Things we liked most in Rio de Janeiro

We stayed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for 2 weeks. It seems a lot, but it wasn't for 3 main reasons: 

  • Rio is a big city: the 2nd largest city in Brazil and the 39th largest city in the world by population
  • We spent several hours researching, seeing and solving bureaucracy stuff in order to buy our car for this trip
  • It was raining for several days (and Rio is not a great city when it's raining because it's a beach city and usually warm and sunny)

But of course we had time to visit really nice places and enjoy Rio in a different way... so we've decided to write a post about the things we liked most while staying in Rio.

- Copacabana Fort, Museum and Coffee - The views are great at the Forte de Copacabana. From there we could see all the Copacabana beach and Pão de Açucar. The museum explains a little bit of the Fort History but also Brazil History before and after the colonization period. The weather was nice when we visited this place so we had lunch outside in the terrace at Confeitaria Colombo which is a great spot to relax and enjoy the views of Copacabana beach.

- Copacabana and Ipanema beach walks - We spent several hours walking at the walkway around the Copacabana beach. This walkay was actually designed by the Portuguese and they are full of locals and tourists walking, running and biking. We also enjoyed to stop in one of the many kiosks to drink a coconut water or a beer and to observe people playing sports in the beach.

Cloudy day at the beach, Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema beach, Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema beach with Tom Jobim

- Christ Redeemer and Mirador Santa Marta - Christ Redeemer ("Cristo Redentor") is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and it's located at the peak of the 700m Corcovado mountain in Rio. We used the official train of 20 minutes up to the hill and due to the fact that everyone wants to see this amazing statue we spent 3 hours waiting... The views are absolutely amazing and the only problem was the number of people everywhere. After some pictures we decided to go down on foot through the Tijuca National Park and we found another amazing viewpoint called "Mirador Santa Marta". The view from here also astonished us and the best part was that there was just few people there and we could enjoy much better the views and forest.

Views from Santa Marta, Tijuca National Park

Cristo Redentor, Rio de Janeiro

Cristo Redentor, Rio de Janeiro

- Sunset at Arpoador and Ipanema - The first time we tried to see the sunset, we seated at Arpoador Hotel terrace reading and drinking natural juices but it was too cloudy and we couldn't see any sun. But a few days after we enjoyed an amazing sunset at a beach kiosk in Ipanema, very close to Arpoador too.

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Sunset at Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Sunset at Ipanema beach, Rio de Janeiro

- Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas - The "heart of Rio" (because of its format) has 7.2km and it's one of the most picturesque spots in the city. We had opportunity to walk around the lagoon for around 5km and we also used the paddle boats for a while during a Sunday morning. This place was just another great spot surrounded by nature and people.

- Sugarloaf and Urca Mountain - Sugarloaf ("Pão de Açúcar") is a peak with 396 meters situated in Rio at the mouth of Guanabara Bay. The panoramic views of the city and Copacabana are really good! We used the cable car ("bondinho") first for Urca Mountain ("Monte da Urca") and then for the Sugarloaf Mountain, but you can also walk until the Urca peak.

Views from Monte da Urca, Rio de Janeiro

Copacabana beach - views from Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Acucar)

Cable car at Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Acucar)

- Mauá Square and Rio Art Museum - Although the idea was to visit Tomorrow Museum ("Museu do Amanhã" designed by Calatrava) when we saw we had to wait at least 2 hours to get the tickets we accepted the suggestion to visit the Rio Art Museum ("Museu de Arte do Rio" or MAR). The museum took us around 2 hours to see and we specially liked the temporary exhibition about Zé Carioca. These 2 museums are located in Mauá Square is close to the port and the sea and it's nice to walk around the square and the museums.

Tomorrow Museum (Museu do Amanhã), Rio de Janeiro

Mauá Square - Vila Olimpica, Rio de Janeiro

Rio Art Museum (MAR), Rio de Janeiro

- Selaron steps and Lapa - Colorful but unfortunately full of tourists! There are 250 steps which are covered in over 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries around the world. This work was made by Selarón, a Chilean painter and sculptor that decided to renovate the steps close to his house in Rio in 1990.

Selaron, Rio de Janeiro

Selaron, Rio de Janeiro

Selaron Steps, Rio de Janeiro


See you next time Rio!


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