There are numerous towns and natural attractions in the Niterói surrounding area.
BeachesEstradas da Figueira, da Cachoeira and Dr Caetano Monteiro meet in Large da Batalha, from which Estrada Velha de Itaipu leads to the beaches at the mouth of Guanabara Bay and to the lagoons, also fringed by beaches, enclosed by granite rocks reaching out into the sea and by long lines of dunes.
Piratininga13km/8mi south-east of Niterói are the beach and lagoon of Piratininga, reached by a side road branching off the road to Itaipu. On the opposite side of the bay can be seen the Praia Vermelha and Mt Leme, at the end of Copacabana beach. One of the most popular stretches of the Piratininga beach is the Praia da Prainha, a small inlet with calm water between the sea and the lagoon, with the Baleia Crag.
Praia de Camboinhas
CamboinhasThe Praia de Camboinhas, next to Piratininga beach, is fringed by immense dunes which until the 1970s remained almost untouched, with only the occasional fishing village. These villages, however, have a long history: on the road to Piratininga is the church of Nossa Senhora do Bom Sucesso, which dates from 1684. They are now surrounded by the most densely populated suburbs of Niterói.
ItaipuThe beach of Itaipu (21km/13mi from Niterói), separated from the Praia de Piratininga by the Ponta dos Morros, is dominated by the massive granite rocks and sand dunes which fringe the shore. Across the bay can be seen Copacabana beach. The Praia de Itaipu, with its fishing village, is a favorite with surfers. Here too are the Itaipu Lagoon and the ruined convent of Santa Teresa (1754).On the road to Itaipu are the church of São Sebastião de Itaipu (1716) and the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Conceição da Várzea.
ItacoatiaraThe beach of Itacoatiara faces the Atlantic and accordingly the sea has a strong swell which attracts many surfers. Luxurious apartment blocks have been built amid the dense mata atlântica vegetation. The beach is sheltered by the Pedra de Itacoatiara, near the Ponta de Itaipu, and other rocks which form a natural breakwater, and is therefore safe for less experienced swimmers. Also just off the Ponta de Itaipu, at the mouth of Guanabara Bay, are the three islands of Filha, Mãe and Pai ("Daughter", "Mother" and "Father").
ItaipuaçuThe Itaipuaçu beach, 25km/15mi south-east of Niterói, extends from the Ponta de Itacoatiara almost to Maricá. It is cut in two by a channel which drains the Maricá lake district. The beach is reached on a road which branches off the roads to Itacoatiara and Itaipu. It can also be reached from farther inland by taking RJ 106 to Inoã and an unsurfaced track from there.
MaricáMaricá, 45km/28mi south-east of Niterói and 60km/37mi east of Rio de Janeiro, is a historic town, the center of a lake district with the Lagoas de Maricá, da Barra, Brava, de Guarapina, de Jaconé, do Padre and da Ponta Negra. They are linked by channels which flow into the sea at Ponta Negra to the north and Itaipuaçu to the south. Round Maricá there are a number of beaches on the sea; the most interesting, however, lie farther east facing the open sea - Praia da Barra de Maricá (7km/4.3mi), Guaratiba, Ponta Negra (20km/12.4mi) and Jaconé (24km/15mi). In the town center is the church of Nossa Senhora do Amparo (1788).
UbatibaAt Ubatiba, 7km/4.3mi from the town, are the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Saúde (1850) and the handsome Fazenda Rio Fundo, which dates from the colonial period. At São José do Imbaçaí (8km/52mi) is the church of São José (1675).
SaquaremaThe town of Saquarema (pop. 45,000) is 53km/33mi east of Maricá and 95km/59mi from Niterói. It is reached by taking RJ 106 to Bacaxá, near the Saquarema lagoon. This area is a paradise for anglers, and the lagoon offers facilities for every kind of water sport. On these beaches with their turbulent seas the most popular sport is surfing, and a well known surfing competition is held on the Praia de Itaúna (2km/1.3mi north of the town) in the second half of May. On this beach there is a sambaqui (prehistoric shell-mound). Also to the north of Saquarema, near the Araruama lagoon, are the Praias de Massambaba and Seca. Within the town are the beaches of Boca da Barra, Vila and Barra Nova. 1km/.7mi south of the town is the Praia de Saquarema. The church of Nossa Senhora de Nazaré (1837) stands on a hill from which there are fine views of the Saquarema lagoon and the sea coast.
AraruamaThe town of Araruama (pop. 75,000) lies 100km/62mi east of Niterói and 58km/36mi from Cabo Frio, on the west side of the Araruama lagoon. It can be reached on RJ 106 (Rodovia Amaral Peixoto) or by taking the road from Niterói to Manilha, then BR 101 to Rio Bonito, and from there the road to Araruama. Originally devoted to fishing and salt production, Araruama is now a renowned tourist center and bathing resort. Along the large lagoon are numerous hotels and water sport clubs. Round the town are numerous beaches on the sea. Within the town itself is the Praia Araruama; to the west (access via RJ 106) are Areial, Hospício and Seca; and to the east, on RJ 106, are the Praias da Pontinha, da Fazenda, do Coqueiral, do Barbudo, do Novo Horizonte, de Lake View, de Iguabinha, etc.
Map of Niteroi Attractions