A lovely mountain retreat with a decidedly European flavour, Petrópolis was the summer residence of the Brazilian Emperors and aristocrats in the 19th century when the city of Rio would become too hot and muggy, and was the official capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro between 1894 and 1902.
Still a favourite weekend getaway for cariocas (residents of Rio city), Petrópolis offers some calm away from big city life.
Nestled among the forested hills of the Serra dos Órgãos, in the valley of the Quitandinha and Piabanha rivers, Petrópolis is a popular winter holiday spot. Besides the climate and surroundings, the main attraction is the former Summer Palace of the second Brazilian emperor, which is now the Imperial Museum, specialising in Imperial history and memorabilia.
The city center, with its picturesque parks, bridges, canals and old-fashioned street lamps is easily explored on foot or by horse and carriage.
With similar weather to neighbouring Teresoópolis, the temperature is mild. The annual average is around 19 °C (66 °F). In warmer months, the average temperature is 23 °C (73 °F) and the average of the coldest month is 15 °C (59 °F).
For the bold, one of the biggest and most beautiful treks in Brazil can be found here, 35km and 3 days hiking will get you to neighbouring Teresópolis.
Petrópolis is home to the brewery of Brazilian beer Bohemia. Go on a tour around the brewery and taste the latest beers they're releasing.