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Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Things to do in  Rio de Janeiro

Welcome to Rio de Janeiro

Buzzing Rio de Janeiro—the second largest in Brazil—is famous for its miles of stunning beaches, rich musical culture, and beautiful people. Experience it all at once by simply people-watching on one of the beaches, which Cariocas (Rio locals) consider their backyard. On legendary Copacabana, Ipanema, or Leblon beach, you’ll find residents and visitors alike socializing, relaxing, eating, drinking, dancing, and playing. Off the sands, see the best of Rio—while maximizing time and minimizing crowds and potential language barriers—on a guided city tour. A cog-train trip up Corcovado to the famous art-deco Christ the Redeemer statue or its twin peak, Sugar Loaf Mountain, rewards with stunning views of the urban sprawl, lined by white-sand beaches and the sparkling Guanabara Bay. Cruise that very bay for a different but equally epic perspective on the city, then feast on a Brazilian-style barbecue at a churrascaria. Stay up late to catch a samba show in Lapa, or wake up early to trek through the tropical Tijuca Forest or the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden. Walking tours stroll through the streets of historic and bohemian Santa Teresa, or up into the hills for a look at favela life in Santa Marta or Rocinha. And for sports lovers, behind-the-scenes tours of Maracana Stadium showcase the country’s national obsession: futebol (soccer).

Top 10 attractions in Rio de Janeiro

#1
Christ the Redeemer Statue (Cristo Redentor)

Christ the Redeemer Statue (Cristo Redentor)

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Keeping a watchful eye over the people of Rio de Janeiro, the iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue (Cristo Redentor) sits atop Corcovado Mountain at 2,300 feet (700 meters) above the city. Unveiled in 1931 and voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, this impressive monument is often credited as the most iconic site in Brazil.More
#2
Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Açúcar)

Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Açúcar)

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It’s easy to see why Rio de Janeiro was nicknamed the “Marvelous City” when you’re gazing down at it from the heights of Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Açúcar). From its soaring 1,300-foot (396-meter) summit, the city unfolds around you, with views of the iconic Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, the Tijuca Forest, and the Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue standing tall atop Corcovado Mountain to the west.More
#3
Rio de Janeiro Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana de Sao Sebastiao)

Rio de Janeiro Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana de Sao Sebastiao)

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Tall and cone-shaped, the modernist Rio de Janeiro Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana de Sao Sebastiao) doesn’t look like a typical church. The unusual design was constructed between 1964 and 1979 by architect Edgar Fonseca. One of Rio’s most important religious structures, it is dedicated to St. Sebastian, the city’s patron saint.More
#4
Copacabana Beach (Praia de Copacabana)

Copacabana Beach (Praia de Copacabana)

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Rio de Janeiro’s legendary Copacabana Beach evokes images of white-sand shores, sun-kissed volleyball players, tourists sipping agua de coco out of bright green coconuts, and bikini-clad revelers partying long into the night. And for the most part, that’s pretty accurate. Add in a touch of local carioca (Rio residents) flavor and a splash of the obscure, and it becomes obvious how thousands of people easily spend entire days (and nights) wholly entertained on the world’s most famous beach.More
#5
Ipanema Beach (Praia de Ipanema)

Ipanema Beach (Praia de Ipanema)

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Although less famous than its nextdoor neighbor Copacabana Beach, Ipanema holds its own with quiet charm and considerably cleaner surroundings, and it does it without skimping on any of the white sands, blue waters, or local character that give Rio de Janeiro’s beaches their claim to fame.More
#6
Sao Conrado Beach (Praia de Sao Conrado)

Sao Conrado Beach (Praia de Sao Conrado)

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Whether you’re looking for the surf, the golden sands or to soar in the skies above, visiting Sao Conrado Beach (Praia de São Conrado) is a highlight of Rio de Janeiro. Here in this affluent, oceanfront neighborhood that’s sometimes called Praia Pepino, visitors will find an eclectic combo of people, many of whom are surfers or paragliders. The juxtaposition of social classes is evident out on the streets—yet everyone seems to equally enjoy the combo of sunshine and surf.When strolling the sands of Sao Conrado, be sure to look up and scan the skies for hangliders circling above. The beach is a popular landing spot for groups of paragliders and hangliders, most of whom have launched from the slopes of neighboring Pedra Bonita. To get a birds-eye view for yourself—but keep your feet back on land—a strenuous trail climbs 2,500 feet up towering Pedra da Gávea. This stoic sentinel and oceanfront rock is a classic Rio landmark, though the round-trip climb can take a whole day—even for seasoned hikers.More
#7
Tijuca National Park (Parque Nacional da Tijuca)

Tijuca National Park (Parque Nacional da Tijuca)

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Prior to the 19th century, Rio de Janeiro was surrounded by Atlantic rain forest. Today, all that remains is the 13-square-mile (33-square-kilometer) jungle known as Tijuca National Park (Parque Nacional da Tijuca). Studded with tropical trees knotted together by jungle vines, the world’s largest urban forest is home to ocelots, howler monkeys, more than 300 bird species, waterfalls, and one of Rio’s iconic landmarks, the Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue standing atop Corcovado Mountain.More
#8
Barra da Tijuca

Barra da Tijuca

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Barra da Tijuca (Barra) is one of Rio de Janeiro’s newest neighborhoods. It earned its nickname as the Brazilian Miami for its gorgeous sandy beaches and palm-fringed boulevards, which are flanked by mega malls and glass-fronted skyscrapers.More
#9
Selarón Steps (Escadaria Selarón)

Selarón Steps (Escadaria Selarón)

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Decorated with more than 2,000 brightly colored tiles in the colors of the Brazilian flag, the Selarón Steps (Escadaria Selarón) is one of Rio de Janeiro's most vibrant and striking landmarks, marking the boundary between the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighborhoods.More
#10
Maracana Stadium (Estádio do Maracana)

Maracana Stadium (Estádio do Maracana)

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The gigantic Maracanã Stadium (Estádio do Maracanã) is one of the most iconic soccer temples in South America, built to open the 1950 World Cup. The site holds the record for the largest attendance at a World Cup Final thanks to the 199,854 paying spectators who crammed into the stadium in 1950 and also hosted the FIFA World Cup Final again in 2014 and the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. Officially known as MárioFilho Stadium but called Maracanãafter the small river that runs alongside it, the arena is now a historical site dedicated to its former use as a world-class arena and event venue.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Rio de Janeiro

Rocinha Favela Walking Tour

Rocinha Favela Walking Tour

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264
From
US$36.61
Helicopter tour in Rio de Janeiro

Helicopter tour in Rio de Janeiro

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32
From
US$242.02
Rio de Janeiro Soccer Match

Rio de Janeiro Soccer Match

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From
US$91.52

Recent reviews from experiences in Rio de Janeiro

star-5
An Experience of a Lifetime
Steven_R, Dec 2020
Helicopter tour in Rio de Janeiro
This was the best way to see the entire city of Rio de Janeiro.
star-5
A perfect day in Rio!
Marcus_M, Feb 2021
Full Day in Rio: Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, Maracana and Selaron with Lunch
We were a smaller group (less than 15 people) and about half of us were English speakers and the other half were speaking Portuguese.
star-4
Interesting, but incomplete visit
nicofiore, Feb 2020
Full Day in Rio: Christ by Train, Sugarloaf, Maracanã, Selarón & Lunch
I congratulate your guide Renata Polakow for her professionalism and the driver for his conduct in Rio, we would have liked to discover more Rio de Janeiro the visit of the cattedral to be eliminated not interesting, I would have preferred to visit t
star-5
Full Day in Rio: Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf, Maracana and Selaron with Lunch
Humberto L, Jan 2019
Full Day in Rio: Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, Maracana and Selaron with Lunch
The tour guy was an expert and we were able to see many attractions during the tour.
star-5
Great tour of Rio!
Mark F, Jan 2019
Full Day Complete Tour of Rio de Janeiro
Our guide Kiko spoke great English and provided us with a lot of information about Rio, the culture and history.
star-5
If you want to see the best sites of...
Martin Damm L, Mar 2018
Full Day Complete Tour of Rio de Janeiro
If you want to see the best sites of Rio De Janeiro in a safe and comfortable environment, this tour comes highly recommended.
star-5
We had Marcello as our driver and...
lisasvoice, Mar 2018
Private Tour: Rio's City Essentials including Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf
His English was great and he made adjustments to our day based on different factors.
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Guide was helpful and not rushing...
Yu Ting Y, Dec 2016
Small-Group Panoramic Bike Tour in Rio de Janeiro
The tour really allowed you to see many spots of the city and I was very impressed with the bike lane constructions of Rio de Janeiro!
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You can see the Christ the Redeemer...
Leonila C, Sep 2015
Skip The Line to Christ Redeemer By Train with Maracanã Stadium
This is the best place to see in Rio de Janeiro!
star-5
Great 1/2-day trip to one of the...
Sumit D, Jan 2014
Skip The Line to Christ Redeemer By Train with Maracanã Stadium
The guide was quite proficient in English and spent ample time explaining things in English.
star-5
It's a great tour of two prime...
Anatoli S, Mar 2013
Full Day Sugar Loaf, Maracanã including Skip the Line Christ Redeemer By Train
It's a great tour of two prime tourist attractions in Rio de Janeiro.
star-5
Excellent tour if you have limited...
Maria Z, Sep 2013
Full Day Sugar Loaf, Maracanã including Skip the Line Christ Redeemer By Train
Excellent tour if you have limited time in Rio de Janeiro but want to see most of the popular sites.
star-4
This was an excellent opportunity to...
Jonathan W, Mar 2014
Rio From the Sea: Guanabara Bay Cruise with Optional Barbecue Lunch
This was an excellent opportunity to see Rio de Janeiro from a different perspective than one gets from a bus or van.
star-5
Great city tour
Laurel_D, Mar 2020
Full-Day City Tour in Rio de Janeiro
This tour is a great way to see the highlights of Rio.
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Exclusive individual tour service
yanasafonova7, Feb 2020
8 Hours City Tour in Rio! Qualified and experienced guides! (Private)
There were no any language difficulties as Wagner speaks English fluently and clearly.
star-5
All day tour of Rio De Janeiro.
Danny3393, Jan 2020
Private Tour: Rio's City Essentials including Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf
Our tour guide Raphael was very knowledgeable and escorted us to the Escadaria Seleron, Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, the waterfalls and Vista Chinesa in the Tijuca National Park.
star-5
A great overview
R1andR2, Dec 2019
Rio's Overview Private Tour - The Best Sights including Airport Or Port Pick-ups
We got to see everything we wanted to and they made sure we had a good time.
star-4
GREAT WAY TO SEE RIO DE JANEIRO
Eddie R, Oct 2018
Rio de Janeiro Downtown Tour
If you want to see the other many attractions Rio has to offer, this is a great way to see them in 3 hours.
star-5
I just returned from my first trip...
Christopher H, Sep 2017
Private Custom Full-Day in Rio including Christ, Sugar Loaf and Selaron Steps
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this tour if you have never been to Rio before and want to hit all of the major attractions in one day.
star-5
We had so much fun on this tour...
Miles B, Mar 2017
Full Day Complete Tour of Rio de Janeiro
this full day tour is worth it-- to see the beautiful highlights of the city.

All about Rio de Janeiro

When to visit

Free-spirited Rio de Janeiro is in its element in summer, when travelers come to sip caipirinhas by the beachside and join the legendary Reveillon (New Year's Eve) and Carnival celebrations. Just don’t forget your umbrella—it’s also rainy season. To avoid the crowds, visit in fall when the cooler weather also means increased visibility from Rio’s mountain viewpoints.

Frequently Asked Questions