Sights of Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro was built on the coast of the Guanabara Bay in the XVI century by Portuguese colonists. Today it is home to more than 6 million people, and if you include the suburbs - about 13 million.

Rio is known for its beaches. Therefore, deciding what to see in Rio de Janeiro, you should start with fabulous sandy corners.

Facts About Rio de Janeiro

Real (R$) (BRL)
Municipality: 6,453,682 | Metro: 12,090,607 (2014)
UTC-3 | Summer: UTC-2

Map of Rio de Janeiro Attractions

Top 13 Sights in Rio de Janeiro

Grumari Beach

Grumari Beach is not large, but cozy place on the coast, which is located not far from Barra Beach. The peculiarity of this beautiful beach is that there are no noisy restaurants, hotels, shopping and entertainment centers, and other high-rise buildings in the surrounding area. This location is very tempting and it attracts many people from the nearby villages and residents of Rio.

Along the beach there are lush thickets of local nature reserve called Parque Municipal Ecológico da Prainha. They are situated parallel to the coastline. It decorates the coast of saturated color, and makes the air clean and fresh. The most daring tourists can take a walk through the jungle, and get acquainted with the flora and fauna of Brazil. Flora and fauna of these places is very rich. After bathing in warm water and relaxing on the sand, you can observe the life of exotic insects and birds. Please be careful: Amazon area is not only funny, but also a very dangerous place.

Grumari Beach is the ideal place for those people who are tired of the hustle and bustle of both life and the pressures of the city. Nature and peace rule here. But on weekends the place is full of vacationers.

Tijuca National Park

In the past, Rio de Janeiro was surrounded by harsh and wild jungle. Today only 120 square meters left from them, which actually form the Tijuca National Park. This nature reserve was created in 1961 to prevent floods, soil erosion, reduce air pollution and to create public recreation areas. In 1991, UNESCO enrolled Tijuca National Park to the world's biosphere reserves.

Tijuca Park is the most extensive urban forest in the world. It is famous for its beautiful trees, waterfalls, incredible beauty, diverse representatives of flora and fauna. The whole territory of the reserve is divided into three main sectors, which differ in certain subjects.

Unfortunately, wood is constantly exposed to the attempts of illegal invasion and capture of valuable land for commercial purposes. At the moment, the National Forest is under the patronage and protection of the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources. The park is ennobled and equipped with seating areas, elegant bridges and fountains. There are also many picturesque lakes here.

Jardim Botanico

Jardim Botanico Fanchette Rischbieter is one of the most interesting, famous and popular attractions of Brazil. The garden was officially established in 1991. It occupies an area of 240 thousand square meters. By the way, the campus of the Federal University is located on the territory of Jardim Botânico.

Botanical Garden was created in the French style. It is full of various ponds and small waterfalls. The main property of the whole garden is its greenhouse area of 458 square meters. Its interior is considered to be an exact replica of a tropical plantation. At the heart of the greenhouse a metal frame is used. It creates the effect of "Crystal Palace of the 19th century", which is located in London. There is gorgeous iridescent floral carpet before the entrance of the garden. The carpet warns that there are lots of interesting things there.

The exposition of the Botanical Museum was mainly created from both the national flora collection that prevails in the local area, and from a variety of botanical species collected in the vast forests of eastern Brazil.

Christ the Redeemer and Corcovado

Photo: Phil King

Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is a unique city. It is well-known with its carnivals, dynamic life and historical monuments. The most signifcant sight of Rio de Janeiro is the Christ the Redeemer statue.

This huge construction is set at the top of Corcovado Mountain. The statue is a symbol of Christianity. It represents love and kindness.

It was created by Paul Landowski, a French architect. Heitor da Silva Costa, a Brazilian engineer, built this monument in cooperation with a French engineer Albert Caquot.

The Christ the Redeemer statue, which was built in 1931, is pretty big. It is 38 meters tall and 28 meters wide. It weighs 635 metric tons. Tourists from all over the world come to Brazil to see this stunning monument.

There is an interesting story about the statue. The government of Rio de Janeiro wanted to erect a monument which would become a symbol of Brazil’s independence. Some projects were worked-out. One of the architects suggested the building of a huge sphere as a symbol of peace in the world. But no one supported this idea.

Then Heitor da Silva Costa came up with an idea of a huge statue of Christ with his hands wide-opened for all people on the Earth. It was a brilliant idea! The project was approved and Paul Landowski began his work.

5 years later everything was ready for building. Materials and parts of the future monument were delivered. The construction was very expensive. It cost $250,000. Brazil did not have the sum, so Brazilians donated their money for the construction.

The statue is made with soapstone, which is very firm. Nevertheless on the 10 of February, 2008 the monument was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm. Its head, eyebrows and fingers were damaged. The statue was renewed in 2010.

There was one more restoration, in 2003. A crust was removed from the statue’s covering. Serious winds are destroying the statue, so the maintenance is always needed. The monument looks very beautiful at night with a modern system of lighting, which was made during the restoration.

A railway, which was built during the construction, functions today. It helps tourists to reach the monument.

In 2006 Brazil celebrated the 75th anniversary of the statue. The bishop of Rio de Janeiro gave a speech at this ceremony. He also sanctified the chapel in the pedestal of the statue. The church was named Nossa Aparecida.

The statue of Christ the Redeemer was included in the modern day Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.

Santa Teresa

While in Rio de Janeiro, you must have a walk along the famous and ancient district of Santa Teresa. Locals simply call it Santa. This neighborhood has a reputation of a romantic and bohemian corner of Rio. There are many different art workshops, winding streets and extravagant architecture.

There are also many attractions. For example, park of Ruins and Characa do Ceu house-museum, which is located at the very top of the mountain where dazzling views of the city can be observed. It also has an interesting Russian Church of the Holy Zinaida and many diverse colorful shops.

This area is not only a bohemian, but the elite place. The neighborhood is filled with luxury villas, expensive hotels and fashionable restaurants. It all started with a small built-up around the monastery of the 18th century, where rich people and aristocrats lived until the beginning of 1960th.  Because of widespread crime, they were forced to leave Santa. Closer to 1990, many artists settled here. They laid the foundation of Santa Teresa neighborhood.

This area deserves special attention. Here you can wander through the narrow cozy streets, look at a variety of shops and have great views from the top of the mountain where amazing park of ruins and Characa do Ceu house-museum are located.

Ilha Fiscal

Ilha Fiscal Palace is located on the same island in Guanabara Bay near the coast of Rio de Janeiro. Its appearance is similar to the residence of a queen or a princess. It does not look like the headquarters of the Customs Service of Brazil. This palace was built in 1889 or this service. Nowadays this spectacular palace is the home for Brazil Naval museum. But tourists are mostly attracted not by the museum itself, but by the magnificent architecture of the castle. Ilha Fiscal Palace is surrounded by both bodies of water lilies and amazing scenic background of mountains. It resembles the medieval cathedral very much.

This is the most beautiful and elegant building in Rio de Janeiro. It combines elements brought from different corners of the planet. There is the clock at 20 meters high in the castle tower. It has four dials on each side of the world and excellent night-lights. They were imported from Germany. A special image from heraldic stained glass of fire adorns the palace. It was produced in England. Floor in the Head`s room is paved with parquet mosaic of fourteen types of wood.

There are many fascinating, three-hour tours to Ilha Fiscal Palace. They usually work from Thursday to Sunday. A regular excursion costs about 3-4 dollars.

Ipanema Beach

In Rio de Janeiro area in the vicinity of Ipanema Beach there is a wonderful beach that bears the same name. It is located between the neighborhoods of Leblon and Arpoador. It became famous beach in the mid-1960s after the release of "The Girl from Ipanema" song, which used to be a real music hit.

Ipanema Beach`s name means "bad water" in the language of Tupi tribe. Nowadays it is a delightful place to relax and have fun. The territory of Ipanema is constantly under the close supervision of rescuers. It is conventionally divided into sections. This greatly simplifies orienteering.

Every Sunday the road along Ipanema is closed for vehicular traffic. It is filled with people on bicycles, roller skates and skateboards. The west side of the beach is crowned by the majestic mountains "Two Brothers".

Area, which is adjacent to the beach, is one of the richest accommodations in Rio de Janeiro. This neighborhood is full of world-class hotels, fashionable restaurants and expensive shops. This area is the second richest in Rio. Leblon district occupies the first place. In addition, it is also the safest beach in the district of Rio.

Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum

Brazil Contemporary Art Museum is located in the town of Niteroi. However, this is a landmark of Rio de Janeiro, which is located across the bay from Niteroi. The museum presents an interesting exposition in a large and beautiful room, which was made with extraordinary design solutions. The museum collections constantly replace one another. That is why there is a special website for the convenience of visitors. It can be regularly checked for all the updates and detailed schedule.

The museum has become world-famous not only due to diverse collection, but also for its architectural and design solutions. The author of the museum building project was Oscar Niemeyer. It was a talented architect who gained his fame thanks to extraordinary and beautiful works of art. The building of Contemporary Art Museum was made in accordance to the theme of the museum in Modern architecture style. It resembles either a flying saucer, or a huge bowl on the leg. All perception depends on the imagination of the viewer.

An entrance to the museum is designed as a wide bevel, which leads directly to the hall itself. It contains the best exposition of contemporary art in Latin America.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Photo: Digo_Souza

One of the most interesting and famous sights of Rio is considered to be the Sugar Loaf Mountain. It rises above the bay of Guanabara and reaches 396 meters height. It received such a funny name as a result of constant weathering of igneous rocks. They have created a mountain elevation in the form of a lump of sugar. There is no flora on the mountain.

This hill is famous for the fact that a small Portuguese settlement was founded here in 1565. Centuries passed by, and now it is a wonderful and exciting city of Rio de Janeiro.

According to official figures, the first recorded ascent to Sugar Loaf Mountain took place in 1817. At that time English pediatric nurse Henrietta Carstairs hoisted the Britain flag at the top of the mountain.

In 1903, cableway started to be built to Sugar Loaf Mountain. Please note that the cableway works successfully nowadays. There are three stops on its rout: the Urca Mountain, "Red Beach" and Sugar Loaf. In the 1970s, an outdoor amphitheater Conca Verde was created not far from this hill. It was a concert and entertainment complex. Fortunately, it continues to work presently.


Rio de Janeiro is famous for its beautiful, lively and two-faced neighborhood called Lapa. The duplicity of the district is manifested in the fact that it seems pretty stiff at first glance, even a solid area. There are beautiful buildings of renovated concert halls, as well as a famous Cafe Cultural Sacrilegio restaurant. The best and fiery samba in the whole Rio is danced here.

On the other hand, we can see that this area is full of carefree and cheerful life. Young people have fun here all night round in a variety of institutions. They all enjoy a special unique atmosphere of Rio. On Rua da and Rua Joaquim Silva streets there are many representatives of hip-hop culture. They dance salsa and listen to reggae every day. Lapa is always crowded.

In Lapa as well as other areas of Rio, has its own beach. However, this city district has become popular not only by its picturesque bay. Lapa has become famous due to the color and rhythm of life that is unique in this place. Streets of Lapa are almost always filled with people, and in the evening it is lit very well. It allows you to walk up to the morning securely.


Photo: marcusrg

Prainha beach is virtually unknown to the general mass of tourists. But it is a real place of pilgrimage for surfers, both novices and professionals. At this point they are attracted not only by spectacular views, but by huge and beautiful waves.

Prainha beach is quite young. It was opened in 2001. It is a rocky area of 147 acres, covered with varied flora. Because of this unruly landscape and constant winds, this beach is not very interesting for fans to soak into warm sand after a relaxing swimming in the ocean. But it has a great advantage in the form of seclusion and tranquility - there are neither crowds, nor noisy restaurants here. This allows you to really feel the nature, enjoy both the noise of the ocean and spectacular views. For the multiplier effect of such an atmosphere you can try a cocktail, sitting under an elegant palm tree. You will be definitely offered a drink right in the shell of a coconut.

An only bus route goes to the beach. You can see the beauty of the coastal area of Rio de Janeiro through its windows. You can also use a car to reach Prainha beach.

Barra da Tijuca

Barra da Tijuca is not a typical area of Rio de Janeiro. It is more like a district of Miami. There are fashion boutiques, fashionable restaurants and nightclubs. High life is developed in this area very much. There are no endemic to Rio villas, detached houses and comfortable apartment buildings in this area. All space is filled with shining skyscrapers, huge shopping malls, office buildings and various other condominiums.

However, tourists gather in Barra da Tijuca not to look at this Brazilian metropolis. They come here to enjoy the famous beach, which is well-known all over the world. Barra Beach is the longest beach in the whole Rio. Its length is eighteen kilometers. It surpassed even popular Copacabana, Leblon and Ipanema, if you add up their sizes together. In 2016 summer Olympics will be held here. By the way, this is one of the few places where there are all conditions for comfortable and around the clock kitesurfers and surfers riding.

District of Barra da Tijuca is considered to be one of the most peaceful and prosperous neighborhoods around Rio. The most famous and rich "Carioca" live here: businessmen, officials and football players.

Copacabana Beach

Copacabana Beach is probably the most famous and popular beach not just around Rio de Janeiro, but in the whole Brazil. Copacabana is a sandy area as wide as a football field. It is four kilometers long. All the most interesting and fun events in Rio take place here. This beach has become a favorite place for both thousands of tourists from around the world, and many international celebrities.

Copacabana gained fame in the mid-1950s. At this time many musicians, writers and artists, and other bohemians began settling in the neighborhood of Copacabana. The name of this beach is associated with the icon of Virgin of Copacabana.

The beach is of an unimaginable beauty. The contrast of white sand and blue ocean creates a gorgeous picture. Urca Mountain and Sugarloaf are located near Copacabana. They are also the most recognizable sights of Rio. This beach is one of the few places in Rio, where night lighting is organized like a natural. It allows tourists surfing and playing football even at night.

This beach is also famous for its spectacular New Year celebrations. It consists of an exciting program. There are colorful fireworks, which can last for half an hour, musical shows and live concerts.

About Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is a city in sunny Brazil, which is second in size only to São Paulo. For two centuries it was the capital of the country, and today it is the main cultural and economic center.

Where to go, what to see in Rio de Janeiro?

Elite and super modern district of Barra da Tijuca brought glory is its fantastic beach of Barra Beach. It is huge, clean and beautiful - a real paradise for swimmers and surfers. Grumari Beach reserves a piece of the coast, if you go here on a weekday, you can enjoy the peace and quiet full.

Copacabana Beach can also be called elite, but in a different way. There are many decades’ rests and settles bohemians, a broad band of white sand and night illumination make this place very popular among "clubbers". In particular, it is here that the inhabitants of Rio celebrate the New Year.

On the rocky Preynga beach travelers rarely meet, thanks to a strong emotion and constant winds it is fully "occupied" by surfers. But the most sanitized Ipanema is a resting place of the locals. The beach is considered to be the safest and the adjoining neighborhoods of Rio - the most fashionable.

What to look out for in Rio de Janeiro on a priority basis, so it is a majestic statue of Christ that crowns Corcovado Mountain. This is the main symbol of Rio. It is believed that the Redeemer protects the city from all disasters and can fulfill the most cherished desire, expressed at the foot of a giant monument.

Also in the list of what to look necessarily in Rio de Janeiro, it is essential to include the reserved Tijuca Park, with its flowers, waterfalls and hanging in the air wicker bridges and Jardim, the best botanical garden Brazil.

But the attractions of Rio de Janeiro are not only natural beauty, but also the old shady streets, monasteries, the palace Ilha sneak and unique architecture Museum of Modern Art - it "floats" above the treetops, as if the most genuine UFO. And to inspire local flavors and feel the pulse of Rio, you should go to the district of Lapa. This local street lives and breathes to the rhythm of samba forever young!