Not to boast, but I’ve been fortunate enough to visit over 100 different cities across the globe. ‘What’s your favourite place you’ve been to?’ is what I’m often asked by our customers or friends. Well… I think I have a new answer.. RIO!
There’s genuinely SO MUCH to see, do & explore throughout this great city – let alone all the attractions around the area like Ihla Grande or Iguazu Falls. I’ve compiled my top 6 things you mustn’t miss when you visit.
I’ve kept it super short and punchy, just to wet your appetite a little bit to then dig a little deeper and start researching what else you can get up to! If you want to know more or have questions, get in touch by email, phone or connect with us on social!
1. Christ The Redeemer.
For me personally, this was one of the things you see pictures of all your life and dream of one-day seeing in person. To then do so, was such a surreal experience…
This iconic landmark is a must-see attraction in Rio. Recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, this statue of Jesus Christ stands with arms outstretched to the city from above Corcovado Mountain’s staggering 2,330-foot elevation.
Started in 1922 and completed in 1931, the monument — made of concrete and covered in soapstone mosaic tiles — stands 125 feet tall as a religious and cultural symbol of the Brazilian people’s warm and welcoming culture. The monument rests atop Corcovado Mountain in Tijuca National Park and is the most famous attraction in Rio de Janeiro, visited by nearly 2 million people each year.
2. Copacabana Beach
You’ve hear of it right? Probably from that catchy song (yes, I listened to it whilst walking along the beach area). One of Rio’s most popular shores, Copacabana is a public beach located in the heart of the luxurious Zona Sul neighborhood. You can’t come to Rio and not enjoy a local coffee or cocktail (caipirinha is the drink of choice here) along Copacabana Beach.
Brimming with authentic eats, lavish accommodations and the beautiful Avendia Atlantica sideway made of mosaic tiles, Copacabana Beach boasts much more than powdery sands. I can only imagine how lively this spot would be at NYE or during the famous Carnivale!
3. Santa Theresa
What a gem! Super cool town to explore by day or by night. The locals were super nice, the views over the favelas on route here were very interesting, and the whole vibe felt completely different to other areas of Rio De Janeiro. We walked the streets sampling coffee, food & the famous acai!
This hilly bohemian district boasts an eclectic array of art and architecture. Strolling along Santa Teresa’s cobblestone streets, you’ll be enchanted by sidewalk mosaics, palatial mansions and artsy galleries. Conveniently situated just southwest of Lapa, this neighborhood offers traditional Brazilian restaurants, bars and craft stores.
4. Tijuca National Park
I wish I could say I spent some time, however sadly that is not the case… However, it needed to make the list based on all the incredible feedback I get from clients who have visited. Ah well, there’s always next time right?
Outdoorsy types love exploring this expansive green rainforest. Covering 8,300 acres, Tijuca National Park is the largest urban rainforest on the planet. The natural beauty of the park can’t be understated: it features varied terrains, waterfalls, more than 1,600 plant species and more than 350 different species of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.
Three million visitors a year take advantage of the natural beauty Tijuca has to offer. The park is split into three sectors – Forest, the Carioca Range and Pedra Bonita, and Gávea – and offers an extensive array of activities. The forest sector houses multiple hiking trails and picnic areas, while Carioca Hill is best known as the home of the Christ the Redeemer statue on the 2,330-foot Corcovado summit. Pedra Bonita and Gávea is the place for adventure seekers with activities like hang gliding and rock climbing.
If you come to Rio to revel in samba, Lapa is the place for you. This festive neighborhood ignites at night, when locals swing their hips and sip on delectable cocktails. Brimming with rows of tapas bars, clubs and live music venues, Lapa’s seductive night crawl certainly isn’t lacking excitement or charm…
You’ll definitely want to check out Rio Scenarium, the most popular Brazilian club that features three stories, vintage decor and a long list of craft cocktails. Other popular bars and nightclubs in the neighborhood include Lapa 40 Graus and Clube Dos Democraticos, which has been home to Brazilian music and dancing since 1867.
6. Sugar Loaf Mountain
This was the arguably the best ‘surprise highlight’ of my visit to Rio. To be honest, I had heard of Sugar Loaf but was not aware of how spectacular the views over the city are. We were lucky enough to watch the sunset from the best spot possible!
Standing high above Rio’s bustling metropolis at 1,299 feet, Sugar Loaf Mountain cascades over the picturesque Guanabara Bay. From Praia Vermelha in the residential Urca district, you can take a three-minute cable car ride up to Morro da Urca and then hop on another cable car up to the top of Sugar Loaf. From the glass-enclosed bondi (tram), you’ll get a dazzling view of the city.