Between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, you can find the charming district of Penedo, in the municipality of Itatiaia. The small and enchanting region was founded in 1929 as the only Finnish colony in Brazil. The influence of the Finnish immigrants was very strong and up to this date you can enjoy a little of this rich European culture there.
There are numerous accommodation options in the city. A good idea is to stay in the center, for it is where the restaurants and main attractions are located. In Penedo, you will find inns, hotels and houses for rent in comparative price ranges. However, you should book in advance, especially if you plan to go on a weekend or holiday, when the city receives more visitors.
On the first Saturday of each month or holidays, you can enjoy and dance to the sound of the traditional polka, jenkka and other Finnish folkloric rhythms in the Finland House. In the Finnish Museum Dona Eva, you can find an amazing display of objects, craftworks and works of art brought from the Nordic country.
Another feature that will spark the visitors’ interest, especially the kids’, is Little Finland. The place replicates a village with an architecture typical of the Finnish countryside cities and its main attraction is Santa’s House. To know more about the Finnish colonization tours, please check this itinerary.
Weather and Local Cuisine
With a highland weather, Penedo is a delicious gastronomic center as well. Visitors can choose from many kinds of restaurants, some serving Brazilian food, with a menu composed mainly of trout and other local fishes, and others serving international cuisine, with options of sauerkraut and other delicacies.
The ice-creams, prepared according to the Finnish recipes, and the artisanal chocolates are other local highlights in Penedo. At the Chocolate Factory, you can feast on chocolate bars, truffles and bonbons.
Among the ecotourism options, the waterfalls Cachoeira de Deus and Três Cachoeiras form natural pools good for swimming. You can also visit the Itatiaia National Park, with a number of waterfalls, trails and mountains. If you choose to go even higher up the highlands, enjoy the many attractions of Visconde de Maua.
More Europe in Brazil
Besides Penedo, Brazil has a number of other cities influenced by the European culture. In Sao Paulo we have Campos do Jordao, a city that combines cold weather, Swiss-like buildings, and charming landscapes. In the Southern region of the country, we can recognize European traces in Joinville, Blumenau, Gramado, Canela and Bento Gonçalves.
Beaches and Mountains
An intercity bus line goes directly from Rio de Janeiro city to the center of Penedo.
Personal or rental vehicles
Departing from Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo, take the Presidente Dutra highway (BR-116), go straight for 148 km until Exit 311. Departing from Belo Horizonte, take the highway BR-040 until km 20.9 (Tres Rios/Rio de Janeiro State).
Personal or rental vehicles
The most comfortable way of moving around in Penedo is by car. This map can help you with it.
In a small city like this, the best way to explore it is on foot.
There are taxi companies that can drive you around the center of Penedo and nearby regions.