Smile City 15 minutes away from Rio de Janeiro

Smile City 15 minutes away from Rio de Janeiro

Although located accross Guanabara bay, one of Rio's best views (one that includes both the Christ and the Sugarloaf in your camera frame) can be seen from "Museu de Arte Contemporânea" in Niteroi, a neighboring city only 15 minutes away from downtown Rio by ferry boat.

Niterói (476,000 inhabitants) is a city in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nicknamed "The Smile City" (Cidade Sorriso), it is just a short ferry ride from downtown Rio across Guanabara Bay. In fact you may encounter plenty of reasons to smile about: many beautiful beaches (within the bay or facing the open ocean), historic forts and a world-class museum. Besides, Niteroi is schedule to become in a near future the place with the largest number of works from renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer - second only to the entire Brazilian capital, Brasilia.

Museum of Contemporary Art (1996) - Mirante da Boa Viagem. Tel. (21) 2620-2400. Tue-Sun, 10am - 6pm (or 7pm during Daylight Saving Time (mid Oct to late Feb). Get bus 47B from the bus terminal on your left when you exit the ferry station. Admission R$ 4. This intriguing contemporary art museum looks like a flying saucer jutting out over the sea and is worth the visit to Niteroi alone.

Niteroi has a wonderful unique view of Rio and one of the state's most beautiful beaches, Itacoatiara, which can be reached by bus number 38. It is considered a surfer's paradise (actually it takes part of a world circuit of Surfer's Competition). Expect a young and beautiful crowd, have a snack at one of the healthy cabana-bars along the shore or yet, take trails to climb the mountains and watch a uniquely crazy sport: "Rock Surfing".

Not further from here you can find the "lost in time" Itaipu Beach, a fishermen's colony surrounded by sand dunes, a lagoon, a canal, a white church on a hill and some colonial era ruins. It is probably one of the best sunsets you can see over Rio's shoreline (Copacabana, Ipanema & Barra on the horizon). Also worthwhile is a visit to next door Camboinhas Beach (it's easier and faster to hire a fisherman's boat to cross the canal than driving around the lagoon to get there).

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