Penedo is a small village located right next to Parque Nacional do Itatiaia that was settled by Finnish immigrants which today still looks and feels like a European colony both in architecture and local culture. As soon as we drove into the town we felt like we had been time warped to a simpler time in Europe (Santa’s Village included!), only the beautiful nature will be your reminder that in fact you are in Brazil, hidden up in the mountains.
How to get there: By Car: Driving from Rio de Janeiro take Avenida Brasil and then BR 116 Via Dutra (Intersatate) going towards São Paulo. You will drive for about 165km, pass a toll of R$10.10 and then take the road to Penedo. By Bus: From Rio de Janeiro viação Cidade do Aço, phone (55 21) 22538471, to Resende or Penedo bus terminal. From Sao Paulo viação Resendense or Sampaio to Resende bus terminalThings to see and do: You must take a full walk around the town (don’t worry it isn’t that big) to see the various restaurants and cute stores, I was impressed by the quality of boutiques and crafts; it is a great place to pick up some unique home goods. Shopping and eating aside it’s the simplicity of it all you will most appreciate as you stroll through this seemingly untouched town hidden in the hills. People ride on horse back through the streets, wear traditional outfits at the restaurants, the whole thing is very quaint. Penedo isn’t just about exploring the town it is also in discovering the nature surrounding it. There are a number of tours which makes it easy to tailor your visit:)
Waterfalls: There are three different waterfalls you should visit, Cachoeira das Três Quedas (“Three Falls Waterfall”) (shown above) which can be reached on your way up to Cachoeira de Deus (God’s Falls) and Cachoeira das Três Bacias (Three Basins Falls). To visit Cachoeira de Deus you need to park your car and walk about 100 meters to the falls. To get into the water, you can jump from the rock which forms a natural platform into a 2-meter deep section of the falls. Cachoeira das Três Bacias, is the last waterfall on this road and is particularly good for sliding down the rocks. You sit at top of the first basin and push your body forward, and you will gently slide down its slippery rocky surface. You continue to do this until you reach the last one
Koskenkorva: Has lovely outdoor seating area by a creek, and specializes in Finnish and German food. For a splurge, try Voileipäpöytä (R$65), a smorgasbord-like platter featuring smoked trout, marinated salmon, herring, trout pâté and much more. Leave room for the fruit dessert crepes.
D.O.C Emporium: Has a beautiful outdoor garden, read more HERE
Casa do Chocolate: The chocolate is unreal, they make the ice cream there and it’s self serve! Read more HERE
O Jardim Secreto: Is a classy, candlelit eatery, surrounded by exuberant greenery, serves a contemporary menu of fish, meat and pasta dishes. Rated one of the best restaurants in Penedo
Oratório: Rated the best restaurant in Penedo. Serves excellent plates of seafood stews and grilled fish in a pleasant outdoor river setting. When in season, the pitu (giant river shrimp) should not be missed.
Bucanaru: Great for people watching this traditional Brazilian restaurant serves the meat on a hot plate so you can cook it as much as you like, food was delicious!
Have a great trip!