In the ’60s, the actress Brigitte Bardot, the biggest diva of the French film at the time, came to Brazil and was taken on holiday by friends to Armação dos Búzios, a small fishing village close to Rio de Janeiro.
As soon as she set eyes on the almost untouched, extraordinarily beautiful white sand beaches, she fell in love with the place.
Today, a bronze sculpture on Armação Beach pays homage to the French starlet who first drew the world’s attention to this Brazilian beach resort. Ever since, Buzios has become one of the hottest tourist destinations in Rio de Janeiro State, attracting visitors from all over the world, many of them celebrities including Mick Jagger, Cat Stevens and Seal.
Buzios has a population of less than 25,000, but that number increases by around three times during weekends and holidays. Despite being a hugely popular destination, Buzios still keeps an atmosphere that evokes its early days as a simple fishing village.
It’s known throughout Brazil for the beauty of its azure sea, the cleanliness of its sand and the variety of its beaches.
It’s a popular destination for water sports fans, but it’s also perfect for those who are just looking to relax and unwind, which is why it’s such a favourite with celebrities taking a retreat.
There are plenty of top restaurants, fancy spas and boutique hotels catering to the jet set, but holidaying here is not just for the rich and famous — the city has hotels, inns and hostels for all kinds of budgets.
It also doesn’t matter what kind of beach you like: You’ll find one that suits you well in Buzios. The city has more than 20 of them, each one with a different profile.
Geribá is probably the most famous and busiest beach in town. Located by open sea, it has clear water and it’s a good place for practising water sports. Plenty of small, cosy inns can be found along the shoreline.
Not very far from there, Ferradurinha Beach is probably one the most beautiful spots in the whole country. Minuscule, it is not as charming as it used to be decades ago, when it was more difficult to access than it is today. Still, its landscape alone merits a visit.
If you can’t resist paradise-like beaches, then the ones on your list should include Azeda, Azedinha, João Fernandes, João Fernandinho and Das Focas. But bear in mind that some of them can’t be reached by car, only on foot.
Divers must try Tartaruga Beach. And those who like a challenging, agitated sea should look for Praia Brava, which means “angry beach” in Portuguese.
People with little children, on the other hand, should go to Ferradura Beach, with its very calm water. In Portuguese, Ferradura means “horseshoe,” and the beach is so named because it looks like one.
Rua das Pedras: Buzios' trendiest spot
The city is very busy during the day, but it also boasts a lively nightlife. The heart of Buzios’ night time activities is concentrated around Rua das Pedras (Stone Street), close to Armação Beach.
As the name says, the street is completely paved with stones, giving the place a rustic charm. Along the street you can find a lot of good restaurants, bars, and souvenir stores. There are also trendy clothes shops, and a few nightclubs full of beautiful, tanned people and the odd celebrity. Some of the restaurants on Rua das Pedras have a great view of the sea — and of Bardot’s seaside statue.
• Buzios is 2.5-hour bus ride from Rio de Janeiro. Buses leave frequently from the latter city’s bus station. Tickets cost around $15.
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