Telles Arch, or Arco de Teles, is a colonial gateway and quasi time portal to 19th century Rio. Leading from open Praca Quinze to narrow Travessa do Comércio, the arch is a funnel from modern day Rio to the charm of its old town past. While arches were originally common in Rio, all have either succumbed to decay or have been replaced by modern development. Telles Arch is all that remains of the city’s colonial arches, and the pedestrian alleyway it frames today is lined with bars, restaurants and cafés that make you question if you’re still in Brazil or wandering down European cobbles. Stop in for happy hour after a day of touring the city’s historical district, and stay for an evening of revelry, merriment, and the arch illuminated at night. Though the arch itself only requires a couple of minutes for viewing, it’s the way the colonial past is fused with modern city charm that makes this a favorite photo op and stop when touring downtown.
While the area can be somewhat dangerous after dark, the bars and restaurants are generally considered safe for visiting travelers. Taxis are the preferred mode of transport after dark, though the square is also accessible by bus as well as the city metro.