One of the world’s most intriguing cities, Rio de Janeiro has it all. From sun-kissed beaches and lively soccer to the sounds of samba; here are 33 things for you to see and do in ‘a cidade maravilhosa’ – the marvelous city!
Visually stunning, one can never tire at taking in Rio de Janeiro’s breathtaking views. Renowned around the world for its famous carnival, beautiful beaches, great shops, and stunning scenery, Rio de Janeiro is an absolute treat to visit with a multitude of things to see and do.
With world-class attractions such as Christ the Redeemer, Pao de Acucar and Ipanema Beach on offer, as well as plenty of options for those looking to get out of the city, exploring the spectacular sites of Rio de Janeiro and its surroundings will surely live long in the memory.
To help you explore a cidade maravilhosa, we’ve come up with 33 things for you to try out, so grab some mate and biscoito globo (typical Brazilian beach food!) and take a look at what’s on offer!
1. Grab a caipirinha and join the crowds who congregate every evening at Pedra do Arpoador to watch the spectacular sunset over Ipanema – one of Rio’s best beaches.
2. With its particular and interesting design, the exterior of the Museu do Amanha is just as captivating as its wonderful futuristic exhibitions inside.
3. Christ the Redeemer is one of Rio’s most iconic tourist attractions and visitors can either hike up to its viewing platform or take a scenic train ride through a forest.
4. Go for a picturesque hike in Floresta da Tijuca, the world’s largest urban rainforest.
5. Revel in the lively nightlife at Lapa and watch some fantastic live music in one of its many clubs.
6. When in Brazil, watching a soccer match is a must so make sure to catch a game at the legendary Maracana!
7. Eat lunch at one of Rio’s fantastic kilo restaurants where you load up your plate and pay by the weight.
8. For a beautiful sunset, it doesn’t get much better than Mureta da Urca. Grab a drink and watch the sun glittering off of the boat-filled Baia de Guanabara.
9. The Os Dois Irmaos viewpoint offers up one of the best panoramas of Rio and the exhilarating motorbike ride to the starting point of the hiking trail will certainly get your blood pumping!
10. One of the most famous beaches in the world, lounging on the golden sands at Copacabana is simply a must when in Rio.
11. Gorge yourself on meat at one of Rio’s churrascarias – traditional barbecue restaurants.
12. Head to Feira de Sao Cristovao in the evening to explore its bustling market which is full of traditional crafts and food from the North East of Brazil as well as lots of live music.
13. Explore the trendy bars and restaurants in Leblon, Rio’s wealthiest neighborhood.
14. Grab an ice-cold beer and meet some friendly locals at one of the atmospheric botecos, small neighborhood bars.
15. Hidden amongst the rainforest in the heart of Rio are the wonderful waterfalls of Cachoeira do Horto which are great for a refreshing dip.
16. Take the cable car up to Pao de Acucar, one of Rio’s main attractions, and enjoy some of the city’s best panoramas.
17. If you’re after a quick snack when sightseeing, coxinhas are a tasty and filling treat which you can find almost anywhere.
18. For some fantastic contemporary art, the Museu de Art do Rio is the place to go.
19. Dance the night away at Rio Scenarium, one of the city’s most famous samba clubs.
20. On Monday nights, Pedra do Sal is the place to be and the lively street party pulsates with the sound of samba!
21. If you’re looking to escape the heat of Rio, the mountain city of Petropolis makes for a brilliant day-trip and its cool climate is home to lots of interesting historic monuments as well as some stunning scenery.
22. Founded in 1894, Confeitaria Colombo is a nifty place to grab a coffee and its mirrored interior is spectacular.
23. The brightly colored steps of Escadaria Selaron are one of Rio’s main attractions…there are plenty of fantastic photos to be taken here.
24. Amble peacefully around Jardim Botanico and enjoy the beautiful botanical gardens.
25. Designed to look like a Mayan pyramid, the modernist Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian is definitely worth checking out for its impressive architecture.
26. With hundreds of shops contained in a small area, Mercado Uruguaiana is the perfect place to pick up gifts for loved ones back home.
27. Unassuming on the outside, the gilded interior of Sao Francisco da Pentinencia interior will blind you with its shimmering golden carvings.
28. Wander around the trendy Santa Teresa neighborhood and explore its hidden sights.
29. Take a trip across the bay to the city of Niteroi which has a fabulous view of Rio, wonderful beaches and a beautiful museum designed by the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer.
30. Check out the humongous brightly colored graffiti walls at Olympic Boulevard which showcase some delightful art.
31. Enjoy a hearty feijoada, a stew of beans and pork that’s an emblem of Brazil, at one of the city’s fine restaurants.
32. Act like a carioca (a Rio local) and cycle or run around the scenic glimmering waters of the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas as dusk falls.
33. Take to the streets and party like crazy at Rio’s world-famous carnival, one of the world’s most popular, that takes place every year around February or March.