Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Must do

Life in Rio revolves around the beach, and no visit to the cidade maravilhosa is complete without visiting the famous sands of Ipanema and Copacabana. On Sundays the beachside road is closed to traffic from Leblon, at the far end of Ipanema, to Leme, at the far end of Copacabana, allowing visitors to stroll the entire length of the city’s beautiful beaches.

What do you like best about your city?

The stunning natural beauty, the beaches, the warm weather…I could go on and on. However, what makes Rio truly special for me are its people – the cariocas. The sheer energy and love of life here is amazing – Rio locals really know how to enjoy themselves!

Best Walk in Rio

Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, in the Lagoa neighbourhood. Seven kilometres of clearly-marked walking, cycling and jogging track skirt the perimeter of the beautiful city lake, which is flanked by forest-clad mountains. Those who still have energy to spare after navigating the lake can head to the nearby Parque Catacumba, where a path cuts uphill through tropical gardens and bamboo groves to a viewpoint overlooking the lake. Sit and catch your breath as you take in the view and see the condors sweep past just inches away.

Best Restaurants in Rio

Upscale dining options are centred around the well-heeled neighbourhoods of Ipanema and Leblon. Restaurants such as Fasano Al Mar and Olympe deliver food of the highest quality, but you should expect to pay through the nose for the privilege. More informal, but highly renowned dining can be found at the wonderfully kitsch Miam Miam, in Botafogo, and at Aprazivel, in the hillside neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, where you can dine in a tropical garden with fantastic views over the city.

Best Music/Festival

It goes without saying – Carnival. For four days in February (occasionally March, depending on the date of Easter), the city goes wild to the sound of samba. The purpose-built Sambodromo stadium hosts the world famous samba school parades, while locals and tourists take to the streets in their millions to strut their stuff at the city’s many blocos (street parties). 

Best Nightlife

Forget the overpriced posing palaces of Ipanema and the seedy tourist traps of Copacabana. Nightlife in Rio is all about Lapa. During the week, head here to find some of the best live samba, pagode and forro music in the city. At the weekend, the streets throng with people as the legendary street party. It sees locals and tourists gather to drink fruity cocktails while making their way from bar to bar before heading to a club to shake their stuff to hip hop, funk or – of course – samba.

Best Day Trip Out of the City

Don’t miss the chance to take a boat trip down the Costa Verde (GreenCoast). The islands surrounding the town of Angra dos Reis. Crystal clear waters, white sands and falling coconuts are all part and parcel of an island-hopping trip down the coast. Most tour companies will lay on a light lunch of fresh fruit was well. From the marina in Gloria, you’ll sail down the coast for around three hours. You’ll get time for swimming and sunbathing before heading back to Rio at sunset.

Something that not many tourists would know about

While fashion in Rio tends to be high in price and low in quality. Vintage fashion fans however will be in their element. Head for the hills of boho Santa Teresa to find a wealth of boutiques selling vintage clothes (for both sexes). You can get accessories at bargain prices, alongside pretty handcrafted clothes and jewellery.