10 Spectacular Sights to See in Rio de Janeiro

Don't be ashamed to follow the tourist trail in Rio de Janeiro. Sights such as the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana should be at the top of any sun lover´s itinerary, while the legendary Christ Statue (officially one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World) and the towering form of Sugar Loaf are equally unmissable.

It is worth making the most of sunny days to tick off these must-sees, as the views are at their photogenic best in the sparkling sunshine. 

Once you´ve seen the biggest of the sights, it´s time to check out some of Rio´s slightly less famous charms. Firstly, head up into the hills of Santa Teresa, where you will find steep cobbed streets, envy-inspiring colonial mansions and a wealth of bohemian bars and restaurants. 

On hot days, the lovely Botanical Gardens offer much needed shade and a little respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, while nearby Parque Lage is home to a historic building with a backdrop so stunning that it has featured in videos from the likes of Snoop Dogg and the Black Eyed Peas.

Meanwhile, adventure seekers and nature lovers can find any number of outdoor activities in the vast Tijuca National Park - the largest swathe of urban jungle in the world - but be sure to go with a guide as it is all to easy to get lost. 

Santa Teresa
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

There's more to Rio de Janeiro than its beaches, and the artistic heart of the city can be found up in the jungle-clad hills of Santa Teresa. Here, pastel-colored colonial mansions have been converted into bucolic bars, friendly guest houses,...  Read More

Surprisingly overlooked by many visitors to Rio, Praia Vermelha is a small curve of coarse sand that sits right at the foot of Sugar Loaf mountain. The mountain-and-ocean backdrop is stunning, and the calm waters are occasionally clean enough...  Read More

Botanical Gardens
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

The informal restaurant inside the leafy gardens that give Jardim Botanico its name is one of the most pleasant spots in the city to enjoy a sandwich, salad and a coffee or glass of wine. This shady botanical garden is a must-visit for...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

Lagao Rodrigues de Freitas, or Lagoa as it is popularly known, is Rio's beautiful city lake and yet another postcard perfect scene in this city of so many natural wonders. The vast stretch of water is flanked by jungle-clad, cloud-swathed...  Read More

Be sure to set aside time in your schedule to visit this unique, grand-scale artwork in downtown. Named after the Chilean artist Jorge Selaron, who dedicated the last decades of his life to tirelessly working on this 'tribute to the Brazilian...  Read More

Maracana Stadium
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

The mighty Maracana is arguably the world's most famous soccer stadium and, while it is no longer the largest in the world, its 78,000 capacity means it is still a giant among sports arenas. The stadium, whose official title is Estadio...  Read More

While Copacabana wins out as the most picture-perfect city beach in Rio, Ipanema is easily the more chic of the two neighboring stretches of sand. Less flanked by high rise hotels than its neighbor, Ipanema is the ideal place to while away...  Read More

Copacabana Beach
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

Copacabana beach is famous the world over, and while it's 1950s glamorous heyday is over, it is still a spectacular stretch of sand. The crashing waves, scantically-clad beachgoers and skilled beach soccer players all call the eye, while the...  Read More

Sugar Loaf (Pao de Acucar)
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

One of the most famous mountain peaks in the world, Sugar Loaf (Pao de Acucar in Portuguese) scarcely needs an introduction. But while you may be familiar with the tourist board images of the cable car making its dizzying ascent up to the top...  Read More

No trip to Rio would be complete without a trip to see 'the Big Guy', and the views from the feet of this most iconic of statues are truly breathtaking. One of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World, the 'Christo Redentor' stands tall atop...  Read More


Meet Lucy Bryson

Lucy is a British freelance writer living in Rio de Janeiro since 2007. While there are some things she misses about her home country, the lure of year-round sunshine has proved too powerful to resist.