Across the strait at the mouth of Guanabara Bay lies Niterói, founded in 1573, and until 1975 the capital of the old state of Guanabara. Though lacking the splendour of the city of Rio, Niterói, with a population of half a million, has a busy commercial centre, an important museum and lively nightlife.

Cariocas have a tendency to sneer at Niterói , typically commenting that the only good thing about the city is its views back across Guanabara Bay to Rio. While it’s certainly true that the vistas are absolutely gorgeous on a clear day, Niterói has more to offer, not least for admirers of the work of the architect Oscar Niemeyer.

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