Introduction to Rio de Janeiro
‘Tall and tan and young and lovely' croon the lyrics from the 'Girl from Ipanema', an iconic 1960s tune that has become the second most-popular recorded song in history. And while the lyrics speak of a young Brazilian girl, it could also apply to Rio de Janeiro itself. A tall and tanned and young and lovely city.
For all its qualms and football tomfoolery, there's no denying Rio's physical beauty - from the bronzed bodies that line the spectacular beaches to the soaring panoramic view from Sugar Loaf Mountain, the open-air cafes along Copacabana Beach to the cocktail bars in Lapa. Whatever your vantage point, Rio de Janeiro will make you go 'ahhh'.
Once out of the sun, Rio de Janeiro's young and lovely reputation kicks in with a vivacious culture, passion for football and high-energy nightlife. Fittingly, the world's biggest street party, Carnevale, takes place within its borders in a flurry of samba dancing and colourful costumes.
Equally colourful is the city's dining scene from streetside churros to the meaty stew and national dish called feijoada, which is best enjoyed on a shady terrace overlooking the bay. When the plates are clean, the locals, known as Caricocas, get the party started with caipirinhas and loud music. From there the details can get a little hazy, tall and tan and young and lovely.