A Complete List Of The Top Things To Do In Rio De Janeiro

Rio, as it is popularly known, is the second-largest city in Brazil and the third-largest metropolis in the whole of South America. What makes Rio the most visited in the entire Southern Hemisphere? The hustle and bustle of the city are on! This magnificent city is a destination where mountains and beaches meet, a scintillating spectacle ever waiting to be marvelled. It is one of the most populous cities with vibrant colors, stories related to history and heritage, works of pride and legacy, and the artful portrayal of culture and tradition, all of which keeps the city-bound together. There are enough reasons to touchdown Rio.

Let’s take a look at what is Rio de Janeiro famous for and the top things to do in Rio de Janeiro.

Witness One Of The World’s Wonders

A panel of expert architects come together to make a call on the final list of seven worldly wonders. ‘Christ the Redeemer’ stands atop the Corcovado Mountain to be one of them. This iconic landmark should be on the top of every tourist’s things to do in the Rio de Janeiro list. Take a tour of the visual marvel that overlooks the entire city of Rio de Janeiro Brazil. This monument stands on top of the Corcovado Mountain (2,330-foot elevation) in Tijuca National Park with outstretched arms. A symbolic representation of the city awaits your presence with open arms.

Tourists pose in front of famous Christ the Redeemer statue atop the Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, things to do in Rio De Janeiro
Tourists pose in front of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue atop the Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, things to do in Rio De Janeiro

Slide Along with The Scintillating Visions

A cable-way from Praia Vermelha to Sugarloaf Mountain is strung, providing an unparalleled sneak into the city. With the cable car sliding at a maximum speed of 6 meters per second, the panoramic views outside the window give a dazzling view of the city. Every tourist wants to be on this glass-enclosed cable car to view the sunset and have a panoramic view of Rio de Janeiro. As you slide along you’ll be able to see several other landmarks such as Palácio Guanabara, Christ the Redeemer statue and Largo do Boticário. Such is the tranquillity of this marvellously breathtaking piece. Come enjoy enchanting experience mid-air! 

Rio de Janeiro city from the Sugarloaf mountain.
Rio de Janeiro city from the Sugarloaf mountain.

Breathe In The Breeze Flowing Across The Atlantic Ocean

As this region lies close to the Tropic of Capricorn, the climate is generally hot and humid. But when you enter the city of Rio the temperatures rarely cross beyond 26 degrees owing to the majestic Atlantic Ocean. Breathe in and enjoy the breeze, blowing alternately onshore and offshore. Explore and experience the cool breeze that flows across the blue oceanic waters. Step down to Rio and let the wind flow past you leaving no inch untouched. Get a closer sensation of Rio!

The Sugarloaf mountain in morning mist and Botafogo bay, Rio de Janeiro, things to do in Rio de Janeiro
The Sugarloaf mountain in morning mist and Botafogo bay, Rio de Janeiro, things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Indulge In The Best Escapes

If you are a beach fan, it doesn’t get better than this! Try out the two famous beaches in Rio – Copacabana and Ipanema beach. Catch the incredible surfing waves of Prainha Beach and the water-bound athletes skimming effortlessly over and under them. The waves in combination with the athletes and their skills are an entertainment seldom witnessed. The characteristics of beaches don’t limit to the adrenaline-driven ones only. One can even venture off the sand for a taste of local cuisine at nearby restaurants or shop at lined up art galleries. Exploit the chance of lazing on the shores while sunbathing or watching locals play along with the smell of fresh shrimp getting grilled nearby.

Sunny Day in Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Things to do in Rio De Janeiro
Sunny Day in Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Things to do in Rio De Janeiro

Come Alive With The Carnival At Rio De Janeiro

One of the top things to do in Rio de Janeiro is to attend the Rio de Janeiro carnival, an annual majestic grandeur. It is usually held every year before Lent, which is the hottest time in the region. The decorations for the event are sure to leave you chilled enough to break no sweat. One of the most involved groups in Rio Carnival is the poorest neighbourhoods called favelas. With over two million people coming in to witness this carnival per day, it is considered the biggest carnival in the world. So come catch the fiery performers burn the stage at Rio!

Take A Rocinha Favela Walking Tour

Get an in-depth local experience of Rocinha Favela, the largest favela in Latin America with this walking tour. The term “favelas” means a slum or shantytown, which is the largest in the country. This walking tour will help you learn about daily life in the favela and the different challenges that they face. It gives one the chance to see Brazil from another point of view. It’s great to know that part of the price of the tour will go as a contribution to this community. Opt for a private or group walking tour and walk through the local community to know how life is like there. Add this activity to your things to do in Rio De Janeiro list.

Hike Through The Tijuca National Park

Hiking through Tijuca National Park is one of the best things to do in Rio De Janeiro. Tijuca Forest, the world’s largest forest within a city, was declared a national park in 1961. Hiking through this park will take you through some of the historical spots, a beautiful waterfall, breathtaking views, a chapel and a lush tropical forest. More than 3 million tourists and locals visit the park annually which is spread over an area of 3,200 hectares. For those that love adventure, this place is perfect for activities like hiking, hang gliding and rock climbing making it one of the best things to do in Rio de Janeiro.

Step Into The Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Sebastian

Rio’s Catedral de São Sebastião was designed by a great architect Edgar Fonseca sometime between the 1960s-70s. Edgar Fonseca was inspired by the Mayan pyramids and interpreted their soaring forms in a modern context.  As you enter, you will be welcomed by four huge (64 meters) stained glass windows. The natural light through these glasses falls on the brilliantly colored interiors to make this the wackiest church you’ve ever laid eyes on. Its unique modern architecture attracts everyone who passes by it. Its very unusual appearance and history make it one of the most important things to do in Rio De Janeiro. Try to attend a Sunday mass to get a full experience of this amazing place.

Spend A Day At Rio’s Most Beautiful Garden

Jardim Botânico garden is a UNESCO biosphere reserve that has more than 6,000 species of plant life, 2,000 species of orchids, and 140 species of birds. Rio’s Jardim Botânico is spread over 350 acres which includes a Japanese Garden, museums, collections, cultural centres, research centres, and various other facilities for visitors. You can either walk through the botanical garden or ride on an electric cart to cover up the entire area. The diversity of some of the most exotic plants and regular spotting of the wild monkeys, the Channel-billed Toucan, the white-necked hawk and marmosets makes this place on top of the list of things to do in Rio De Janeiro.

Book Your Ticket For A Match At Maracanã Stadium

If you are a vivid soccer fan, a match at the Maracanã Stadium is one of the things to do in Rio De Janeiro. Also known as Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, this is Brazil’s largest stadium and the second-largest stadium in South America which has a seating capacity for around 78,500 fans. The minds and hard work of famous architects like Waldir Ramos, Miguel Feldman, Oscar Valdetaro, Raphael Galvao, Antônio Dias Carneiro, Orlando Azevedo and Pedro Paulo B Bastos are behind this amazing structure.

This stadium has not just hosted football matches but also many other sporting events, concerts and significant opening and closing ceremonies. The final match of the 2000 FIFA Club World Cup was hosted here. It has also witnessed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics games.

Dig Into Rio De Janeiro’s Street Food Culture

The best thing about Rio de Janeiro’s street food is they are quick, fresh, and healthy. When you are in Brazil, exploring authentic and traditional dishes is one of the must things to do in Rio de Janeiro. From sweet treats to salty snacks, from post-workout healthy snacks to deep-fried delicacies, Rio is home to one of the world’s most vibrant food cultures. As soon as you step into some of the best food streets you will be surprised to see the mobile stalls or corner snack stands stacked with food that is influenced from all over the world as far as Africa, Japan and Portugal. A trip to Rio de Janeiro would be incomplete without sampling the street food markets, cafés and restaurants of Rio de Janeiro.

Escape To Ilha De Paquetá Island

Take a Ferry ride to Ilha de Paquetá to escape from the city’s bustle for peace, nature and the views. The island is only 15 kilometres from Rio which you can cover within an hour. Once you are here you will be surprised to know that there are no cars. Almost all the 3,000 inhabitants of this place use bicycles to commute. The only means of transportation on this Island are by foot, bicycle or horse-drawn carts. Come here to enjoy the calm of this place, the charm of the pink colonial buildings, green hills and colourful boats. It’s best to visit this place on a weekday as this place gets crowded on weekends.

Tips on How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Rio de Janeiro

We have put together a few important travel tips that will help you save money, stay safe, and ensure that you get the most out of your trip to Rio de Janeiro.

  •         Fly to Santos Dumont Airport as it will save you a lot of money on taxi fare.
  •         Real (R$) is the official currency of Rio. This is the only currency accepted here; hence carry them always with you.
  •         Don’t carry all your cash; take only what you need for the day.
  •         Get an International data plan so that all of the apps work as expected.
  •         Don’t carry any valuables with you to the beach; leave them in a safe locker at your accommodation.
  •         Tap water isn’t safe to drink, carry your own water while leaving your accommodation.
  •         Dress appropriately for tropical weather and wear Havaianas instead of sneakers.
  •         Make sure to place your backpack in front of your body to avoid getting stolen.
  •          The affordable and safest way to get around Rio de Janeiro is by taking Ubers, metro or bus. You can also rent a bike to explore Rio.
  •         There are many museums that have a free day visit each week, check their website for details before booking your ticket.
  •         You need to call for a bus just like you would do with a taxi and remember the yellow seats are for disabled persons, elderly and pregnant women.
  •         Hire a local tour guide to get a personalized experience and detailed historical information.
  •         Avoid weekend visits and plan your trip during the weekdays to avoid the intense tourist rush.
  •         Don’t walk around deserted areas in night and avoid taking late-night buses.
  •         Purchase travel insurance that will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.
  •         Plan a stay for at least four days to experience Rio de Janeiro to the fullest.

If you love beaches, exotic places and good food, you are going to love Rio. This place is much beyond sports and stadiums. Explore, engross and engage in some of the most riveting visions of the world’s heritage here. Don’t miss the grand carnival celebrations of this vibrant city. Rio has been home to many foreigners, so come enjoy Rio de Janeiro without thinking twice.

Is Rio de Janeiro safe for tourists?

Like other tourist destinations, Rio de Janeiro is also not a completely safe city. But if you are watchful and remain vigilant throughout your stay you will be able to enjoy your trip.

Where to Stay in Rio de Janeiro for Sightseeing?

With good mid-range, affordable budget hostels, self-catering options, Ipanema, Copacabana, or Leblon are some of the best and safest places to stay in Rio de Janeiro.

What to eat in Rio De Janeiro?

Feijoada, the national dish of Brazil made of rich bean and meat stew is something you cannot miss when you are in Rio De Janeiro.

Where to Shop In Rio De Janeiro?

One can shop at Saara (merchant society),  Lapa, the fair of Rua do Lavradio, flea market at Praca XV, Rio Sul shopping mall, Santa Clara and Ipanema streets.

Is it safe to swim at Copacabana beach?

Generally the waters in the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema are safe to swim in. Avoid going to beaches after heavy rains as the quality of the water is very poor at this time.

Is English spoken in Rio de Janeiro?

No, the vast majority of the population use Portugal or Spanish to communicate.

Why is Rio de Janeiro a popular tourist destination?

Stunning views, wonder of the world, locations, architecture, inhabitants, and their lifestyle makes this place a popular tourist destination.

What is the best time to visit Rio de Janeiro?

The best time to visit Rio is from December to March, as the weather is pleasant during this time.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here