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Visit Rio de Janeiro: Your Travel Guide

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.

Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro

Arcos da Lapa (Carioca Acqueduct)
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.
Avenida Mem de Sá 65, Downtown
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.
R. Marquês de Sapucaí, Santo Cristo
Check website for details
Maracanã Stadium
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.
Avenida Presidente Castelo Branco, Gate 2
Open every day 9 am – 5 pm
Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf Mountain)
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.
Avenida Pasteur 520, Urca
Cristo Redentor (The Statue of Christ the Redeemer)
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.
Rua Cosme Velho 513
Open every day 8 am – 7 pm
Copacabana Beach
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.
Avenida Atlântica, Copacabana
Rodrigo de Freitas Lake
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.
Jardim Botânico (Botanical Gardens)
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.
Rua Jardim Botânico 1008
Open Monday 12 pm – 5 pm, Tuesday to Sunday 8 am – 5 pm
Floresta da Tijuca (Tijuca Forest National Park)
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.
Estrada da Cascatinha 850, Alto da Boa Vista
Open every day 8 am – 5 pm
Pedra Bonita
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.
Estrada das Canoas
Open every day 8 am – 5 pm; changes seasonally – check website for details
Sugarloaf Mountain
Cable cars, Caipirinhas and Copacabana views. A trip up Sugarloaf Mountain is a classic Rio experience. Have your camera ready as the gondola glides upwards, and capture heavenly snaps of the Christ the Redeemer statue surrounded by the clouds. At the top, you can admire panoramas of Rio’s most famous golden beach, maybe with a sugary cocktail or two!
What do Albert Einstein, Princess Diana and Pope John Paul II have in common? They’ve all been to the top of Corcovado Mountain to stare up at the famous Christ the Redeemer statue. You can follow in their footsteps by boarding a funicular train to take in the epic views of the rain forest, ocean and surrounding mountains along the way.
Tijuca Forest
Few cities can brag that they have a rain forest on their doorstep – but Rio is one of them. In Tijuca Forest National Park, you can get up close to the wildlife, like toucan birds and capuchin monkeys, or hike up the Pedra Bonita trail to capture jaw-droppingly beautiful views. And with the temperature about 15 degrees lower than in the city, it’s also a great place to cool off.
Parque Lage
In contrast to the wild rain forest that surrounds it, Parque Lage’s gardens are laid out in an organized European style. You can wander around the grounds at your own pace, or enjoy a coffee in the courtyard of the colonial-style mansion while gazing up at Christ the Redeemer – this peaceful public park lies in the shadow of Corcovado Mountain.
Samba Parade
Feathers shake and sequins sparkle as thousands of samba dancers strut their stuff in the Sambadrome. Led by the flamboyant King Momo, the Carnival Parade sees Rio’s samba schools battle it out to be crowned best in the city – with the help of spectacular themed floats, extravagant costumes, and specially written tunes.
Carnival Bands Parade
While the official parade now sticks to the Sambadrome, thousands of Cariocas still celebrate Carnival the old-fashioned way – in the streets. Over 300 neighborhood bands take over Rio, blocking off roads as they dance, drum and samba their way through town in unofficial parades known as "blocos."
Ipanema Beach
Jog around Ipanema to see how the other half lives. While you run barefoot on the Vieira Souto beachfront, you'll have views of the palatial mansions of Rio's most astonishing coastline. If you head out for an evening run, go towards the Rocks of Arpoador – where people come together on the beach to clap their hands as the sun sets between two mountains. No money in the world can buy this!
Da Barra Beach
Da Barra gets a bad rap for its new-build blandness with high-rise apartments and shopping malls for as far as the eye can see. But if you focus on the serene coastline along Lucio Costa Avenue, you can easily drift off into a runner’s high – and who knows, maybe even break a personal record or two.
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas
Parks, playgrounds, and running trails loop around this lake in Rio’s wealthy south. As you jog around its perimeter, keep your concentration by counting the gaggle of swan-shaped kayaks that glide across the middle of the lake. Then cool down with a drink and walk on the promenade.
The residents of Ipanema live in palatial elegance along Rio's most staggering coastline. Walk barefoot on the beachfront along Vieira Souto, or head inland for choice 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 sultry nightlife.
Praia da Barra da Tijuca
If you like a good surfing beach, then Praia da Barra da Tijuca is the place to come during your Rio visit. Known as the longest beach in the state of Rio de Janeiro, this is where hundreds of surfers come together every year for the national surfing championships. Rent a board from a surf shop on the beachfront, or just sit down to admire their amazing moves and tricks.
Leme Beach
If you’re wandering Copacabana Beach, why not extend your walk and take in Leme too? This tiny beach is tacked onto the end of its more famous cousin. It’s known as a family-friendly beach, so expect to see plenty of little ones frolicking around the shore here.
Arpoador Beach
If you’re after stunning sunsets, Arpoador Beach is the place to be. A rocky promontory juts out from the beach, where plenty of people stretch out as the day fades and the vivid palette of colors stretches out across the sky. Just make sure you’ve got your camera with you!
Leblon Beach
Leblon Beach is an extension of Ipanema Beach, with a distinctly sporty feel to it. As you wander, you’ll see plenty of people playing football or volleyball on the sand. Join in one of the games, or just pull up a seat at one of the many bars on the beachfront and watch the people go by.
Circo Voador Venue
Set in the shadow of the Arcos da Lapa aqueduct, Circo Voador—or "flying circus"—gets its name from its sweeping tent-like dome. This lively community hub is a cultural magnet for Lapa locals, who welcome visitors with open arms. After gettin' down at one of this venue’s live gigs or dance classes, you might leave Rio with a few new friends!
Lapa Neighborhood
There’s always something going on in Lapa. Based around Rio’s Carioca Aqueduct, this bohemian neighborhood is famous for its café culture and vibrant nightlife. The regulars who flock to its bars and restaurants are all too eager to stop and chat. If you want to go dancing, make your way to one of the area’s traditional samba dance halls!
Leblon Neighborhood
Life in this cosmopolitan neighborhood revolves around beautiful Leblon Beach. This upscale seaside spot is stylish, but never snobby, so don’t be shy about getting to know the locals as you soak up the sun. Then, with sand still between your toes, head to one of the many trendy "pé sujo"—literally "dirty feet"—bars nearby.
Ipanema Neighborhood
Rio’s iconic Ipanema neighborhood is a place to see and be seen. Beautiful people saunter beneath swaying palms along its sandy shore, with elegant waterfront restaurants providing the perfect spot to watch the world go by. Strike up a conversation on the beach and you might even meet your very own girl from Ipanema!
Rio’s liveliest and most famous district, Copacabana is a must-see on every visitor’s list. Stretch out with the bronzing beach bums, work up a sweat on some of the workout equipment, or sip on some caipirinhas at the bar. With a huge selection of shops, it’s also the perfect place to pick up some fashionable new beachwear!
Christ the Redeemer
Standing 125 feet tall, Christ the Redeemer welcomes all of Rio into his outspread arms from the top of Corcovado Mountain. With the hot weather and long lines, it takes some perseverance to get up close and personal with this giant statue. Wake up in time to catch the first train and cut down the wait time so you can snap the best photos!
Sugarloaf Cable Car
The Sugarloaf Cable Car has been ferrying tourists, locals, and celebrities to the top of this mountain since 1912 – making it one of the oldest in the world! Cars leave from Praia Vermelha every 15 minutes, and you’ll need to hop off at the first hill, Morro da Urca, to take another one to the summit.
Santa Teresa Neighborhood
Sitting high up in Rio’s hills, quirky Santa Teresa is a mix of sprawling mansions and cobblestone streets, with an artsy bohemian vibe. Hop off the old-fashioned tram at Largo dos Guimarães and spend the day dipping in and out of independent galleries, craft shops, and funky chic bars with the kinds of city views that give local writers and artists their inspiration.
Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden
A lush paradise spread over 345 acres, Rio’s Jardim Botânico is no ordinary garden. Home to more than 8,000 indigenous and non-native species, you’ll see fluttering butterflies and hummingbirds darting through the foliage – and even monkeys leaping from tree to tree! Open all year round, it's right at the foot of Corcovado Mountain, just below Christ the Redeemer’s right arm.
Red Beach
One of the best spots in Rio to escape the crowds, Red Beach also has an unforgettable view of Sugarloaf Mountain. Head here for a day of relaxing in the sunshine, drinking coconut water from the local stands and watching the waves break against the steeply slanted shore. As the sun sets and lights up the sea with colour, you’ll discover how this peaceful place got its name.
Joatinga Beach
Due to its secluded and hard-to-reach location, Joatinga Beach remains a real hidden gem of Rio. You’ll have to hire a car and then follow a short trail down to the coast, but the scenery is worth the effort. With white sand, rocky outcrops and wild turquoise sea, it’s an idyllic spot to try out some body surfing or watch the surfers from the shore.
Lapa District
One of the best places to party for New Year's in Rio, Lapa is the perfect stage to practice your samba and sip a few cocktails before the clock strikes midnight. Here you'll encounter many "Carioca," local residents known for their friendliness and welcoming attitudes. Lapa has a ton of nightclubs to pick from, too – the most famous being Rio Scenarium with its three lavishly decorated floors.

When to Go to Rio de Janeiro

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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Traveler's Reviews & Photos

Very Good
We had a hire car and the road system and the traffic was horrendous. Do not hire a car if you are at all nervous. Plenty of taxis at a reasonable cost. All the well known attractions were well worth a visit and the botanical gardens very good and well maintained.
October 6, 2017
Very Good
People from Rio are always happy despite their problems. Certain areas are very cool and the views make it worth to visit. Just don’t walk around showing any kind of jewelry, cell phone and your wallet. Leave all that at home. Take just what you will need.
Leonardo Heidner
United States of America
October 8, 2017
Very Good
Loved the sightseeing but after being mugged on the beach at 11am on a hot spring day I was very cautious about exploring the city.
October 6, 2017
You can't forget to visit Corcovado.Rio is a fantastic and magic town.Sugar loaf, copacabana,Ipanema,Leblon, Barra de Tijuca.Unforgetable.
October 4, 2017
Rio is one of the most beutiful citys in the world. Even if the risc of robbery is high i think it is a place worth to spend your vacation in.
October 10, 2017

Accommodations and Hotels in Rio de Janeiro

Sol Ipanema Hotel

8.3 Very Good

Score from 1,434 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    96 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    58 related reviews
  • “amazing views”
    52 related reviews
Everest Rio Hotel

7.6 Good

Score from 1,238 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    67 related reviews
  • “amazing views”
    45 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    35 related reviews
Miramar Hotel by Windsor

9.3 Wonderful

Score from 2,068 reviews


Average price per night
  • “wonderful staff”
    187 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    134 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    109 related reviews
Rio Othon Palace

8 Very Good

Score from 3,592 reviews


Average price per night
  • “amazing views”
    161 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    158 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    106 related reviews
Hotel Vermont Ipanema

8.4 Very Good

Score from 2,213 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    105 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    68 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    47 related reviews
Ipanema Inn Hotel

8.9 Excellent

Score from 1,013 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    110 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    108 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    72 related reviews
Golden Tulip Ipanema Plaza

7.9 Good

Score from 1,423 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    137 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    59 related reviews
  • “great pool area”
    48 related reviews
Arena Copacabana Hotel

8.8 Excellent

Score from 1,709 reviews


Average price per night
  • “amazing views”
    93 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    85 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    72 related reviews
Hotel Astoria Palace

8.3 Very Good

Score from 2,486 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    65 related reviews
  • “amazing views”
    36 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    31 related reviews
Discover Rio de Janeiro

Popular Neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro


1535 properties

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.


437 properties

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.

Barra da Tijuca

433 properties

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.

Downtown Rio de Janeiro

191 properties

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.


191 properties

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!

Santa Teresa

138 properties

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.


133 properties

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.


68 properties

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.


11 properties

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.


1 property

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.

Local Tips for Rio de Janeiro

Reserva Florestal do Grajaú
Rafaela by Rafaela

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.

  • 742 Rua Comendador Martinelli, Grajaú
  • Open weekends 8 am – 5 pm
Grumari Beach
Alexandre by Alexandre

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.

  • Av Estado da Guanabara, Grumari
  • Open every day
Downtown Mall
Fernanda R. by Fernanda R.

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.

  • Av. das Américas 500, Barra da Tijuca
  • Check website for details.
Lavradio Flea Market
Daniela by Daniela

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!

  • Lavradio Street, Lapa
  • First Saturday of every month
Parque dos Patins area, Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon
Ana F. by Ana F.

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.

  • Avenida Borges de Medeiros, Lagoa
  • Open every day
Leme Beach
Karoline by Karoline

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.

  • Leme
  • Open every day
View from the Chinese Pagoda
Aline by Aline

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.

  • Estrada da Vista Chinesa, Alto da Boa Vista
  • Open every day
Chico Mendes Ecological Park
Andre by Andre

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.

  • Avenida Jarbas de Carvalho, 679, Recreio dos Bandeirantes
  • Open Tuesday to Sunday 8 am – 5 pm
Odeon Petrobras Theater
Leandro by Leandro

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!

  • Praça Floriano 07, Centro
  • Check website for details (Portuguese only)
Instituto Moreira Salles
Ana S. by Ana S.

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.

  • Rua Marquês de São Vicente, 476, Gávea
  • Open Tuesday to Sunday 11 am – 8pm
Read our FAQs on this destination –>

Recommended in Rio de Janeiro

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.

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.

We used taxis and the metro rather than buses, and this made sight seeing quicker and stress free. We'd recommend avoiding rush hour!

Sun came up on Coppa and went down on Ipanema. Bikinis with all the bare butts.

Because it has a great national and international cuisine

Sea, montains , florest and city! Perfect combination !

The atmosphere!! Happy people and caipirinha!


Rio de Janeiro Transportation

Air – Galeão/Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport

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.

Santos Dumont Airport

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.

Food in Rio de Janeiro

Top Restaurants in Rio de Janeiro

Mid-Range Fare
João de Barro

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.

  • Rua Visconde de Inhaúma, 113 – Rio de Janeiro Centre
  • Open weekdays 11:00–16:00.
  • 0055 21 2233 2733
Cheap Eats
Brasserie Rosário

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.

Cheap Eats
Coccinelle Bistrô

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.

  • Travessa do Comércio, 11 – Rio de Janeiro Centre
  • Open weekdays 11:30–18:30, Saturday 11:30–17:30.
  • 0055 21 2224 8602
Mid-Range Fare
Confeitaria Colombo

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.

Cheap Eats

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.

Upscale Dining
Giuseppe Grill

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.

Upscale Dining

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.

Mid-Range Fare

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.

Cheap Eats
Casa Cavé

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.

Mid-Range Fare
Casa Urich

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.

Cheap Eats
Bar Luiz

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.

Cheap Eats
Bar Gaspar

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.

Upscale Dining
O Navegador

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.

Upscale Dining
Rio Scenarium

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.

Upscale Dining

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.

  • Rua Araújo Porto Alegre, 36 – Rio de Janeiro Centre
  • Open weekdays 11:30–16:00.
  • 0055 21 2220 2952
Cheap Eats

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.

Upscale Dining
Lapa Café

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.

Mid-Range Fare
Salsa e Cebolinha

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.

Cheap Eats
Bistrô da Lapa

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.

  • Rua do Lavradio, 192 – Lapa
  • Open weekdays 11:00–17:00, Saturday 11:00–14:00.
  • 0055 21 2242 0123
Mid-Range Fare
Bar Brasil

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.

  • Avenida Mem de Sá, 90 – Lapa
  • Open Monday to Saturday 11:30–00:00.
  • 0055 21 2509 5943
Upscale Dining
Parada da Lapa

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.

Mid-Range Fare

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.

  • Travessa do Mosqueira, 4 – Lapa
  • Open Monday to Thursday 11:00–00:00, Friday to Saturday 11:00–16:00.
  • 0055 21 2224 7820
Mid-Range Fare
Carioca da Gema

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.

Mid-Range Fare
Nova Capela

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.

Upscale Dining

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.

  • Avenida Mem de Sá, 47 – Lapa
  • Open Tuesday to Sunday 18:00–03:00.
  • 0055 21 2507 5779
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