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Sightseeing & Landmarks in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro has some of the worlds most famous landmarks, located within the most incredible geographical location.

There are a number of outdoor excursions that one can enjoy during their stay in Rio de Janeiro. These include nature treks, sports on sun kissed beaches, cycling, city tours, hiking paths, mountain bike trails and key landmarks such as Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain.

Check out our hot tips and best offers for sightseeing in the area.

Aerial Views & Cruises in Rio de Janeiro

Aerial Views & Cruises in Rio de Janeiro

From the deep bottoms of the ocean, take out time to touch the fluffy clouds through an exciting sightseeing tour of Rio de Janeiro in a helicopter.

Revel in the incredible, unseen and unimaginable views of the Atlantic Ocean, Christ statue, the Rainforests, Copacabana beach, Sugarloaf and Corcovado Mountains.

The romantics love the cruising part of Rio de Janeiro where they get to travel down the sparkling Atlantic waters and visit the nearby Sepetiba Bay, Guanabara Bay and islands of Angra dos Reis. Embark on leisurely day / half-day trip cruise, arresting the beautiful views of Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountains and the panoramic Rio de Janeiro.

Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer

The statue of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) is part of the new edition of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Acting as a representative of Rio, the statue completed 77 years of its existence in 2008. The attraction, inaugurated in 1931, was built approximately 38 meters high and covers 710 meters of the Corcovado Mountain. Initially one had to climb the 220 steps to reach the statue situated on top of the mountain. However, today visitors can get to the statue by a twenty-minute tram ride or by car.

The imposing structure of soapstone and cement provides panoramic views of Rio beyond compare. Book a cog train to the statue through the trails of the Tijuca Forest National Park. The Corcovado Mountain on which Christ the Redeemer sits is a tourist destination in itself, with every inch occupied by frantic visitors.

Be sure to arrive early to get a surreal view of the statue and an amazing view of the city. Entry is free.

Petrópolis (The Imperial City)

Petrópolis (The Imperial City)

About an hour drive away from Rio is Petrópolis, a town also known as 'The Imperial City of Brazil'.

Petrópolis unique location at the foothills of Serra dos Órgãos National Park bestows it with a cool climate, compared to the muggy surroundings of Rio. A popular resort town, the main attraction of Petropolis is the Summer Palace of the former Brazilian Emperors, which is now restored into a museum displaying Imperial memorabilia.

Other notable buildings are the Palacio Cristal glasshouse and the Cathedral.

Centro District

Centro District

As the historical and financial hub, Rio’s central district holds many jewels in its purse.

Despite the bustling traffic and skyscrapers, the lanes provide an insight to how Rio was discovered and then consequentially developed in the years that followed.

There are a number of historic landmarks that distinguish Central Rio - The National History Museum, displaying relics from Imperial days, the 17th-century Mosteiro de São Bento church, the 1905 Theatro Municipal, The Paço Imperial; seat of former Portuguese rulers, the baroque styled Igreja Sao Bento church, the 18th-century Passeio Público garden and the 1750 built Arcos da Lapa aqueduct.

Today, these restored structures include many restaurants, art galleries, tea houses and speciality shops for tourists and locals alike.

Maracanã Football Stadium (Estádio do Maracanã)

Maracanã Football Stadium (Estádio do Maracanã)

Until recently the Maracanã Football Stadium was the largest football stadium in the world.

Officially inaugurated during the 1950 World Cup, this all encompassing stadium features a capacity to hold 100,000 cheering fans. Owned by the Rio de Janeiro State Government, major football clubs like Flamengo, Fluminense, Botafogo and Vasco da Gama play their matches here.

Fans of legends like Ronaldo, Pele, Romario, Carlos Alberto and Nilton Santos will surely love to pay a visit to the Mecca of Football; the Maracanã Stadium. If you are lucky enough, it is possible to catch one of your favourite players in action. Otherwise, pay a visit to the sports museum with treasuries in store.

The Maracanã Football Stadium will be hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies.

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon (Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas)

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon (Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas)

Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas mostly known as Lagoa is a lagoon and a district in Rio that is bordered by Ipanema, Leblon, Gávea, Jardim Botânico, Copacabana, Botafogo, and Humaitá districts.

It attracts a lot of tourists during the Christmas season when a special Christmas tree erected on a floating platform, moves about in the water. The lagoon today offers engaging entertainment options like night clubs, bars, restaurants and quality hotels. It is also the headquarters of the soccer teams - Flamengo and Botafogo.

There are a number of free sport courts, bicycle, nautical sports facilities and jogger’s lanes in addition to playgrounds for children and gourmet food kiosks.

Samba City (Cidade Do Samba)

Samba City (Cidade Do Samba)

Samba City, occupying an area of about 114.000 sq. meters, is a fairly recent addition to Rio’s infrastructure.

Constructed by the City Hall, it is located in the adjoining town of Gamboa. The reason for constructing the city in Gamboa was because the city is the sacred birthplace of Carioca samba. Its architectural design is geometric in shape and includes the districts of Saúde, Santo Cristo and Gamboa. The thought behind the architecture is of accepting and acknowledging the ancestral dance of Samba, which came from Africa.

Sugarloaf Cable Car

Sugarloaf Cable Car

The Sugar Loaf Cable Car is one of the oldest cable cars in world and the first one in Brazil.

Launched in 1912, the invention was the brain child of Brazilian engineer, Augusto Ferreira. Millions of tourists have travelled by the cable car, which includes some celebrity names like Roberto Carlos, Brooke Shields and Ronaldinho. The car travels through three stations: Praia Vermelha, Morro da Urca and Pão de Açucar, which are interconnected together by four cable cars.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain

Named after the traditional sugarloaves used during the yesteryears, the Sugarloaf Mountain is a tall 395 meter peak rising at the Guanabar Bay in the Atlantic Ocean.

Right at the top, tourists will have the chance of their lifetime to capture photo opportunities of the sparkling Rio beaches, statue of Christ and the green forests. Situated in the area of Urca, the Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) showcases a spectacular mountain viewpoint of Rio. Although, most visitors arrive by a cable car, which takes 2-3 minutes, others can test their enthusiasm and energy by climbing the mountain. Don’t miss the attractive scenery of the coast and greenery, along with the cicade maravilhosa.

The view is best appreciated on a clear day so make sure to check the weather forecast. Visiting the peak at sunset is also breath taking, when the flickering colours of the sun make way for a blanket of stars.

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa

If you want to experience something more in Rio than just the hot beaches and football then the Santa Teresa Tour is just the thing for you. Cycle the cobblestone streets idly, visit the Ruins Park and the Chácara do Céu Museum and lastly behold the legendary Selarón Staircase as you make your way down the hill.

Enjoy the tram ride as it takes you around the Santa Teresa neighbourhood to admire its architectural and cultural beauty and to sop up the real Rio ambience. The hilly setting will also present some breath-taking view of the city.

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