The sights of Brazil are internationally known, and the capital of Rio de Janeiro is among the most popular travel destinations in the world.
The city is known for its beautiful beaches, museums, national parks, and famous football stadiums that hosted the World Cup. In addition, the city boasts of its lively nightlife and hosting one of the most famous cultural shows in the world: The Rio de Janeiro Carnival. In addition, Rio is so hospitable and famous that many people have made it a mandatory stop to spend the New Year, the main holidays, and Carnival.
Want to know more? In this post, we have selected the 15 top tourist attractions in Rio de Janeiro to help you organize your trip. Read on!
Without a shadow of a doubt, Christ the Redeemer is one of the most beloved tourist spots in Rio de Janeiro.
Inaugurated in 1931 on top of Corcovado Hill, the monument has become one of the Wonders of the World due to its panoramic viewpoint that guarantees an exceptional and spectacular view of the city.
At 38 meters high, the equivalent of 13 floors of a building, it forms a giant cross. In addition, it is considered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. And since 2006, it has been among one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
Something curious about this attraction is that it is common to see monkeys in the surroundings. They are accustomed to the constant presence of tourists, are not shy at all, and allow themselves to be photographed quite well. As a good wonder of the world, you will always find this crowded attraction.
2. Sugarloaf Mountain
Competing in popularity with Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain is another Rio de Janeiro attraction that few want to miss.
This hill has an elevation of almost 400 meters, from where you have beautiful city views. To go up, you must take an all-glass cable car where you can view the incredible landscape around you.
The first stop is at the famous Morro da Urca, where you can see Guanabara Bay and Botafogo Bay. At the second stop, you will find a panoramic view of a large part of the South Zone and Niteroi coastline.
There, you can go hiking on the trails, take spectacular photos at the viewpoints, and find varied food and entertainment options.
3. Botanical Garden
For those who like to travel to relax and be in contact with nature, the Botanical Garden is the right place.
This impressive garden is home to more than 40,000 plants of more than 6,700 species, distributed in different environments.
In it, you will find typical plants of the Pantanal and the Amazon, as well as a sensory garden, a Japanese garden, bromelain, insectivorous plants, and a beautiful orchid garden. It also has a small lagoon and several trails for walking.
One of the most popular places in the Botanical Garden is the gallery of the imperial palm trees, which can reach 40 meters in height. The garden is quite a pleasant place to go for a walk and relax, ideal for a mid-day walk.
In addition, it is worth noting that the attraction has an accessibility project for the visually impaired, with plants that can be touched and Braille readings on them.
Copacabana is surely one of the most famous beaches in the world. With its almost 4 kilometers long, this beach is a classic in Rio de Janeiro. It is located in the south of the city, in one of the most touristic and luxurious neighborhoods in Rio.
A good way to get to know this neighborhood is by strolling along the Avenida Atlantica, famous for its mosaic floors. During your tour, you will see many hotels, restaurants, bars, and the typical Copacabana palm trees.
Locals who call themselves “cariocas” seem never to stop playing soccer or beach volleyball here. The street vendors hawk their drinks and snacks from the many shops that are lining the coastline. Fort Copacabana, a military base with a museum open to the public, stands at the very edge of the beach. At the fortress, fishermen are constantly huddled, offering vacationers a fresh catch.
Ipanema is another of the most famous beaches in Rio de Janeiro. Like Copacabana, Ipanema is also one of the most luxurious and touristic neighborhoods in the city.
Its beach has a wave similar to that of Copacabana, making it a quite popular beach resort among surfers. Its long coastline of soft white sand offers you a beautiful place to relax and enjoy yourself.
The beach is divided into sections, separated by posts. This makes the beach have different sections, which are more suitable for a different category of vacationers. Thus, families with children prefer the section between posts 11 and 12, and the area near post 9 attracts those tourists who prefer to sunbathe in a relatively calm environment.
A fairly iconic point of Rio that can be seen from this neighborhood is Morro Dois Irmaos, which is located at one end of the beach.
6. Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro
You will be surprised by the architecture of the Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro. Very modernist in style and quite different from the cathedrals of other Latin American cities.
The Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro is a 75 meters high building that began its construction in 1964 and is located in the city’s downtown area. Inside, you can see impressive stained glass windows, which converge at the ends of a cross formed by the skylight. The building has a diameter of 96 meters and the capacity to house 20,000 standing people.
The Metropolitan Cathedral also houses a Museum of Sacred Art in its basement, which has pieces of great historical value.
7. Lapa Arches
Another of the emblematic points of Rio de Janeiro is the Arches of Lapa, also known as the Carioca Aqueduct.
They are located in the Lapa neighborhood, one of the most popular areas of Rio, near the Metropolitan Cathedral and the city center.
This aqueduct was built during the city’s colonial era, around 1730. However, several years later, these aqueducts fell into disuse and were connected to the city’s tramway systems in 1896.
The structure is more than 17 meters high and has a marked Romanesque architectural style. At present, the Lapa Arches have become one of the most typical postcards of the city.
8. Tijuca National Park
Tijuca National Park is one of the largest urban woodlands in the world. The park includes a large area with a predominantly mountainous landscape. Visitors can climb to the top of Rio de Janeiro’s highest mountain, Pico da Tijuca, which offers stunning views of Guanabara Bay and the city below.
The current parkland was nearly destroyed during the uncontrolled expansion of coffee plantations in the early 1800s. A significant part of the forest area was subsequently replanted with trees and shrubs. In total, about nine million trees have been planted.
In addition to trails, this tourist spot in Rio de Janeiro has caves, waterfalls, rivers, and lakes, all surrounded by preserved landscapes. It is an ideal tour for those who want to save money, have family time, take pictures and even have a picnic.
9. Santa Teresa Neighborhood
Santa Teresa is one of the most beloved neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro, perfect for spending a delicious afternoon in the city. In addition to having beautiful views, due to its location on top of a mountain, the neighborhood refers to the “old Rio de Janeiro,” with its bucolic air, plenty of cultures, in addition to cable cars.
It is one of the beloved dens of great intellectuals due to its architecture and bars that sell typical foods and that cold beer that cannot be lacking in the city with very high temperatures all year round.
For those who like more cultural tours, the Santa Teresa neighborhood is also home to Heaven’s farm Museum.
10. Selaron Staircase
The Selaron Staircase is an attraction that, over the years, has become an increasingly popular place for tourists arriving in Rio de Janeiro.
This beautiful staircase was decorated by the Chilean and plastic artist Jorge Selaron, who, after traveling the world, decided to settle in Rio de Janeiro and start decorating the staircase in 1990.
The staircase has 215 steps and is completely covered in ceramic in the colors of the Chilean and Brazilian flags.
In 2013, Jorge Selaron was found dead on the same staircase. He was 65 years old, and the autopsy revealed that he died of burns. However, the causes of his death are not entirely clear.
The staircase is located in the Santa Teresa neighborhood, near the Center of Rio de Janeiro. It is quite a touristy place, so you will always see people taking pictures between the steps of the stairs.
11. Municipal theater
An attraction in the city center that draws attention for its elegant French architecture is the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro, which is inspired by the Paris Opera.
Its construction began in 1905, and it has been recognized as one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. However, this building draws attention not only for its architecture, but also for its cultural importance.
Important national and international artists have passed through its stage, and it has hosted some of the main productions in the country. This is why the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro is considered one of the most important Opera Theaters in Latin America.
12. Maracana Stadium
In Brazil, no sport is taken as seriously as football and soccer, and the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro is considered by the locals to be the main attraction of their city. At one time, this stadium, built in 1950 and capable of accommodating up to 200,000 spectators, was the first in the world in terms of capacity.
After undergoing a renovation, it reopened in April 2013 and has become a cultural and tourist destination, welcoming visitors even on days when games or concerts do not take place.
You can plan to take a guided tour, where you can see the lawn, the stands, the dressing room, the grandstand, the press room, the Hall of Fame (where the footprints of famous players are located), as well as from the Football Museum, with photos and images of the most beautiful plays.
13. Museum of Tomorrow
Opened in 2015, The Museum of Tomorrow is also one of the great tourist spots in Rio de Janeiro and has a unique architecture that attracts the attention of tourists. Its distinctive architecture is designed by the Spanish artist Santiago Calatrava and draws a lot of attention from tourists.
Inside the Museum of Tomorrow, there are several scenes and films impacting the future of the planet and humanity and contents that teach which precautions we must take now to avoid environmental disasters and global warming.
It is also worth mentioning that the institution also provides instructions on how to plant trees and how to invest in a healthier and more minimalist economy. In other words, a mandatory stop for any age.
14. Mirante Dona Marta Viewpoint
When we talk about the main tourist attractions in Rio de Janeiro, we immediately think of breathtaking views and exceptional landscapes.
More than 300 meters high, it is possible to see in a panoramic way the classic neighborhoods of the South Zone, such as Cosme Velho and Santa Tereza. In addition, like Christ the Redeemer, it is possible to admire Guanabara Bay, Corcovado, Maracana, and Sugarloaf Mountain.
At night, the charm is due to the lights that enhance the incredible image, which looks more like a hand-painted painting. And during the day, if the sky is clear, it becomes impossible not to fall in love with the clean and charming view that the lookout provides.
15. Parque Lage
How about spending a relaxing afternoon under the “Christ’s armpit”? This is what the locals call Parque Lage due to its location right under the right arm of the statue of Christ the Redeemer.
The refreshing air that comes from the Tijuca forest provides a super tranquil environment and makes these beautiful gardens a perfect place for a picnic.
Inside, there is a beautiful on-site mansion, a cafe, and also an art school. In addition, it a very nice place to relax and enjoy this oasis of tranquility and nature. It is certainly a tourist spot in Rio de Janeiro that is worth a visit.
Rio is full of wonders, but we’re sure that with these 15 top attractions, you’ll be able to enjoy your trip to Rio de Janeiro very well, creating good memories and experiences.