The tourist places in Rio de Janeiro to visit are countless. But which are the ones that you absolutely can’t miss?
Rio de Janeiro is a destination as fascinating as it is varied. The second most populous city in Brazil and the most touristy in the country, Rio is known worldwide for its landscapes and its cultural and sports icons, as well as for the incredible desire to live and dance of the cariocas.
Rio tourist sites not to be missed: Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer is one of the most important and famous tourist sites of Rio. Located 709 meters above sea level, Christ the Redeemer controls the city of Rio from the top of Mount Corcovado. The statue is 30 meters high and welcomes with open arms the thousands of tourists who climb to the lookout every day to enjoy the 360-degree view of the wonderful city. It can be reached by Uber or by a rack and pinion funicular railway that departs from Cosme Velho every thirty minutes.
It is advisable to go to the funicular in advance because there is usually a long queue. Also, if you decide to get there by trekking, it is best not to venture out on foot after sunset because it could be dangerous.
On very cloudy or rainy days, it is not advisable to climb Mount Corcovado because the view of the city would be incredibly reduced.
Sugarloaf Mountain: another unmissable viewpoint of Rio
Among the various unmissable tourist spots in Rio we find, of course, Sugar Loaf.
This enormous rock visible from any point of Rio de Janeiro is 338 meters high and is located in Guanabara Bay. Sugar Loaf — in Portuguese Pão de Açucar — is a green Eden surrounded by nature.
The best way to climb to the top of Sugar Loaf is to use the cable car that leaves every 20 minutes and travels the 1,400 meters that separate the hills of Babylon and Urca. Once you arrive at your destination, you’ll be able to enjoy impressive views of the bay and all of Rio.
In case you don’t want to use the cable car, there is a trek that will take you to the top of Urca Hill. But until now, unfortunately, the only way to get to Sugarloaf Mountain is by using the cable car or by climbing (in the true sense of the word) the hill.
The tourist places of Rio par excellence: the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.
Anyone who has heard of Rio at least once in his life, will surely know the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.
The neighborhoods of Copacabana and Ipanema are characterized by beaches about 6 kilometers long and represent two of the most touristy places in Rio.
Both are recognized as some of the most beautiful urban beaches on the planet. The activities to do here are countless: there are those who play volleyball, those who practice surfing riding the best waves, and those who prefer to relax in the sun drinking a refreshing coconut water.
Copacabana is also known to be one of the most emblematic places in Latin America where to spend New Year’s Eve. On December 31, in fact, the famous beach of Copacabana is filled with people all dressed in white. For Brazilians, wearing white is a sign of good luck, peace, good fortune and prosperity for the new year.
Ipanema, in turn, is famous thanks to the song «Garota de Ipanema» written in 1962 by Vinicius de Moraes.
Parque Lage: one of the wonders of Tijuca Forest
If you like nature, another of the tourist places to visit in Rio de Janeiro must necessarily be the wonderful Parque Lage.
At the foot of the Tijuca Forest and very close to the Botanical Garden, this incredible place houses English gardens, small lakes and a beautiful villa that now houses the School of Visual Arts and where you can see free art exhibitions and performances. It is a relaxing place, ideal for having a coffee, reading a book and observing the landscape.
The neighborhood of Santa Teresa among the most tourist places in Rio
Santa Teresa among the most tourist places in Rio
Santa Teresa and one of its old streetcars
The neighborhood of Santa Teresa is one of the trendiest areas of Rio de Janeiro. It houses incredible urban art and is one of those places to visit in Rio de Janeiro where time seems to stand still.
Here you’ll have the chance to ride the last electric train that runs in Brazil, the famous bondinho that runs through the entire neighborhood. Enjoy its colonial streets at the top of the hill and the artistic atmosphere that bubbles up from Parque das Ruinas.
Finally, don’t miss the 250 colorful steps of the Escadaria Selaron (in Italian, Selaron staircase) located in the Lapa neighborhood just a short walk from Santa Teresa.
With so many things to do in Rio de Janeiro, it’s good to take a break and look for some rest. The Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro is an oasis of tranquility right behind the bustling beach of Ipanema. A haven for Cariocas who love botany and seek peace, this place was built in the early 19th century to store seeds and plants to help them acclimate to the tropics. In 1889, with the proclamation of the Republic, the gardens were finally opened to the public.
In its Orquidarium there are more than a thousand types of tropical orchids and the world’s largest water lily is grown.
The world’s largest urban forest is located in Rio
Covering 28 square kilometers across the hills and coastal mountains of Rio, Tijuca National Park is the largest urban forest in the world. It spits out countless animal and plant species and its waterfalls and natural springs will leave you breathless.
Within the Tijuca Forest are rock formations such as the famous Corcovado or the Pedra de Gávea, from which the conquistadors scanned the horizon in search of enemy ships. The panoramic view is exceptional, offering you one of the most beautiful landscapes of Rio de Janeiro and its surroundings.
If you are interested in discovering a different Rio de Janeiro as seen through the eyes of those who live there, in this link you will find all the activities to do in the city that tourists usually do not know.
From our correspondent in Brazil Lucia Schettino