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Few cities around the world have as infectious and lively an atmosphere as Rio de Janeiro. There are many defining characteristics to this stunning city, from the world-renowned Copacabana beach to the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue and, of course, the annual Rio Carnival that attracts millions on a daily basis to celebrate life and samba. Each comes together to create a vibrant and diverse culture full of energy, yet with a unique laidback atmosphere around the beaches where people can unwind and socialise. No one could ever claim to be bored on a visit to Rio, whether they take to the lifestyle or not – the positive vibe makes Rio a fun and enjoyable port of call.
Whatever your interests, you'll find much in Rio de Janeiro worthy of exploration. These highlights are some of the most famous and with good cause, but beyond these examples you'll find excellent surfing beaches, the Maracana football stadium and museum, botanical gardens and more to enjoy.
Copacabana Beach is perhaps the world's most famous beach, and arguably in any top five list, so even if you only visit for a short while it is a worthwhile experience. Along the four-kilometre stretch of golden sands where thousands sunbathe and relax is a promenade dotted with hotels, restaurants, bars and upmarket apartments that gives the district plenty of character.
Christ the Redeemer
Corcovado Mountain, with the towering statue of Christ the Redeemer, is often the image that most associate with the city. The statue alone is thrilling, but in a position that offers phenomenal views across Rio it has the added symbolism of watching over the city, and gives visitors the attraction of amazing scenery when sightseeing here. If you are feeling energetic then the walk up hundreds of steps is still available, but many now prefer the elevator and escalator option.
If the views are what you are interested in most, then scaling Sugarloaf Mountain is an experience you won't soon forget. The panoramas you can enjoy are awe-inspiring, and your two-step journey to the summit via cable car gives you exciting angles over the city and out to sea as you travel, making the whole trip one to savour.
As a major city, you'll find that there are plenty of traditional shops around Rio de Janeiro including shopping centres. But if you want something more unique then you'll also see plenty of individual vendors on streets and on the beaches, where you can haggle to buy souvenirs, sunglasses and, as it is Rio, bikinis. Clothing is relatively cheap with the potential for great bargains, but avoid purchasing electronics as prices are inflated due to tax.
Again if you have time in Rio either as part of an overnight stay or you simply want to sample local cuisine for lunch, you'll find every major cuisine available around the city. However there are two things you must try during your visit if you get the chance. Juice bars play a big part in the cosmopolitan ambiance, with sole traders and larger chains on most streets providing high-quality fresh flavours using every kind of fruit you could think of.
For something more substantial, Rio is a hub of all-you-can-eat restaurants, particularly churrascaria venues where large skewers of grilled meats are continuously brought around tables and carved directly onto your plate, letting you sample a variety of flavours in one sitting.
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