The Best of Rio de Janeiro: 8 Iconic Sites Not To Miss

Ipanema beach with spectacular mountain called

The Rio 2016 Olympics are officially here! If you’re lucky enough to be joining the 500,000+ people who traveled to Brazil for the big event, here are some sites not to be missed during your trip.

If you’re watching from elsewhere, why not take some notes for your future trip to the beautiful Brazilian capital?! 🙂

1) Sugarloaf Mountain 

Rising 396 meters (1,299 ft) out of the water above the harbor, the beloved Sugarloaf Mountain is said to have received its name due to its resemblance of refined loaf sugar. The world famous cable car leaves a ground station located at the base of the Babilônia hill, to the Urca hill and then to the Pão de Açúcar. It holds up to 65 people, so be sure to reserve your seat. Don’t miss the opportunity to take in the panoramic views of the city!


2) Christ The Redeemer 

Resting atop Corcovado and overlooking sweeping views of Rio, Cristo Redentor is not only a must see, it is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.  The work of 4 prominent creators, sculptor Paul Landowski, engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, in collaboration engineer Albert Caquot and artist Gheorghe Leonida,  has been a cultural icon for decades. Christ The Redeemer is also a symbol of Christianity across the world. Take a hike through the world’s largest urban forest, Tijuca Forest National Park, on the way to the top. You may even see some of Brazil’s amazing wildlife.

📷 @alinecalheirosb 😉👏🏻

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Mañana empiezan los Juegos Olímpicos 2016 en Río de Janeiro. ¡Hay qué ver qué ganas de Juegos tenemos! Las mismas que de anunciaros que a partir de hoy ya tenéis disponible nuestra audioguía de Río de Janeiro en nuestra web y app. De momento solo la tenemos en inglés, pero la semana que viene ya estará la versión en español. ¡A disfrutar de los Juegos y de esta magnífica ciudad! Tomorrow is a big day. The Olympic Games 2016 start in Rio de Janeiro. We are so looking forward for the Games to start as we are to introduce you to our new destination. Yep! We made it! From today onwards you can download our Rio city guide for free from our website or app. Enjoy the Olympics in this fantastic city! #RioDeJaneiro #Río #Rio #CristoCorcovado #PanDeAzúcar #PaoDeAçucar #SugarloafMountain #beautifulview #bonitapanoramica #vistaaerea #aerialview #JuegosOlímpicos2016 #OlympicGames2016 #Rio2016 #NuevoDestinoPAT2016 #NewPATDestination2016 #NuevoDestinoPATAgosto2016 #NewPATAugust16Destination #playandtour #audioguiasPLAYandTOUR #PATCityGuides #GuíasDeViajePAT #audioguiasgratisPAT #freecityguides #PATfreecityguides #adescubrirmundo #discoverRio #igersrio #igersriodejaneiro

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3) Copacabana Beach

Stretching along for a gorgeous 4 km/2.5 miles, Copacabana is one of the most famous beaches in the world. Wander along the Calçada Portuguese, the bright blue  tiled walkway and take in everything one of the best parts of town has to offer. You can rent a sun lounger and join the locals on the sand or sip a caipirinha at one of the seaside bars. There is plenty of action but with relaxed, Brazilian vibes.  Copacabana is a great place to spend the day or evening, or both!

Explore places to stay in Copacabana here.

4) The Maracanã Stadium

Originally built as the flagship venue for the 1950 World Cup, The Maracanã Stadium was meant to become the biggest football stadium in the world. Today it’s the regular home of Flamengo and Fluminense, and is also the official home of the Rio 2016 Olympics. If you’re there for the games, we’ll be watching your Instagram feed!

5) Arcos da Lapa

These famous Romanesque arches date back to the mid-1700s and serve as a popular photo spot for visitors and locals alike.  When the structure was first built, it served as an aqueduct which carried water from the Carioca River to downtown Rio. There are 42 arches, each one measuring 64m high. Today you can catch the bond and ride along the arches from Centro and Santa Teresa.

#ArcosDaLapa #Rio #RioDeJaneiro #Brazil

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7) Ipanema Beach 

One of Elvoline’s picks for Best Beaches in the World, Ipanema Beach is iconic for many reasons. It’s a place to see and be seen. Ipanema’s avant-garde galleries, bookstores and movie theaters earned it the nickname “little Paris.” Beautiful locals and tourists mix in to play beach soccer, volleyball and football, go surfing and relax in the sun. On Sundays, the beach path is only open to pedestrians, so why not take a stroll or stretch out on the sand and people watch? If you’d like to see the famous Brazilian Capoeira, Sunday is a great day to do that as well. The beauty of Ipanema Beach is waiting to welcome you!

Discover places to stay in Ipanema here.

📷 @celolimma 😉👏🏻

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8) Escadaria Selarón

Also known as the ‘Selaron Steps,’ Escadaria Selarón is one of Rio’s most beloved attractions. The stairs are the work of Chilean-born painter and ceramist Jorge Selarón, who claimed it was his “tribute to the Brazilian people.” The work took him 20 years to complete. The stairs are located in the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighborhoods, and Selarón first moved to the area in the 80’s and began laying tiles on the stairs in 1990.  There are 215 stairs that lead up to the Convent of Santa Teresa, all lovingly covered with his work and are stunning to behold.


We hope you enjoyed reading, here’s to a remarkable Olympics season!  Caio!

Click here to explore new places to stay, dine and relax in Rio de Janeiro.

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