Things to do in
Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer, Ipanema Beach, samba, carnival, and football galore; the reasons to visit are endless.

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Our most recommended things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Rio: Christ the Redeemer Official Ticket by Cog Train

1. Rio: Christ the Redeemer Official Ticket by Cog Train

Go all the way up to the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer by the Corcovado Train. The Train rides through a railway inside Tijuca National Park, the largest urban forest in the world, making a unique view over Rio de Janeiro city. Enjoy an amazing ride on a train that takes you right up to the foot of the statue of The Christ, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and one of the most famous sights in Brazil. Besides admiring one of the most beautiful landscapes of the city, you will take a walk through Brazil's history. The Corcovado Railroad was the first electrified railroad in Brazil. Inaugurated in 1884 by D. Pedro II, it is older than Christ the Redeemer itself. In fact, it was the train that, during four consecutive years, transported pieces for monument’s construction. Your visit starts on the century-old electric locomotive, riding across the preserved Atlantic Forest, part of the Tijuca National Park. At the foot of the statue of Christ, you'll be able to take in the most beautiful view over the city, and see from above what makes Rio de Janeiro so special.

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Rio de Janeiro: Carnival 2022 Samba School Parade Ticket

2. Rio de Janeiro: Carnival 2022 Samba School Parade Ticket

Rio's Carnival is the most popular and the best Carnival in the world! No wonder it was named “Largest Carnival in the World” in 2004 by the Guinness Book of World Records. Carioca Carnival is a cultural event, where freedom of expression dominates in a creative and fun way, represented through samba school parades, carnival balls, and a street carnival. The official Samba School parades take place in Rio de Janeiro Sambadrome, created by the most renowned Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer and inaugurated in 1983 with capacity for 80,000 spectators. Every year, the Samba Schools compete for the Carnival Champion Title, one school will be chosen as the best of the best. More than 30,000 people perform throughout Carnival. Each school has between 4,000 and 5,000 participants. There are 5 days of parades, divided into three categories: Access Group, Special Group, and Parade of Champions. Access Group In the Access Group, the best Samba Schools will be able to participate in the Special Group in the following year. You will see 12 schools parade with enthusiasm and beauty. This is perfect for those, who want to see the magic of carnival on a budget. Special Group  These are considered the main days of the Carnival Parade. The best 14 Samba schools in Rio de Janeiro show all their creativity and innovations. These are the true magical nights of the Sambadrome. Tickets are more expensive for these days as it is the most popular parade with major league schools. Champions Parade On that night, the top six Special Group schools, plus the Access Group Champion repeat their performances. This is an extraordinary night to see the Carnaval champions of the year. You will benefit from two subway passes for free. The subway pass is not exclusive to the Carnival Parade. You will be able to use it anytime during your stay.

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Rio de Janeiro: Sugarloaf Cable Car Official Ticket

3. Rio de Janeiro: Sugarloaf Cable Car Official Ticket

Discover the world-famous Sugarloaf Mountain with prebooked official tickets for the cable car, and explore one of Brazil's most popular attractions. Admire stunning views of Rio de Janeiro as you ride the cable car to the summit. Take incredible photos from the lookout point as you enjoy the panorama of the city and the ocean below. Make your own way to the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain, and head directly to the ticket office to exchange your printed voucher. Board the next cable car up the mountain, riding in the fully-enclosed cabin as you take in panoramic views of the city, Copacabana Beach, and Guanabara Bay.  Disembark at the top, where you can spend as much time as you wish. There is a food court and restaurant at the summit where you can purchase snacks and drinks. Once you have finished exploring the summit, your ticket is valid for any returning cable car.

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From Rio de Janeiro: Angra dos Reis Boat Trip with Lunch

4. From Rio de Janeiro: Angra dos Reis Boat Trip with Lunch

Relax on the 3-hour drive to the city of Angra dos Reis. A quick pit-stop on the road will be made to use bathroom facilities and buy a snack. Upon arrival in the docks, enjoy a schooner ride through the hundreds of islands of Angra dos Reis.  Marvel at the beauty of the most famous island of it all: Ilha Grande. Revel at the crystal clear water and rent a snorkel on the spot to see the different species of fish. After, devour the buffet lunch in a fishermen’s village. Explore different stops during the day in places such as the Blue Lagoon, Cataguases beach, and Japariz or Araçá beaches. The captain will choose the best spots depending on crowds and weather conditions.

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Rio de Janeiro Hang Gliding Adventure

5. Rio de Janeiro Hang Gliding Adventure

First, listen to a short briefing from the world's most safe and experienced Hang Glider tandem pilots. They will tell you about the take-off and other aspects of hang gliding before you get airborne. Then, glide smoothly through the tropical air after about 7 steps over the edge of the platform. Any fear you may have will soon disappear and you will experience a very unique sense of tranquility. Enjoy bird's eye views of Rio de Janeiro's main attractions, including Sugar Loaf Mountain, Corcovado, Copacabana, Ipanema, Lagoa and Niteroi city on the other side of Guanabara Bay. Land safely on a sandy beach in São Conrado and enjoy some refreshments as you watch others come in to land. The entire activity will be photographed and recorded on cameras attached to the glider so that you can share your adventure with your friends and family back home. 

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Full-Day Tour with Christ, Sugarloaf, Selaron and BBQ Lunch

6. Full-Day Tour with Christ, Sugarloaf, Selaron and BBQ Lunch

Discover the landmarks of Rio on a full-day guided tour, including pickup and drop off at hotels in Rio. Start with a visit to Corcovado Mountain. Ride by van to the top or board the train, both through the Tijuca Forest. Then, marvel at the main monument of Brazil, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, as you take in panoramic views of Rio. Next, head towards the mythical Maracanã football stadium and observe its imposing façade. Continue to the legendary Sambódromo where the annual Carnival parade takes place. Visit the modern Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, influenced by Mayan pyramids. Check out the brightly colored tiles of the world-famous Selarón Steps at Lapa, before enjoying a typical Brazilian steakhouse lunch. After lunch, visit Sugar Loaf. Take the cable car to the top in two stages and see one of the most iconic natural landmarks in Rio.

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Rio: Maracanã Stadium Official Entrance Ticket

7. Rio: Maracanã Stadium Official Entrance Ticket

Relive Maracanã Stadium’s greatest moments on a fascinating 40-minute visit to one of Rio's most memorable landmarks. Explore the stadium and museum of one of Rio's most popular tourist attractions. Admire an exhibition bringing together important pieces of Brazilian football history. Get ready to take your place in the changing room, prepare yourself in the warm-up room, walk down the tunnel and imagine the roar of nearly 80,000 fans. Visit the press conference room and fell like a Brazilian Football star after a big match. Explore this historical stadium built in 1950 and re-vamped several times over history to host 1950 World Cup and some matches of the World championship 2014. Also, hosted the Confederations cup of 2013, opening and closing ceremonies of the pan American games of 2007 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, in 2016. Besides the sport competitions, Maracanã has already been a stage for important events, like Madonna, Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner shows and camp mass, of the Pope João Paulo II, in 1980 and 1997.

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Rio de Janeiro: Rocinha Favela Walking Tour with Local Guide

8. Rio de Janeiro: Rocinha Favela Walking Tour with Local Guide

Start your favela tour with a pickup from one of the meeting points in Copacabana or Ipanema beach. Journey to the Rocinha Favela for the start of a walking tour at approximately 2:20 PM. Follow your local guide through the favela and learn more about what it is like to live there. Rio's favelas are a big part of city life, and the non-intrusive tour aims to educate you in a way that pays respect to the locals. In addition, part of the cost of your tour is contributed to the community to help them build a better future. Get a different perspective about life in Rio de Janeiro, and benefit from insider tips from a local guide.

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Christ the Redeemer, Selarón Stairs & Sugar Loaf Sunset Tour

9. Christ the Redeemer, Selarón Stairs & Sugar Loaf Sunset Tour

Begin your tour with a visit to the Corcovado Mountain. After a 20-minute drive to the base of the statue of Christ the Redeemer through the Tijuca Forest, enjoy a beautiful view of the city and the surrounding landscape. This 710-meter-tall (about 2,330 feet) statue is Brazil's main monument and a World Heritage Site. Next, head towards the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro and Selarón Stairs before reaching Sugar Loaf by sunset. Located in the Urca neighborhood, it is one of Rio's icons. Board a cable car and ride to the Urca Mount station before continuing on in a cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf. At the top, enjoy the beautiful and panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro. Enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world while overlooking the Copacabana Beach from the top of Sugar Loaf.

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Rio: Christ the Redeemer Official Ticket with Van Transport

10. Rio: Christ the Redeemer Official Ticket with Van Transport

Guarantee a visit to Rio de Janeiro‘s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue with official tickets and official transportation. Choose one of the two departure points in Copacabana or Largo do Machado, which are located in strategic points easily accessible by public bus and subway, or a hotel pickup. Experience breathtaking views of the city from the top of Corcovado mountain during your journey to the statute. Enjoy the exuberant nature and cultural landscapes throughout the trip.  When passing through the historic and cultural neighborhood of Santa Teresa, be sure to record the panoramic view from Mirante dos Prazeres. On your way to Tijuca National Park, you will see the Caixa da Mãe D’água Aquifer, built-in 1774 by the Portuguese Crown. This structure was, at the time, mainly responsible for the large-scale water supply reaching the city of Rio de Janeiro. Arrive directly at the visitor's center of Paineiras Corcovado, a new adjacent structure with restaurants, a cafe, a gift shop, and a museum. Be sure to explore the Paineiras Visitor Center displaying exhibitions and models of the city of Rio de Janeiro. From the Visitors Center, board another van to the top of the Corcovado Hill, for a closer look at the Christ the Redeemer statue.  Learn about how the art deco statue was first opened to the public in 1931 atop a 710 m high granite dome. Get spectacular 360 views from Rio of the Tijuca Forest, Sugarloaf Mountain, Guanabara Bay, and the most stunning beaches in the city such as Copacabana and Ipanema.  After your day of exploring one of the “7 Wonders of the Modern World”, be comfortably driven back to your initial pickup point at either Copacabana or Largo do Machado.

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Frequently asked questions about Rio de Janeiro

What top attractions are a must-see in Rio de Janeiro?

Planning Your Visit

  • How long should I stay in Rio de Janeiro?

    Seven action-packed days is a good start!

  • How walkable is Rio de Janeiro?

    Rio offers many public transit options, including bus and metro. Note that air-conditioned buses cost a little more than non-air-conditioned buses, so if you are traveling a long distance around the city and you're not used to hot weather, it may be worth considering shelling out a bit more. It's quite a hilly city, so walking can sometimes be akin to hiking - make sure you are wearing good shoes.

  • When should I visit Rio de Janeiro?

    All year round - the temperature does not vary too much.

  • Anything else I should know?

    It is recommended to take a taxi in Rio de Janeiro at night, rather than walking or using the public transport. Do not flash your cash or valuables around, always be on your guard when withdrawing cash at an ATM. If venturing into areas outside the more touristic ones, better not do it unaccompanied.

Good to know

  • Language
    Portuguese
  • Currency
    Brazilian real (BRL)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-3:00)
  • Country Code
    +55
  • Best time to visit
    All year round

Other Sightseeing Options in Rio de Janeiro

Want to discover all there is to do in Rio de Janeiro? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Rio de Janeiro

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 6,579 reviews

We had a great tour with Ricardo! He gave us lots of interesting information about the old part of Rio and Downtown. We learned a lot. The Museum of Tomorrow was just awesome and impressive. It was the best museum I’ve ever visited. C2RioTours was extremly reliable and punctual when it came to the pickup and dropoff at the hotel. Thanks to Ricardo for being such a great guide. We enjoyed very much☺️

Foi tudo maravilhoso! Desde a pontualidade do pick up até o momento que nós deixaram no hotel. O guia Bruno foi incrível! O passeio foi todo falado em três línguas, o que facilitou meu marido entender. Amamos e sem duvidas recomendamos o passeio!

It was amazing! Our guide Thalles was perfect. The trail is a little difficult, requires tennis shoes and some upper body strength but good amount of moderate activity. Wish we could have seen all the waterfalls.

Excellent tour. Great price, includes lunch and entrance into the locations. If you aren't spending a lot of time in Rio it is the best option to see many of the major attractions.

Beautiful sail around Rio. Great captain, great host and beverages. And music was awesome!