Rio de Janeiro is a capital city worth getting to know on a more intimate level. It’s long Ipanema Beach and spectacular surroundings offer more than enough attractions for travellers looking for sea, sand and sun. But that’s not all. Rio is a hot spot for art, culture and gastronomy. Let’s take a tour![middle_ad kw=”hotels Rio de Janeiro”]
A panorama of Rio
Rio de Janeiro has one of the longest beaches in the world, a long stretch of gold which runs for 4km alongside the Atlantic Ocean. Football fans should be familiar with Rio as one of the capitals of football in the world: Flamengo, Fluminense, Botafogo and Vasco da Gama are just some of the local teams. When there’s not a match on, you can spot the football fans at the beach, playing their own game with a pitch made out of sand, the lines dug deep into it so that there’s no mistaking a foul.
Additionally, Rio is an economic, cultural and financial hub for the country and if this weren’t already enough, it’s the first choice among tourists heading to Latin America. Nowadays the city is in the middle of a restructuring program, which in the coming years, will make it the first city in South America to host the Olympic Games. As for choosing 5 things to see and do, it’s impossible. But these can’t be missed!
Ipanema is one of the most luxurious of the whole country, filled to the brim with shops and boutiques. The district gets its name from the legendary beach nearby. Located in Zone 6, this is a very liberal community which is very attractive for gay travellers. At one time this street was known as the most gay-friendly in the world.
It was opened in 1984 and is the centre of Carnival. It can accommodate up to 85,000 people inside. Here the best samba dancers and schools continue to compete. Carnival in Rio is explosive, attraction 17 million people every year, not bad! Although the structure is mainly reserved for carnival, you can visit it year-round.
This is without a doubt the most famous district in Brazil. The streets scream an irresistible bohemian multiculturalism. Theatres, cafés, shops and bars where artists are creating the next new thing inside. The area is also quite touristy but the international visitor’s curiosity is a healthy addition to the passion of the locals. Copacabana is one of the three zones with the highest population density and the local beach, Princesinha do Mar is packed during the summer months. Brazilians and foreigners alike can be found playing beach football or soaking in the sun’s rays.
Praia do Leblon
Praia do Leblon is an extension of Ipanema Beach, now quite small because of the high tides. Towards the end of the beach (west) check out Mirante do Leblon where you can enjoy some excellent views of the beaches and neibourhoods below, Ipanema and Pedra do Arpoador. The district is widely considered one of the most posh and chic of Rio. Here you’ll find a wide selection of restaurants, international movie theatres, shops and bars with rooftop terraces. Fancy trying something different to eat? Brazil serves up savoury dishes to satisfy the food-lovers soul!
Pão de Açúcar
A large rock at the mouth of Guanabara Bay, this 336m tall “peak” can mean only one thing: there is an awesome viewpoint from the top! Take the cable car up which takes a 1400m path from Babylon to UrcaHill. The trip only last 5 minutes though but the experience is worth it, especially is the weather is very clear, a great place for taking photos.
Getting to Rio de Janeiro is a lot easier than you may think. There are direct flights from London, although the journey takes almost 12 hours, so a short stopover might actually be welcome! British Airways, TAM and BMI all fly direct.
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Have you already been to Brazil’s old capital? Tell us what was the most remarkable place in the city for you!