Insider's Guide to Rio de Janeiro

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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4 star rating: Recommended 664 Reviews

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  • Address: Avenida Rio Branco, 219 - Centro
  • Hours: Weekdays - Monday to Friday - 10 am to 5 pm Saturdays, Sundays and holidays - 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Holding over 9 million volumes within its stacks and archives, Brazil’s extensive National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) is the largest library in Latin America and remains one of the first institutions established during Rio’s reign as imperial capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves. Founded in 1810 and relocated to its current handsome Greek Revival-style setting in 1910, the library has maintained an archive of the country’s most important publications, periodicals, photographs, films, and music through the present—its collection of Brazilian popular music is unmatched, with over 200,000 pieces, from samba to sertanejo (a genre from the dry backlands of the northeast akin to American country music).

The library is open for public use and wows visitors with its elegant red-carpeted staircase and eclectic interior flourishes. One of the most valuable holdings inside is the late-19th century photography collection of Empress Theresa Christina Maria, Naples-born wife of Brazil’s second emperor, Pedro II, which was recognized by UNESCO for its historical significance and given to the library after her death by Pedro on the condition that the collection would be named for her. Despite moving the national capital to Brasília in 1960, a branch of the National Library didn’t open there until 2006.

Tours & Tickets

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Corcovado Mountain, Christ Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain Day Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 488 Reviews

Combine two of Rio's most popular tours on a full-day excursion packed with breathtaking views. In the morning, you'll enjoy a panoramic city tour and have the ...  Read more

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $150.29
$166.99 Save $16.70

Sugar Loaf Mountain Half-Day Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 174 Reviews

Spend the morning at Sugar Loaf Mountain, one of Rio de Janeiro's most famous icons. You'll take a breathtaking ride in a cable car to the top of the Sugar ...  Read more

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $74.99

Rio de Janeiro Historical Architecture Sightseeing Tour

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 2 Reviews

There’s so much more to Rio de Janeiro than Carnival and Copacabana. On this 4-hour guided tour, visit some of Rio’s most beautiful historical ...  Read more

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $88.99

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