pousada Rancho da Ferradura


The #1 TripAdvisor rated BnB in Petrópolis, this guesthouse features great food and drink and fantastic amenities such as Jacuzzis and saunas. Rancho de Ferradura provides all these things in a timeless rustic background.


Cost (Daily): R$400 – 500



Pousada Paraiso Acu


This scenic pousada is great for adventure tourism. Located among the mountains, the warm and helpful staff will ensure you make the most of your time visiting the Imperial City (and that you are well fed while there!). The peaceful and serene surroundings will have guests relaxed in no time.


Cost (Daily): R$ 450 – 550



Hotel Casablanca Koeller


A reasonably priced and absolutely cozy hotel inside the city proper, and a wonderful place to stay for anyone who wishes to take full advantage of the historical offerings of Petrópolis. Well designed interiors and vintage furniture add to the appeal for those who wish for a historical sleeping environment as well!


Cost (Daily): R$ 200-300