If you’re going to Rio de Janeiro, you definitely want to make the most of it right? Check out these must-visit places nearby Rio and enjoy the ride!

If you’re visiting Rio de Janeiro, you’re probably thinking what can I do to make the most of it? If you have already travelled such a long distance, it makes sense that you explore as much of it as possible, right?

Now, how about visiting nearby cities and getting to know the area a little bit better? We made a list of three great places to visit in a day or two, all within driving distance from Rio so you can enjoy the day-trip in your own time.

It just so happens that they are all located at the Região dos Lagos (something like “Lakes Region” in Portuguese), a little bit over 2 hours by car from Rio. The area is a famous destination for tourists and locals, with many options to make the most of your time. Let’s dive in!

3 Best places to visit nearby Rio de Janeiro

1. Cabo Frio

The first place we’re visiting today is Cabo Frio, just 96 miles from Rio (a little bit over 2 hours by car). 

Cabo Frio is the biggest city in the area of Região dos Lagos, and has unbelievable beaches, famous for their incredible contrast of colors — the blue of the sea and the white of the fine sand. Here are the highlights:

Forte Beach

Without a doubt, Praia do Forte is the most famous beach in the area. With great infrastructure, you can easily spend all day in the sand if you want to. This one gets very busy during summer weekends, so we recommend visiting on a week-day if possible to truly enjoy the views and have a relaxing time.

Conchas Beach

Praia das Conchas, much smaller and quiet than Praia do Forte, is a great option for families, as the waters are calm for the kids.

Passagem Neighborhood

This neighborhood is a must if you’re an Instagram fan. Everywhere you look there are nice little colonial houses, colorful windows and doors and special corners just too cute to not make a stop and take a pic. Definitely a nice place to visit after a day at the beach.

2. Búzios

If you’re already visiting Cabo Frio, Búzios is only another 45 minutes away (approximately 15 miles) — too short of a ride to say no to. If you’re leaving from Rio, that would be a 2h45 drive, about 110 miles. If you’re in a hurry, it’s also possible to visit both of them in a day.

Rua das Pedras

This is a very popular and small street in downtown Búzios. The name translates to something like “Stone Street”, named after the characteristic pavement,made of stones, where cars are not allowed.

There you’ll find many shopping and dining options, as well as a busy nightlife. For a more relaxed visit, you can choose to walk around the area during the day.

Geribá Beach

This is the most popular beach in town and perfect for a relaxing day. If you want, a walk along the 1.2 mile from one corner to the other is a great way to explore and see this beauty from every single angle.

3. Arraial do Cabo

Arraial do Cabo is known as the “Brazilian Caribbean” for its delightful beaches and views. From Rio de Janeiro, that’s a 2h30 drive, or approximately 100 miles. If you decide to visit from Búzios, that’s just over an hour; from Cabo Frio, 20 minutes (literally less than 8 miles!).

Forno Beach

This one is a little bit more difficult to access, but it’s worth it. You can choose between taking a boat (about 10 minutes) or a trail that leads to the beach and offers amazing views (about 20 minutes if you’re really taking your time).

When you get there, Forno Beach is nothing short of extraordinary. Definitely not as crowded and great for the kids, as the waters are calm.

Pontal do Atalaia

Simply the best sunset in Arraial do Cabo! This is one includes a trail with a few stops along the way, so get your legs ready! The first stop is where you’ll get the best views of the sunset (even if you’re visiting at a different time of the day, the views are still incredible and well worth it).

From there, the trail also leads to different beaches you can visit: Brava and Pontal do Atalaia.


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