Rio de Janeiro, The Marvellous City
Text : Diane Stehle
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second most populous city after São Paolo, is renowned for its magnificent beaches. However, this metropolis is far from being just a beach destination; from its Christ the Redeemer statue to its famous carnival, Rio de Janeiro is overflowing with treasures to discover. Here are some must-see attractions.
Corcovado (statue of Christ the Redeemer)
Christ the Redeemer, by French sculptor Paul Landowski, is the symbol of the city and a designated historical monument. Located on Mount Corcovado, it offers a breathtaking view of Rio and its beaches. It is best visited on a cloudless day. After climbing the 222 steps leading up to the statue, your efforts will be rewarded!
Copacabana and Ipanema beaches
Ipanema is a spectacular playground with golden sand that welcomes young sports enthusiasts and leisure seekers. It’s also the birthplace of bossa nova. It is lined with luxury boutiques on one side and kiosks offering coconut water, caipirinhas and ice cream on the other. The curving Copacabana, one of the most famous beaches in the world, boasts a length of 4.5 km and is flanked by two historical forts. From dawn to dusk, this popular spot bubbles with activity. Although Ipanema has taken over as the city’s most prestigious beach, Copacapana has one of the locals’ favourite promenades.
The Santa Teresa district
Artists’ studios, museums, cafés and boutiques complement this district’s seductive bohemian charm. Explore its cobbled streets and admire its 19th century houses while enjoying a stunning view of the bay. There’s no better way to get there than the historic Bondinho (tram)!
With its vast, peaceful spaces, hiking trails, waterfalls and views of the city, this 3,200 hectare urban tropical forest is a true oasis just steps away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is home to birds, snakes, iguanas, ocelots, sloths, agoutis and howler monkeys. Take a guided visit or explore it alone, on foot or by car.
A true symbol of Rio, this 395 metre summit is accessible by cable car. The ride offers a stunning view ofthe city, the bay and the beaches. If you go as the sun is setting behind the hills and the city is gradually lit up from beneath, you will understand where Rio gets its nickname, cidade maravilhosa, the marvellous city.
The Rio Carnival
The Rio Carnival takes place over the four days preceding Ash Wednesday (in February) and culminates in a parade through the Sambadrome, an immense complex ten times larger than a soccer stadium. Surrounded by spectacular costumes and richly decorated floats, samba stars dance to the frenzied beat of the drums in front of thousands of people.
Rio’s historical centre
Rio’s historical centre offers an incredible mix of style and history: modern skyscrapers intermingle with the imperial palace and the baroque churches of the Praça XV. This area’s distinctive atmosphere is a perfect marriage of modernity and history. Take a walk in the pedestrian areas along Quitanda, Ouvidor or Carioca streets, which are bordered by boutiques, bars and restaurants. Visit the exciting Saara shopping district, then enter Rio’s cathedral to admire the colourful stained glass windows. Wrap up your excursion with a stroll over to the Arcos da Lapa aqueduct.