Find out what to visit in Rio de Janeiro, from the most popular spots to attractions best known by the locals!
There is a lot to do in Rio de Janeiro at anytime of the year. The Marvelous City is privileged with several options of sights and attractions that make Rio the most visited city in Brazil.
In Rio there are things that everyone should do at least once in a lifetime, and for sure you will find something that pleases you, regardless of your taste or age.
But despite this fact, many people go to Rio without an itinerary, and end up not escaping much of the most famous attractions such as Christ the Redeemer, the Sugarloaf Mountain and the main beaches.
But don’t worry, this won’t happen to you! We have put information together in this article so you know what are the best things to do in Rio de Janeiro.
The top things to do in Rio de Janeiro
We gathered information thinking about the attractions and sights in Rio de Janeiro, not only the ones that are true classics, but also outdoor activities, places to watch the sunrise and sunset, and things to do in downtown Rio.
You can also set up a private tour in Rio de janeiro with Rio4fun using our coupon that gives you R$ 75 discount to see the best of Rio!
#1 Visit the main tourist attractions in Rio de Janeiro
Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor)
One of the 7 wonders of the modern world since 2007, Christ the Redeemer is not only the symbol of Rio de Janeiro, but of Brazil. Going to the city and not visiting the Christ is almost forbidden!
The imposing statue of Jesus Christ is about 38 meters and is located at the top of Morro do Corcovado, from where it is possible to have a beautiful view of Rio de Janeiro.
To get there, the most interesting way is by train, which passes through the Tijuca Forest and is a beautiful experience, especially for those who are going for the first time.
In low season the train ticket for adults costs R$ 67 and it is possible to buy the ticket online.
It is also possible to take a trail from Parque Lage. It takes 3 hours to climb the forest.
Operation: everyday from 8 am to 7 pm.
Tickets: the attraction is free, so your expenses will depend on the transportation you choose.
Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar) and Urca Mountain (Morro da Urca)
The Sugarloaf Mountain Cable Car (in Portuguese “Bondinho do Pão de Açúcar“) that connects Pão de Açúcar and Morro da Urca, was the first in Brazil and the third in the world, opened in 1912.
The cable car ride is incredible and from the top it is possible to have a privileged view of Botafogo inlet, Copacabana beach and a little bit of Guanabara Bay.
In addition to the spectacular view that you will find there, the Pão de Açúcar complex consists of:
- An Amphitheater where cultural presentations take place;
- Espaço Baía de Guanabara, which is a gastronomic and leisure area with shops and kiosks;
- The Cocuruto, which tells the story of Pão de Açúcar with images, items and important pieces in the history of the cable car;
- And finally, Praça dos Bondes, a pleasant place with a viewpoint from where you can see Morro da Babilônia.
It is also possible to take a trail to Morro da Urca, which takes an average of 30 minutes and is a different experience worth doing. The trail is beautiful inside the forest.
The access to the trail is via an entrance in the middle of the Cláudio Coutinho road, close to Praia Vermelha.
And if you enjoy adventures, some companies offer abseiling at Morro da Urca.
Operation: in low or high season, the cable car works every day, from 9 am to 7 pm in the low season and from 9 am to 9 pm in the high season.
Tickets: Check the different categories for tickets here.
Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon
This is a great place for a good walk. With just over 7km long, the waterfront is ideal for cycling or walking.
In addition, there is a fitness area, bars and kiosks and also an area for rollerblading.
Address: Avenida Epitácio Pessoa e Borges de Medeiros, s/n
Santa Teresa Neighborhood
The Santa Teresa neighborhood is one of the most charming places in Rio!
It is located in the central region of Rio above a hill, where the stone streets and the cable car trail take you on a real journey through time.
In this neighborhood, you need to visit Parque das Ruínas (Park of Ruins), the former residence of Laurinda Santos Lobo, one of the activists who stood out the most in the fight for women’s rights in Brazil.
The park offers spectacular architecture and a panoramic view that will give you sighs and beautiful photos.
Parque das Ruínas address: R. Murtinho Nobre, 169 – Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20241-050
Park operation: Tuesdays to Sundays from 8 am to 6 pm.
Lapa Arches (Arcos da Lapa)
Arcos da Lapa is an old carioca aqueduct, which besides being one of the main postcards of the city, is the most representative symbol of Rio de Janeiro in the past, preserved in the bohemian region of Lapa.
This is one of the points that need to be on your list of things to visit in Rio de Janeiro, as well as the Selarón Steps that are close by.
Selarón Staircase (Escadaria Selarón)
Created entirely by the Chilean ceramist Jorge Selarón, Escadaria Selarón is one of the most striking and colorful spots in Rio de Janeiro.
The place was once the scene of films, clips and numerous photo shoots and is certainly a place you need to go on your tour of Lapa.
Address: Rua Joaquim Silva, 87 – Lapa
Trail to Dois Irmãos Mountain (Morro Dois Irmãos)
To have one of the most incredible views of Rio de Janeiro, the trail to Morro Dois Irmãos needs to be part of your itinerary.
It starts in the Vidigal favela, near Leblon. At the entrance of the community you can go up on foot, by mototaxi or van to the point where the trail starts, which takes about 1 hour.
From the top of Morro Dois Irmãos you will have a beautiful panoramic view of the city, from Barra da Tijuca, to Cristo Redentor. It’s really worth it!
Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro
One of the classics that you need to check out is the Botanical Garden of Rio. It is one of the greenest areas within the city, with several trees and plants of different species.
There the imperial palm corridor is amazing, in addition to the ruins of the old gunpowder factory.
Address: Rua Jardim Botânico, 1008 – Jardim Botânico
Operation: on Mondays, from 12 am to 6 pm, and from Tuesday to Sunday from 8 am to 6 pm.
Lage Park (Parque Lage)
Also in the Jardim Botânico neighborhood, Lage Park is one of the most visited places in Rio de Janeiro, and it’s no wonder! The place is super charming and free.
In the park, there is a mansion from the 20th century inspired by Italian architecture, a beautiful swimming pool and an incredible view of Christ the Redeemer in the background.
When you go there be sure to have a coffee, walk around the park and take the opportunity to visit the School of Visual Arts that works there.
Address: R. Jardim Botânico, 414 – Jardim Botânico
Operation: everyday from 8 am to 5 pm.
Stage of great classics of world football, Maracanã is much more than a stadium. It represents the national passion and historical moments for the country.
So, especially if you are a football fan, be sure to visit the stadium, whether on a guided tour, or better yet: watch an official soccer match!
Check more information about the tickets and the schedule of games.
Address: Av Presidente Castelo Branco, s/n. Portão 2 – Maracanã
#2 Enjoy the outdoors activities
Paragliding Flight in Rio de Janeiro
If you are an adventure fan and want to get to know Rio de Janeiro in a different way, paragliding is an incredible option.
On the flight you will fly over the São Conrado neighborhood, and will be able to contemplate wonderful views of Barra da Tijuca, Cristo Redentor, Ipanema, Leblon and much more.
The good news is that our followers have a discount on the paragliding flight in Rio de Janeiro with Best Fly Rio, including photos and videos of your flight. Don’t miss the experience!
Hang Gliding in Rio de Janeiro
Still for those who want to experience Rio in a different way, hang gliding is another incredible option to contemplate some of the most beautiful views of Rio while feeling the adrenaline.
To enjoy it even more, use our discount coupon to go hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro. Make your dream of flying come true!
Pedra do Telégrafo
You have certainly seen some photos on the “dangerous” mountain in Rio where people seem to be on the edge of a cliff, but in fact it is pure angle!
Pedra do Telégrafo is a natural viewpoint from where it is possible to see the Restinga da Marambaia, the mangroves of the region, the wild beaches of Barra de Guaratiba and Pedra da Gávea. The view is breathtaking.
Our followers are entitled to 10% discount for taking a private tour visiting Pedra do Telégrafo with Rio4fun. Enjoy!
Helicopter Tour in Rio de Janeiro
The helicopter tour is one of the most incredible ways to get to know the main points of Rio de Janeiro and have an unforgettable experience.
It’s really exciting and the investment is really worth it!
Currently several companies take the tour, and the most popular are 4Fly RJ, Rio2Fly and Comandante Nobre.
#3 Watch the sunrise and sunset in Rio de Janeiro
If there is something that can make Rio de Janeiro even more beautiful, it is the sunrise and the sunset, and there are places that value even more the spectacular views of the city at those moments.
For watching the sunrise, we recommend the Mirante Dona Marta, from where you will have an incredible panoramic view of Rio and Cristo Redentor.
And for the sunset, it will be difficult to choose a place! The places we recommend to watch the sunset in Rio de Janeiro are:
- Morro da Urca
- Mureta da Urca
- Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas
- Morro Dois Irmãos
- Vista Chinesa
- Parque da Cidade
And to have unforgettable records, take the opportunity to do a photo shoot during sunset with Bezerra in the middle of the Rio de Janeiro sea. And our readers have a discount on the photo shoot, so don’t miss the opportunity!
#4 Have a beach experience in Rio de Janeiro
Undoubtedly, Rio de Janeiro has some of the best beaches in Brazil and they are a famous attraction worldwide.
There are the beaches that you can’t miss in Rio de Janeiro:
- Praia do Leblon
- Barra da Tijuca
#5 Enjoy the attractions of downtown Rio and nearby
Full of galleries, museums, restaurants, libraries and historic buildings, downtown Rio is a real treasure to be explored.
Start exploring at Praça Floriano, where the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro and the National Library are located, one of the most emblematic places in Rio.
There is a lot to do in downtown Rio de Janeiro. Other places worth checking out are:
- Real Gabinete Português de Leitura
- Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil
- Mosteiro São Bento
- Catedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião
- Museu do Amanhã
- Roda Gigante Rio Star
- Mural Etnias
- Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Candelária
Do you have any other suggestions for an unmissable place to visit in Rio? Tell us here =)
Also check these out:
Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro