Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Perched atop Corcovado Mountain, the Christ the Redeemer statue will no doubt be the first thing you spot when you fly into Rio de Janeiro, welcoming you with open arms. Overlooking the city and measuring over 30 metres tall, the statue has long been an icon of Rio and a must-see for every traveller. The city's other soaring and unmissable landmark is Sugar Loaf Mountain. Located at the mouth of Guanabara Bay, the steep peak is said to resemble the shape of a refined loaf of sugar, hence the name.

Down on the ground, Rio's famed beaches like Ipanema and Copacabana prove irresistible. It is here that the infamous Brazilian bikini is the style de jour, complete with bronzed skin and not much else. On the other hand, at Estadio do Maracana stadium it's all about clothing with revellers passionately donning their team's colours like a badge of honour. While in the Sambodromo during the world-famous Carnavale, it's all about sequins and feathers!

Whatever you decide to wear in Brazil, just make sure it will be able to go the distance from beach to bar and from mountain to football field. Because, when it comes to a Rio de Janeiro holiday, there's no rest for the wicked.

While fun in Rio may be all about wining, dining and drinking, visitors should also allocate time to exploring the city's natural delights as well. Here's some of our faves:

Ipanema

No trip to Rio de Janeiro is complete without walking along the sands of Ipanema. The famous beach that inspired the equally famous song is considered to having the best sunset view in the city.

Corcovado

As seen in movies like Baz Luhrmann's 'Romeo + Juliet' and 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn', the Christ the Redeemer statue atop this mountain has long been an icon of Rio and a must-do for tourists.

Tijuca National Park

Once you’ve experienced the beaches, Rio’s other natural marvel is its forests, namely Tijuca Forest National Park. A sprawling forest closely neighbouring the city, Tijuca Forest covers a mammoth 32 square kilometres making it the largest nature reserve in Brazil and the largest urban forest in the world.

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is a Rio 'hood full of colour and flair and, unsurprisingly, is the home of many artists. While it is a beloved bohemian area now, Santa Teresa was once a borough of the upper class, who eventually moved on after the increase of favelas nearby. 

Carnavale

Nothing compares to the colour, pageantry and samba dance skills of Rio's annual Carnavale festival. A riot of feathers and sequins, try and time your trip to be in Rio for the pre-Lenten festivities.

Rua do Lavradio

Rio's oldest residential street is also one of its most liveliest. The echoes of parties and celebrations past is reflected in stately colonial architecture in this neighbourhood that's also an antiques mecca.

Copacabana

Like it or loathe it, Barry Manilow's ode to this stunning Rio beachside 'burb is only one of the reasons Copacabana is world-famous. The other reasons you'll have to discover for yourself.

Leblon

While it seems all of Rio is uber-glam, head to the neighbourhood of Leblon to see style and excess on a grand scale. This is the spot for shopping, dining and entertainment in Rio.

Lapa

Boasting colonial architecture, samba clubs and colourful street art, head to the Rio cultural hub of Leblon to see a side of the big city away from the beach.