This is my travel guide on What to do in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
A few years ago I went on a trip from London to visit the city of Rio.
It was an incredible trip and I wanted to share with you my top tips on what to do in and around Rio.
Here is my guide all about what to see around Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Fly with Norwegian Air from London to Rio
Flying with Norwegian Air Long Haul from London Gatwick, the UK to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner direct was a great choice.
It was a super comfortable flight and the total return cost was only £329 (without baggage and food which is charged as an additional cost).
Incredible value when you think about it and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft was comfortable to sleep on for long haul journeys.
Couldn’t recommend this flight enough for its super affordable value. Great way to connect London to Rio.
Stay at Hotel Windsor Marapendi Rio de Janeiro
For accommodation, I opted for the Hotel Windsor Marapendi Rio de Janeiro.
Located within a short taxi drive from the main city it was nice to be in a more quiet part of town.
I found the beachfront to be rather peaceful and not as busy as the beaches closer to the city.
The rooms were well priced and comfortable with loads of space and a modern design.
great to use the hotel pool located on the roof for cocktails in the evening.
The breakfast buffet was nice and enjoyable as well with a large range of items to choose from with fresh juices and hot coffee on offer which was a great way to start your day.
Also, the hotel was a great location to access the Rock in Rio festival, which was a short taxi journey away.
Perfectly located in the middle between the city and the festival.
A nice relaxing hotel to be based at while exploring Rio.
Visa information for UK travellers to Brazil
Good news, if you’re travelling to Brazil from the UK with a UK passport then you don’t need to get a visa in advance.
You can enter Brazil from Rio airport with a Tourism Visa on arrival. For those not from the UK you might need to arrange a visa in advance to visit Brazil.
If you need help with your Visa processing to Brazil, be sure to check out Visa Express.
Explore the Escadaria Selaron, Selaron Steps
A classic must-see attraction for any visitor to Rio is the Escadaria Selaron.
Also known as the Selaron Steps. These colourful tiled steps are worth checking out.
The steps are the work of artist Jorge Selarón, who was Chilean-born and created the steps as a tribute to the people of Brazil.
Perfect photo opportunity not to be missed in the city of Rio.
Take a trip on the Santa Teresa Tram
I had a lot of fun taking a journey on the Santa Teresa Tram and would highly recommend this trip for visitors to Rio.
This historical tram line has been running since 1877 and travels from the city centre and will take you up the hills to the inner-city neighbourhood of Santa Teresa.
It’s one of the oldest electric run tram lines in the world and Latin America and will offer an enjoyable journey and stunning views overlooking Rio as you make your way up the hills.
My recommendation is to get on from the start in the city centre (First Stop, Carioca) and purchase a return ticket which allows you to hop on and hop off the tram as much as you wish along the return route.
This way you can explore Santa Teresa and get a ride back to town.
I was able to stop off halfway to enjoy lunch at a restaurant which was a nice way to break up the trip and explore different parts of Santa Teresa.
Grab a cocktail on Copacabana Beach
Copacabana beach is probably one of the most famous beaches in the world and has to be visited on a trip to Rio.
I’d recommend heading to the beach and finding one of the many beach bars to enjoy a cocktail or two.
The boulevard itself was designed by Brazilian architect Roberto Burle Marx which gives its unique style.
It’s also home to the Copacabana Palace Hotel which has always been a famous location to stay for many celebrities over the years.
Not one of the best beaches to hang out all day whilst in Rio (I’ll recommend a few more later on), but still one to visit so you can tick it off your bucket list whilst in Rio.
Hike up to the top of Christ the Redeemer
A little travellers tip, the earlier you wake up the better chance you have to enjoy the Christ the Redeemer all to yourself.
The most traditional way to reach the Christ the Redeemer location is to take the tram ride up to the top and the first one departs each day at around 08:00 am. The tram journey takes around 20 minutes to complete.
Gates also at the top open for around 08:00. Depending on what time the staff arrive, but usually prepare for the first tram arrival that departs at 08:00.
Instead, What you can do is the hike for free to the entrance of Christ the Redeemer and enter the area before the first tram arrives.
Give you around a 20-minute window to enjoy the Christ the Redeemer all to yourself with just the staff members as they set up for the day.
The hike was really easy to follow from the right side of the tram station entrance and was signposted to the Christ the Redeemer ticket entrance.
I woke up at 06:00 am that day and booked an Uber to the tram entrance to start the hike to the top.
Just a heads up and a word of warning, I have read reports of crime and muggings happening along this hiking route.
For me, this wasn’t the case at 06:45 am and didn’t see anyone else along the hiking route at all that early in the morning.
But of course, this is at your own risk and I must warn you of past reports just so you’re aware.
This small 20-minute window of having Christ the Redeemer to myself was incredible and one of the highlights of the trip to Rio was an extra special moment that I will cherish for a lifetime.
Then when the first tram arrived for the day and the flood of visitors arrived to see the Christ the Redeemer, this is a great time to go grab a coffee at the top and enjoy the view.
Breakfast Brunch at Plage Cafe
I’ve never seen a breakfast brunch quite like what is served at Plage Cafe. It’s a special setting and experience for sure.
Located within the tropical park of Parque Lage, located within the courtyard of the classical Parque Lage mansion.
The hearty breakfast set menu is a must and enough for two people sharing to enjoy and is perfect after a long day of hiking up to the Christ Redeemer which is within proximity.
This location Offers stunning backdrop views of the Christ the Redeemer looking over you from above.
I can’t recommend this spot enough, you simply must have brunch here.
Sugarloaf Mountain Gondola
A trip to Rio wouldn’t be complete without visiting the world-famous Sugar Loaf mountain in Rio.
You can visit the top by taking the Gondola service.
You can book your Sugar Loaf mountain gondola ticket in advance and use a digital E-ticket on your smartphone to use the gondola which was the easiest and cheapest option.
My tip would be to arrive mid-afternoon so you can find a spot to enjoy a magical sunset overlooking Rio.
Grab a beer at one of the bars and then you can take the last Gondola back down which is a great way to end your day.
Grab a bite to eat at the Confeitaria Colombo
A nice lunch spot in Rio steeped with tradition was Confeitaria Colombo.
They had some good lunch set menus and were perfect for a cup of coffee and a pastry from the bakery.
Worth checking out this spot for its history and grand design alone.
Relax on Ipanema Beach
Copacabana Beach gets the spotlight when visiting Rio, but head a bit further down and you will find Ipanema Beach.
I did prefer visiting and spending time at Ipanema Beach more than the other beaches in Rio and was popular with locals too.
It was great finding someone renting deckchairs and offering a cold beer service to your seat, makes life easier.
Could easily chill here for hours enjoying the Rio beach life. Perfection!
Go to Cervantes Restaurante for a Beef steak sandwich
If you visit Brazil, you have to try a steak sandwich for its hearty portion alone.
The Cervantes Restaurante come highly recommended as the place to try this popular Brazilian dish in Rio.
The sandwich was incredible and juicy and the service is top-notch.
I would have happily come back again for another one.
Finish off your day at Fogo De Chao – steak restaurant
A fun dining experience in Rio, you simply have to try Fogo De Chao – a steak restaurant.
It’s a bit on the pricy side but well worth it if you come along hungry. It’s an attraction in itself.
This unlimited steak house concept will keep bringing out a large selection of Brazilian style BBQ meat one by one until you say stop.
Be prepared for a feast and come along hungry as you won’t be left disappointed.
A fun and unique dining concept to try in Brazil if you like BBQ.
Head out on the Guanabara Bay Boat Tour
A great way to explore Guanabara Bay is to take a Boat Tour.
Booking is easy and you can check for availability on the day or it is recommended to book in advance your spot on the Guanabara Bay Boat Tour.
Duration is just under two hours and departures are from just outside the Museum of Tomorrow.
A great way to grab a cold beer, enjoy the leisurely cruise and see the city of Rio and its many attractions and landmarks from the water.
Attend the Rock in Rio Music festival
The main purpose of my trip to Brazil was to attend the legendary music festival Rock in Rio!
My favourite band Iron Maiden was headlining the metal night event so I Decided to time the trip with the festival to make this trip extra special.
Rock In Rio Was a perfect festival to combine with a trip to Brazil as you can choose which days you would like to attend as every day has a whole host of different headliners and genres of music.
The festival was located an hours Uber ride out from the city and was easy to combine with a visit to the city.
The music festival was incredible and the Brazilians know how to put on a party.
What an incredible atmosphere and happy that on the night of metal music I got to see great bands perform such as Iron Maiden, Sepultura, Halloween, Slayer and Scorpion it was an incredible day of heavy metal music.
A night of music I will never forget and made the trip extra special, would highly recommend.
Thank you for reading my blog about the city of Rio, Brazil
Thank you for reading my blog post about my trip to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
I hope you enjoyed the read and it helped with your trip planning to Rio.
Have an amazing trip and have a lot of fun visiting Rio.