Rio de Janeiro is the capital of Brazil in general and the state of Rio de Janeiro in particular, often referred to by tourists by the name Rio. This city is famous in the hearts of tourists because it has interesting natural scenery along with stretching white sand beaches, or rain forests located in the heart of the city. Because of the beautiful and special landscapes that Rio de Janeiro is also known by another name “Miraculous City” (A Cidade Maravilhosa).
Whether you want to dance all night, sunbathe all day, surf the shore, climb mountain peaks or just tick the box on the ‘iconic sights of the world’ checklist, Rio de Janeiro is the place for you.
Rio is home to some of the most recognizable postcard images in the world, including the statue of Christ – one of the world’s seven modern wonders – towering Sugar Loaf, and the stunning beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana.
When it comes to celebrations, Rio knows how to party like there is nowhere else on Earth, and the Carnival’s fervent four days shouldn’t miss any of their worthwhile partying.
Adventure souls are spoiled for choice – the rugged mountains and dense swamps of the Atlantic rainforest offer ample opportunities for trekking, hiking, and even flying, while the waves are soothing, will make surfers happy.
On the other hand, if you just want to relax, the tranquil gardens of Jardim Botanico and Parque Lage will give you a relaxing break from the stuffy city.
1. Christ The Redeemer and Corcovado Mountain
A trip to Rio would not be complete without a trip to see ‘The Big Guy’, and the view from the foot of this most iconic statue is truly breathtaking. One of the seven modern wonders of the world, the ‘Christo Redentor’ stands atop Corcovado, or ‘humpback’, the highest peak in this rugged mountain city.
While small buses run to the statue, the best way to get up is to take the mountain rail. As the little red train climbs through the jungle-covered hills, leaving vast vistas of awakening, it’s no wonder the samba bands live on to entertain passengers on board.
2. Sugar Loaf (Pao de Acucar)
One of the world’s most famous mountain peaks, Sugar Loaf (Pao de Acucar in Portuguese) rarely needs an introduction. But while you may be familiar with the sight of a cruise ship’s cable car climbing dizzyingly up to the top of the mountain, nothing can prepare you for breathtaking views and true beauty of the cityscape. Rio as it opened below.
The cable car makes two stops – first at Morro da Urca, Sugar Loaf’s smaller sister mountain, before continuing on to the lofty vantage point. Sugar Loaf jutts right out of the Atlantic, and the sweeping views of white-sand beaches, jungle-covered mountains and murmuring waves will take your breath away.
3. Maracana Stadium
The mighty Maracana is arguably the world’s most famous football stadium and although no longer the largest in the world, its 78,000 capacity means it remains a giant among the many. sports arena. The stadium, officially named Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho, is known by the Maracana neighborhood where it is located, and the drama on the pitch is compounded by its dramatic backdrop of towering mountains. Although new safety regulations have called for an end to firecrackers to have been part of the Brazilian football game experience, spectators can still expect the frenetic drumming, chants and general excitement. For those lucky enough to be in Rio for the 2014 FIFA World Cup matches here is sure to be unforgettable.
4. Copacabana Beach
Copacabana Beach is famous all over the world, and although the glamorous heyday of the 1950s is over, it is still a breathtaking stretch of sand. The waves crashing, flimsy beach-goers and skilled beach soccer players all catch the eye, while the view of Sugar Loaf Mountain in the background framed the scene perfectly. It’s one of the best places in Rio to shop for souvenirs and gifts for friends and family back home – and you can do all of that in the comfort of a seaside bar. Vendors strolled along the beach, selling everything from Christian replicas (miniature of course) to hats, t-shirts and sarongs.
5. Ipanema Beach
While Copacabana is considered the most perfect city beach in Rio, Ipanema is easily the more luxurious of the two neighboring sands. Less surrounded by high-rise hotels than in neighboring countries, Ipanema is the perfect place to skip hours of work on tanned skin and watch the beauties pass by.
There are many kiosks selling delicious food and drinks. The towering twin peaks of the Dois Irmaos Mountains (two brothers) frame the beach scene in a breathtaking style, and you’ll see the beach formally divided into social groups. Head to the Posto Nove (Lifeguard Lesson 9) for a young, trendy crowd, or look for the giant rainbow flag if you’re looking for a way to sunbathe and socialize with homosexuals.
6. Santa Teresa
Rio de Janeiro is much more than its beaches, and the city’s artistic heart can be found in the forested hills of Santa Teresa. Here, the pastel-colored colonial villas have been converted into bucolic bars, friendly guest houses, artist studios and some of the best restaurants in Rio, and the high location makes for some great views to the city.
Start your visit to Santa Teresa at Largo do Guimaraes, the busy plaza at the top of the city, and follow steep cobblestone streets to discover vintage clothing boutiques, bustling pubs and a number of friendliest locals in the city.
7. Tijuca National Park
As the largest urban jungle in the world, Tijuca National Park is home to the Corcovado Mountain and Christ statue as well as a backdrop for some serious outdoor pursuits. It’s not a good idea to go into the woods without a knowledgeable guide – especially since getting lost would be so easy – but travelers can come up with their pick from the plethora of guides and tour operators running everything From hop-on, hop-off excursion trips to to climbing adventures. Natural pools and waterfalls offer opportunities to cool down, but be sure to bring plenty of drinking water.
8. Arcos Da Lapa
Along with the beaches, the statue of Christ and the Sugar Loaf mountain, another perfect image in Rio’s postcard are huge white domes located in the historic center of the city. At night, revelers gather under the dome as a big street party unfolds – come here on Friday night to see Rio’s partying spirit at its fullest.
The area around the domes is covered with hundreds of stalls selling all kinds of delicious ways to eat and drink, from freshly baked pizza and beer to Northeast acaraje and strong yet fruity cocktails. Surrounded by bars and clubs serving everything from hip hop and favela funk to samba and pagode, the Arcos da Lapa is the starting point for many memorable nights in Rio.