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Rocinha | © Mark Pegrum/Flickr
Rocinha | © Mark Pegrum/Flickr

The Best Free Walking Tours in Rio De Janeiro

Picture of Sarah Brown
Updated: 26 September 2017
See the main attractions of Rio while immersing yourself in local culture by taking a walking tour. The young Brazilian guides bring plenty of energy and passion, turning a stroll around the city into an informative and lively activity. The tours draw an international crowd, making it a great place to meet fellow travelers. Here are the best free tours in Rio de Janeiro.

Favela Walking Tour

The Strawberry Free Favela Tour explores Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro. The guides talk about the region’s history, describing how what was originally a setup of illegal housing grew into a huge self-sufficient community with its own schools, hospitals, shops and banks. The tour includes meeting locals, seeing the local fairs, visiting Rocinha’s samba school and seeing the colorful street art.

Lapa By Night Tour

The Strawberry Lapa by Night Tour visits Rio’s most thriving nightlife region. Starting at the famous Lapa Arches, walkers will learn the history of the colonial architecture in the area and how Lapa transformed from a derelict, dangerous part of town to the liveliest party area in Rio. The tour includes trips to a few of the most popular and traditional bars.

Copacabana and Ipanema Walking Tour

The Free Walkers Copacabana and Ipanema Walking Tour tells the history of two of Rio’s most popular neighborhoods, including key attractions such as the beaches, Copacabana Fort and Arpoador. The tour finishes at Lagoa, a striking natural lake, where guests are treated to a free Brazilian-style picnic.

Tour of the Docks Area (African Heritage)

The Free Walkers Tour of the Docks Area provides a lesser-known overview of the African heritage of Rio. The docks area was the main point of arrival for slaves many years ago and has created a lasting impact on the city’s culture. Walkers will also see the Olympic Boulevard with the world’s largest street mural, the Museum of Tomorrow and Pedra do Sal – the most traditional point for live samba in town.

The Historical City Center Tour

The Rio by Foot City Center Tour explores Rio’s historic downtown, replete with colonial architecture and a rich, complex history. In addition to visiting some of the city’s most famous theaters and art galleries, walkers will also visit Lapa and the iconic Escadaria Selarón steps – the colorful stairway that was hand-decorated by Chilean artist, Jorge Selarón. The tour also includes free cachaça tasting and a free gift.

The Downtown and Lapa Tour

The Free Walkers Tour of Downtown and Lapa shows walkers key city center attractions such as the Lapa Arches and the Selarón steps, while unfolding the complexities of Brazilian history including slavery and the more recent dictatorship. The tour includes a trip to Colombo bakery, one of the most traditional bakeries in the city known for its grandiose architecture and delicious snacks and sweets.

The Paraty Walking Tour

For those taking a weekend or day-trip outside of the city to visit the colonial seaside town of Paraty, then the Free Walkers Paraty Tour is for you. The tour includes a historical overview of the former gold port in the Portuguese colonial days and trips to key attractions such as the old Paraty jail and the local market.