Top Things to See and Do in Buzios, Rio de Janeiro

Although close to central Rio, Buzios retains the charm of a tranquil fishing village
Although close to central Rio, Buzios retains the charm of a tranquil fishing village | © Alejandro Guillermo Santiago Ruhl / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Alex Robinson
8 August 2021

Once upon a time, it was a tranquil fishing village in the southeast of Brazil. Today, Buzios is the fanciest, liveliest coastal town in Rio de Janeiro.

In 1964, when French starlet Brigitte Bardot and her Brazilian boyfriend breezed into Buzios, this sleepy fishing town was put firmly on the global glamour map. What you’ll find is a collection of three small towns — Ossos, Manguinhos and Armação de Búzios — known for their frenetic nightlife, gorgeous beaches and turquoise waters.

Paraglide over Tucuns Beach

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Tucuns beach in Buzios city, Rio de Janeiro
© Sunshine Pics / Alamy Stock Photo

With such beautiful landscapes, it’s no wonder that Rio locals love hang-gliding and paragliding. And they’ve introduced both adrenaline activities to Buzios. Panoramic flights depart the low Sierra behind Tucuns beach, out over the gentle curve of the bay and the turquoise ocean. The highlight? Sweeping views of the entire Búzios peninsula. The tour includes an optional pre-flight hike in the forest and flights last for anything between 10 minutes and an hour, depending on the weather.

Learn to surf

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Geriba beach, Buzios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - December 22, 2019: Surf in south atlantic coast. Beautiful young woman doing aquatic sports in a sunny
© Alex Ruhl / Alamy Stock Photo

Long before it was a busy beach resort, Búzios was a secret surfer-dude hangout. Professional surfers still visit regularly and four of the 20 beaches are highly ranked among international greats. Best of all is Tucuns, a long sandy bay with big waves. Then there’s adjacent Geriba, where a surf camp offers classes for all ages and levels, including absolute beginners who start off standing on their boards on the beach, getting to grips with balance.

Get active

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Brazilians love their adrenaline sports – and this adventure park, tucked behind Amores beach, has plenty to please all ages. There’s go-karting (and mini go-karting for young ones), beach-buggy and hover-kart riding, shooting, paintball, wall-climbing and bungee trampolining. None of this appeal? There’s plenty more – from rolling around a pool inside a giant plastic ball, walking on pencil-wide rope bridges suspended between posts or whizzing down an albeit modest zip-line.

Rocka Beach Lounge

Restaurant, Seafood, Brazilian, Mediterranean, $$$
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This open-sided restaurant overlooks Praia Brava beach, attracting idlers after breakfast who stay for lunch, tea and dinner, drinking leisurely in between. It’s easy to see the appeal: the food is excellent – spicy lobster-moqueca stews, chimichurri sirloin, squid-ink paella and chocolate souffle. If you’re not starving you can graze on Brazilian tapas (called petiscos) – ranging from cod balls to fresh scallops and oysters. To wash it all down, summon a bottle of crisp Argentine white or an ice-cold, thirst-slaking beer.

Rua das Pedras

Architectural Landmark
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People walking at Rua das Pedras dotted with restaurants and boutiques, Buzios, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil.. Image shot 02/2010. Exact date unknown.
© Y.Levy / Alamy Stock Photo

Buzios still feels villagey on Rua das Pedras – which translates as Cobblestone Street. The colorful old cottages that stood here back when Brigitte Bardot visited with her boyfriend in the 1960s have long since morphed into boho boutiques and cafes. Restaurants cluster over the water – perennially popular spots for sundowner cocktails. Even if you just wander, Rua das Pedras has a lovely, leisurely atmosphere – just be aware that, when there’s a cruise liner in port, there’ll be a crowd in town and things become more of a squeeze.

Party at Privilege

Nightclub, Cocktails, $$$
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Beach Frame and background Orla Bardot - Lakes Region. Image shot 01/2015. Exact date unknown.
© Pulsar Imagens / Alamy Stock Photo

Under the same ownership as Privilege Ibiza, Privilege Buzios is one of the most upbeat, clamored-for party spots for miles around. It’s quite a place, spread over two floors, with four bars where the good-looking crowd stands several feet thick. You’ll find it on the Orla Bardot waterfront – and you’ll know you’ve found it from the thump of deep house music. Head on in and you’re all set for a great night out in Buzios.

Praia da Tartaruga

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With calm waters and unspoiled beaches, Praia da Tartaruga is on every visitor’s list. It’s an ideal place for snorkeling and one of the best places in Buzios to encounter turtles. There are seafront kiosks selling straightforward snacks, chilled beers and strong caipirinhas that make for perfect beach days. Top tip: hang around until the day fades and on Praia da Tartaruga you’ve got front-row seats for Buzio’s best sunset.

The Brigitte Bardot statue

Memorial, Architectural Landmark
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The statue of Brigitte Bardot placed the Buzios coastal promenade called Orla Bardot. BUZIOS, STATE OF RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
© Alejandro Guillermo Santiago Ruhl / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the most scenic spots in Buzios is the Orla Bardot, a seafront walk that follows the stunning coast – everyone’s idea of the perfect afternoon stroll. At the end of the walkway is the statue of French film star Brigitte Bardot, created by Sao Paulo-born sculptor Christina Motta. Bardot – at the height of her fame following roles in European movies such as And God Created Woman and Contempt – helped shine the spotlight on the town when she rocked up in 1964.

Igreja de Sant'Ana church

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Igreja da Freguesia de Santana (Freguesia de Santana Church), Freguesia de Santana, Ilha Grande, Angra dos Reis, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
© Andre M. Chang / Alamy Stock Photo

This is a quaint little church, lovely to behold, balanced on a hill above the Praia dos Ossos beach. It dates from the 1700s – the colonial architecture is a reminder of Portuguese settlers who made a home here. The centuries have done little to diminish its allure and the faithful come every Saturday afternoon for Mass. You don’t need to step inside to enjoy the place – just sitting outside, relaxing in the sun, is a great way to while away an afternoon. Try to hang around until the day softens to evening: the sunset from here is quite an event.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Sarah Brown.

These recommendations were updated on August 8, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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