Rio de Janeiro: eight essential sights and experiences

updated 7/20/2021
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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.

© T photography/Shutterstock

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

© lazyllama/Shutterstock

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

Ipanema Beach surfing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil © lazyllama/Shutterstock

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

Moreira Salles Institute, Paulista Avenue, Sao Paulo © adautolimaneto/Shutterstock

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.

Rio de Janeiro Sugar Loaf, Botafogo beach and Corcovado mountain, Tijuca, Brazil © Dmitri Kalvan/Shutterstock

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

© Shutterstock

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.

Oscar Niemeyer, Niteroi, Brazil © Juliano Galvao Gomes/Shutterstock

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.

Paraty, Brazil © LucVi/Shutterstock

For more inspiration for visitng Brazil check out our guide to the best things to do in Brazil.

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updated 7/20/2021
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