Updated on Feb.24, 2012
Tucked away in the mountain range known as Serra Fluminense, Nova Friburgo is one of the most popular getaways in Rio de Janeiro State, be it for family, adventure or romantic travel.
At an altitude of 2,775 feet above sea level, the city offers a welcome break from Rio summers and a charming winter atmosphere.
The city has been working hard at recovering from the storms which ravaged it in early 2011, and its 2012 Carnival was a brilliant celebration of town pride.
Although it's located a little farther from Rio than Petrópolis and Teresópolis, the two other most important cities in the Fluminense Range, Nova Friburgo can be easily reached by bus. It takes about two and a half hours to cover the steep 136 kilometers (84 miles) that separate it from the capital.
Things to Do:
In July, Nova Friburgo hosts its International Winter Festival, featuring concerts in several musical styles.
Arrive early for the performances - the event has been enthusiastically received by locals and tourists and the venues fill up quickly.
Taking it easy is always an attractive option in this laidback area. In "Lumiar", Brazilian songwriters Beto Guedes and Ronaldo Bastos celebrated the tranquility of one of Nova Friburgo's districts and talked poetically about things to do there: sleep, dream, rest your eyes, spread sunshine on the veranda, hunt for the moon.
Lumiar, Muri and São Pedro da Serra, the city's main rural districts, offer some of the area's prettiest pousadas, with mountain views that encourage contemplation, as well as cozy restaurants.
However, hiking and climbing are plentiful in those districts and in other areas of Nova Friburgo.
Average summer temperatures in the mid 70s and winter averages in the mid 50s encourage visitors to the hit the trails of Serra Fluminense.
Some of the best options:
- São Clemente Park - A native vegetation haven in the downtown area.
- Parque Ecológico Cão Sentado - A private ecological park with 18 caves and the best view of the Sitting Dog, an unusual rock formation.
- Pico da Caledônia - The region's highest peak, at 7,280 feet. From the top, you can see Guanabara Bay.
- Três Picos das Salinas State Park - One of the three peaks is only accessible to climbers. The others can be reached by challenging trails with guides.
Brazilian climbing website Primatas Online (www.primatasonline.com.br) lists these climbers in the Salinas area:
- Serginho Tartari at Refúgio da Águas
- Sergio Poyares at Chalé Pedra Solta
Tel: (22) 2543-3512
- Geovani Tartari at Ronca Pedra
Tel (22) 2543-3504
The Ponte da Saudade and Olaria districts are Friburgo's so-called lingerie circuits, where side-by-side shops sell the local production. If you buy Brazilian lingerie, remember it must never be dried in a tumble dryer - it will shrink, as would most Brazilian clothes.
German and Swiss settlers brought over their traditions to Nova Friburgo and one of the city's attractions is the Swiss Dairy (Queijaria Suíça), where shoppers can also buy chocolate and visit the Swiss Memorial.
Cosmetics, especially fragrant glycerin soaps, crafts, honey, and sweets are other popular shopping items in Nova Friburgo.
Where to Stay:
For a bucolic getaway with your loved one, choose one of these romantic hotels and pousadas in Nova Friburgo.
In the downtown area, a great option is the Habitare Apart Hotel, a small hotel with very comfortable rooms, updated facilities and a delicious breakfast.
Where to Eat:
Nova Friburgo has good dining and nightlife - including nice bars in the Cônego district and affordable eateries around Praça Getúlio Vargas, the central square. Read about some places worth a visit in the Nova Friburgo Guide.
How to Get to Nova Friburgo by Bus from Rio de Janeiro:
Bus Company: 1001
To view schedules and prices, go to the 1001 website and choose Rio and Nova Friburgo in the dropboxes. There are several daily buses from Rio and back, many of them in the evening. Check carefully with your hotel which Nova Friburgo bus station is closer - Norte (North) or Sul (South).
Local Guides & Tourist Information:
The central tourist information center on Praça Getúlio Vargas is the place to find information about Nova Friburgo. Some of the staff members speak English and there are many brochures - however, nearly all of them are issued in Portuguese only.
There are local guides in the downtown area. One of them is Victor Ponce from Canoa da Serra (phone: 22-2522-4149; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)