What to do Rio de Janeiro - City sights & activities
|The most famous pictures of Rio de Janeiro are shot from the 706 m/ 2316 ft high hump called Morro do Corcovado (which means ‘humpback’). At its top you will find the most iconic monument of Brazil, the
‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue, looking out over Rio de Janeiro towards the Guanabara Bay.
Since the inauguration in 1931, after being shipped in pieces all the way from France, the huge 700 tons art deco statue of Cristo Redentor has been standing at an 8 meter high stand, making the entire structure 38 m/ 125 ft high.
Corcovado mountainis part of the lush National Park Tijuca (Parque Nacional da Tijuca), the smallest in Brasil. This national park is an attraction in itself, allowing you to travel in 10 minutes from a busy urban scene into a lush tropical jungle. There are several natural pools, waterfalls and 200 species of bird.
In order to get to the top of the Corcovado, there are two options: by road and by cog train.
From the Paineras car park, mini buses will bring you the last 2 km/ 1.2 miles up the mountain.
The cog train (trenzinho) leaves from the train station Estrada de Ferro Corcovado in Cosme Velho. The trip through the Tijuca forest takes about 20 minutes; best views are from the right side when going up.
Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro...
Speaking of best views: avoid cloudy days when planning to enjoy the Rio de Janeiro panorama from the Corcovado.
This is the other ‘must see’ lookout of Rio de Janeiro: guarding the Guanabara Bay, Pão de Açúcar (|
Sugar Loaf) is a towering 396 m / 1,300 ft lump of granite.
The Sugar Loaf is centrepiece in the most well-known picture of Rio de Janeiro. It is accessible by cable cart or by an organized rock climbing tour (offered by several tour agencies in town).
The cable cart ride is in two stages. First you ride up the neighbouring rock Morro da Urca.
|At 217 m/ 712 ft, it has a flat summit with facilities like restaurants, souvenir shops and even a theatre.
From Morro da Urca you can join the second stage of the ascend to the Sugar Loaf itself.
The address of the cable cart station is Av Pasteur 520, Praia Vermelha. Carts leave every 20 minutes or so until 9 pm. Naturally, clear days are best for visiting the Sugar Loaf.
Do not worry, your ride up and down the Sugar Loaf by cable cart will be much more convenient than the one of James Bond in the Moonraker episode of the spy franchise...
National Museum of Fine Arts(MNBA – Museu Nacional de Belas Artes) – Av Rio Branco 199, Centro
This museum holds one of the most important permanent collections of arts in Latin America, of Brazilian as well as international artists. Many of the masterpieces were brought in by king Dom João VI himself while he fled Portugal in 1808.
– Museum of Modern Arts (MAM – Museu de Arte Moderna) – Av Infante Dom Henrique 85, Centro
Housed in a modern building, built in 1958, the MAM has a fine collection of modern arts, after MASP in São Paulo arguably the best in Brasil.
– National Museum of History (Museu Histórico Nacional) – Praça Marechalâncora, Centro
Considered as the best museum on history in Brazil. However, the timeline stops in 1889, so only the pre-republic era is described. Painitings, furniture, carts, coins, weaponry and old maps are all part of the exhibition.
– Museum of the Republic (Museu da República) – Rua do Catete 153, Catete
Sharing the business? This museum picks up where the former ended. The history of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro from 1889 until 1960 (when Rio de Janeiro lost its status as capital of Brasil). The museum is accommodated in the former presidential residence.
– Historical Museum Copacabana (Museu Histórico do Exército e Forte de Copacabana) – Av Atlântica/ Rua Francisco Otaviano, Copacabana
At the far end of Copacabana beach, marking the transition into Ipanema, you will find this fortress which has been waiting a century for the enemy that never comes… The small museum is not very interesting, but the views from the top are epic.
– Museum of the Indigenous (Museu do Indio) – Rua das Palmeiras 55, Botafogo
This institute gives an idea of the daily live of the community of indigenous people in Brasil. The museum has a huge collection of artefacts, photos and films on display as well as an incredible library.
– Carmen Miranda Museum (Museu Carmen Miranda) – Av Rui Barbosa , Flamengo
Small museum in Flamengo park and a shrine for the fans of this famous Brazilian actress and samba singer. Bananas were her business and her tutti frutti hat made her one of the most recognized Brazilians of the 20th century...
– Maracana Stadium (Estádio Maracanã) – Rua Prof. Eurico Rabelo (Entry 18), Maracanã
Soccer is the binding religion of the Brazilian nation and the
Maracana stadiumis the temple for high mass... The Maracana was the centre stage of the 1950 FIFA World Cup final, which was lost dramatically by Brasil to Uruguay. It is said over 200,000 spectators were present that day...
Today the Maracana stadium is modernized and it meets the standards of the 21st century.
Over the years, the capacity has been reduced considerably to a mere 78,838. Nevertheless... the Maracana stadium was the proud host battleground once more for the FIFA World Cup final in 2014 !
The Maracana is 6 km/ 4 miles west of the city centre. After thorough renovations, the Maracana stadium is ready for the World Cup.
You can visit the stadium on match days or attend one of the daily guided tours, including a visit to the small soccer museum.
Maracanã: Battleground World Cup Final 2014
– Sambodromo & Samba City (Sambódromo/ Cidade do Samba) – Av Marquês de Sapucai, Centro (Ciudad do Samba: Rua Rivadávia Correa 60, Gamboa)
|Before 1984, you could enjoy the famous samba parades of Rio Carnival just in the streets of Rio de Janeiro.
The yearly event became that popular though, that Brazil’s architectural bright spark Oscar Niemeyer designed a purposely built stadium: the Sambodromo.
A bit further out is a huge complex called Cidade do Samba ('City of Samba'). At Samba City, the samba schools can build up their enormous floats and rehearse the choreography.
It is fun to watch the year round preparations for the next edition of Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro...
– Quinta da Boa Vista Gardens – Av Pedro II, São Cristóvão
This former royal estate accommodates both the National Museum (Museu Nacional) and the Zoo (Jardim Zoológico). The lovely gardens themselves are also popular, especially on the weekends.
The National Museum has permanent exhibitions on archaeology, biology, palaeontology and geology. The former royal palace is an attraction in itself.
The excellent Rio de Janeiro Zoo (founded in 1888, the oldest in Brazil) has a very good reputation. The Rio Zoo is comprehensive and comes with an aquarium, aviary and butterfly garden.