Niterói – On the Other Side of the Bridge
The impressive bridge that connects Rio de Janeiro with Niteroi is over 14 km. Many tourists go here to see the famous MAC museum or just pass by on their way to Búzios or Saquarema. But there are more things to it than that, here I have tried to tell you what.
Some Facts About Niterói
This is one of the cities in Brazil with the highest living standard, with close to 500.000 inhabitants. One curious fact is how much warmer it is here than in Rio. It is almost always a few degrees Celsius hotter in Niteroi.
There are a few options:
Buses Buses are not frequent, number 740D (Copacabana x Charitas) is your best bet. It starts from Rua Francisco Otaviano in Copacabana and go along over the bridge and all the way to the Estação das Barcas (boat terminal) in Niterói. On weekends and holidays they leave much less frequent.
Ferries In Centro, Praça XV, of Rio you have the ferry terminal where you can get the ferry to Niterói. To get to the ferry just catch the metro to station Carioca and walk down the street Rua da Assembléia. All the info you need about getting around in Rio you find by clicking this link.
Car This option is particularly good if you want to get to the beaches I will mention below, otherwise that can take a long, long time… Click here to get to the Car Rental in Rio page
The most famous image of Niterói is that of the museum Museu de Arte Contemporânea (MAC). Partly designed by world famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemayer and inaugurated 1996 the spectacular shape has attracted a steady stream of visitors. Not very well suited for exhibitions (it is circular!) but with spectacular views of and from the actual museum that is the highlight. From the ferry terminals you can easily catch a bus to get there or have a half hour walk along the boulevard.
There are some really nice beaches in Niterói. The ones in the centre are unfortunately polluted, the nicer ones with open sea and clear water are (in order from Niteroi):
Piratininga with big waves, it has a calmer section on the right which is good for bathing.
Camboinhas Also with open sea but the sea is calmer, higher standard neighbourhood. Best choice for groups and families.
Itacoatiara Last but not least is this gem wedged in between two big mountains, good for surfing. It’s very popular among younger people. On the right, a little bay with calmer water always full of families since less surf. Posh neighbourhood.
There are buses leaving from the center to these beaches but they are notoriosuly crowded, going with a car is the better option.
The Fish Market in Niterói
Within walking distance from the ferry terminal you have Mercado de Peixe São Pedro. If you came with the van you can ask them to drop you off since it’s on the way. Here you can see gigantic fish and other seafood on display, on the second floor you have restaurants that most of the time accept to cook your purchases for a fee. It’s open Tue-Sat 6h/15h, Sun 6h/13h and Mon 6h/12.30h.