Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Rio de Janeiro Vacations

Attractions in Rio de Janeiro: What to do and where to go

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

Rio de Janeiro is synonymous for happiness and elation, brimming with joy and fun everywhere you turn, filled with kind and friendly people. All this is reflected in its tourist attractions and such is the case with the famed Carnaval of Rio de Janeiro. This is a prime example of an entire city that celebrates like there's no tomorrow and turns into a full fledged party. This Brazilian city, apart from offering fun and entertainment everywhere you go, also has a number of impressive sites where you can admire the landscapes. These geographical aspects have embellished this cosmopolitan city, giving it mountains, beaches and jungles.

In Rio de Janeiro, you can always find something interesting to do, whether it is visiting its beaches, going to exhibitions, enjoying the theater or seeing musical or a dance performances. Museums, churches, monuments, parks, trains, sporting events and many other attractions are what make up and form part of this stupendous city.

The Carnaval

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

The Carnaval of Rio de Janeiro is famous throughout the world, due mainly to the animated ambiance that can be felt and seen all around the city. Thousands of locals and tourists come year after year to enjoy this great festivity, full of color and excitement. Carnaval is a major event that takes about a year to prepare for and in which the people involved dedicate a good deal of time in the incredibly sophisticated costumes and the construction of the floats. The samba schools also take advantage of this event to compete for the best dance presentation. Experiencing the Carnaval of Rio de Janeiro is a great opportunity to get involved in the festive ambiance of this magnificent city and learn a little about the culture and interact with its friendly people. It takes place during the month of February and from Sambodromo, you can admire the intense parade of this enormous Brazilian party. If you don't want to get lost in this extraordinary attraction of Rio, buy your tickets ahead of time. Don't miss out on this colorful show of vitality and anticipation.

Christ the Redeemer

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

This is the icon of Rio de Janeiro and it can be found on the Cerro del Corcovado. The statue is 38 meters tall and its construction took five years to finish. To get here, you need to take a train to the top of the hill where there are elevators and stairs to take you up to the majestic Christ the Redeemer. From here, you can admire one the most spectacular panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro.

Barrrio de Santa Teresa

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

This is another side of Rio de Janeiro, a place that was once inhabited by aristocrats and where, later, there were many artists who set up workshops and studios. Santa Teresa is a bohemian parte of Rio de Janeiro and has an ambiance that can be felt in the cobblestone streets, the numerous restaurants, old mansions and shops that offer all sorts of art. This area has a number of historic buildings, all of which you can visit. The main attraction, however, is the tram that crosses the Arcos de Lapa (a famous aqueduct built in 1750) and leads right to Santa Teresa.

Metropolitan Cathedral

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

The Metropolitan Cathedral, officially called Catedral de San Sebastian de Rio de Janeiro (the Cathedral of Saint Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro), is one of the many attractions that you can visit in the wonderful destination. Located in the center of the city, this impressive cathedral was built in honor of Saint Sebastian, the patron saint of Rio de Janeiro. Its magnificent cone-shaped architecture, which stands 75 meters tall, makes this a very unique construction. Admire the interior, where you can find stained glass windows and visit the Museum of Sacred Art.

The Fort of Copacabana

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

This fort was constructed in 1914 to defend the Bay of Guanabara from attacks on the newly found capital of Brazil. This fort was the backdrop for the Tenentista Movement, an important political-military event which happened in 1922. Enjoy several of the attractions that can be found here like the Museum of Military History, as well as the best views of Rio de Janeiro.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

Its name is in reference to the form of the loaves of refined sugar that were sent to Europe during the 16th and 17th century. This mountain is 396 meters tall and can be found in the Guanabara Bay. To visit this mountain, take the cable railway and admire the impressive panoramic view of the beautiful landscapes of the very attractive city of Rio de Janeiro.

Corcovado and the Corcovado Train

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

The electric train that takes you to Corcovado is one of the oldest tours of Rio de Janeiro. As the train takes you to your final destination (which is the Statue of the Christ the Redeemer), admire the lovely landscapes. The route passes through Tijuca National Park so enjoy the ride as you learn a little bit about the history of Brazil.

Tijuca National Park

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

This park can be found in the urban area of Rio de Janeiro and includes the Tijuca Forest, a very important natural reserve as well as an important green area. The Tijuca National Park has attractions like the Cascatinha Cascades, the Mayrink Chapel as well as several grottos and paths that have amazing lookout points.

Botanic Garden

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

This garden has over 40,000 plants that are native to Brazil as well as other specimens from around the world. Visiting this garden is a great opportunity to learn about nature, great for people of all ages.

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

This lagoon is surrounded amazing mountain ridges as well as by the neighborhoods of Ipanema, Leblon, Gavea and Lagoa. It is frequented because of the various parks, recreational areas and jogging paths that you can find there. A number of kiosks in the area offer all sorts of food and if you should happen to find yourself there during the evening, enjoy the live music.

Maracana Stadium

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

The official name is Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho (Journalist Mario Filho Stadium) and was built in 1950 for the Soccer World Cup. The stadium is known internationally as being the site where the final between Brazil and Uruguay was played (the latter winning the game, 2-1). This historic defeat of Brazil was since known as the "Maracanazo," considered an important event in the history of international soccer and as a national catastrophe in Brazil. The stadium is also known for having seated over 200,000 spectators for that particular final, breaking the record of assistance at a game of soccer. The stadium, apart from being a forum for soccer games, is also used for other types of events and concerts.

City of Samba

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

This is an excellent option for your trip, especially if the dates don't coincide with the famous carnival of Rio. In the City of Samba, you can enjoy live shows, see examples of carnival parades and learn about everything that goes into the preparation of the famous carnival of Rio de Janeiro. The City of Samba can be found in the Gamboa District and it covers about 114,000 square meters. It was built there in the area where Samba was said to have originated. There are also factories where the costumes and the parade floats are made for the much awaited Carnival.

Sambodromo

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

This is the area where the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro is held and where the floats pass through. It is located on the Marques de Sapucai Avenue and has sections of seats where you can admire and enjoy the intense happiness of the fascinating parade of Carnival.

Copacabana Beach

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

This beach is located in the southern area of Rio de Janeiro, in Copacabana. It is the most famous beach of the city where locals and tourists alike go to enjoy a number of athletic activities like beach volleyball. Or there is also the option of just lying out and relaxing in the soft sand. Major events and artistic movements are also held here.

Copacabana is two mile long beach that extends to the Fort of Copacabana. This beautiful, half moon-shaped beach stretches the length of Atlantica Avenue, lined by an attractive sea walk with a number of kiosks that offer all kinds of food and drink.

Ipanema Beach

Atracciones en Río de Janeiro

This well known beach is one of the most sophisticated and most frequented by the people of Rio de Janeiro and by those who like beach activities, like beach volleyball and soccer. You can also take part in the water activities such as swimming, surfing or riding a bike. Ipanema is also known for a section of beach close to the Farme de Amoedo Street, which is a hotspot for the gay community.

Barra de Tijuca

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

This is an incredible beach with tones of green and is the longest in all of Rio de Janeiro. It has the perfect waves for riding the waves and is visited by hard core surfers looking for the perfect tube. Down the length of the beach, you can find a diversity of bars and restaurants. Barra de Tijuca is an area that is also known for a beach of the same name and the fact that people with a highly disposable incomes also live here.

Other Beaches

Rio de Janeiro Attractions

Joatinga is an isolated beach where you can only get to by car. It is completely worth the drive if you are looking for corner away from the more frequented beaches and want to enjoy the virgin surroundings of this beautiful beach, which is also ideal for surfing.

Leblon is another beach that invites you to relax. It has a bike path and areas for sports. There are also other beaches like Bahia de Botafogo, Barra de Garatiba, Pepe and Pepino Beach, Grumari and Prainha, each with its own style and charm.

Other Attractions

Rio de Janeiro Attractions
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • The Banco de Brasil Cultural Center
  • Bahia de Botafogo (Botafogo Bay)
  • Museo de Arte Moderno
  • Centro Cultural Banco de Brasil
  • Carioca Aqueduct (Arches of Lapa)
  • Ilha Grande
  • International Museum of Naive Art

Our customers' best rated hotels

View all hotels in Rio de Janeiro

Most popular attractions in Rio de Janeiro

View all tours in Rio de Janeiro