1. Cristo Redentor
An obvious must-see in Rio de Janeiro is the Christ the Redeemer statue, located on the Corcovado mountain.
To arrive at the peak of this 700-metre high mountain you can either take the little train, the small coach or walk a 2-and-a-half-hour hike in the stunning Tijuca Forest National Park. If you choose to go by train or bus, it is recommended to buy tickets online in advance.
2. Pão de Açúcar
The Sugarloaf Mountain is another one of Rio’s symbols and a great place to enjoy a panoramic view of the city. On your way to Sugarloaf, you can also enjoy a quick visit of the Urca Mountain (Morro da Urca). To do so, take the glass-walled cablecar called the “bondinho” and get off at the first stop. You can then walk along the Urca Mountain and discover a privileged view of the Sugarloaf Mountain. Tickets can be bought online.
3. Praia de Ipanema
There are many marvelous beaches in Rio such as Grumari, Prainha, Leblon and Copacabana, but you don’t want to leave the city without visiting the place that inspirited “The Girl from Ipanema” (“Garota de Ipanema”) song, right?
🎶Olha que coisa mais linda Mais cheia de graça É ela, menina Que vem e que passa Num doce balanço A caminho do maaaaar…🎶
4. Jardim Botânico
Are you aware that Rio is known as the “Marvelous City” (Cidade Maravilhosa) not only due to its beaches, but also its vegetation? You can discover the diversity of the Brazilian flora by visiting the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden and its greenhouses. Together, they embrace over 6.500 species of plants!
5. Santa Teresa
Famous for its winding, narrow streets, the Santa Teresa neighborhood is located on top of the Santa Teresa Hill (in the city center) and is a favorite spot for local artists and tourists. It is however close to some “favelas” (slums), so it is advised not to wear jewelry or carry valuables and to make sure your bags/backpacks are closed and cellphones hidden. But don’t let this stop you from visiting Santa Teresa! It is a vibrant gastronomic center, mainly around the “Largo dos Guimarães” (Guimarães Town Square), as well as an artistic center.
6. Arcos da Lapa
Frequently called Lapa Arches, the Carioca Aqueduct was built in the middle of the 18th century to bring fresh water from the Carioca River to the population of the city. It is an impressive example of colonial architecture and engineering. You can also take the opportunity to explore the Lapa neighborhood, known for its lively cultural life and its concentration of restaurants, bars and clubs where various forms of Brazilian music can be appreciated.
Even if you are not a soccer fan, you have to visit the Maracanã Stadium. Traveling is also about getting to know the local culture, and soccer is a very important part of the Brazilian culture. Just by entering the stadium, you will feel the vibe and can come a little closer to understanding the country’s passion for soccer.
8. Biblioteca Nacional (do Brasil)
Photography by Alex Uchôa
Sometimes, tourists are so interested in enjoying Rio that they forget the city has a rich and fascinating history, especially when it served as the country’s capital city from 1763 until 1960 – before it was transferred to Brasília. The National Library illustrates this era and even though it was officially founded in 1810, the National Library was first thought up in 1755, after Lisbon suffered a violent earthquake that affected the Royal Library.
9. Palácio do Catete
The Catete Palace was the seat of the Brazilian government from 1897 to 1960 and, nowadays, it houses the Museum of the Republic. So, visiting it is always a delightful way of knowing more about the history of its time period.
10. Museo do Amanhã
Photography by Bernard Miranda Lessa
But Rio is not just a city of the past, but also a city of tomorrow! The Museum of Tomorrow was opened in December and mixes science with an innovative design with a focus on sustainable cities. As a third-generation museum, it is open ended, multi-layered, visitor centric and encourages conversation. The main exhibition takes visitors through five areas: Cosmos, Earth, Anthropocene, Tomorrow and Now via a number of experiments and experiences.
Bonus: the “carioca” tip
(carioca being the word to describe the locals from Rio de Janeiro)
If you are found of hiking, you have to see the breathtaking sunrise from the Gavea Stone (Pedra da Gávea). For an easier access destination, you can enjoy the sunrise from the Beautiful Stone (Pedra Bonita) which is also a great choice and leaves nothing to be desired.
If you have some extra time, you can also visit other cities in the Rio de Janeiro State such as Arraial do Cabo, Búzios, Ilha Grande and Paraty.
Try NightSwapping’s reverse search engine (up to 100 miles away or up to 200 miles away) from the Rio de Janeiro city for ideas and inspiration for these trips.