Niteroi Tourist Attractions
NiteróiSituation and CharacteristicsNiterói, formerly capital of Rio de Janeiro state, lies on the east side of Guanabara Bay, opposite the city of Rio de Janeiro, with which it is connected by the Presidente Costa e Silva Bridge (15.5km/9.5mi long, 60m/200ft high).Bus stationRua Fróes da CruzHistoryThe town was founded in the 16th century under the name of São Lourenço on a piece of land granted by the Portuguese king to an Indian chief named Araribóia, an ally of Portugal against França Antárctica, a colony in Guanabara Bay founded by Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon. In 1819 the settlement was granted the status of vila, and in 1835 it was declared a town. Until 1875, when the states of Guanabara (previously a federal district) and Rio de Janeiro were combined in a single state, it was capital of Rio de Janeiro state.
São Lourenço dos Indios
São Lourenço dos IndiosA few blocks from the sea are the access ramp to the Rio-Niterói bridge and the Jesuit church of São Lourenço dos Indios, built from 1560 onwards on the hill of São Lourenáo. The high altar has a Mannerist retablo of the early 17th century.
Fort Gragoatá & São Domingos
Fort GragoatáSão DomingosThe most interesting beaches and most of the city's sights lie to the south of the center and can be reached on the coast roads running round the bay. 2km/1.3mi from the city center, on the promontory of Ponta da Gragoatá, are Fort Gragoatá (1610) and the church of São Domingos, built from 1652 onwards.
Fort Santa Cruz
Avenida Carlos Emiliano, the continuation of Avenida Quintino Bocaiuva, leads to Jurujuba beach. At the end of the road Estrada General Eurico Gaspar Dutra goes off to Mt Pico, a closed military area in which are Fort Pico and Fort Santa Cruz (1565). Along with Fort São João on the Morro Cara de Cão opposite it, Fort Santa Cruz guards the narrowest part of Guanabara Bay. The main defensive installation of Rio de Janeiro in the colonial period, it is now occupied by an air defense unit. Some parts of the structure are later; the chapel, the prison and the Cova das Onças (torture chamber) date from the 17th century, the cistern from the 18th, the casemates for the cannon from the 19th. The fort is open to the public.
Ilha da Boa Viagem
Ilha da BoaViagem3km/2mi from the city center is the Praia da Boa Viagem, which is linked by the Ponte Benjamin Sondré with the Ilha da Boa Viagem ("Island of the Good Journey"). On the island are the church of Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem (1683) and a fort.
Antônio Parreiras Museum
Antìnio Parreiras MuseumBeside the Praia da Boa Viagem are the city districts of Boa Viagem and Ingá, with the Museu Antìnio Parreiras. It occupies the house which once belonged to the artist of that name and contains many of his works.
São Francisco Xavier
Between the Praia de São Francisco and the Praia de Charitas is the church of São Francisco Xavier (1572). Nearby is the hill of Viração, on which is the Municipal Park (views).
CathedralIn the center of the city are the Estação das Barcas (Marine Station), the landing-stage used by ships sailing between Niterói and Rio, and the Cathedral of São João Batista (1754).
Ponta da Areia
Ponta da AreiaTo the north, near the hill of Armação, is the promontory of Ponta da Areias, where whaling ships were built in the 17th century; it is now a fishing center, with boatyards. Here many old houses have survived the passage of time, including some of the 17th century.
Historical MuseumIn the Ingá district, housed in the former Palácio do Governo (Government Palace), is the City Historical Museum (pictures, everyday objects and furniture of the imperial period).
Praia das Flechas & Praia de Icaraí
Beyond the Boa Viagem beach are the Praia das Flechas, with the Itapuca Rock, and the Praia de Icaraí, with the Indian's Rock. At Icaraí is the main campus of the Universidade Federal Fluminense, the State University of Rio de Janeiro.
Campo de São Bento
A few blocks inland from the beach, between Icaraí and Santa Rosa, is the Campo de São Bento, a spacious tree-planted park with a lake, a fountain, a children's playground and the Pascoal Carlos Magno Cultural Center. There is a craft market in the park at weekends. Beyond this is the Caio Martins Sports Stadium.
Saco de São Francisco
Beyond the Praia de Icaraí the Fróis road runs along above the bay, skirting the hill of Cavalão, to the Saco (Bay) de São Francisco (which can also be reached through a tunnel). From the end of the Praia de São Francisco the Estrada da Cachoeira continues to the beaches at the mouth of the bay.
8km/5mi from the city center Avenida Quintino Bocaiuva runs past the beaches of São Francisco and Charitas. Beyond this are the beaches of Preventório, Várzea, Cais and Jurujuba (11km/7mi), with fish factories and fishing villages.
Adam and Eve's Beach
Praia de Adão e EvaNear the fort, 12km/7.5mi from the city center, is the unspoiled Praia de Adão e Eva (Adam and Eve's Beach).
Fort Rio Branco
Near Jurujuba Beach is the 18th century Fort Barão do Rio Branco.
Map of Niteroi Attractions