Rio de Janeiro is the second-largest city in Brazil that is famous for its lovely landscape, soaring mountains, beautiful beaches, and an amazing harbor. Walk the streets of Rio de Janeiro and discover why there are millions of tourists every year visiting this fabulous city. To make things easier, we have come up with a list of top 10 things to do and see in this fantastic metropolis.
- Sugarloaf Mountain
Located nearly 400 meters above the harbor, Sugarloaf Mountain is one of the most famous landmarks in Rio de Janeiro. Visitors can take a ride in a cable car from Praça General Tibúrcio to Morro da Urca which is a lower peak. There is a second cableway that will transfer you from Morro da Urca to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain which offers amazing views of the surrounding islands and the bay of Rio de Janeiro.
- Corcovado Christ the Redeemer
Corcovado Christ the Redeemer is a statue of Jesus Christ made of concrete and covered in mosaic tiles. It was completed in 1931 and represents a cultural symbol of people from Brazil. This 125 feet tall iconic landmark is situated on the top of Corcovado Mountain in Tijuca National Park. It is definitely the most visited landmarks in the city since it attracts around 2 million people each year. You can reach Corcovado Christ the Redeemer using regular bus lines from Copacabana to Cosme Velho. The site is also accessible by a hiking trail from Parque Lage.
- Copacabana Beach
One of the most famous beaches in the world that spreads across 3 miles, Copacabana Beach is a must-visit spot while on vacation in Rio de Janeiro. Filled with both tourist and locals, this amazing beach offers plenty of water activities and is full of beach vendors who are selling practically everything from snacks to jewelry. If you get bored from the beach after a couple of hours, there are a couple of restaurants, play theaters, and boutiques in the area.
- Santa Teresa
Full of narrow streets and art deco buildings, Santa Teresa neighborhood is located in the hills of Rio de Janeiro. Offering panoramic views of the city below, this vibrant district attracts a lot of bohemians and artists. It is also home to the famous Escadaria Selaron steps which were designed by an artist from Chile called Jorge Selarón. These brightly colored mosaic tiles were brought from the streets of Rio, while additional tiles were donated by travelers from different countries.
- Ipanema Beach
Don’t forget to bring your swimming shorts and go see one of the most popular tourist spots in the city, Ipanema Beach. It is located right between the Leblon and Copacabana Beach and split into different sections. Some parts of the beach are perfect for families with children, while other parts are reserved for young sunbathers. There are numerous galleries, clubs, and theaters close to the beach, as well as plenty of restaurants and bars.
A rocky peninsula that is considered being the birthplace of surfing, Arpoador beach is located between Ipanema Beach and Copacabana. What makes Arpoador great is the fact that it is one of the best places in city to see a killer sunset. There are hundreds of tourists who come to sit on the rocks each day from 5 pm to 8 pm and look how the sun sets behind Dois Irmãos cliffs. It’s quite a romantic place and you can see a lot of young couples who even make bring snacks and drinks.
If you are looking for a night out in Rio de Janeiro and want to know where the best nightclubs are located, head out the hedonistic neighborhood of Lapa. It is located right at the historic center of downtown Rio and features a number of lively nightclubs and cool bars. Prepare to party until the morning light, since the street parties here are known to be wild. An interesting fact is that this neighborhood used to be an area where you couldn’t see a single tourist, but today the district has come to life and is the liveliest nightlife getaway in the city.
- Prainha Beach
Located just a short drive from Ipanema Beach and known as the “little” beach, Prainha Beach is perfect for those who are into surfing and water sports. The good news is that this place is not crowded with tourists and you can get some peace and quiet, especially during the workdays. Keep in mind that currents are strong here and there are no lifeguards on-site. The easiest way to get here is by car and you should pack up some snacks and drinks as there are not that many restaurants in the area.
- Botanical Garden (Jardim Botanico)
Housing over 6,000 exotic species of flora and spread across 340 acres, Botanical Garden (Jardim Botanico) was originally created by Regent Prince D. Joao in the beginning of the 19th century. Did you know that Albert Einstein visited this place? Besides orchids and heliconias, this national park also has an ecology research center, a playground, gift shop, and a restaurant. You can go on a guided tour that includes a visit to most of the sections of the park.
Maracana Stadium is definitely the most famous sports complex in the country and was opened in 1950 to host the World Cup final. It was originally called Estádio Mário Filho in honor of the popular journalist from Brazil. Today, Maracana can seat up to 80,000 and if you get a chance to watch a game here, please don’t miss it. For those who are not a position to visit the stadium during a game, there are guided tours daily from 9 to 5 p.m. and cost between $30 and $70. There are also non-guided tours available, but they include just a visit to the small museum on-site and parking.