When arriving in Rio de Janeiro you have to remember that not only are you in not only South America’s most famous cities, but also one of the world’s most famous. There is so much to see and do that you mightn’t know where to begin.
One of the best ways to either begin, or finish your sightseeing in Rio is by lazing on the beach. Copacabana Beach is certainly one of the world’s best known and it is a great place to watch the Cariocas (Rio’s locals) spend their days. As well as Copacabana, Ipanema, Leme and Leblon are some other of the other, less-known beaches so they will be less crowded.
What is so fascinating about Rio is that there are three of the world’s best known attractions all in the one city. No matter where you are in city you can see the Corcovado (Statue of Christ) overlooking the city, which is the city’s most instantly recognisable landmark. Other sights which are familiar with tourists are the Marcanã which is the world’s largest football stadium and the Sugarloaf (Pão de Açúcar).
What is most fascinating about Rio is that it is surrounded by mountains. Seeing the city while elevated offers the best views. The cable car trip to the Sugarloaf and the views from Corcovado will leave you lost for words.
Parque Nacional da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Corcovado (Hunchback) is the mountain where the world famous Cristo Redentor, or 'Christ the Redeemer', statue stands, overlooking the city. The view from the top is breathtaking and no visit to Rio is complete without visiting the statue.
A tram which runs up to the statue operates between 9am-6pm daily and costs R$20 for a round trip.
Av. Pasteur 520, Urca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio's other attraction which pulls thousands of visitors is the Sugarloaf. Once you reach its peak, you can see the whole city - the beaches, the favelas, Christ the Redeemer and the Bay of Guanabara.
Transport to the mountain is via a two-stage cable car which leaves every half hour between 8am and 10pm and cost R$18.
Rua Profesor Eurico Rabelo s/n, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Built for the World Cup in 1950, this is the largest football stadium in the world. When full, it seats between 80,000 and 100,000 spectators. You can get guided tours, but the best way to experience the stadium is when there is a game on.
Outskirts of the city, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Not so much an attraction, but more of a way to experience the other side to Rio de Janeiro. The favelas are where thousands of Cariocas live and, while they aren't exactly pretty, they can be visited when accompanied by a local tour guide.
Copacabana/Ipanema, Leblon/Leme, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Brazil's best known city is famous for its beaches which are full with a mix of locals and tourists. What you will notice more than anything else is the number of 'beautiful people' to be seen on them.
Copacabana is arguably the world's most famous beach and is the centre of constant activity.
Ipanema isn't as well known globally, but is sometimes full of locals even more beautiful than those on Copacabana, although the crowds aren't as big.
Other beaches in the city which are worth a visit are Leblon, Leme and Praia do Diabo (Devil's Beach). If you
want to steer clear of the crowds these are the beaches for you.
, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This park is close to Copacabana and presents a nice alternative to the hundreds of people stepping all over each other down on the beach. It is tropical and a good place to relax or go for walks.
Praça Marechal Âncora - Próximo à Praça XV, 20.21-200 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
If you want to learn more about Brazilian history this is the museum to visit. Permanent exhibitions are on show along with others which run at different stages throughout the year. It is home to Latin America's largest numismatic (coins, paper money, coins etc.) collection.
Av Infante Dom Henrique 85, Parque do Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
If you go into Flamenco Park you won't miss this museum. It looks something like the wing of an airplane from the outside and inside the exhibitions are constantly changing.
Admission is R$8.
Rua Jardim Botanico, 1008, Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This park has over 6,200 species of plant and is another park to go to unwind when Rio's hustle and bustle gets a bit much.
Praça XV, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Previously the governor's palace and home to Brazil's emperors from 1808 until 1888 (when the monarchy fell), today this building is full of cultural exhibits. The building itself is also full of paintings, engravings and there is a large courtyard too.