Petrópolis is a city in Rio de Janeiro (state). Nestled among the forested hills of the Serra dos Órgãos, in the valley of the Quitandinha and Piabanha rivers, Petrópolis is a popular summer holiday spot. Besides the climate and surroundings, the main attraction is the former Summer Palace of the Brazilian Emperors, which is now a museum, specializing in Imperial history and memorabilia.
In the 1830s, the area of modern-day Petrópolis was little more than farmland. When Emperor Dom Pedro I went through there on his way to Minas Gerais, he was struck by the scenery and decided to buy some land. Dom Pedro I returned to Portugal soon after and the land was passed to his son, Dom Pedro II, who built a summer retreat. Soon a palace was built along with mansions and a cathedral, giving its nickname, "The Imperial City".
Petrópolis is home to the National Laboratory for Scientific Computing (LNCC), a research unit of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Brazilian Federal Government.
Tourism information office
- Centro da Informação Turística - Main Branch, Centro de Cultura Raul de Leoni, Praça Visconde de Mauá 305, ☏ 0800 024-1516 (domestic). M-Sa 09:00 to 18:00, Su 09:00 to 14:00. Located in the Centro Histórico opposite the Museu Imperial this is the main branch. They can supply the excellent Petrópolis Imperial Sightseeing brochure (which is available in English). It comes with a map and opening hours of the major attractions.
- Centro da Informação Turística - Bus Station, Rodoviária de Petrópolis (in the main bus station). M-Sa 08:00 to 18:00.
The only way into Petrópolis is by road.
The most intercity bus connections are from Rio. The bus station, which is officially called the Terminal Rodoviaria Governador Leonel Brizola (☏) is located on R. Gald no Pimentel off Rod. Washington Luiz Henrique Perdigão (Br 040), Km 82.9, in the suburb of Bingen, on the western outskirts of Petrópolis about 10 km from the Centro Histórico. It is often referred to as the Rodoviária de Petrópolis or Rodoviária do Bingen. As well as ATMs it has several gift shops, a newsstand and a food court equipped with snack bars, coffee shops and a restaurant. From the bus station take the local bus number 100 or 010 into the city centre. Ask to be dropped off at Praca Libertade. Expect to pay R$30-35 for a taxi to or from the Centro Histórico.
Buses run from the major cities in the area such as Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte as well as places further afield such as São Paulo and Brasília. Try and get a seat on the left hand side of the bus for the best views when coming to Petrópolis.
- Unica/Facil, ☏ . Services between Petrópolis and the following locations in Rio de Janeiro:
Novo Rio Rodoviaria: Av. Francisco Bicalho 1, Santo Cristo. Buses traveling either direction leave daily every 45 minutes between 5:30 and midnight - less often on weekends. If you are intending to transit to other locations in Brazil then as this is the station you should use when coming from Petrópolis.
Terminal Garagem Menezes Côrtes (Terminal do Castelo): R. São José 35, Centro. This bus station is located in the Castelo area of the Centro district. There are approximately 16 buses from Monday to Friday in both directions. Departures from Castello operate between 11:25 and 20:40. Departures from Petrópolis operate between 05:30 and 00:15. Buses bound for Rio bear the destination "Castelo".
Terminal Rodoviário de Campo Grande (Rodoviária de Campo Grande): R. Xavier Marques, 15, Campo Grande. This station is in the western area of the city. There is only one service a day in each direction. The price varies depending upon direction. Novo Rio Rodoviaria - R$25.98 or 29.22. Garagem Menezes Côrtes - R$27.53 or 29.13. Rodoviário de Campo Grande - R$32.48 or 31.66 (as of July 2020)..
All the main tourist sights are close to the center and are easily accessible on foot. There is numerous bus services in and around town but the number 100 or 010 are the ones most useful to visitors which run from the center to the Leonel Brizola bus station in Bingen. To get a local bus connection, use the Moovit app. You need to choose the metropolitan area "Rio e Região". The fare is around R$4 (March 2021) and can be payed in the bus.
For taxis use Uber.
- Imperial Coop, Rua do Imperador 288, Centro, ☏ . This car hire place is really only useful if you plan on visiting the area around the city
- Taxi, toll-free: 0800 241-516. If you're in need of a taxi, you can call this company or just hail one of the many driving around town
- 1 Imperial Museum of Brazil (Museu Imperial), Rua da Imperatriz, 220, ☏ . Tu-Su 11:00-18:00. One of the city's highlights. The weekend house of Dom Pedro II and his wife, Dona Teresa. The well-preserved building has a collection of royal exhibits as well as a 1.7-kg diamond- and pearl-studded crown. Adult R$8, student R$4.
- 2 Cathedral of St. Peter of Alcantara (Catedral de São Pedro de Alcântara), Rua São Pedro de Alcântara, 60, ☏ . Tu-Su 08:00-12:00, 14:00-18:00. Housing the tombs of Dom Pedro II, Dona Teresa and their daughter Princesa Isabel, this is a fine cathedral that has great views from its steps. Free.
- 3 Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace), Rua Alfredo Pachá, ☏ . Tu-Su 09:00-17:30. A greenhouse built for Princesa Isabela in France and brought to Brazil in 1884. Free entrance.
- 4 Quitandinha Palace (Palácio Quitandinha), Av. Joaquim Rolla. A historic former luxury resort hotel, second only to the Copacabana Palace in Rio. However it closed in 1962 and was turned into private condominiums. The lavish surrounding gardens are open to the public.
- 5 Rio Negro Palace (Palácio Rio Negro), Avenida Koeller, 255, ☏ . One of the official residences of the President of Brazil, although mostly used as a country retreat.
- 6 A Encantada (Santos Dumont's house), Rua do Encanto, 22, ☏ . Tu-Su 09:00-17:30 (ticket until 17:00). Nicknamed "The Enchanted", this house was the summer residence of Alberto Santos Dumont, the Brazilian aviation pioneer. He designed the house himself; nowadays it's a museum showing his objects, books, letters and furniture, as well as some famous domestic inventions of his: an alcohol-fueled hot shower, and an entrance staircase with paddle-shaped steps, which can only be used starting with the right foot. There's also the Centro Cultural 14a, attached to the house, where you can watch a short film about Santos Dumont. The space has tactile models and accessibility for visitors with special needs. R$ 8 (full price), R$ 4 (half price)..
- 7 Cervejaria Bohemia (Bohemia Brewery), Rua Alfredo Pachá, 166. W-F 11:00-18:00, Sa Su 11:00-20:00. The brewery of the popular Bohemia beer, built in neoclassic style in 1853, is a national heritage. It can be visited by those interested in the beer-making process and in beer history. Tickets are sold up to two hours before the closing time; they can also be bought in the website. R$ 9.50 to R$ 19.50.
- Trekking Petrópolis, ☏ . This company organises hikes, mountain biking and other activities in the Mata Atlântica rainforest.
Like most towns and cities in Brazil, anything that you could want to buy would most likely in the main street Rua do Imperador. However, if its clothes you're after you can't go wrong with Rua Teresa. This street has more clothes stores than you need as well as a few good places to eat. Here are some good choices.
- Taco Roupa, Rua 16 de Março 364 e 366 Centro, 25655, ☏ . A chain of clothing stores throughout Brazil.
- 1 Extra Hipermercado, Rua General Rondon, 1015 - Quitandinha, ☏ . A food and drink supermarket where you can pick up a whole heap of Brazilian food and drink.
Check opening times carefully, though, as a number of restaurants are closed Monday through Wednesday or Monday through Thursday.
- 1 Majórica Churrascaria, Rua do Imperador, 754, ☏ . Tu-Su 12:00-22:00. A great churrascaria not far from the Meseu Imperial.
- Duetto's Café e Bistrô, Av Imperatriz, 220 (within the Museu Imperial complex), ☏ . Tu-Su 12:00-19:00. A nice little bistro serving pastries and some hot dishes.
- 2 Locanda della Mimosa, Alameda das Mimosas 30, Vale Florida, ☏ . Th Su 12:30-22:00, M-W by reservation only at least 12 hr in advance. This place may be expensive but the exotic foods are impressive. Reservations are highly recommended.
Drinking is pretty thin in Petrópolis but there are a few good chopperias on Rua do Imperador. Petropolis' most famous native beer is the Bohemia (1853), which became nationwide popular after 1960, when its brewery was acquired by Antarctica (now AmBev).
- 1 Pousada 14 Bis, Rua Buenos Aires, 192 (A few blocks from the bus station), ☏ . This place has nice quiet rooms and is close to the bus station.
- 2 [dead link] Pousada Quitandinha, Rua Uruguai, 570 (Bus 180 or 480 to avoid a connection in the city center. Get off Quitandinha lake with the fake lighthouse, then climb the stairs left of the palacio.), ☏ . HI affiliated hostel located outside of the center in the quiet Quitandinha neighboorhood. 4 beds dormrooms in a wooden house, clean but worned out sheets, clean bathroom, friendly and helpful staff. Varied all you can eat breakfast. They cook basic but filling meals.
- 3 Pousada Mata Atlantica dos Sauer, Rua Bingen, 1055, ☏ . Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00. A beautiful quite bed & breakfast alongside the mountains of Petropolis. There are 11 natural water springs on the compound that also has a waterfall. Some features include: Waterfall, Hiking Trails, Breakfast inclusive, Free Wi-Fi, Free long distance to USA and Canada.
- [dead link] CompuLand, Rua 16 de Março 326, Centro. M-Sa 09:00-21:00, Su 09:00-18:00. This centrally located internet café has high speed internet.
All of these towns have hostels and private rooms:
on the south-east coast of Rio State:
- Saquarema – 150 km. A predominantly tourist city with beautiful beaches. It is also known as "The national surfing capital". The town is located in an area called the lakes region. Further attractions are waterfalls, cascades, mountains and an archaeological site.
- Búizios – 200 km. It's a small peninsula with several nice beaches and an abundance of night clubs. The town has the lowest rainfall in the state of Rio de Janeiro. It's nickname is "Saint -Brazilian Tropez".
- Cabo Frio – 200 km. A popular tourist destination. It's famous for its beautiful beaches with fine white sand and crystal clear waters.
- Arraial do Cabo – 200 km. It's a small town near Búzios. Its beaches have the most beautiful turquoise waters of Rio de Janeiro state. Beaches like Forno and Prainhas do Atalaia are surrounded by virgin lush green coastal vegetation and have clear blue waters similar to the Caribbean ones
in the north:
- Juiz de Fora – 120 km. The presence of immigrants – especially from Portugal, Italy, Germany, Syria and Lebanon and more recently China – throughout its history has given the city a cosmopolitan spirit and diverse cuisine. It's a gay-friendly city. It's nickname is "Manchester Mineira".
- São João del Rei – 270 km. It is the largest of the colonial mining towns in Minas Gerais. There is a steam locomotive to the nearby town of Tiradentes.
- Belo Horizonte – 380 km
in the south:
- Niterói – 80 km. It has a wonderful unique view of Rio and an intriguing contemporary art museum, which looks like an UFO (designed by famous architect Oscar Niemeyer). Also, it has one of the state's most beautiful beaches, Itacoatiara, which can be reached by the bus numbered 38. Niterói lies just opposite of Rio on the other side of the bay.
- Rio de Janeiro