Our top 10 attractions in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro: A city for explorers
Rio de Janeiro is absolutely a must on any trip to Brazil. This colorful city awaits you with cultural offerings, unforgettable views, and a very special atmosphere. To make sure you don't miss any highlight in Brazil's second-largest city, we present to you the top 10 things to do in Rio de Janeiro.
1. A little time travel in the tramway of Santa Teresa
The streetcar rails of the city connect the center of Rio de Janeiro with the neighborhood of Santa Teresa. If you decide to take a ride in the small streetcar, get ready for a unique experience. The Bonde de Santa Teresa travels past many interesting sights including an aqueduct, which today is known as "Arcos da Lapa" (Arches of Lapa). The aqueduct was built during the colonial era. The streetcar ride provides an interesting perspective of the streets of Rio de Janeiro, and this distinctive means of transportation preserves the ancient charm of the modern metropolis.
2. Attention to detail: The artistic steps of Escadaria Selarón
A staircase composed 215 steps, with a total length of 1345 feet (410 meters), is located between the neighborhoods of Santa Teresa and Lapa. The steps are decorated with more than 2,000 tiles from all over the world.
The combination of different colors and shapes makes the Escadaria Selarón a unique work of art. In 1990, artist Jorge Selarón began to renovate the steps in front of his house, which were in need of restoration, with tiles, mirrors, and ceramic pieces. What started as a hobby developed into a real project, and thanks to donations from various parts of the world, the artist was finally able to decorate all the steps.
3. Sunset at Arpoador beach
Arpoador beach is one of the most beautiful places to watch the sunset in Rio de Janeiro. Arpoador is located right next to the Ipanema section of Rio’s beach. Here you will see the sun disappear into the sea against a fantastic backdrop, and the enthusiastic applause at the end of the spectacle is simply contagious.
4. You can’t experience the Maracanã without Bellini
Once you witness the imposing Maracanã soccer stadium from the inside, you will understand why my visitors dream of visiting Rio de Janeiro. The stadium was opened in 1950 and, at the time, it was the largest soccer stadium in the world with the capacity to host 200,000 spectators. It was originally built for the 1950 World Cup, which was the first World Cup that Brazil hosted.
At the entrance of the stadium, there is a bronze statue of the Brazilian soccer player Bellini, captain of Brazil’s first world championship team of 1958.
5. Above the rooftops of Rio...
Besides the already well-known viewpoints, there is one place in particular that will amaze you with an incredible 360-degree view of Rio de Janeiro. The "Morro Dois Irmãos" (Two Brothers Rock) can be reached via a hiking trail about 1.3 miles (2 kilometers) long. The climb is comparatively steep, but the view at the top of the hill is well worth the effort. You will see the entire city will lay out before your eyes. At this location, you will have the best view and be able to witness the vast dimensions of the metropolis.
6. Chilled mate tea and cassava cookies at Ipanema beach
While enjoying the sun on the dreamlike beach of Ipanema, you certainly won’t have to worry about going hungry. Beach vendors will regularly offer you popular beach snacks: A chilled tea is the perfect refreshment for a hot day, and when it comes to cassava cookies, you can choose between sweet and salty versions of the snack. These snacks will help you endure a long day at Ipanema beach. You will also be entertained by the surfers’ impressive skills, and the fresh Atlantic water invites you to cool down from the Brazilian sun.
7. The Christ statue is an impressive landmark
In 1931, the statue of Christ was inaugurated in Rio de Janeiro, and to this day it continues to look down on the city with outstretched arms. The massive monument has already become Rio's landmark. As a visitor, it is best to climb Corcovado Mountain early in the morning, as this is the moment during the day when the air is clearest and you can enjoy the spectacular panorama to the fullest.
8. Sounds of Samba until late at night
At the "Pedra do Sal" (Salt Stone) in the Saúde neighborhood you can experience Brazilian samba in the open air. Every Monday and Friday, enthusiastic samba players gather here and fill the place with upbeat music until the wee hours of the morning. The Pedra do Sal is definitely one of the most authentic places to immerse yourself in the world of samba.
9. A gondola ride to the sugar loaf
Once again, we're going up high: the famous Sugar Loaf mountain in Rio de Janeiro measures about 1,300 feet (400 meters) and can be reached by two short gondola rides. The first gondola ride leads to a station at the top of the hill, Morro da Urca. By the way, you can forego the gondola ride and hike up the Morro da Urca instead.
From the Morro da Urca, however, it is now necessary to continue the journey by gondola. This is the only way to eventually reach the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Enjoy the view over the Atlantic Ocean, as well as over the bays and impressive hills that rise from the metropolis.
10. A walk through the historical center
In the historic center of Rio de Janeiro, you will find one impressive building after another. The National Library is one of the most imposing structures in the historic center of the city. The institution was opened in 1910 and is the largest library in Latin America.
Nearby the library is the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro. This theater and opera house has been hosting performances over the past 100 years.
Another attraction in the historic center of Rio is the "Museu Nacional de Belas Artes". Art lovers can admire an impressive collection of works from the 19th century in this museum of fine arts. A walk through the historic center will show you all the beauty of Brazilian architecture and introduce you to Rio's culture.
Rio de Janeiro is a real box of treasures, and no matter which neighborhood you would like discover, you will always be pleasantly surprised.
If you are interested in exploring Rio’s most beautiful sites, we are happy to advise you and help you plan an unforgettable Brazilian vacation.