It’s easy to get out of Rio city, something you’ll probably want to do at some stage during your stay. There are good bus services to all the places mentioned below, while the easiest trips are by ferry just across the bay to the Ilha de Paquetá – a car-free zone popular with locals – or to Niterói, whose Museu de Arte Contemporânea has become an essential sight for visitors to Rio. After that, the choice is a simple one: either head east along the Costa do Sol to Cabo Frio and Búzios, or west along the Costa Verde to Ilha Grande and Paraty; both coasts offer endless good beaches and little holiday towns, developed to varying degrees. Or strike off inland to Petrópolis and Teresópolis, where the mountainous interior provides a welcome, cool relief from the frenetic goings-on back in Rio.

Inter-urban buses fanning out to all points in the state make getting out of the city easy. If you plan on renting a car (for addresses in Rio), this is as good a state as any to brave the traffic: the coasts are an easy drive from the city and stopping off at more remote beaches is simple; additionally, having your own wheels would let you get to grips with the extraordinary scenery up in the mountains.

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