“City of Rio de Janeiro Attractions – Rio Attractions”
Rio de Janeiro is known as the marvelous city and for the Carnival and the city has one of the most stunning settings in the world. You can find gorgeous mountains, rain forest and the white sand beaches with a beautiful deep blue sea.
It is no wonder that Rio is the first destination for tourist coming to visit Brazil.
Rio has a variety of neighborhoods and landmarks to explore. They are located in broad geographical areas called Zona Norte (North Zone) and Zone Sul (South Zone), with Centro (Downtown) between them. Below are some of Rio attractions divided by its area.
Zona Sul (South Zone)
You could spend almost your entire day and nights in the South Zone. It is where Copacabana, Ipanema, and all Rio’s famed beach communities are located. Here too are the city’s finest hotels, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. It is where all the action is and most tourists spend their time here.
Copacabana is the most famous among Brazil beaches and the most lively beach in Rio de Janeiro. This 4 km stretch of beach with its tree-lined boardwalk is dotted with hotels, restaurants, bars, night clubs and is where all the activities seem to take place. One thing I highly recommend is hiring a bike and cycling from the stretch of Copacabana; the beach offers a nice bikeway right beside the beach. It is a great way to take in all the famous beach has to offer.
Ipanema – Rio de Janeiro
Located adjacent to Copacabana is Rio’s other famous beach, Ipanema Beach. Ipanema is a bit more relaxed than Copacabana, but it is often considered the sexiest beach in Brazil and in the world, where you’ll find many sexy women relaxing and enjoying the sun in their Brazilian bikini. Relaxing on Ipanema beach is my favorite thing to do in Rio; go down early and claim a spot on the beach, relax and enjoy all kinds of food being offered by vendors without lifting a finger. The sights and sounds on Ipanema make it one of the most famous and beautiful beaches in the World.
Christ Redeemer statue & Mount Corcovado
This is probably the most famous site in Rio de Janeiro. The 38 meter Jesus Christ statue (Christ Redeemer) sits high above the city on top of mount Corcovado. It provides amazing panorama views over Guanabara Bay and the city. You can also hike the forest and see its many waterfalls. Visiting Christ the Redeemer statue is a must do when in Rio; it is Brail’s most famous landmark and the size of the statue and viewing from the top of Mount Corcovado does not disappoint.
Sugar Loaf Mountain (Pão de Açucar)
This is one of Rio de Janeiro´s most famous tourist attractions. Here you take two cable cars to reach the summit. The first ascends to the shorter Morro de Açúcar, 220 meters high. The second car ascends to Sugar Loaf, both of which offers amazing views over the bay and the city. Each cable car takes around 3 minutes to reach the next mountain. Try to visit Pao de Acucar at the end of the day; it offers arguably one of the best sunset views in the city.
Praca do Arpoador
These massive rocks are located at the Copacabana end of Ipanema beach. From here you can see Corcovado, the Sugar Loaf and much more. It is a great place to watch the sunset. The rock itself is open to the public, with a number of walkways in place to make it easier to scale the rocks. The atmosphere at Arpoador at sunset is incredible; thousands of people flock to the natural theatre to sing and clap the sun down. Seeing the sundown here is one of the coolest and most beautiful experiences in the city; best of all it is completely free.
Botanical Garden (Jardim Botânico)
Is both a park and a scientific laboratory. It contains a huge collection of plants from around Brazil and foreign flora. There are around 8000 species (some endangered) distributed throughout an area of 54 hectares, and there are numerous greenhouses. You can also see small monkeys swinging from the trees. It is nice to get away from the bustle of Rio’s streets and enjoy the nature the gardens have to offer.
Dois Irmaos or two brothers are the two impressive mountain peaks that can be viewed from Ipanema. The hike up the mountains takes between 1.5 – 2 hours, and is requires relatively good fitness. The 533-metre mountain peak boasts amazing views of Rochina, Ipanema, and neighboring areas. If you are game enough, wake early and view of one of the World’s most incredible sunrises.
Rochina is Brazil’s biggest Favela, the favela is home to 70,000 people. Rochina is built on a steep hill and boasts some of the cities best views of Ipanema. I recommend visiting Rochina, although it is neighbors Ipanema, life in Rochina is very different. The sites, views, and color in this favela are amazing and definitely gives you a more realistic picture of what life in Rio is like for most people. When visiting Rochina it is highly recommended that you go with an experienced tour guide.
Church of Our Lady of Glory (Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Gloria)
A gorgeous small church built in 1739. The church sits on top of a hill with great views over Guanabara Bay and features very beautiful facade (barroque). The church is one of the oldest churches in the city and is a landmark that is not subject to the masses of touristic Rio, it making for a peaceful visit.
Museum of the Republic (Museu da República)
After the overthrow of the monarchy, this place was transformed from palace to presidential residence in 1889. The place is now a museum and the building is beautifully preserved and contains some interesting information regarding the history of Brazil.
Rio’s center (Downtown) which is the commercial center of the city is marked by modern office buildings, banks and of course people. There are also pockets of colonial-era buildings, churches, and several fine museums.
Avenida Rio Branco
a wide north-south street that runs the length of downtown from the Praca Maua docks to Av. Beira Mar near Flamego Park. The Municipal Theater, Museum of Fine Arts and National Library are on it, alongside the city’s tallest buildings.
Pracas Pio X and Quinze do Novembro
near the waterfront, this street played important roles in the city’s history. It has Baroque churches, monasteries, and the Imperial Palace.
Laro da Carioca
is a free-form plaza at the heart of downtown’s shopping area and flower market. Many small streets lead to it. Rua Goncalves Dias is one that is closed to vehicle traffic.
Escadaria Selaron, or better known as the Lapa stairs, are a stretch of over 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries. This masterpiece provides a walkway from Lapa up into Santa Terresa. The share size and color of this art piece is incredible. I would highly recommend visiting this world famous landmark.
Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB)
A cultural center with gallery, movie theater, video room, library, and stages; usually hosts the main exhibitions in town. An interesting building completed in 1906 with old-fashioned elevators/lifts.
The neighborhood in downtown is a great nightlife area. It has bars, restaurants and theaters, all in historical buildings (most of them from the early 1800s). In Lapa, you can hear typical Brazilian music such as samba, forró, and choro. It’s the place to try typical Brazilian food and drinks like the world famous caipirinha. The beauty in Lapa is the huge variety of restaurants, bars, and clubs; here you will find something for everyone.
This quaint bohemian neighborhood of Rio with colonial buildings and cobblestone streets steep on a hillside overlooking the city is earning the interest of tourists wishing to see an alternate Rio away from the beach scene. Art galleries and restaurants add to the local culture of Santa Teresa.
This area once had a variety of cinemas and became known as Cinelandia. Most of the cinemas are now closed, but the are around Cinelândia is still a lively spot in Rio thanks to its bars, restaurants, and cultural attractions
The sambodraomo is the famous Carnival parades. During carnival, the sambodromo features spectacular floats with thousands of Samba dancers in elaborate costumes and pounding drummers is the most famous event of the Rio Carnival.
Samba City (Cidade do Samba)
Cidade do Samba is Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival costume and float manufacturing complex. Located near Rio’s docks, it can be visited year round and hosts Carnival shows on Thursdays. Going to Cidade do Samba is an excellent way to enjoy the magic of Rio de Janeiro Carnival any time of the year.
Ilha Fiscal Palace
This neo-Gothic palace sits on a small little island. It was originally used to supervise port operations, the palace is famous as the location of the last Imperial Ball in 1889. The palace offers nice views of Bay of Guanabara.
Museum of Modern Art (Museu de Arte Moderno)
This museum has an impressive collection of the likes of Picasso, Max Ernst, Rodin, Brancusi and other artists from Brazil and elsewhere is housed in this concrete and glass building in Flamengo Park
Benedictine Monastery of Rio de Janeiro (Mosteiro de São Bento)
Founded in 1590 by monks from Bahia, the Benedictine Monastery of Rio de Janeiro was built. The church has a beautiful architecture design with gold decorations.
Candelária Church (Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Candelária)
Candelaria is a beautiful neoclassic church in the middle of downtown. It has great carvings, silver chandeliers, lovely stained glass … worth the visit.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian (Catedral Metropolitana São Sebastião)
This modern cathedral is shaped like a volcano, with a very impressively vacuous interior. One of Oscar Niemeyer’s most famous designs. It is made of concrete with four enormous stained glass windows.
São Francisco da Penitência Church (Igreja de São Francisco da Penitência)
Colonial church built in 1773 with a unique architecture. This is one of the oldest churches in Brazil and the walls, ceilings, etc. are all covered in gold.
Zona Norte (North Zone)
Zona Norte (North Zone) is kind of the blue collar part of the city. It has working class residential areas, favelas, and heavy industries, but only a few spots of interest for the normal tourist. You’ll drive through parts of Zona Norte on your way into the city from the international airport.
Let’s take a look at some of the attractions:
Rio de Janeiro Zoo
It is a great place to see some of Brazil’s native animals and creatures of the Amazon Rainforest. Monkeys, snakes, birds, etc. The zoo is nestled almost lush gardens. A great option if you have got kids, or just want to see some of Brazil’s native animals up close.
This world-famous soccer stadium once was able to hold nearly 200,000 people. The capacity has been reduced because of safety considerations and currently holds 90,000. Go and experience a football (soccer) match such as Flamengo or Fluminense play there, you have not been to a football match until you have seen Flamengo play at the Maracana.
Known as Feira de São Crsitóvão, or Feira dos Nordestinos, it is located in a former football stadium. It has small booths selling everything from handicrafts to local dishes from northern Brazil. A great place to experience the music of Northeastern Brazil. Takes place Friday & Saturday evenings.
Zona Oeste (West Zone)
The west zone is the farthest zone from city center and the region is composed of both the region of Barra da Tijuca in its southern part, one of the richest in the city, and by industrial zones, with some agricultural areas in its northern part, being very marked social difference between the southern and northern parts of West Zone.
It is a rapidly growing suburban area including primarily the districts of Jacarepaguá and Barra da Tijuca, popular for its beaches. Most of the Olympics in 2016 will be hosted there.
This national park you can do a variety of outdoor activities, such as; Hiking, Viewing wildlife, Walking, Viewing foliage, Hang-gliding and more. The forest has several waterfalls where you can dive in. You can choose to make a guided tour around the forest, or simply do it on your own. The forest is a relaxing, quite escape from the fast paced city.
Barra da Tijuca
Barra da Tijuca commonly referred to as, Barra, is located in Rio’s west zone. The neighborhood boasts amazing beaches, rivers, and lakes. Barra is one of Brazil’s most developed suburbs and therefore is a pick for many of the countries football stars and celebrities to reside. Barra is a great place to enjoy a day at the beach, unlike many of the beaches found in Rio’s south zone, Barra offers opportunity to find a quite place on the beach. Barra also offers great eating and nightlife. Whilst in Rio, I definitely recommend a dedicating a day to go and explore Barra.