The Insider Guide
There are few cities in the world as iconic as Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, from Copacabana beach to the distinctive lump of the Sugarloaf Mountain to the mighty Christ the Redeemer, gazing down on the city and the regions around it from the top of Mount Corcovado. Here’s our guide.
The Main Attractions
Rio de Janeiro is a carnival city, known for its colour, its music – samba and bossa nova – for its football, and above all, for its scenery and setting, as dramatic as anything you’ll find the world over. The figure of Christ the Redeemer is the defining symbol of Rio de Janeiro. Created by Polish-French sculptor Paul Landowski in the 1920s, it stands 30m (98ft) tall, on an eight-metre (26ft) pedestal, with arms stretched out 28m (91ft) wide looking down over the stunning Brazilian city. The figure is 704m (2309ft) high on the summit of Corcovado, and the hike up from Parque Lage takes about three hours for a round trip. Back down at sea level, the Copacabana beach, looking on to Sugarloaf Mountain, is possibly the most famous in the world. The crescent-shaped sand looks out on the Atlantic Ocean and runs for 3.5km (2.2mi), with swirling black and white pavements designed by Brazilian architect Roberto Burle Marx along the way. The Copacabana isn’t the only famous beach in Rio, though, and another notable mention would be Ipanema Beach. It’s all about style here. This is where you go to show off your latest look. Away from the beaches, Pedra do Sa is a site of historic and religious importance in the neighbourhood of Saúde, and a quieter side to Rio can be found in the Jardim Botânico, Rio’s Botanical Gardens, where you'll walk past vibrant, exotic greenery including Amazonian water lilies. It can be a great stop before heading up to Christ the Redeemer, though for a real hit of nature, get out to Parque Nacional da Tijuca, a tropical rainforest in Rio de Janeiro. At 39sqkm (15sqmi), it’s often said to be the world’s largest urban forest. Rio really is a city that has everything.