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 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 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 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 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
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) 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.
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
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
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 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 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
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 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) 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
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
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
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) 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) 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
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
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
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 (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) 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) 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
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
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
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
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 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!
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
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 email@example.com.