Botafogo Bay, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is known in Brazil as the “Wonderful City” because of its natural beauty and famous postcards worldwide. Here are the 32 amazing things that should be on your list to experience when visiting Rio de Janeiro in order to make your trip complete.

1. Christ the Redeemer Statue

Christ the Redeemer Statue, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Christ the Redeemer Statue, Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer is a must place to go when visiting Rio de Janeiro. Standing on top of the 710-meter tall Corcovado mountain, this monument is an icon of Rio do Janeiro and famous all over the world. Christ the Redeemer statue was chosen as one of the New Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Its viewing platform offers a jaw-dropping panorama of the city. The best way to visit the Statue is by taking the Corcovado’s Train.

2. Sugarloaf Cable Car

Sugarloaf Cable Car, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Sugarloaf Cable Car by Rafa Bahiense on Flickr

Sugarloaf Cable Car is one of the main tourist attractions in Rio de Janeiro. The trip is divided in two stages: the first stage goes from Red Beach to Urca Hill, and the second one goes to Sugarloaf Mountain. Inside the tram, the person has an amazing 360-degree view of Rio’s beaches.

3. Chinese View

Chinese View, Vista Chinesa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Chinese View (Vista Chinesa) by Filipo Tardim on Flickr

Chinese View (Vista Chinesa in Portuguese) is an important belvedere where people can appreciate one of the most spectacular views of the city for free. It’s good to go on a sunny morning. The place also has a beautiful Chinese temple and received this name in honor of the Chinese immigrants. It’s located in the Tijuca Forest at 380 meters high.

4. Quinta da Boa Vista Park

Quinta da Boa Vista, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro Zoo by Alobos Life on Flickr

Quinta da Boa Vista Park is a public park which has the National Museum, the Fauna Museum and the Zoo of Rio de Janeiro. It’s also a historical place because it was the residence of the Brazilian Imperial Family in the 19th century.

5. Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden, Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio’s Botanical Garden by Alexandre Pereira on Flickr

The Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden (Jardim Botânico) is one of the ten most important Botanical Gardens in the world. It is home to more than six thousand species of Brazilian and foreign plants. The Garden has also the biggest library specialized in botany in Brazil. It is a great place to go with kids.

6. Gloria Marine

Gloria Marine, Marina da Glória, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Gloria Marine by Rodrigo Soldon on Flickr

Gloria Marine (Marina da Glória) is a port where people can have a great view of the Guanabara Bay. At the Marine, people can take ship tours, courses for sailing, fishing and diving. This is a place for sailing events of the 2016 Summer Olympics and also the 2016 Summer Paralympics.

7. Planetarium

Rio de Janeiro Planetarium, Planetário do Rio

Rio de Janeiro Planetarium by Mariana Santana on Flickr

Rio de Janeiro’s Planetarium (Planetário do Rio) is another good place to go with kids. It has the Museum of Astronomy, the Museum of the Universe and the Telescope Area.

8. Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon

View of Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon from Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon by Boris G on Flickr

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon (known as Lagoa) is considered the best leisure place in Rio. It has a great area for walking, cycling and skating. Bikes are available to rent. The Lagoon has also paddle boats where people can enjoy the beautiful view.

9. Henrique Lage Park

The atrium of the mansion with café, Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Café inside the School in Parque Lage by Matthew Levine on Flickr

Henrique Lage Park (Parque Enrique Lage) is a public park with beautiful aquariums and the Visual Arts School of Parque Lage, which offers free art exhibitions. The Park is a great place to have a picnic and also has playground for kids.

10. Sunset at Arpoador beach

Sunset at Arpoador beach, Rio de Janeiro

Sunset at Arpoador beach by Glovebr2008 on Flickr

Sunset at Arpoador beach is considered by residents of Rio one of the best things to do on summer afternoons. Local residents have the habit to gather on the beach to applaud the sunset! The Arpoador beach is also one of the best places for surfing in Rio.

11. Copacabana Fort

Fort Copacabana, Forte de Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro

Fort Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro

Fort Copacabana has the Museum of the History of the Army. The place has a beautiful view of Copacabana Beach, which is considered Rio’s most famous beach. It’s a nice place to have a brunch.

12. Beautiful Rock

Hang gliding from the Beautiful Rock, Pedra Bonita, Rio de Janeiro

Hang gliding from the Beautiful Rock by alobos Life on Flickr

Beautiful Rock (Pedra Bonita) is a good place for people who like adventure. You can reach the Rock by taking the trail, which will take around 30 minutes. At the Beautiful Rock, people can have an amazing view of the city by experiencing the paragliding and the hang-gliding.

13. Santa Teresa Tram

Santa Teresa Tram, Rio de Janeiro

Santa Teresa Tram by Steve Oldham on Flickr

Santa Teresa Tram takes people on a historic tour in one of the most traditional Rio’s neighborhoods. Since the 18th century until now, the residents of Santa Teresa keep using the tram. Santa Teresa is known in Rio for its architectural and cultural attractions.

14. Lapa and Lapa Arches

Lapa Arches, Arcos da Lapa, Rio de janeiro, Brazil

Lapa Arches, Rio de janeiro

Lapa Arches (Arcos da Lapa) is considered an important symbol of the Old Rio. The Santa Teresa Tram runs across the top of the Arches. The neighborhood of Lapa is well known for having one of the best nightlife in Rio de Janeiro.

15. Rio de Janeiro famous beaches

Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro beach, Brazil

Copacabana Beach by miguelangelpulidoj on Flickr

For people who like to enjoy and relax, Rio has a large number of golden beaches. Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Barra da Tijuca are among the most famous beaches in Rio de Janeiro and in the world. You should check out some of them.

16. Maracanã Stadium


Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro

Maracanã Stadium is one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world. Built for the FIFA World Cup in 1950, the Maracanã hosted the 2014 World Cup final and tt’s the venue for the  the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics opening and closing ceremonies. If you are a football fan, you can watch one of the games, visit the Football Museum inside the Stadium or take a 1-hour tour, which is offerred daily from 9 am to 5 pm.

17. Town of Paraty

Town of Paraty, Brazil

Paraty town by Otávio Nogueira on Flickr

Paraty is a historic town located in the state of Rio. This picturesque small town has well-preserved colonial houses and churches from the 18th and 19th centuries. The tourists will also enjoy Paraty’s beautiful beaches and waterfalls. By car or bus, the trip from the city of Rio de Janeiro to Paraty will take around three hours and half. The town was a filming location for the Edward and Bella’s honeymoon scene in the ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn’ movie.

18. Big Island

Big Island, Ilha Grande, Brazil

Big Island

Big Island (Ilha Grande) is considered a paradise island located in Angra dos Reis, which is only two hours away from the city of Rio. The trip can be made by bus or car. The Big Island has amazing natural places to visit as its deserted beaches.

19. The Municipal Theatre

The Municipal Theatre, Theatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro

The Municipal Theatre by André Bispo on Flickr

The Municipal Theatre (Theatro Municipal) of Rio de Janeiro was opened in 1909 and it’s one of the most important theaters in South America. The Theatre always hosts great dance, music and opera events. It’s located in the city center.

20. Bank of Brazil Cultural Center

Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, interior, Rio de Janeiro

Bank of Brazil Cultural Center in Rio by Bárbara Vaz on Flickr

Bank of Brazil Cultural Center in Rio is a place that offers interesting cultural activities. At the Center, the tourists will enjoy plastic arts and photography exhibitions, movies, dance, music, and cultural lectures.

21. Candelária Church

Interior of the Candelaria Church Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Interior of the Candelaria Church by BORIS G on Flickr

The Candelária Church (Igreja da Candelária) is one of the most important artistic places from Brazilian 19th century. The Church has a neoclassical architecture and a beautiful interior decoration.

22. National Museum of Fine Arts

Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, National Museum of Fine Arts, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil

National Museum of Fine Arts by Luís Guilherme Fernandes Pereira on Flickr

The National Museum of Fine Arts (Museu Nacional de Belas Artes) has the largest and most important collection of Brazilian arts from the 19th century.

23. Paquetá Island

Paquetá Island, Ilha de Paquetá, Rio de Janeiro

Paquetá Island by Claudio Tebaldi on Flickr

Paquetá Island (Portuguese: Ilha de Paquetá) is a quiet island in Rio where tourists can spend a pleasant day. The Island is located in the famous Guanabara Bay. No cars are allowed on the Island, so you should take a ferry from the XV Square (Praça XV) to get there. It takes about 70 minutes to reach Paquetá.

24. Ipanema Hippie Fair

Ipanema Hippie Fair, Feira Hippie de Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema Hippie Fair by keetr on Flickr

Ipanema Hippie Fair (Feira Hippie de Ipanema) is considered one of the best places in Rio to buy souvenirs. There are around 900 stalls selling Brazilian handmade souvenirs. The Fair is located at General Osorio Square, on Ipanema beach, and open every Sunday from 8 am to 8 pm.

25. The Fair of St. Kitts

The Fair of St. Kitts, Feira de São Cristóvão, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Fair of St. Kitts by Luis Mascarenhas on Flickr

The Fair of St. Kitts (Feira de São Cristóvão) is a popular market in Rio that represents the Northeastern Brazilian culture. There are about 700 kiosks that offer typical Brazilian Northeastern products, such as handicrafts and authentic cuisine. Also there are music events and dance activities to enjoy at the Fair of St. Kitts.

26. Foods to try

Feijoada, Rio de Janeiro

Feijoada at Garden by Marcia Gagliardi on Flickr

Rio has a lot of good restaurants and bars around the city. These are some foods that everybody visiting Rio has to try: pastel, which is a fried pastry with different fillings; bolinho de bacalhau is a fried cod fish croquette; feijoada is made with black beans and different kind of meats; and the city has so many great steakhouses, which in Brazil is called “churrascarias”.

27. Drinks to taste

caipirinha, rio de janeiro


In Brazil, coffee is the most popular beverage, so having a cup of real Brazilian coffee is a must when visiting Rio de Janeiro. Tourists should try sugarcane juice and acai juice, which are one of the most favorite drinks in Rio. Brazil’s most famous alcoholic drink is named ‘caipirinha’, and it’s made with cachaça (a liquor made from sugar cane juice), sugar, lime and ice. Beer and wine are other favorite drinks among Cariocas (the people of Rio de Janeiro).

28. Rio Carnival

Rio de Janeiro Carnival, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro Carnival by Geoffrey W W McRae on Flickr

Carnival in Rio Rio de Janeiro is the most famous festival in Brazil and the biggest carnival in the world. The Carnival is known worldwide for spectacular shows performed by Rio’s samba schools. The Rio Carnival lasts five days and is held 40 days before Easter, so it’s usually held in February.

29. New Year’s Eve celebration

copacabana rio de janeiro new year

New Year Eve’s celebration in Copacabana

New Year’s Eve in Rio is considered one of the biggest and beautiful New Year’s celebrations in the world. Every year, more than two million people get together in Copacabana beach to watch the fireworks and the free concerts.

 30. Shopping at BarraShopping

The BarraShopping mall, Barra da Tujica, Rio de Janeiro

The BarraShopping mall by Sadi Junior on Flickr

The BarraShopping mall in the  Barra da Tijuca neighborhood is one of the best places in Rio for shopping. For women who are looking to buy the famous Brazilian bikinis, the mall is a good place to find the best brands!

 31. Samba

Samba dancers, Rio de Janeiro

Samba dancers by Sebastian R. on Flickr

Rio de Janeiro is known as the capital of samba. The neighborhood of Lapa is the best place to go in Rio to listen Brazilian music, especially samba. Lapa has many bars and restaurants that offer live music and also places to dance. The samba schools in Rio perform tests before the carnival parade. For people who are interested to watch the perform tests, it takes place at Sambadrome, which is the parade area. The perform tests are held during the weekends, from December until the last Sunday before the carnival parade, and the admission to watch the tests is free.

32. Guided tours

Favela graffiti art tour

Favela graffiti art tour by Robert Blackle on Flickr

Take one of the interesting guided tours to learn the fascinating history and culture of Rio de Janeiro.

Written by Millene Quadros, a Brazilian journalist, freelancer writer and Portuguese/English translator. She can be reached through her email