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For many people, Rio means slipping on a pair of Havaianas and heading to Copacabana Beach. Yet the city has so much more to offer: verdant landscapes, mesmerizing mountains, and neighborhoods that move to the beat of Brazilian music. Lapa is legendary for its samba-infused nightlife.
Limestone with a dash of whale oil ... strange cocktail or cement substitute? This unlikely combination was the material used to bind together 42 stone arches to channel water from the Carioca River to Rio's thirsty residents. It was built in 1723 by slaves who toiled in extreme heat to create this 130-foot structure, now used as a cable car system.Accommodations near Arcos da Lapa (Carioca Acqueduct)
Witness an extravagant display of music, dance, and feathers! Every year, Brazil's Samba Schools hit Sambadrome for the annual Carnival. It's a non-stop extravaganza where dancers wearing rhinestones, glitter and plumage from a thousand peacocks parade through the stadium. There's also a small on-site museum to explore during quieter moments.Accommodations near Sambadrome
Stadiums or Arenas
Brazil, like many sport-loving nations, has a particular fascination with soccer. Legendary players like Garrincha and Pelé have kicked their way to fame inside this stadium, which was completely refurbished for 2014’s World Cup. Try to score tickets for a national team match and roar at the “Seleção” along with 70,000 other yellow-and-green-shirted soccer fanatics.Accommodations near Maracanã Stadium
It might sound like a delicious indulgence to go with your coffee, but Sugar Loaf is actually one of Rio’s iconic sights. A glass-walled bondinho (cable car) spirals along a 1,500-yard-long cable from base to summit, offering dazzling views of Guanabara Bay, Tijuca Forest, and the neighboring city of Niterói. Hop on at the ground station at the bottom of Babilônia Hill.Accommodations near Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf Mountain)
This powerful and monolithic statue of Christ watches over Rio from Mount Corcovado. Take a funicular from the base near Cosme Velho Station. You’ll pass through Tijuca Forest on your way to the summit, and an additional 223 steps (or an escalator) will bring you to the statue’s base. Built in 1931, the statue is 125-feet high, and is a masterpiece of Art Deco style.Accommodations near Cristo Redentor (The Statue of Christ the Redeemer)
This sizzling beach is a 3-mile slice of paradise. Brazilians aren't body shy – you'll see men running in speedos and ladies strolling in bikinis, with chihuahuas in tow. If you haven’t yet adopted Copacabana's relaxed clothing vibe, try Rua Bolivar’s enticing bars with infectious salsa beats at dusk.Accommodations near Copacabana Beach
Go for a plunge in the lake! Enjoy parks, playgrounds and walking areas on an afternoon of family frolicking around this lake in Rio’s wealthy south. Pack a picnic, take a scenic drive around the perimeter, or stop for refreshments. If you’re feeling adventurous, paddle a swan-shaped kayak to the middle of the lake, or just go for a walk on the promenade.Accommodations near Rodrigo de Freitas Lake
Picture this: a lazy day, an avenue lined with palm trees and a pair of flip-flops on your feet. Relax in tranquility inside Rio’s lush botanical gardens. Discover greenhouses filled with tropical flora and fauna and craggy caves hidden in vegetation, next to a birdwatcher investigating a speckled specimen. Doze in the shade or curb your hunger at the restaurant.Accommodations near Jardim Botânico (Botanical Gardens)
Tread the natural beauty of Tijuca Forest. Paths lead you through lush, flower-filled rain forests, home to exotic birds and mammals. Enjoy a picnic next to Cascatinha Waterfall, or charter your way through 9,768 acres with caves, rivers and sights like Corcovado, Pedra Bonita, Pedra da Gávea and Vista Chinesa. Good to know: schedule a guide in advance to hike inside the forest.Accommodations near Floresta da Tijuca (Tijuca Forest National Park)
Pedra Bonita is Rio’s rock star. This "beautiful rock" is tucked away in Tijuca Forest and gives you unbeatable city views. Pack a picnic and take the easy half-mile hike to the top. Once you’re there, stick around and gaze at the glorious sunset – preferably with a glass of wine in hand. On a warm day you can watch paragliders taking off.Accommodations near Pedra Bonita
Copacabana sizzles. This beach is a never-ending parade of urbanites playing soccer, volleyball, surfing, or just baking at 85 degrees. The crowds can get intense, so cool off with a Caipirinha (Brazil's national cocktail) in a welcoming oceanside cafe. Drift further south for Copacabana Fort, which has been converted into an army museum.Accommodations in Copacabana
The residents of Ipanema live in palatial elegance along one of Rio's most beautiful coastlines. Walk barefoot on the beach along Vieira Souto, or saunter inland to enjoy some of the local cafes and restaurants. At dusk, head to Arpoador: folks gather on the beach to clap their hands as the sun sets between two mountains. Stick around for the sultry nightlife.Accommodations in Ipanema
Barra suffers from a few too many boring new builds, with high-rise apartments as far as the eye can see. Most of the action is centered on the serene coast along Lucio Costa Avenue, where you can surf, fly a kite or sip on a Caipirinha. Nearby, Shopping Downtown and Barra Shopping malls sell designer brands.Accommodations in Barra da Tijuca
Visit Rio’s most impressive sights. Candelária Church calls Catholics to mass in a regal setting. Traverse Saara Market, a bazaar of epic proportions. History floats by as you walk along Rio Branco Avenue, with colonial-era buildings alternating with skyscrapers. At the end is the Art Deco CCBB and the opulent Theatro Municipal.Accommodations in Downtown Rio de Janeiro
Life should be cosmopolitan every day, according to Leblon's citizens. Work out at the beach with the muscle-bound descendants of gods, or laze with the locals. As one of Rio’s most affluent areas, designer-brand stores line the streets. Trendy clubs and restaurants come to life after dark – just be prepared to spend!Accommodations in Leblon
Santa Teresa’s aging mansions appear frozen in time. Catch a streetcar on Carioca Aqueduct, by Largo dos Guimarães and all the way to the last stop, Parque das Ruínas (Ruins Park), which is used for exhibitions and watching Rio from above. When you've seen enough of the 360-degree views, take the 250 colorful steps of Escadaria Selarón down to check out Lapa.Accommodations in Santa Teresa
Lapa is intoxicating. Scour craft markets, devour mouthwatering street food, or watch a show at Fundição Progresso. At night, Lapa erupts – it’s not uncommon to spot Rastafarians, uptown girls and white-collar boys dancing in the streets, a reflection of Rio citizens' passion for life.Accommodations in Lapa
Flamengo’s Carmen Miranda Museum is dedicated to the 1940's Brazilian screen siren. Find countryside bliss at Casa Rui Barbosa, a pink mansion once owned by statesman Rui Barbosa. Parque do Flamengo is a recreation zone, with sports, beach and fishing facilities. For an adventure, catch a cable car to Sugar Loaf Mountain for views of Botafogo Bay.Accommodations in Flamengo
This quiet peninsula with a distinct skyline is one of Rio’s most traditional and wealthy neighborhoods. White beaches with sand like powder run the length of the coast – for a bit of serenity, try Praia Vermelha Beach. Walk the quaint streets to discover local botequim (informal bar-restaurants), or wind your way up Sugar Loaf Mountain.Accommodations in Urca
Rocinha, where the street is a storefront for inventive vendors. Bursting with energy, around 70,000 people call this hilltop favela (shantytown) home, and it’s the perfect place to get acquainted with Rio street life. Stay in the lower parts for the main commercial area, or head higher up for views of São Conrado, São Conrado Beach, and Pedra da Gávea Mountain.Accommodations in Rocinha
Rafaela is family-oriented and loves good books, good movies and traveling to new and exotic locations.
This park is great for people who are staying in the southern part of the city. It's a vast green park with playgrounds, picnic tables and great hiking trails. Since it's a safe place and close to my home, it's one of my favorite places to take my daughter on a day out.Accommodations nearby
Alexandre loves life's simple pleasures – reading, shopping, and spending time at the beach with friends.
This secluded beach is in the west, close to Recreio and inside a nature reserve. Although it's quite far from Copacabana and Ipanema, it's way less crowded – so you often have the beach almost to yourself. Local families come to enjoy the clear water and white sand, and it has a great atmosphere.Accommodations nearby
Native to Rio, Fernanda loves its natural beauty as much as shopping and exploring the city.
I love shopping in this mall! It's outdoors, with lots of garden areas and plenty of good stores. It covers an expansive piece of land, so it doesn't feel claustrophobic like some other malls can. There are nice restaurants, bars, a few movie theaters and stores of some great brands.Accommodations nearby
Daniela loves searching for new flavors and exotic places... as long as she can bring her dog!
On the first Saturday of the month, Lavradio Street transforms into an incredible market. There are plenty of antiques and handicrafts on sale. The atmosphere is great too, with a lot of samba and street entertainment. Just play along with the crowds – and remember to wear sunscreen!Accommodations nearby
Ana F. loves life in Rio, and its nice restaurants and beaches... but especially the lagoon!
This park between Leblon and Jardim Botânico is fabulous for leisure activities. Walk on the shoreline, take a bike ride, skate on the ramps or sample different cuisines in the many kiosks. This family-friendly place is one of the best places in the city to experience true "carioca" living.Accommodations nearby
Beaches, travel and Japanese restaurants – these are a few of Karoline's favorite things!
I live in this area – and I love it! The beach is more peaceful than in neighboring Copacabana. I would recommend a day on Leme Beach, a quick hike to the top of Leme Hill (Leme Military Fort) to enjoy the sunset and then a nice dinner or happy hour at Joaquina's Bar on the beach sidewalk.Accommodations nearby
Aline moved to Rio from Bahia 14 years ago and is passionate about travel and sports.
I really enjoy taking my bike up the hilly Tijuca Forest roads until I get to the Chinese Overlook. There's a Chinese-style pagoda with panoramic views over Corcovado Mountain. On the way back, I recommend stopping at Horto Waterfall for a quick shower, followed by lunch in Jardim Botânico.Accommodations nearby
Part-time photographer Andre loves hiking and watching life unfold before him in Rio's beautiful forests.
I really enjoy nature photography and taking picture of birds and wildlife, so I recommend the Chico Mendes Nature Park. If you're lucky, you'll see local caymans up close, plus mammals like capybaras and sloths. There are some nature trails which are great places to bird-watch.Accommodations nearby
Getting to know different countries, cultures and languages makes Leandro feel very wise.
I'm a big cinema fan and this is my favorite spot – located at the Cinelândia Square in downtown Rio, very close to a subway station. It was built in the 1930s and was one of the first and biggest movie theaters built in downtown Rio – and it looks like it hasn't changed a bit since then!Accommodations nearby
Ana. S always hears the same thing when her foreign friends visit: "You're so lucky to live here!"
Instituto Moreira Salles is a hotbed for culture. It's an amazing house with beautiful architecture. They often host exhibitions about photography, cinema and other visual arts, and there's a vast library to read and listen to multimedia material. The cafe inside is also pretty good.Accommodations nearby
Booking.com asked travelers...What makes the people from Rio de Janeiro so friendly? Tell us your story.
We found the people in Rio de Janeiro incredibly friendly and helpful. Whenever we stopped to look at our map or even looked slightly lost, someone would stop and ask if we required any help or assistance.See all 8 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How could the beaches in Rio de Janeiro be made better for walking?
You can walk along the beaches or on the path near it,stop for a bite to eat or something to drink without leaving the sight of the beach.See all 12 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you enjoy the sights in Rio de Janeiro while avoiding the crowds?
We used taxis and the metro rather than buses, and this made sight seeing quicker and stress free. We'd recommend avoiding rush hour!See all 27 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What made the beach in Rio de Janeiro unforgettable?
United States of America
Sun came up on Coppa and went down on Ipanema. Bikinis with all the bare butts.See all 18 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Why is Rio de Janeiro a good place to experience nature?
Sea, montains , florest and city! Perfect combination !See all 9 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What did you enjoy most about bar hopping in Rio de Janeiro?
The atmosphere!! Happy people and caipirinha!See all 6 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...The beach means different things to different people. What did the beach in Rio de Janeiro mean to you?
Walking and watching.See all 50 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What should you avoid to make the most of the nightlife in Rio de Janeiro?
Wrong neighbourhoodSee all 10 answers
Taxis are the safest way to get to Rio. White radio taxis (with fixed prices) are right outside the main terminal. Charges vary, so count on approximately BRL 70 to the center, BRL 100 to Copacabana, Ipanema or Leblon and BRL 150 to Barra da Tijuca. You can also head to Departures on the 2nd floor and catch a yellow city cab – these official taxis are considerably cheaper. There are city bus lines, but the system can be hard to navigate for the inexperienced.
This is a small airport in Guanabara Bay, popular for its views of the shore. The safest and most convenient way to reach the center is by taxi. Official yellow taxis are available outside the terminal and cost approximately BRL 10-20 for a trip to the center or BRL 30-50 to the south. Cinelândia Station, the nearest subway station, is just under a mile away – but it’s a potentially unsafe walk across a park and a long avenue, so get a taxi if you can.
Taxis are the safest and most convenient way to get around in Rio. To catch one, just hail it from the street or find one at a taxi stand. Regular taxis are yellow and radio taxis (with fixed prices) are white. Rates for yellow taxis vary depending on the time of day you’re traveling: Rate 1 from 6 am to 9 am and Rate 2 from 9 am to 6 pm and all day Sunday, on public holidays and during December. If you have a smartphone, a variety of apps, like Easy Taxi, offer quick pick-ups throughout Rio.
The metro is the easiest mode of public transportation for visitors. There are two main lines: Line 1 (Red) to Ipanema, Downtown and Tijuca and Line 2 (Green), with main junctions at Central and Botafogo Stations. Buy a ticket or reloadable IC card at a ticket window, then insert it into a turnstile to enter the station. One-way tickets cost around $R3.70, and more for a round trip. During rush hour, the last car of the train is for women only.
Rio has a slightly complicated bus system. There are designated stops for buses and they tend to stop often – sometimes only 200 yards apart. To catch a bus, head to one of the stops and hail it. On board, you need to pay a flat fee (in coins) of around R$3.80 to the driver and no tickets are issued. There are also no schedules, but "Ruas de Rio de Janeiro" explains the 1,000+ routes. Popular lines include the 583 and 584 from Corcovado Station to Copacabana and Ipanema.
If you're driving in Rio, it’s vitally important to carry a color copy of your license, complete with a Portuguese translation; a AA International Driver’s License is not enough. Rental cars should be arranged at the airport or through your hotel. If you want to park on the street, city employees will direct you to a parking spot and provide you with a permit. Rio has a very strict zero-tolerance alcohol policy for drivers and checkpoints are common.
João de Barro specializes in seafood and codfish, with dishes such as bobó de camarão (manioc stew with shrimp) and wreck fish with honey and mustard sauce and saffron rice. The place is stylish and cosy, a perfect option for a date. Please note that this restaurant only serves lunch and opens from 12h to 16h.
Set in a centenary house which was part of the Royal Empire in the 1500s, Brasserie Rosário is a mix of restaurant, cafeteria and bar. It offers great options of breads and sandwiches, sweet pastries and dishes, such as grilled wreck fish with Moroccan couscous and basil foam. Good for couples.
Coccinelle Bistrô adopts the slow food concept and mixes French and Asian gastronomy in individual dishes served in bento boxes. Meals are prepared with fresh, organic ingredients, which mean the main dish in the menu changes daily. You can also try salads and sandwiches. Good for couples.
Confeitaria Colombo is a city institution - opened in 1824, inspired on the European tearooms, it is listed as a Rio de Janeiro Historic and Artistic Heritage. This coffee and pastry shop is set in an Art Nouveau building with ceiling dome in stained glass, jacaranda furniture and Belgian mirrors. It offers artisanal Portuguese pastries such as cookies, petit fours and sponge cakes, as well as sandwiches and breads and a buffet option for lunch. Good for families and couples.
Green offers lacto-egg vegetarian meals for lunch (from 11h to 15h). You can choose between a variety of salads, soups, baked dishes and vegetables, according to the daily specials. Among the house specialties are the vegetarian feijoada, the eggplant lasagne and the beet steak.
Giuseppe Grill is a modern steakhouse which offers 21 different types of meat cuts, like baby beef and Argentine chorizo. The meat cuts prepared on the grill, 5 cm from the coals, and the place has an elegant environment, with wooden furniture and exposed brick walls decorated with paintings. Good for groups of friends, families and business travelers. Please note that this restaurant only serves lunch and opens from 12h to 16h.
Eça is named after the Portuguese writer Eça de Queiroz and it is possible to see the literary touches in the sober decor of the restaurant, with hand-written messages on the walls. Located in the basement of the H.Stern jewellery building, it offers innovative dishes, such as salmon in wasabi vienoise with pupunha palm noodle and Thai sauce or tuna with ginger tempura. Please note that this restaurant only serves lunch and opens from 12h to 16h. Good for business travellers.
Atrium is set in an historical building from the Imperial times in Brazilian history and is decorated with pictures of Rio de Janeiro in the old times. The menu offers Brazilian dishes with a sophisticated touch, such as shredded jerky beef with pumpkin purée, rice and farofa and dry mushroom risotto with filet mignon. Atrium is a favourite among politicians, lawyers and judges who work in the centre of the city. Please note that this restaurant only serves lunch and opens from 11h30 to 15h30.
Casa Cavé is a symbol of the city's Belle Epóque and sells pastry options since 1860. Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea time tasting one of the house's famous sweet pastries - such as the pastel de belém - and you will understand the reason for the longevity of this place.
The tiled walls, wooden furniture and antique chandeliers set the tone in Casa Urich, giving it a charming historical atmosphere. This restaurant, opened in 1913, serves German dishes, such as Kassler and Frikadelle, and seafood-based dishes.
Bar Luiz is a Rio de Janeiro's reference in draught beer, which it has been serving for 120 years. It also serves one of the gastronomic traditions of the city: its potato and sausage salad. Traditional and casual place, good for chatting with friends.
Set in a 3-store house from 1914, Bar Gaspar offers an informal environment in which you can get a taste of Brazilian food. Among the house specialties you will find grilled spring chicken ("galeto") and sirloin steak ("picanha") with side dishes. As appetizers, a good option is the cassava fried cake and the famous feijoada fried cake, which goes really well with a cold draught beer. Good for groups of friends and families.
O Navegador mixes Brazilian and international influences and is located on the top floor of the historical Naval Club building. Following the slow food concept, O Navegador offers an organic salad buffet to go with the dishes, such as grilled fish of the day on leek sauce with sesame rice or roasted chicken breast with pasta on black olives, capers, basil and cherry tomato confit sauce. Good for couples. Please note that this restaurant only serves lunch and opens from 11h30 to 15h.
Rio Scenarium was elected one of the Top 10 bars in the world by The Guardian newspaper in 2006. It presents live Brazilian music in a casual environment with retro décor and a variety of snacks and drinks. Good for couples and groups of friends.
Set on the 14th floor, Terraço offers privileged views of the city in a modern and friendly environment. The menu offers Brazilian tastes, such as beef rib roasted in its own sauce with fried cassava, watercress and rice and imperial pork (roast pork, potatoes with rosemary, rice, pork rinds, maze farofa and bananas). Good for couples and business travellers.
Demi Glace offers varied dishes for all tastes: salads, pasta, risottos and grilled meats. A few options are the Moqueca Risotto (Arborio rice, white fish, shrimps, coconut milk, spices and biquinho pepper) and the penne with demi-glace sauce (mushroom sauce with slices of filet mignon). Casual environment, good for couples and families. Please note that this restaurant only serves lunch and opens from 11h30 to 16h.
Set in a mansion from 1902, Lapa Café has colourful retro décor, with old refrigerators, paintings and labels from its over 500 beer options. To go with the extensive beer menu, you can try the snacks, like jerky beef with fried cassava. It also has a dance floor with a stage for shows, an art gallery and a bar. Good for groups of friends and couples.
Set in a charming mansion from the beginning of the XX century, Salsa e Cebolinha offers Brazilian dishes and live music. The atmosphere is casual and friendly and the décor includes cartoons from a famous Brazilian artist, Ziraldo, who also names one of the main dishes: Tornedor a Ziraldo (thick fillet mignon steak, with French fries, rice, bean sauce and mushrooms). Good for groups of friends and couples. Please note: on Saturdays and Sundays, this restaurant only accepts clients with reservations.
This eclectic place offers lunch meals during the day and live music, snacks during the night. For lunch, you'll find options like Linguiça Mineira (Brazilian style sausage with rice, beans tutu, farofa and kale); while at night the house is famous for its Moela Alcoolizada (chicken gizzards cooked in wine and herbs). Good for couples, groups of friends.
Bar Brasil opened its doors in 1907 and since then it has been serving Brazilian and German cuisine and one of the most celebrated draught beers in the city. One of the top choices in the menu is the lentil garni (sausage, smoked sausage, lentils, roast beef, Kassler, pork carré and fresh tongue). Calm place to go with families and groups of friends.
Parada da Lapa is a cultural experience in itself. With views of Arches, it offers a sophisticated environment with a stage for live music shows and an outdoor balcony. It is a great option for drinks and socializing. The menu is as eclectic as the environment: Spanish tapas, Italian appetizers and Brazilian snacks all go well with the cold draught beer. Good for young couples, groups of friends.
Set in a historical house, Cosmopolita is a traditional Brazilian bar and restaurant and the birthplace of a very common carioca dish: the Oswaldo Aranha fillet (a thick fillet mignon steak with garlic, potatoes, farofa - manioc flour dish - and rice). Informal environment, good for couples and groups of friends.
Carioca da Gema is a bar which offers live samba music and traditional Brazilian snacks, such as cassava escondidinho (a shepherd’s pie style dish, with cassava and jerky beef, among other options). If you are looking for a calm space for your meal, you can try the pizzeria in the annex building. Good for couples, group of friends and partygoers. Please note: this establishment does not accept clients under 18 years old.
Nova Capela was declared a cultural heritage in Rio de Janeiro in 2011 and it proudly shows its tradition in old pictures on the walls. This is a great place for beer and snacks with friends. The place is also known for its uncommon dishes, such as roasted goat and roasted wild boar. It is open until late and attracts eclectic public. Good for groups of friends.
Leviano is famous for its drinks and snacks, such as seafood moqueca dumpling, feijoada fried balls and breaded curd cheese with guava jelly and ginger. Among the dishes, the highlights are the baroa potato gnocchi and the oxtail risotto with watercress. Informal and cheer atmosphere, good for young couples and groups of friends.
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