The charming town center of the colonial town of Petrópolis and the mountain range around it are great family-friendly vacation sites. Children can learn about history and enjoy different outdoor activities, and their parents can relax, watching astonishing sunsets behind the mountain tops, sipping their favorite local beer.
PLACES TO VISIT
Visitors come to Petrópolis for two reasons. The first one is the Historic Town Centre, and the second one is the landscape surrounding it.
The Imperial Museum in the Petrópolis Imperial Palace used to be the summer home of the emperor Pedro II. It is a large pink and white construction. You can see an enormous golden crown and pieces of contemporary art there. Visitors are asked to wear slippers provided by the museum to protect the valuable floor.
The Palacio Quitandinha, once a luxury hotel, was a site of the Rio Treaty. The United States President Harry Truman stayed there then.
The Enchanted, with the official name Santos Dumont Museum House, is a charming century-old residence in the town and belongs to the Petropolis historic center.
The Cathedral of Petrópolis, dedicated to Saint Peter of Alcantara, Brazils' patron saint, is a Roman Catholic church. The last Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro II, and his family were buried here. It is open to visitors. They can enjoy the remarkable interior.
Palácio Rio Negro is one of the official homes of the Brazilian president. Visitors can enter the palace to see the extravagant furniture and the exhibitions of former Brazilian leaders.
Cervejaria Bohemia is a Brazilian beer brand produced in a Petropolis' brewery. The factory is open to the public.
The exceptional architecture of Crystal Palace is what appeals to visitors. Its large glass walls are entirely made of glass. The surrounding gardens are as charming.
Serra dos Orgaos National Park can boast of over ten peaks higher than 2,000 meters. The remarkable landscape is dotted with waterfalls and natural pools. It is renowned for numerous hiking trails. The most famous peak is Dedo de Deus or God's Finger that looks like a large index finger that points into the sky.
PETRÓPOLIS FOR FAMILIES
Although Petrópolis is best known for its historical center, there are plenty of activity places for kids.
Visit Vale do Amor on a nice day. It is a great adventure, and kids will love it. The road that takes you there goes up the mountain and can be uneven, but the hiking here is great nevertheless, just like the Valley of Love.
Petrópolis Wax Museum Museum is real fun for kids. They love wax museums. This one has been built recently and shows celebrities, both Brazilian and international, in life-size models. Kids enjoy meeting Batman and Mr. Bean.
Praca da Liberdade or Liberty Square is a pleasant area for relaxing. At the end of the day, you can sit and watch a sunset. Treat the kids to street popcorn while having a rest after the day packed with activities.
La Grande Vallee is an incredible place where kids can learn about famous French pilots, including the story of Antoine de Saint Exupery, the pilot who wrote the famous children's book The Little Prince.
There are plenty of family-friendly hotels in Petrópolis. They offer spacious family rooms and kid-friendly amenities, including playgrounds, game rooms, children's pool, outdoor pools, free cribs, and infant beds. Visitors can also use Airbnb family-friendly services.
WHAT TO EAT
In Petrópolis, restaurants have a diverse culinary offer: international and national dishes, vegetarian and vegan options, grill, seafood, and barbecue. Visitors should try the national dishes like Açai Berry, Tapioca, Pastel From The Fair, Feijoada, Fried Sardines With Lime, and Popcorn.
Numerous breweries near Petrópolis mean that you can choose among beers brewed in Cervejaria Bohemia, Brazil's oldest brewery, the company of Itaipava or plenty of microbreweries.
• Visit Petropolis in time of Bauernfest, the largest festival in Petrópolis. It is also one of the largest German festivals in Brazil. German immigrants celebrate it with German dishes, beer, music, and dancing.
• Take part in the Serra Serata, a smaller festival that Italian immigrants organize to celebrate Italian culture.
• Go sight-seeing by Horse & Buggy. They are waiting for you at the main entrance of the Museum Imperial.
• The worst day to visit the town is Monday because most attractions are closed and shops open late. The beginning of the week is not the best time to arrive in Petropolis as many restaurants are closed then.
TIME TO VISIT
Tourists prefer the period between April and the end of June or the end of July to October to visit Petrópolis. The weather is warm and good for different activities.
Several hiking trails take visitors to hidden places in the mountain region around the town. Trilha da Pedra do Cortiço rewards you with stunning views of the Serra dos Órgãos mountain range, the Tijuca Forest and the Guanabara Bay.
The 30-minute path of Circuito das Bromelias is a very short one, but you can explore magnificent natural pools of Poços Paraíso, Bromélias, and Primatas along the way. If you like, you can stop to bathe and swim there.
Pedra de Itaipava trail, the two-and-a-half-kilometer long path is not an easy one, but the mountains and valleys along have a unique beauty.
You can only get to Petrópolis by car or by bus. Fortunately, buses run from many big cities. In the town, it is nice to walk as most attractions are near the center and close to each other. Anyway, numerous buses can take you around the town. The most important buses for tourists are numbers 100 and 700, running to the Leonel Brizola bus station and from the center to Itaipava, respectively.
Although the nearby city of Rio de Janeiro could easily overshadow charming Petrópolis, many visitors seeking outdoor activities in the landscape with waterfalls, natural swimming pools and hiking trails love this colonial town. It has so much to offer to families with kids and should be on your bucket list. Don't miss it on your next visit to Brazil.
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