|The main things which spring to mind when thinking of Rio de Janeiro include its beaches, such as Copacabana; the Christ the Redeemer Statue, the Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Carnival.
Rio de Janeiro is definitely a great destination for a beach holiday and in the city’s South Zone you’ll find the best ones and the most popular tourist spots. Copacabana is the most famous though there are several other beaches too including Ipanema and Arpoador.
There are two Sugar Loaf Mountains, a larger one and a smaller one, and you can visit them by cable car. From the top there are stunning views of the city and the coast.
For another aerial view of the city and to visit Rio de Janeiro’s most famous landmark you can travel up the steep hill to the Christ the Redeemer statue which stands embracing the city. You can either walk up the many steps or use the less tiring method which is a tram, called the Trem do Corcovado. This gives you wonderful views as it rises. The tram is 114 years old and crosses over the Tijuca National Park, the biggest urban forest in the world. The statue was actually built after the tram and opened in October 1931. It stands 39.6 metres (130 feet) tall.
You can also visit the Tijuca National Park without going on the tram. This is a large rainforest, covering 32 km2 and has many species of both plants and animals, many of which are threatened by extinction.
Rio de Janeiro has many impressive buildings too. From the modern Catedral Metropolitana, built in a cone shape, to a number of impressive palaces, including the Paco Imperial which was built as the old Imperial Palace in 1743, the Itamaraty built in the late 1890’s and the former presidential palace, and the Palacio Guanabara which was the former palace of the Imperial Princess and is now the governor’s office.
The Teatro Municipal (City Theatre) is also a nice building and was built in 1909 and was inspired by the Paris Opera House.
The Rio de Janeiro Carnaval is a spectacle that many tourists like to visit to see. It is held annually over nearly 2 weeks and begins 40 days before Easter, so will vary each year. There are many different parts to the carnival, including the famous Samba School parades, though if you’re not lucky enough to be here for the carnival itself you can still see these Samba Schools at various locations around the city, put on mainly for the tourists, and visit the Museo do Carnaval to learn about the history of the carnival and other parades of Brazil.