Since the first time I saw a postcard of Rio de Janeiro I wanted to go there. 

Although Rio is famous for its vibrant carnival (during February) with gigantic floats, extravagant dancers, excellent performers, streets filled with millions of people, and a great music vibe; this actually would not be the reason why I recommend Rio as a travel destination.

Yes, if you love carnivals, this is the one to experience as it is world-famous and who can compete with the sound of the Samba.  But Rio has so much more on offer.  This 2nd largest city of Brazil (São Paulo being the largest), is beautiful.  It truly earns the title of being one of the world’s most beautiful and worth visiting places.

Portuguese navigators named the city Rio de Janeiro (which means River of January), thinking the beautiful bay was a huge river mouth. 

brazil rio

Iconic Beach Visits

In Rio, you will find the iconic beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana.  Both are very busy and popular beaches and Copacabana has a 2.5-mile beach with a walkway, lined with towering hotels and buildings on one side and the beautiful ocean on the other. However, Barra da Tijuca Beach (the longest beach) and Leblon beaches are also beautiful and just a bit quieter (yes only a little bit). 

I think the best beach to visit is Arraial Do Cabo:  A beautiful tropical beach with white sand and light blue clear water.  This beach is just outside of Rio city, but definitely worth a visit:  Especially if you book one of the boat tours to explore.

The Real Reason

In my opinion, one of the real reasons you would want to go to Rio de Janeiro is the breathtakingly beautiful views.  Reaching any high point, you will have the most amazing views ever. 

The 38 m towering statue of Christ the Redeemer on top of Mount Corcovado is something I cannot describe.  Only when you stand there on top of the mountain do you realize the magnitude.  Being the Top attraction in Rio de Janeiro, you must go early and I would strongly recommend buying your tickets online before going.  It is jam-packed and very, very busy.  But this is why you come.  This is what you have to see and experience. Obviously, the views from here are awesome and if you’re looking for an Instagram photo hotspot – this is it.

A visit to Sugarloaf

Pão de Açúcar or Sugarloaf is a mountain peak you can reach by means of a cable car and it is a popular tourist attraction.  Tickets are sold at the station located at Praia Vermelha (Red Beach). If you keep in mind that more than a million tourists visit Sugarloaf every year, enjoying the breathtaking views, you will realize that you just have to be there early.  It is a very popular and very busy tourist site.  Rising 396 m (1,299 ft) above the harbor, Sugarloaf Mountain offers you stunningly beautiful panoramic views.  

Travel Tip(s)
Getting around in the city:

Exploring the beach areas on bikes is a popular way of getting around and Rio does have Uber available.

Although Rio de Janeiro is mostly a safe city, there are like in all countries, areas that are less safe.  And like everywhere else in the world you have to be alert when using electronics out in the open.

More THINGS TO DO at your favorite destination

  • A visit to the military base Fort De Cococabana, which is open to the public is recommended.   Located in the heart of Copacabana Fort, Café do Forte has one of the most beautiful views of the Copacabana Beach and is definitely a nice breakfast spot.
  • The ‘Museum of Tomorrow’ /   Museu do Amanhã is a science museum with extraordinary architecture.
  • Visit the beautiful Parque Lage – which is a public park with restaurants and caves.
  • Then there is the beautiful Jardim Botanico – a green botanical garden with huge towering palm walkways.  This is really a beautiful place to visit.
  • Tijuca National Park with its beautiful waterfalls and hike through lush vegetation to the highest place in Rio is definitely worth putting on your itinerary.
  • If you like soccer – make sure to attend a soccer game at the Maracana Stadium (after all Brazil is famous for its soccer)
  • You can attend a colorful Lapa Neighbourhood Tour.
  • Attend a cooking class for a local Brazilian Culinary experience.
  • Take in the best views ever with a Hang Gliding or Paragliding experience.
  • Do a Santa Teresa and the Historic Centre tour
  • Book a boat tour – Pantanal Carioca
  • Paddle a swan-boat on the peaceful Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon at sunset.

Rio de Janeiro is known for its natural settings, so taking in the beautiful lagoon, beaches, and parks are all for free, but beautiful and well worth the trip.

Book in advance online

Skip the queue and get the best-guided experiences (with trusted tour and day trip – organizers).

Where to stay

Some of the best accommodation options in Rio de Janeiro – with a Sea View:  Where to stay

Happy Travels

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