Ipanema beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro: eight essential sights and experiences

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Rio’s residents call their home the Cidade Marvilhosa – and there can’t be much argument about that. The city is home to some of the greatest landmarks in the world, from the Corcovado mountain, supporting the great statue of Christ the Redeemer, to the famous sweeps of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. With the World Cup well and truly underway in Brazil, there’s never been a better time to plan a visit. Taken from the brand new Rough Guides Snapshot Rio de Janeiro, here are eight of the city’s highlights:

The Corcovado: Its giant statue of Christ with outstretched arms is Rio’s most famous image and it has the best views across the city.

Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro

Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Glória do Outeiro: One of the smallest of Rio’s colonial churches, but certainly the most beautiful.

2793126688_d09e20825c_bRodrigo_Soldon via Compfight cc

Ipanema beach: The city’s best beach for people watching.

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Instituto Moreira Salles: This splendid modernist house hosts noteworthy exhibits of nineteenth-century Brazilian art and photography.

5937882281_3d2be7d65e_brtietz via Compfight cc

Parque Nacional da Tijuca: With a variety of trails and a wealth of flora and fauna, this fine city park offers spectacular views of Rio.

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Lapa nightlife: Samba, forró and other Brazilian rhythms pound out of the bars and nightclubs of this central Bohemian district.

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Museu de Arte Contemporânea: One of Oscar Niemeyer’s most stunning creations; on a fine day, its views across the bay to Rio are dazzling.

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Paraty: Among the prettiest and best preserved colonial towns in Brazil, Paraty is also a great base to explore the Costa Verde’s islands and beaches.

476950753_5 Rough Guides Snapshot Brazil: Rio de Janeiro

Buy the Rough Guides Snapshot Rio de JaneiroBook hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.