Home to beautiful beaches such as the world-famous Copacabana, iconic sights like the Corcovado or Christ the Redeemer and an incredibly energetic party scene, it’s no surprise that Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s most popular city. We asked you for your top tips for visiting Rio over at our Hostelworld.com Facebook page. Here’s what you told us...
1. Check out the Sugarloaf
Kaushal Karkhanis says: When visiting Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf), climb up Morro de Urca, the first hill - you can then take the ropeway for the next level from here. This way you'll save half the ride cost and double the fun! For the return journey you don't have to pay extra either - the ropeway will take you all the way to the ground, if you stay there post 7:30 pm (you should too, for the magnificent daylight and pre-sunset views).
Andrew Stalling says: Heading up to Sugar loaf mountain (Pao de Acucar) to view the sunset back over the city was amazing. It doesn't have to be a totally clear day - a little cloud makes it even better!!
Hostelworld.com says: Huge numbers of people scale the Sugarloaf when they visit Rio de Janeiro to enjoy the incredible views of the city, beaches and more spread out below at the foot of the mountain. The most popular way of getting to the summit of the Sugarloaf is the two-stage cable car which runs regularly throughout the day.
2. Visit Favela Rochina
A visit to Favela Rochina is recommended by: Micha? Wójcik and Marie Mia Skoglund.
Hostelworld.com says: Rochina is the largest favela (shanty town) in Rio de Janeiro and is home to around 250,000 people. Built on steep hillside not far from the beach, Rochina can be visited on a number of favela tours operating in the city and here’s where you’ll be able to experience a taste of the other side of life in Rio.
3. Catch a football game at Maracanã Stadium
Carol D. Anderson says: Attend a futbol game at Maracana... if you dare! :) I had a blast... these fans are serious! :)
Hostelworld.com says: Maracanã Stadium, which is named after one of Rio’s neighbourhoods, is one of the biggest football stadiums in the world. This is the place to go to see some of Rio’s most popular football teams in action including Botafogo, Flamengo and more. Guided tours of the stadium are available, but the best time to visit is during one of the games when the atmosphere inside is electric.
4. Spend some time in the Jardim Botanico
Alexandre Lobo says: Go to Jardim Botanico. The quitest and most beautiful place to be in such a frenetic city
Hostelworld.com says: If you’re looking for a temporary reprieve from the fast pace of life in Rio, this is the place to go. This oasis features a huge variety of native plants along with plenty of species from further afield. Stroll along the walkways, take a rest under one of the tall palm trees, check out the beautiful fountains or just spend some time recharging in the relaxed atmosphere.
Location: Rua Jardim Botanico.
Opening hours: Daily 8am-5pm.
5. Enjoy sun, sea and sand at Ipanema
Lilian Müller says: Nothing compairs to Ipanema on a sunny day, lots of people doing exercises by the beach, people from everywhere and every style... love it! Hostelworld.com says: Found in the neighbourhood of the same name, Ipanema is a much-loved beach which was made famous in the song ‘The Girl from Ipanema’. Stroll along the golden sands here and you’ll witness Rio’s beautiful people topping up their tans, while the more sporty types play volleyball, football and even foot volleyball, which is Brazilian favourite. This beach is also a very popular spot with surfers.
6. Have something to eat in Santa Teresa
Claudia Alexandra says: Santa Teresa has some nice restaurants, and if you like "cachaça" go to "alambique" where they produce Magnífica and drink direct from the fountain, just great! Ana Cecília Duék says: Aprazível and Térèze are two incredible restaurants in the neighbourhood of Santa Teresa! You can't come to Rio and not experience them! Marcus Roriz says: Aprazível, an amazing restaurant in Santa Teresa. You can see the whole Guanabara bay and city center from there. Hostelworld.com says: Close to the centre of the city, the neighbourhood of Santa Teresa is a favourite with Rio’s artists and boasts numerous galleries and studios. It’s also pretty popular with visitors to the city thanks to a growing selection of excellent eateries. You’ll be able to sample a succulent selection of local cuisine along with more international flavours at many of the restaurants scattered around the neighbourhood. So once your tummy starts rumbling, head on down to Santa Teresa.
7. Visit Lapa once the sun goes down
Alejandra Borges says: Don't leave without seeing Lapa at night. Best street party in the world.
Eric Buonora says: Indeed Alejandra, Lapa is unique. From undeground bars to the pitoresc "Rio Scenarium" Lapa is a must see.
Hostelworld.com says: Lapa, a neighbourhood at the historic centre of Rio, is most well-known for its collection of monuments. Two of these are the Arcos da Lapa, also known as the Carioca Aqueduct, and the Passeio Público, which is the oldest public park in Brazil. There’s no doubt that you’ll visit Lapa in the daytime during your stay in Rio, but don’t forget to go back once the sun sets when this popular neighbourhood really comes alive. Home to numerous bars and clubs, it also boasts live music venues and much, much more.
8. Go clubbing at Casa da Matriz
Luciano Tsiros says: Casa da Matriz. Best club in Rio!
Hostelworld.com says: You’ll find Casa da Matriz in the Botafogo neighbourhood of Rio. A hugely popular alternative hangout, this club is divided into a number of different rooms with two main dance floor areas. On different nights you’ll hear different music, for example Monday is indie rock night. You’ll also hear popular Brazilian music, hip hop, drum and bass, and plenty more besides.
Location: Rua Henrique de Novaes, 107.
Opening hours: Wed-Mon from 11pm.
9. Follow any of these great suggestions
Emma Barrett says: Dance at Lapa, oogle the beautiful people at copacabana and do a Favela Tour with bealocal.com.
Klezer Gaspar says: Joatinga Beach, Ipanema, Leblon...but everybody that goes to Rio must climb the Gávea Stone. One of the most beautiful views of the world! And it`s easy. Anyone can do it!
Rafael Catramby says: Rent a bike (around $ 30) and take a tour in Rio's South Zone cycleway by yourself! In one day you can see the Sugar Loaf, the Corcovado Mountain, the Downtown Skyline, the Lagoa and the world famous Ipanema and Copacabana beaches.
Julia de Oliveira says: Head to BumBum or Blue Man on Visconde de Piraja in Ipanema to buy the TINIEST bikini (men - tightish shorts please). Wear it. Get your Havaianas from KiKarnes on the way to Ipanema beach. Head to Posto 9 on Ipanema beach, lie there, swim i...n the sea and ogle beautiful people... get a coconut water from a stall on the sidewalk, drink it and then let them take the machete to it so you can eat it after! Stroll down that beautiful sidewalk in Ipanema towards Arpoador, getting a churro filled with doce de leite on the way.. Climb the rocks at Arpoador right to the top, sit there and watch the most beautiful sunset you've ever seen. Climb down, head towards rodizio, eat at least 600grams of Brazilian meat (picanha.....mmmm) with some feijoada and farofa and stop by any one of the juice bars for some fresh [passionfruit? acai? you choose] juice on the way back - catch a bit of Capoeira on Farme de Amoedo. Watch a Brazilian novela, get ready to go out, rave all night to Baile Funk (strawberry caipiroska pls but for god's sake have a caipirinha) and then wake up, do it all again on repeat. Why am I in England...
Thanks to Charlie Phillips, Chensiyuan, Leandro Neumann, alobos Life, Andreas Issleib, ollie harridge and Carlos Felipe for the excellent images. All were under creative commons licence at time of publishing.