By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – As summer gets closer, Rio’s high temperatures are a great excuse to visit the State’s mountain range, like the small city of Teresópolis. Not as well known as its neighbor Petrópolis, Teresópolis is actually a favorite destination for Cariocas looking for a more quiet getaway.
Only one and a half hours away from Rio, Teresópolis will surprise visitors with its natural parks, local breweries and charming hotels.
Founded in the first half of the nineteenth century, the city’s name is a tribute to Teresa Cristina, Brazil’s empress, wife of emperor Dom Pedro II, who would have been astonished by the region’s natural beauties.
When it comes to Teresópolis’ nature, one cannot miss the Serra dos Órgãos National Park. Besides the incredible diversity of its fauna and flora, the park gathers the greatest number of trails in Brazil – over 200 kilometers of trails for all levels.
Also comprehending the cities of Petrópolis, Guapimirim and Magé, “Serra dos Órgãos” National Park offers a wide range of attractions for adventurers. At the Teresópolis’ section, one can find easy trails like the “Trilha Suspensa”, a 1,3 kilometer-path, situated over a twentieth century aqueduct. At the end of this trail, one can enjoy a refreshing shower at the “Ceci” and “Peri” waterfalls.
Another accessible trail is the “Cartão-Postal”, a 1,2 kilometer-way that leads to a stunning view of “Pico do Dedo de Deus” (the God’s Finger), the most famous peak of the park.
During summertime, one of the tourists’ favorite program is going to “Frade”, a beautiful 10-meter waterfall with a nice natural pool on its bottom. Situated right at the Teresópolis-Friburgo (RJ-130) road, on the kilometer 19, it is the perfect nature program for those who want more comfort.
If you want to appreciate the most stunning natural landscape in Teresópolis, the “Mirante do Soberbo” is the right place to go. From this observatory, in clear days, it is possible to see the “Dedo de Deus” peak, the Guanabara Bay, Niterói and even the Paquetá Island. “Mirante do Soberbo” is situated at the BR-116 highway (direction Rio de Janeiro), on the kilometer 89,5.
Besides its nature, Teresópolis offers a variety of cultural and culinary attractions for its visitors. During the weekends, the FEIRARTE (or “Feirinha do Alto”) is a must-go program.
Taking place at the “Bairro do Alto” neighborhood, the fair gathers local artists who sell homemade food, handicrafts, clothes, among many other products.
What’s more, beer and food lovers should definitely check Villa Saint-Gallen, situated at “Bairro do Alto”. With its decoration inspired in the namesake Swiss village, Villa Saint-Gallen gathers restaurants and the great local brewery Therezópolis. During the weekends, visitors have the opportunity to participate in the “Bier Tour”, a guided tour through the brewery that includes beer tasting.
Among Villa Saint-Gallen’s restaurants, make sure to try Abadia and its fondues and raclettes, or the Harlekin Pub, which offers typical German food and live music on the weekends. Outside Villa Saint-Gallen, also worth to try out is the Russian restaurant Dona Irene and the artisanal pizzas by restaurant Manjericão.
In addition, fun is guaranteed for children at the Parc Magique. Situated at Le Canton Hotel, the venue includes a roller coaster, a ferris wheel, a carousel, electronic games, an artificial ski slope, among many other attractions.
To get to Teresópolis, take the BR-040 road (direction Juiz de Fora) and turn right on the BR-116, which is 12 kilometers after the Highway Patrol. Alternatively, take BR-040 (direction Juiz de Fora) and enter Itaipava, following the road that cuts “Serra dos Órgãos” Park.