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Things to do in
Rio de Janeiro

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

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: 6-Stop Highlights of Rio with Lunch

2. Rio de Janeiro: 6-Stop Highlights of Rio with Lunch

Start your adventure with a pickup in the morning from hotels located in the South Zone and head towards your first stop at Christ the Redeemer.  Enjoy great jungle views in the minivan ride through the Tijuca Forest that surrounds the Corcovado Mountain. Reach the peak of the mountain and meet the statue of the Christ the Redeemer with its arms right open over the city. Admire the sweeping views and take breathtaking pictures. Head to a nice walk outside the Maracanã Stadium and find out more about the passion of the Brazilians for football. Learn about the samba tradition in Rio by visiting the Sambadrome, the place with the biggest Carnival parade on the planet. Marvel at the beautiful street art of the Selarón Steps, a gigantic mosaic work of the Chilean artist Jorge Selarón. He started dedicating himself to decorate the stairs in the early 90s. The 250 steps have become a monument and an icon of Rio. Stop at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro to revel at the biblical passages on the stained-glass inside it, following a stop for lunch in an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant. With the batteries recharged, there is still one place left.  Head to Urca neighborhood and marvel at the beauty of the Sugarloaf Mountain and be amazed by the cable ride to the top. From 220 meters above sea level take in the breathtaking 360-degree view of Rio de Janeiro, Guanabara Bay, the city of Niteroi, and the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

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: Half-Day Rocinha Favela Walking Tour

4. Rio De Janeiro: Half-Day Rocinha Favela Walking Tour

Explore Rio’s largest favela on a half-day walking tour of Rocinha, the largest favela (shantytown) in South America. Organized by local, English speaking guides and favela hosts, the walking tour is respectful and non-intrusive to the residents. Subject of the movie "City of God," Rio’s favelas have fallen victim to unfortunate stereotypes. In order to correct this, and show you the true Rio de Janeiro, the favela tour will let you see and experience how daily life happens away from the sensationalist headlines. While other favela “zoo-tours” drive around in jeeps, you will get to walk the streets in small groups and meet the locals to hear their stories. Learn the history of the favela and its social and economic challenges. The tour cost also includes a monetary contribution to the favela community.

Rio: Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, Selaron & BBQ Lunch

5. Rio: Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, Selaron & BBQ Lunch

Start your tour in comfort, with convenient pickup from the main hotels in the South Zone (Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Leme) and Barra da Tijuca. Your adventure begins with an ascent to Corcovado Mountain, where you'll have the option to either ride by van or board the train, according to the option purchased, both weaving through the lush Tijuca Forest. At the summit, behold the awe-inspiring Christ the Redeemer statue, offering unparalleled panoramic views of Rio's breathtaking landscape. Continue your journey to the legendary Maracanã football stadium, known for its imposing architecture and storied history. Then, venture to the renowned Sambódromo, the vibrant venue of Rio's annual Carnival parade, where you can immerse yourself in the city's rich cultural heritage. Please note that both visits are external, allowing you to appreciate these landmarks from the outside. Explore the modern Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, an architectural gem influenced by Mayan pyramids. Delve into the intriguing blend of ancient inspiration and modern innovation as you discover this iconic landmark on your tour. Immerse yourself in the vibrant artistry of the Selarón Steps, an extraordinary staircase adorned with colorful tiles from around the world. Named after its creator, Jorge Selarón, a Chilean painter and sculptor, this iconic landmark stands as a testament to his dedication and passion. Experience the array of colors and cultures adorning each step, making it a must-see destination in Rio de Janeiro. Choose to indulge in a authentic all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse, included in select options. Opt for the "Christ the Redeemer by Van, Sugarloaf, Selaron, BBQ Lunch" or "Christ the Redeemer by Train, Sugarloaf, Selaron, BBQ Lunch" package for a complete gastronomic experience. Following lunch, continue the tour with a visit to Sugarloaf Mountain. Please note that there are tour options available, some of which include admission tickets to the Sugarloaf. However, if this option is not chosen, clients will have free time during the visit. Enjoy the breathtaking views and iconic sights of Rio as you ascend to the summit via the iconic cable car.

Rio: Maracanã Stadium Official Entrance Ticket

6. 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.

Rio de Janeiro: Favela Santa Marta Tour with a Local Guide

7. Rio de Janeiro: Favela Santa Marta Tour with a Local Guide

Take the opportunity to glimpse life in the favelas on this guided tour. Your guide is a Santa Marta resident who will be able to share with you an authentic perspective of the beautiful favela they call home. Using the Santa Marta cable car, your guide will take you to the top of the favela. From here you will be able to witness one of the best panoramic views of the city. Discover Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, Botafogo Beach, Lagoa Rodrigues de Freitas and the entire neighborhood of Botafogo. Then, explore the streets and alleys enjoyed by both residents and Favela Santa Marta's many famous visitors, from Queen Elizabeth II to Michael Jackson. Stroll through the favela, seeing the best tourist attractions and stopping at several local craft shops along the way. Discover the guide's home, his family and the projects that Thiago carries out in the favela for children and adults. A tour that really helps the favela with activities. Beware of fake tours that harm the site. An important detail. In addition to other awards we have already won, our tour was chosen in the Getyourguide awards in 2019 as one of the best walking tours in Latin America and in April 2024 it won the Gentle and Responsible Tourism Awards for the greatest tourism achievement in Latin America.

Rio de Janeiro: Rocinha Favela Walking Tour with Local Guide

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

Explore a favela of Rio de Janeiro on this guided walking tour. Immerse yourself in the daily lives of locals on this tour that is focused on education. Get a different perspective on life in Rio de Janeiro, and benefit from insider tips from a 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 in the afternoon. 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. Give back to the locals as part of the cost of your tour is contributed to the community to help them build a better future.

Rio de Janeiro: Sunset Sailing Tour

9. Rio de Janeiro: Sunset Sailing Tour

Marvel at the scenery of Rio de Janeiro, the Marvellous City, on a sunset sailing tour in Guanabara Bay. Admire the beautiful sunset, and savor all-inclusive drinks and snacks aboard your boat. Enjoy a small group tour or opt to splash out on a private tour to make your experience extra special. Set sail from Marina da Glória and pass by 3 fortresses — São José, Lage, and Santa Cruz — on your way to Boa Viagem Island in Niterói. Cruise past Oscar Niemeyer's striking Niterói Museum of Contemporary Art and enjoy the views in Guanabara Bay. Then, sit back and appreciate the sunset over the city of Rio de Janeiro. Delight in scenic views of the city's most famous landmarks, such as Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer, as the sun sets on the horizon. Throughout the tour, relax with drinks on board, such as the famous Brazilian cocktail Caipirinha, beer, and sparkling white wine. The tour concludes back at the marina in Glória. Hotel pickup and drop-off options are available.

Rio de Janeiro: Angra dos Reis and Ilha Grande Full-Day Tour

10. Rio de Janeiro: Angra dos Reis and Ilha Grande Full-Day Tour

Discover the hidden treasure of Angra dos Reis on this guided tour. Explore the spectacular bay, home to over 365 islands and about 40 beaches, making it one of the most renowned destinations in Brazil. Visit Ilha Grande, the largest island in the region. Experience the crystal-clear blue-green waters, coral reefs, and rich marine life of Ilha Grande. Some of the most coveted beaches and islands include Lagoa Azul, Lagoa Verde, Praia Cataguazes, Praia de Freguesia de Santana, and Praia de Japariz, where customers can enjoy a delicious lunch. *Note that we do not stop at every island; some will only be seen panoramically.

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Frequently asked questions about Rio de Janeiro

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

What are the best day trips and excursions from Rio de Janeiro?

The best day trips and excursions from Rio de Janeiro are:

Ilha Grande

Other Sightseeing Options in Rio de Janeiro

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What people are saying about Rio de Janeiro

Overall rating

(10,358 reviews)

Fantastic all around. We only had the one free day in Rio and this tour was just perfect to enable us to see all the sights comfortably and in an organised way. Roberto our guide was superb, quite the character and made it all the more enjoyable with his knowledge and humour while keeping everyone organised with clear instructions and timeframes. Got to the Redeemer statue nice and early before the crowds and the day just flowed from there. We had plenty of time at Sugarloaf and the other attractions so despite filling a lot in it was nice and comfotable. I'd definitely recommend this tour and I'd advise to pick an early one to keep one step ahead of the crowds.

Amazing trip! Ricardo is very knowledgeable about history of Brazil, all the rainforests, people and wildlife. We saw racoons squirrel, monkeys and toucans. Waterfall shower is beautiful! Track can be challenging at times with uphill but such good excercise. Definitely recommend for the adventurous folks!

The trip was great, we saw everything as agreed, it was really amazing. And a huge praise for our guide Mini Guia (Beto). He was absolutely perfect. Provided us with a lot of info, and his energy is crazy positive. Dont't miss this one!

Amazing experience - would recommend everybody! Sometimes you have to wait a little, so take your time. But the experience is amazing!!!!

Our guide was amazing, explaining the workings of the Favela and showed us the real side of Rio