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An escape from Rio… Buzios or Paraty?

Katie Liddell visits Rio and draws a strong argument whether to combine with Buzios or Paraty.

Rio de Janeiro is, in my opinion, one of most fun and exciting places in the world, but after a few days in the hectic city, a busy schedule of sightseeing and the energetic nightlife can become exhausting. When sunbathing on Copacabana beach isn’t relaxing enough, you need a holiday from your holiday.

There are two obvious escapes from Rio: Buzios and Paraty. Both towns are within a 3.5-hour drive of the ‘Marvellous City’, but they couldn’t be more different.

Buzios was ‘discovered’ by Brigitte Bardot and has a feel of Saint Tropez to it. Trendy bars, exclusive restaurants and luxurious boutique hotels line the shore of this former fishing village. After a morning sunbathing, you can browse the designer shops. There are 17 different beaches to discover around the peninsula, but they are not the palm-fringed, picture-book beaches of north-eastern Brazil. It is a place for fine dining and people-watching, an exclusive escape.

Paraty is more quaint and traditional, but equally charming. The pretty cobbled streets are flanked by brightly-painted houses and colonial history is everywhere. The town is surrounded by the lush hillsides of the Atlantic forest and countless coves and islands are within a short boat ride, although Paraty itself has no beach. This is a place to immerse yourself in the wonderful scenery, history and culture of Paraty and the Green Coast.

I cannot choose between Buzios and Paraty; I adore them both in different ways. My advice? Visit both so you can make up your own mind.

For inspiration on visiting either destinations, visit our Brazil section.