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Grande Rio (Greater Rio) is a region of the state of Rio de Janeiro including its eponymous capital and the 20 other surrounding cities to which it has expanded. It borders on the Costa Verde region to the west, the Médio Paraíba and Serrana regions to the north, and the Lakes Region to the east.


The locations of Rio de Janeiro (in red), Baixada Fluminense (in green) and Leste Metropolitano (in orange) in the region of Grande Rio

Grande Rio is generally divided into three main sub-regions:

  • Rio de Janeiro (the state capital), which is in turn divided into Central Zone, South Zone, North Zone and West Zone, and concentrates half of the population of the metropolis.
  • Baixada Fluminense (Rio Lowlands), the peripheral area that was occupied mainly along the suburban railway lines, located north of the capital and south of the mountain range called Serra do Mar, and formed by the municipalities of Guapimirim, Magé, Duque de Caxias, São João de Meriti, Belford Roxo, Nilópolis, Mesquita, Nova Iguaçu, Queimados, Japeri, Paracambi, Seropédica, and Itaguaí.
  • Grande Niterói (Greater Niterói), the area of the metropolitan axis that has expanded across the Guanabara Bay, especially after the construction of the Rio-Niterói Bridge, constituted by the municipalities of Niterói, São Gonçalo, Itaboraí, Tanguá, Rio Bonito, Cachoeiras de Macacu, and Maricá. This sub-region is also known locally as Leste Metropolitano (Metropolitan East).


Map of Grande Rio

Other destinations[edit]

  • 1 Paquetá Island (an insular neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro in the Guanabara Bay; the ferries to Paquetá depart from Praça XV, in downtown)
  • 2 Copacabana Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro on Wikipedia (an internationally famous neighborhood in the South Zone of the capital city)
  • 3 Ipanema Ipanema on Wikipedia (another globally well-known coastal district of the South Zone of Rio, neighboring to Copacabana)
  • 4 Madureira Madureira, Rio de Janeiro on Wikipedia (a major neighborhood of the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro, famous for having some of the Rio's most traditional samba schools)
  • 5 Bangu Bangu, Rio de Janeiro on Wikipedia (a major neighborhood of the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro, notable for its commerce)
  • 6 Campo Grande Campo Grande, Rio de Janeiro on Wikipedia (the most populous and important neighborhood of the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro)
  • 7 Barra da Tijuca Barra da Tijuca on Wikipedia (an upper-class, coastal neighborhood of the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro)
  • 8 Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, Rio de Janeiro on Wikipedia (the westernmost neighborhood of the municipality of Rio de Janeiro)


The Guanabara Bay, with Rio de Janeiro (neighborhoods of Botafogo and Urca) in the foreground, and Niterói (neighborhoods of Jurujuba and Piratininga) across the bay

"Grande Rio" (Greater Rio) is an informal way of referring to the Região Metropolitana do Rio de Janeiro (Metropolitan Region of Rio de Janeiro). It is an extremely populous area, with high demographic density - being the urban occupation very concentrated in its central portion, gradually decreasing towards its peripheries - and encompassing a group of municipalities strongly integrated with each other. The Greater Rio region is the second most populous metropolitan area in Brazil, and is also among the 20 most populous metro areas in the world. It is composed of the municipalities that are linked to each other and to the core, are directly connected to the central region of the municipality of Rio de Janeiro by urban public transport lines, are reached by the urban expansion axes of the metropolis, and are close enough to the capital's Central Zone (the 21 municipalities of the Metropolitan Region of Rio de Janeiro are located within a radius of 70 km from the downtown area of Rio), making daily commuting possible for people who live in these municipalities and work in the metropolitan nucleus. Rio de Janeiro, the 13 municipalities of Baixada Fluminense, and the 7 municipalities of Grande Niterói share such features and fit these criteria, and therefore constitute the metropolis of Rio de Janeiro.

The area of Greater Rio is located in a lowlands region, bathed to the south by the Atlantic Ocean, and surrounded by the stretch of the mountain range called Serra do Mar that begins in the west of Itaguaí, continues through the northwest of Paracambi and Japeri and the north of Nova Iguaçu, Duque de Caxias, Magé, Guapimirim and Cachoeiras de Macacu, and ends between the northeast of Itaboraí and Tanguá and the north of Rio Bonito; along the stretch of Serra do Mar that surrounds the metropolitan agglomeration of Rio, there are some sectors with local names, such as those known as Serra das Araras, Serra do Tinguá and Serra dos Órgãos.

In the middle of these lowlands, between the Guanabara and Sepetiba bays, there are three major coastal massifs: Tijuca - where the 9 Tijuca National Park Tijuca National Park on Wikipedia (the most visited park in the country) is located -, Pedra Branca (both in the municipality of Rio de Janeiro) and Gericinó-Mendanha (between Rio de Janeiro and Baixada Fluminense); all of them have large preserved green areas. In addition to these three main massifs, to the north and east of Guanabara Bay, also in the lowlands area, there are other important massifs, such as Suruí, in Magé, Itaúna, in the north of São Gonçalo, Serra da Tiririca, between Niterói and Maricá, Serra de Calaboca, between Niterói, São Gonçalo and Maricá, Serra do Lagarto, between Maricá and Itaboraí, and Serra do Mato Grosso, in the east of Maricá; most of these massifs are large protected areas. The Metropolitan Region of Rio de Janeiro still has 36.27% of its green territory preserved. The total number of green areas conserved in the area of the metropolis of Rio de Janeiro corresponds to more than two thousand square kilometers, of which 16.47% are protected spaces, such as parks, reserves and ecological stations.

Since it is located in a low altitude region, the metropolitan area of Rio has a predominantly tropical climate, with hot summers with large volumes of rain, and dry winters with lower temperatures. The average annual temperature in Greater Rio is between 22 °C and 24 °C.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The two major airports are 1 Galeão - Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport (GIG IATA). Rio de Janeiro/Galeão – Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (Q733998) on Wikidata Rio de Janeiro/Galeão International Airport on Wikipedia (International and domestic flights), in the neighborhood of Galeão, in the 10 Governador Island Governador Island on Wikipedia, North Zone of the capital city, and 2 Santos Dumont Airport (SDU IATA). Santos Dumont Airport (Q865475) on Wikidata Santos Dumont Airport on Wikipedia (Only domestic flights), in downtown Rio.

By ship[edit]

The main port of the state is the 3 Port of Rio de Janeiro. Port of Rio de Janeiro (Q525922) on Wikidata Port of Rio de Janeiro on Wikipedia, located in the downtown area of the capital, along the neighborhoods of Caju, Santo Cristo, Gamboa, and Saúde - the sea cruises dock at the port section between the last two.

By bus[edit]

The main long-distance bus station (served exclusively by buses coming from or going to cities outside the metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro) is 4 Rodoviária Novo Rio. Novo Rio Bus Terminal (Q10380668) on Wikidata Novo Rio Bus Terminal on Wikipedia (or simply "Rodoviária do Rio"), in the neighborhood of Santo Cristo, in the Central Zone of Rio.

Another important long-distance bus station in the metropolitan area, close to the Rodoviária Novo Rio, is the Rodoviária Roberto Silveira., in downtown Niterói. Such as the Rodoviária Novo Rio, the Rodoviária Roberto Silveira (or "Rodoviária de Niterói") is served only by bus routes that connect the metropolis of Rio de Janeiro to municipalities outside the Greater Rio area.

By car[edit]

The RJ-106 highway crossing the district of Inoã, with the Inoã Stone in the background, in the coastal municipality of Maricá, Leste Metropolitano region

These are the main highways through which you can enter the region:

  • BR-101 (Rio-Santos), by Itaguaí.
  • BR-116 (Via Dutra), by Paracambi.
  • RJ-127, by Paracambi.
  • RJ-125, by Japeri.
  • BR-040 (Rio-Petrópolis), by Duque de Caxias.
  • BR-116 (Rio-Teresópolis), by Guapimirim.
  • RJ-116, by Cachoeiras de Macacu.
  • BR-101 (Rio-Vitória), by Rio Bonito.
  • RJ-124 (Via Lagos), by Rio Bonito.
  • RJ-106, by Maricá.

Get around[edit]

Ruins of the São Bernardino Farm (district of Iguaçu Velho), with the Tinguá Biological Reserve in the background, in the municipality of Nova Iguaçu, Baixada Fluminense region

Since the Central Zone is the metropolitan core and, as such, polarizes the entire metro area of Rio de Janeiro, it is served by a large number of urban lines of buses, vans, trains, subways and ferries to the neighborhoods of the South, North and West zones of the municipality of Rio, as well as to the surrounding municipalities of Guapimirim, Magé, Duque de Caxias, São João de Meriti, Belford Roxo, Nilópolis, Mesquita, Nova Iguaçu, Queimados, Japeri, Paracambi, Seropédica, Itaguaí, Niterói, São Gonçalo, Itaboraí, Tanguá, Maricá, Rio Bonito and Cachoeiras de Macacu. Therefore, the whole Metropolitan Region of Rio de Janeiro works in practice as a single city, with most neighborhoods of all its municipalities being connected to downtown by several means of public transport.

One must keep in mind that Grande Rio is the most integrated metropolitan area in Brazil, due to the size of the urban public transport system in the region, the distance between the peripheral areas of the metropolis and its core, the high level of urban expansion from the nucleus to the metropolitan periphery and the consequent conurbation within this area, among other factors. Therefore, if a visitor is staying in a given municipality in Grande Rio, he/she can easily visit places located in any other municipalities in this metropolitan area, especially if he/she is staying in the Central Zone of the capital, which is relatively close to any points in Grande Rio, and from where lines of urban public transport depart directly to all municipalities of this metropolitan area.

As of 2023, the urban public transport in the metropolis is provided by the municipal bus and van lines of the cities of Greater Rio (including those of the BRT of the city of Rio and those of the BHLS of Niterói); the intercity bus and van lines that connect the municipalities of the metropolis of Rio de Janeiro to each other; trains that connect Central do Brasil station to the stations of Saracuruna (from where two other lines depart to Vila Inhomirim and Guapimirim stations), Belford Roxo, Japeri (from where another train depart to Paracambi station), Santa Cruz, and Deodoro; three metro lines (Uruguai (in Tijuca) x General Osório (in Ipanema), Pavuna x Botafogo, and General Osório (in Ipanema) x Jardim Oceânico (in Barra da Tijuca); ferries that connect Praça XV station to the stations of the center of Niterói (Arariboia station), Charitas, Paquetá, and Ilha do Governador (Cocotá station); in addition to the VLT, which operates lines in the central region of the capital. All twenty municipalities of Baixada Fluminense and Leste Metropolitano, as well as the neighborhoods of the South, North and West zones of the municipality of Rio de Janeiro, are directly linked to the Central Zone of Rio by urban lines of bus, van, train, subway or ferry. However, the urban bus and van lines that connect the Greater Rio to the municipalities located in its surroundings - the perimetropolitan area - (that is, Mangaratiba, Piraí, Mendes, Engenheiro Paulo de Frontin, Miguel Pereira, Petrópolis, Teresópolis, Nova Friburgo, Silva Jardim, Araruama and Saquarema), in general, are scarcer and more expensive (considering the distances traveled) than those that circulate within the metropolitan area.


As Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil during the colonial, imperial, and republican periods - until 1960 -, and Niterói was the state capital until 1975, when this status was transferred to Rio, these two cities have many historical landmarks, especially - but not only - concerning public administration. However, several of these historical sites can also be found all over Baixada Fluminense and Leste Metropolitano, in part due to the proximity and the historically strong relationships that these two regions have had with the center of Rio de Janeiro.

As for places of environmental interest, they are spread throughout the Grande Rio area, from the metropolitan core (such as Floresta da Tijuca, located close to downtown Rio) to distant metropolitan outskirts (in municipalities like Itaguaí, Paracambi, Nova Iguaçu, Duque de Caxias, Magé, Guapimirim, Cachoeiras de Macacu, Rio Bonito, and Maricá).



See the municipalities articles for specific places

Throughout Grande Rio, there are numerous restaurants that vary greatly in types of food, ambience, and prices. However, the variety of food that a visitor will find all over the metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro is essentially the same as that found in the city of Rio de Janeiro, with very few peculiarities in some specific regions.



See the municipalities articles for specific places

There are hotels at different prices in the 21 municipalities of Grande Rio. However, if you intend to visit all regions of the Rio metro area, it is recommended that you choose a hotel in the Central Zone of the capital or, at least, somewhere close to it - such as the Rio's South Zone and the Grande Tijuca region -, since this would make mobility easier in terms of distances and availability of urban public transport to the different places in the Grande Rio region.

Stay safe[edit]

Caution Note: Never enter the favelas (slums) of Greater Rio, and stay tuned whenever you pass near such areas.
Travel advisories
(Information last updated 14 Oct 2023)

Although Greater Rio is not even among the most dangerous urban centers of Brazil, the favelas in this region have had historically a peculiarity.

Morro do Juramento, in the neighborhood of Vicente de Carvalho, North Zone of Rio de Janeiro, is a typical favela of Rio metropolitan area

Since the early 1970s, a low-intensity armed conflict for the control of the favelas involving heavily armed drug trafficking organizations and illegal paramilitary groups, as well as government forces, has taken place in the metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro. Almost every shanty town in Rio de Janeiro city, Baixada Fluminense and Leste Metropolitano is controlled by one of the several rival criminal groups that act in Greater Rio, which are permanently in territorial dispute (what means that anyone who enters the favela and is not a resident of it might be considered a potential enemy by the criminals who control that area and, in this case, be shot dead). Therefore, violent armed clashes between them happen in these slums oftentimes and usually start suddenly. Also, when government forces (police, army, etc.) enter these areas, gunfights generally occur. So, do not enter any shanty town of Rio metropolitan area. Moreover, redouble your attention if you are passing through a place near a favela, especially if you see a group of policemen close to a favela's entrance, as in situations like this a shootout can start at any time - be much more alert if you see armored vehicles or helicopters around the slum.

In addition, avoid using GPS, as it can accidentally lead you into a favela. Instead, try to learn the geography of the part of the metropolis you intend to visit before you go there.

The area with the highest concentration of favelas in Greater Rio encompasses the municipalities of Rio de Janeiro (the state capital), Duque de Caxias, São João de Meriti, Belford Roxo (in Baixada Fluminense), Niterói, and São Gonçalo (in Leste Metropolitano).

As for street robberies and other crimes typical of large urban centers, Greater Rio is not very different from most other metropolises in the world, and does not match the scary reputation that movies and the media in general sell to the rest of the world - Rio is a large metropolitan agglomeration, so tourists must take the same precautions on its streets as they would on the streets of other areas of this type.



The consulates in the metropolis are located in the municipality of Rio de Janeiro, in downtown or in a neighborhood close to it.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Grande Rio is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!