One of South America’s greatest cities, Rio de Janeiro sits beautifully nestled betwixt the mountains and the sea. This Brazilian capital city is home to a number of amazing sites, landscapes, activities and destinations, a UNESCO World Heritage locale and even one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
On the bucket list of any avid world traveler, here is a quick list of the Top “must See” attractions in this Brazilian hub.
1. Christ the Redeemer and Corcovado Mountain
Standing tall and overlooking the entire city below, the statue of Christ the Redeemer is by far the biggest attraction in Rio. This 30 meter high statue of Jesus Christ is a testament to the Brazilian people’s Christian faith, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and is an icon of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil as a whole. Since this mega monument is situated atop Corcovado Mountain, your Rio tour guide will encourage you to ride the cog train to the summit to catch views up close.
2. Rio’s Beaches
Rio de Janeiro is home to a number of the world’s top rated beaches with gorgeous sprawling white sands, a terrific coastline and Rio’s unmistakable buzzing energy. With 2.5 miles of shoreline, Copacabana is the active, bustling beachfront of the city. Always packed with sports-playing beach goers and food & beverage slinging hawkers, visitors can soak up the rays, take a dip in the refreshing waters or stroll down Copacabana’s picturesque promenade. Ipanema, another of the city’s famous beaches, is one of the more famous tourist beach destinations. Lined with shops, restaurants, cafés and handfuls of cultural attractions, Ipanema is exciting both on an off the sands. Looking for a more local getaway? Grumari Beach is known for its cleanliness, scenic spreads and most of all, its laid back, non-touristy atmosphere.
Rio is home to a number of beautiful neighborhoods, each presenting their own special attraction. The Lagoa area is known for its affluent atmosphere built around the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. Circling the lagoon, visitors can run or bike, visit a number of chic cafés and restaurants or just soak in the stunning scenery. For a more bustling visit, head to the central Lapa district where the city’s best nightlife, bars, dance clubs and traditional architecture can be found. If you’re looking for old-school Rio, the Santa Teresa Neighborhood overlooks the harbor and houses Rio’s 19th century mansions and picturesque cobblestone streets.
4. Museum of Modern Art
For all lovers of art, this stop is a must. Housing some of the city’s best contemporary art, cinema and photography exhibits, this cultural stop is a great change of pace from Rio’s predominately outdoor appeal.
5. Maracana Stadium
If there’s one thing Rio and Brazil are crazy about, it’s football (soccer). This stadium is the city’s monument to the sport, which once was able to house 200,000 visitors. The centerpoint of all the action at the 2014 World Cup, this stadium is one of Rio’s most cherished destinations.
6. Tijuca National Park
This national park is one of the world’s largest urban forests. Home to the city’s highest mountain, a breathtaking 100-foot waterfall, world-famous Mayrink Chapel and some unbeatable views of the city and Guanabara Bay below, if you’re looking to get out of the city, this is the place to go.
7. Sugarloaf Mountain
Jutting out from the heart of Guanabara Bay, this granite mountain is another fantastic attraction for tourists. Ride the cable car (teleferico) to the mountain’s peak to soak up some unbeatable views of Rio.
8. Botanical Gardens
Rio’s Botanical Gardens are home to over eight thousand species of plants including a collection of six hundred different types of orchids. Dating back to the 1800s, this oasis of greenery is an amazing spot near the Lagoa district to relax and unwind.
9. Parque Lage
Based around the Botanical Garden area, Parque Lage is a mansion dating back to the mid 19th century, home to some stunning tropical gardens and exhibitions. With a hiking trail leading up to the Christ the Redeemer statue, this local favorite destination is a nice break from the usual tourist trail.
10. Local Rio
No visit to Rio is complete without experiencing the local side. Catch some live Brazilian music and dance the night away in one of Rio’s famous bars, practice your Portuguese on your Brazil tour guide, venture into a local café or take home souvenirs from any of the city’s famous shopping strips- a small reminder of the exotic flavour of Rio!
Image credits and license details: https://flic.kr/p/fFRUBZ (alobos Life, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/7taDha ( Rodrigo Soldon, CC BY 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/o9zYA (Cyrille, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/6dvTod (Pedro Vásquez Colmenares, CC BY-NC 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/o2j9sE (Joel Kraut, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/dhk4ik (Arthur Leshchuk, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/6WZ36L (Rodrigo Soldon, CC BY 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/dbsnH4 , (Ana Carina Lauriano, CC BY 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/MEDH3 (Antonio Lordelo, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)