The Corcovado is definitely the most famous spot of Rio the Janeiro. This is the name given to the mountain where the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue is located and from where almost the entire city can be seen. The statue can be reached by an electric train that goes around the mountain to the top, showing the local fauna and flora of the Tijuca forest national park, which the mountain is part of.
The Sugarloaf is also another postcard globally famous that offers a magnificent view of Rio, and one of the best places to see the sunset and the city’s lights turning on. Without doubt it is a place you cannot not miss out.
Copacabana, the princess of the sea, is the best known beach of the city and probably one of the most visited spots. The surrounding neighborhood is known by housing of a very wide variety of people; from tourists, bohemians and locals, to celebrities and high-society characters. The beach amuses by its beauty and mixture of cultures, the sand is bright and the sea is marvellous to dive in.
This is the other premier (brazilian beach) beach of Rio where one can see probably one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. The contrast of the sun with the “Two brothers” mountains, the Favela of Vidigal and the sea is simply stunning, with a gradient colored orange in the horizon, and the fresh air coming from the sea while standing over the Arpoador rock, that is the special place where the people get together to see the spectacle.
Lapa Arches & Selaron Steps
Downtown Rio de Janeiro has a lot of history to tell and Lapa makes part of it. This is an exciting and very bohemian neighborhood of the city where the Lapa arches and the Selaron steps stand out as main landmarks. The first one was built in 1723 being the Carioca aqueduct of the city back then and exhibiting typical colonial architecture and engineering. Nowadays it is the tramway of the famous “bondinho” (tramcar) that connects the Rio city center with the popular neighborhood of Santa Teresa. The Selaron stairway is a magical place, made of 250 steps, a full representation of Rio street art. The steps became a art work thanks to the chilean artist Jorge Selarón who dedicated his work life to cover them with more than 2000 tiles many of them from all over the world, mostly donated by people who admire his work. The steps connect Lapa with the uphill neighborhood Santa Teresa.
Santa Teresa neighborhood
The neighborhood of Santa Teresa is one of the most visited around, because of its magnificent view from the top, its history being originated around the Santa Teresa convent in 1750’s having a marked colonial architecture; and because it is the home of many Rio underground artists and their galleries, and the famous tram that goes through the Lapa arches, very famous among tourists. Santa Teresa has many cultural and gastronomical options, like Parque das Ruinas that, besides the top view it has of Rio, offers art expositions, theater and musical shows.
Football fans should not miss to visit one of the most famous football stadiums around the world, where the 1950 and 2014 World Cup finals took place. Many fantastic players and celebrities have passed by the emblematic Maracanã, one of them the famous Edson Arantes do Nascimento “Pelé”.
The Botanic Garden, or Jardim Botânico in portuguese, is located in the south zone of the city, in one of the most charming neighborhoods of Rio. It has a big and well preserved green area that houses more than 6500 species of brazil and foreign flora, some of them in danger of extinction. In 1808 it was founded by emperor João VI of Portugal with the main idea of acclimate of indian spices. The place is perfect to relax and have a nice walk with fresh air coming from the Corcovado mountain forest. It´s also the perfect place for botanic lovers because besides the many well identified species of plants, it also has the most complete botanical library in the country.
Very close to the botanical garden is located the Parque Lage, another green zone at the foot of the Corcovado mountain. During the colonial Brazil the place was a sugar mill with the mansion in the center, but now it’s a public park home of the art school “Escola de Artes Visuais”, gallery and café. The place has an amazing view of the christ that seems to come up from the house that in 1920 was reformed by the italian architect Mario Vodrel containing interior paintings of the artist Salvador Payols Sabaté. An important tip from the place is that the Corcovado trekking to reach the statue starts here.
The Pedra Bonita Park
The Pedra Bonita mountain is one of the highests mountains in the city and is part of the Tijuca forest, and has one of the most beautiful views of Rio, with a very nice trail to do, having as reward a clear sight of “Serra dos Orgãos”, Pedra da Gavea, “Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas” lagoon, Barra de Tijuca and Jacarepaguá. This is the spot by excellence for Gliding, Paragliding and Delta flight because it has a perfect ramp of the size of 3 football fields, being the only place in Rio for this purpose. So if the main idea is to have a full adrenaline experience and enjoy the nature and a marvellous view in Rio de Janeiro, this is one the best options.