Among numerous beaches, parks, and squares in Rio de Janeiro, the city of Petropolis – a mountain refuge to the intense heat of the coast – is not only a great place for a change of scenery but also an increasingly popular destination for pre-wedding photography.
It may seem contradictory, but it was thanks to the coastal heat that Petrópolis was founded. Annoyed at the high temperatures of the then federal capital, Rio de Janeiro, Dom Pedro II (one of Brazil’s latest emperors) and all his royalty sought the mild climate of the mountains to spend the summer months. Palaces were erected on the hills and today the city preserves several constructions of this sort, some open for visitation. This imperial atmosphere, coupled with breathtaking landscapes, has helped to develop the tourism industry in the area, bringing people who search for refinement and tranquility, turning the destination into a cluster of charming inns and first-class gastronomy.
For those who are planning a pre-wedding photo shoot, the city offers an array of settings that create unique backgrounds, completely different from what you would get around the coast. In order to understand if Petropolis is a good option for your prenuptial trip, we have organized a brief description of the city, as well as a comprehensive guide as a suggestion to your wedding photographer.
What to See in Petropolis
It is worth taking your time to visit Petropolis since one day is not enough to explore everything that the city center has to offer. One of the most sought-after spots by couples for taking pre-wedding photography is the Crystal Palace. Here, professional photographers get creative with the lights and shadows the building’s glass walls provide.
Another place that attracts the attention of couples is the charming Santos Dumont House Museum, known as “Enchanted”, which displays all the inventions of the father of aviation, while also being an unparalleled setting for indoor photo sessions. At the entrance to Petropolis, the exuberant Quitandinha Palace was the largest casino in Brazil during the 1940s but now works as a convention center. The building has a very interesting architecture, with glamorous rooms and wide hallways creating the perfect atmosphere for a more classical style of couples photography.
There is also a pond in the front yard which is sometimes used by photographers to create interesting reflection images. For those who enjoy long walks, the best pick is the Serra dos Órgãos National Park, where you will be able to take stunning photos surrounded by nature, in a very relaxing environment.
As alternatives which can also be implemented on your pre-wedding photo shoot, there are many local shops, art galleries, and markets to visit. Also, take a drive to the districts of Itaipava and Araras to experience the highlight of Petrópolis’ gourmet universe.
Where to Stay
Petrópolis has been voted as the city with the highest number of charming inns. Most lodges in Petropolis are located far from the center – in districts such as Cuiabá Valley and Araras – and always combine comfort with great service and jaw-dropping landscapes which are ideal to kickstart a photo shoot.
The majority of the city’s inns have couples as their target audience and will go out of their way to make sure you have a fantastic prenuptial trip. In the central region, simple accommodation predominates, with cheaper rates and closer to the main historical attractions and museums. Unlike other winter destinations, the daily rates of Petropolis hotels are more affordable for those looking for the city in the cold period of the year.
A Guide to a Pre-Wedding Weekend Photo Shoot
For those who only have a visit and a pre-wedding photo shoot in Petropolis, the best option is to arrive early on a Saturday and head straight to the Imperial Museum in the hope to have an uncrowded spot for the wedding photographer to get creative angles. Then, check the São Pedro de Alcântara Cathedral to see if it is possible to shoot some interesting pictures from the main stairway. After having lunch at the traditional Brewery Bohemia, continue exploring the city center by visiting either the Santos Dumont House Museum or the House of Ipiranga (or both if time permitting).
In the evening, take a short drive to Itaipava and indulge in some of the region’s best gastronomy. The following morning can be enjoyed at the surroundings of Quitandinha Palace, photographing by the pond and taking the opportunity to visit the inside of the building.
Finally, both afternoon and evening should be dedicated to the Crystal Palace – where you are bound to get the best photos of the weekend and also have the chance to experiment with some night photography.