Niteroi – the other side of Guanabara Bay

People the world over know of Rio de Janeiro and it’s allures and it’s landmarks. Most dream of visiting; it is one of the most visited cities in the southern hemisphere.

But what of Rio’s twin from the other side of Guanabara Bay?

Niteroi is an outstanding destination in itself. Bustling neighbourhoods cling to the coastline, interspersed with beaches as pristine as any in Rio city.

Rio and Niteroi are of course separated geographically by the Guanabara bay, or a drive across the memorable  President Costa e Silva Bridge, or perhaps more commonly known as the Rio-Niteroi Bridge, which is 13.2km (8.25 mi) long–8.8km (5.49 miles) over water and the bridge’s which is 72 m (236.22 ft) high at the centre, in order to allow the safe passage of ships entering and leaving the bay. The bridge carries roughly 140,000 vehicles daily, which pay a toll of 4.90 Brazilian Real but only when entering Niterói . You can also take an inland journey although it’s more than 100 kilometers! (62 miles)

Image of the Rio-Niteroi Bridgeimage courtesy of Wikipedia

Jutting out into the bay from Niteroi lies arguably the architectural highlight of of all Rio de Janeiro – the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Designed by the late Oscar Niemeyer, Brazil’s most famous architect, MAC is a curvilinear building with breathtaking views over the bay. Cariocas often argue the view outside even eclipses the art inside.

While Cristo Redentor and the Marvelous City loom across the bay,  Niteroi gets on just nicely. The Cidade Sorriso – or smile city – endows its citizens with just that, owing to it being classified in 2011 as the richest city in Brazil, and having an unmatched quality of life.

The Getulio Vargas Foundation that commissioned the study were on to something.

Niteroi boasts some fabulous beaches. Heading east, the closest to Niteroi is Piratininga, then Camboinhas, Itaipu and finally, the pick of the bunch, Itacoatiara.

Framed by looming hills on either side and backed by vegetation, the white sands of Itacoatiara seem a world removed from the urban beaches of Rio.

Some of the best seafood in the city can be found in the vicinity also. Barracas sell scrumptious plates of fish on the beach or, at Itaipu, several shacks serve up delicious seafood moquecas.

With a population of around half a million, Niteroi lies just a short ferry ride from Praca XV in downtown Rio. It has the second largest number of works from Niemeyer, behind the capital Brasilia, and opened ‘Niemeyer Way’ in 2007, which hosts a series of architectural buildings along Niteroi’s bayside, at the heart of which lies the People’s Theatre, which can be seen here:

Oscar Niemeyer's People's Theatre in Niteroi

Image Source

Below is a map of the Niteroi and the surrounding areas, it is also interactive for your convenience..

View Larger Map

For useful safety tips and advice about driving in Rio and also upto date pricing for the Rio-Niteroi toll bridge, please visit this link

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