Rio de Janeiro
’s beauty stretches for miles, so one of the best ways to cover ground and see as much as possible is by cycling. The city has plenty of bike hire options and well-connected cycle paths that allow cyclists to avoid sharing the traffic-ridden roads. From leisurely ambles around Lagoa to more demanding routes through the Tijuca forest, we discover some of Rio’s most scenic cycling routes
Christ the Redeemer/Corcovado
Cycling along the Corcovado route combines a challenging terrain with a stop at one of Rio’s most iconic monuments. The path starts at Alto da Boa Vista and follows a 10 kilometer (6.21 mile) stretch up Corcovado mountain to the Christ the Redeemer before a downhill return to the start point. The whole route is 20 kilometers (12.42 miles) and includes an incredibly demanding couple of kilometers going up Corcovado. The views, however, are breathtaking and the route has little traffic on the weekend as part of the roads are closed to vehicles.
Alto da Boa Vista, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Prainha and Barra da Tijuca
Starting in Leblon, this epic 90-kilometer (55.92-mile) route is a test of stamina and endurance. The path combines cycleways, hills and roads while following the picturesque coastline of Rio de Janeiro’s iconic shores along the west zone of the city. After cycling through Barra da Tijuca, the final point is Prainha, a small yet captivating beach popular among surfers, before returning along the same route back to Leblon. It’s a challenging route yet the views make it immensely rewarding.
Prainha, Avenida Estado da Guanabara, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Prainha | © CP DC Press/Shutterstock
Olympic cycling route
Relive the Olympic spirit with this segment of the cycling route used during the 2016 Rio games. The route begins at the Pontal and follows the Grumari circuit that includes the coastlines in the west of Rio and some inland forest paths. There are two steep hills in this route – the Grumari climb of 1.3 kilometers (0.8 miles) and the Grota Funda climb of 2.13 kilometers (1.32 miles). The complete route clocks up about 30 kilometers (18.64 miles) and combines mesmerizing ocean views with a scenic forest stretch.
Pedra da Pontal, Recreio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The calm and picturesque lake in the south zone of the city is perfect for beginners or those looking for a more leisurely ride. The 7.38-kilometer (4.58-mile) cycle path circles Lagoa and is flat with a couple of minor changes of gradient that last just a few meters. The tranquil setting and outstanding views create a pleasurable bike ride.
Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Starting from Horto in Jardim Botânico, the route takes cyclists up to Vista Chinesa, a stunning viewpoint in Tijuca forest. The whole route is approximately 15 kilometers (9.32 miles) which includes an incredibly demanding five-kilometer (3.1-mile) uphill climb. Although the route is relatively short, it is considered an advanced route due to this challenging steep hill.
Vista Chinesa, Estr. da Vista Chinesa, 1294 – Alto da Boa Vista, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This scenic route stretches 13 kilometers (8.07 miles) from Alto da Boa Vista through Tijuca forest, the world’s largest urban forest. There are several waterfalls to stop by along the way and the shade from the dense vegetation provides a welcome relief from the strong sun. The steep parts of the route are challenging yet doable for intermediate level cyclists. Advanced cyclists can mix this route with the Vista Chinesa one for a more demanding pace.
Tijuca Forest, Estr. da Cascatinha, 850 – Alto da Boa Vista, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The route starts and ends in Ipanema and follows Rio’s coastline over to Niteroi. It includes following the path along Copacabana, Botafogo and Flamengo, before heading into Rio’s city center. From here, cyclists take a 45-minute boat trip to Niteroi, a neighbouring city, before following the 24 kilometers (14.91 miles) of coastline there. The route totals 55 kilometers (34.17 miles) and is relatively flat and easy terrain.
Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil