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.

Rio de Janeiro: Shared Transfer to Vila Abrão (Ilha Grande)

2. Rio de Janeiro: Shared Transfer to Vila Abrão (Ilha Grande)

Arrive at Vila do Abraão (Ilha Grande) with a fast and safe transfer service from Rio de Janeiro via car and FlexBoat. Take advantage of a quick and smooth ride on the FlexBoat and enjoy flexibility with daily departures. Start by getting picked up directly from your hotel, accommodation, or airport in Rio de Janeiro. After all the passengers have been picked up and the shuttle exits the city, take the 2.5-hour drive to Angra dos Reis. Upon arrival, hop on a FlexBoat to cross the main pier of Vila do Abraão to Ilha Grande. The boat crossing takes around 30 minutes on average. After arriving in Ilha Grande, meet a local guide.

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.

Rio de Janeiro: Carnival 2023 Samba School Parade Ticket

4. Rio de Janeiro: Carnival 2023 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.

Rio: Maracanã Stadium Official Entrance Ticket

5. 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.

Paraty: Shared Transport to/from Rio de Janeiro

6. Paraty: Shared Transport to/from Rio de Janeiro

Enjoy a safe, comfortable, and convenient shared transfer to your accommodation in Paraty from Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (otherwise known as Galeão), Santos Dumont Airport, or from hotels in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro. Choose 1-way in either or both directions according to your needs. Book your shared transfer in advance and arrive safely at Paraty without the inconvenience of the public transport network or the expense of a last-minute taxi ride. Relax in the safety and comfort of a licensed, air-conditioned vehicle driven by a professional driver. From Rio Airports to Paraty, the service runs 365 days a year and the departures are available from 8 AM-9 PM. Your driver will be holding a sign with your name on it at the meeting point in the international arrivals hall. From Rio South Zone Hotels to Paraty, the service runs 365 days a year and the departures are available at 8:30 AM, 12:30 PM or 5 PM. From Paraty to Rio, the service runs 365 days a year and the departures are available at 8:30 AM or 12:30 PM.

Rio: Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, & Selaron Day Tour

7. Rio: Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, & Selaron Day Tour

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.

Tijuca Forest Adventure Full-Day Small Group Hike

8. Tijuca Forest Adventure Full-Day Small Group Hike

The tour takes you to hike through the Tijuca Rainforest, one of the biggest urban forests on the planet, on this off the beaten track circuit of trails to discover the nature and beauty of the jungle, reaching the Taquara Hill (814m=2670ft). This peak is a 100m higher than the Christ Redeemer statue, and on clear days, you have 2 amazing views: one to the valley of the forest and another to the West part of Rio, its coastline and lagoons. After that, you will go to a deeper part of the jungle following a trail that is almost secret as it is very rare to see other people doing it. Within 1 hour of hiking up and downhill, you will reach the ruins of an old coffee farm and, with a bit more walking, you will reach a grotto and a cave in the middle of the rainforest. After this, you head to a waterfall where you can refresh yourself (bring a towel and bathing suit). This trail circuit was designed by experts in the Tijuca Forest Park using tracks and sites that are not well-known or regularly visited, so you'll be hiking in a very unusual part of the forest. The scenery of this tour is amazing and it has a lot to offer as you are visiting sites that are not featured in most tours. On the way up, you will learn the history of Brazil, Rio, the Tijuca Forest, and everything about the coffee farms that used to occupy that area before the reforestation that happened in the 1800's.

Santa Teresa & Lapa With Tram Ride And Selarón Steps

9. Santa Teresa & Lapa With Tram Ride And Selarón Steps

Begin your tour at Downtown (“Centro”), where you will get the tram (“bondinho”) to the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa. You will drive over the Arcos da Lapa, the aqueduct used to connect water from Santa Teresa to Downtown and one of Rio’s most traditional postcards. At Santa Teresa, you will experience an interesting local atmosphere. Walk through the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa, a bucolic area in Rio de Janeiro. Located on a hillside, Santa Teresa has become a district of cultural interest because of its architectural value and prime location, famous for its winding, narrow cobblestone streets and a favourite spot for artists and tourists. A flair similar to Montmartre, in Paris. You will visit the Ruins Park, a public park with an art gallery built around the ruins of a mansion. (Please note that Ruins Park is closed on Sundays.) Take a minute to enjoy the city’s landscape, in particular the Downtown area and the Sugarloaf Mountain. Up next, you will walk down the colorful Selarón Steps, one of Rio’s landmarks, and arrive at the district of Lapa, the zone with the most traditional nightlife. Take a stroll in the Passeio Público, the oldest public park in South America, to reach Cinelândia, a lively spot in Rio thanks to its bars, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Among many remarkable constructions in the area, you will notice the Theatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro’s most traditional theatre and opera house, as well as the Biblioteca Nacional, Brazil’s most important library. Your last stop will be at Confeitaria Colombo, a permanent member of all must-see cafés rankings around the world. Enjoy the opulent art nouveau decoration with huge stained glass, tiles, and mirrors imported from France, Portugal, and Belgium. You can finish your tour tasting one of the Brazilian traditional snacks – such as the coxinha de frango (‘little chicken thigh’) – or desserts – such as the brigadeiro (‘brigadier’) in what was one of Rio de Janeiro’s most prestigious places at the beginning of the 20th Century. (Please note that Confeitaria Colombo is closed on Sundays.)

Rio de Janeiro and Ilha Grande: One-Way Shuttle Transfer

10. Rio de Janeiro and Ilha Grande: One-Way Shuttle Transfer

Take the hassle out of transfers with a safe, comfortable, and convenient shared transfer between Rio de Janeiro and Ilha Grande. Enjoy both a boat transfer between the island and the mainland, and a vehicle transfer on the mainland.  Book in either direction, with the boat traveling between Conceição de Jacareí Pier and Abraão Village on Ilha Grande. Pick from Rio's two international airports or South Zone / Barra neighborhood hotels as your beginning or end points of the transfer. When heading to Ilha Grande, be picked up by your driver on the mainland, either from your hotel or an airport, and be dropped at right at the pier, where staff will be waiting with your boat tickets.  When heading to Rio, meet staff at the pier to collect your tickets, and then relax on the boat and vehicle transfer to your final destination. 

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 7,337 reviews

The experience was really good. I went first to Christ the Redeemer. And I would advise you to booking from here as it gives you priority on the line. I went on Monday PM, was very. But worthy all. The view is really enjoyable. About the Sugarloaf experience I love it. There are two different cables cars to use. Please take a photograph document with you when going. Book a cab or Uber to move from one place to another.

Excellent experience! Kattya picked us up at time provided. She was great at giving us the tour! She spoke very well English and Spanish. Gave us great information for purchasing souvenirs. Great ride, our driver drive very well. Christ was a bit crowded when we arrived however, not as much as when we departed. I guess early pick up was worth it.

The trip is a must! Need to wear something thick on the bus, was too cold, but once you get to the boat, the experience gets better and you will definitely enjoy the beautiful islands, snorkeling, professional staff and goooood vibes!!

Very unique experience and definetly worth it. Claus is a very good and kind instructor, never had any doubts concerning safety

Driver was on time, courteous and even helped with my luggage.