There's a lot to see and to do in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Its striking beaches, exotic forests and thriving nightlife are all part of what makes this tropical city so special.
One of the city's most iconic attractions is the 38m-tall Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado Mountain. You can reach the top via a cog train, shared van or by hiking the trail to the top (note that it is very steep).
1. Copacabana Beach
Copacabana Beach is one of the world's most famous beaches. Its white sand, blue water and breathtaking mountain backdrop lure travelers from around the world to this neighborhood in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro.
This prestigious neighborhood is home to some of the most expensive hotels in Rio de Janeiro and plays host to celebrities from all over the globe. In addition, it's the site of annual New Year's Eve celebrations and is one of the most popular destinations for people-watching in the city.
2. Sugarloaf Mountain
Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Acucar) is one of the most popular attractions in Rio and a must see on any visit. It is situated at the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean.
The mountain is also known for its cableway and spectacular panoramic views of the city below. The tramway was launched in 1912 and has become one of the most famous landmarks in Brazil.
3. Christ the Redeemer
One of the most iconic landmarks in Brazil, Christ the Redeemer is a must-see for anyone visiting Rio de Janeiro. This towering Art Deco statue overlooks the city from Corcovado Mountain, and is known as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
It is a must-visit landmark for tourists of all faiths. There are several ways to get there: by train, van or hiking up the mountain.
4. Rio Carnival
Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is one of the city's most famous events and a great way to celebrate with kids. It's a national celebration that takes place 40 days before Easter and includes parades, balls and competitions.
The main events take place at the Sambadrome and are led by samba schools, which put on amazing floats and costumes. There's also a series of costume balls that happen around the city during this time and are a great way to get involved with the festivities.
5. Museu Nacional de Belas Artes
Located in the city centre, the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes is one of Brazil's most important cultural institutions. The neoclassical building houses a collection of Brazilian and international works spanning from High Medieval to contemporary times.
A significant part of the collection is made up of paintings from the Portuguese Royal Collection that was brought to Brazil by King John VI when Rio became the capital of the Portugues Empire in 1808. Other collections include European artworks as well as a selection of folk and African art.
6. Botanical Gardens
The Rio de Janeiro Botanical Gardens (Jardim Botânico in Portuguese) is one of the most beautiful and well preserved green areas in the Marvellous City. It has immense historical, cultural and scientific importance.
It is home to more than 6,500 plants from all over the world. It also contains numerous greenhouses and a vast library.
7. Ipanema Hippie Market
The Ipanema Hippie Market is a great place to people-watch and find arts and crafts. It is also a great place to pick up souvenirs like straw baskets and Havaiana flip flops.
The hippie fair is held every Sunday on Praca General Osorio, a square that takes up an entire city block. Here you will find a wide range of crafts such as leather sandals, jewelry, Bahia topics dresses, semi-precious stones, paintings and more.
8. Maracan Stadium
Maracana Stadium is one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world. The famous arena underwent a huge revamp ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with new features and amenities.
Take a tour of the legendary venue or soak up the atmosphere at a game. You can also visit the stadium museum for a glimpse at memorabilia from Brazilian sports history.
9. Urca Wall
Urca is a laid-back neighborhood that feels like a Mediterranean town, even though it's right next to the touristy south zone. It's a great place to relax and unwind after a busy day in Copacabana or Ipanema.
The Urca Wall is a popular hangout by Guanabara bay where locals sit and drink beer. It's also a good spot to start your night off, especially during weekends or feriados.
10. Santa Teresa
Situated on the top of Santa Teresa Hill, this picturesque neighborhood is a popular tourist destination for its spectacular views of Rio. It is also home to many artisan shops, restaurants and bars.
Its narrow cobblestone streets are lined with grand old houses with beautiful Portuguese and French architecture. The area is a haven for artists, writers and musicians.