Sunset in Rio de Janeiro
Attractions of South America e-Book

Attractions of Rio de Janeiro

Copacabana BeachCopacabana Beach
For sunning, relaxing and people watching, join the thousands who flock each year to this lively, world-famous beach lined with shops, bars, restaurants and hotels.

Sugar Loaf Mountain (Pão de Açucar)
Board the cable car that ascends this 390-foot granite mountain, which offers superb views of the city.

A towering statue of Jesus Christ (Cristo Redentor) perched atop the Corcovado Mountain is accessible by a steep train or winding car ride followed by numerous staircases, but it’s worth the trek to see this 98-foot statue up close and the whole of Rio de Janeiro below.

Ipanema Beach
Popularized by the song "The Girl from Ipanema," this world-famous beach is a major attraction of Rio de Janeiro, displaying a cross-section of different lifestyles, chic boutiques and eateries and luxurious apartment buildings.

Tijuca National Park
You’ll find historical spots, spectacular views, a beautiful waterfall, a small chapel and unusual trees in this dense, tropical national park, probably best explored by jeep tour.

Teatro Municipal
Whether to attend a show or take a tour, it’s worth seeing this lavish 1909 theater, filled with gilded mirrors, statues, murals, stained-glass windows and sparkling chandeliers.

National Fine Arts Museum (Museu Nacional de Belas Artes)
Inside this French Renaissance-style building is a collection of paintings by Brazil's finest contemporary artists as well as an impressive array of folk and African art.

Estadio Mario Filho (Maracana)
The world's biggest Soccer stadium and a must see attraction of Rio de Janeiro if there's a game going on.

Botanical Garden (Jardim Botanico)
Two 800-yard-long rows of towering royal palm trees are a highlight of this massive garden containing thousands of plants and trees, including every variety of palm tree imaginable.

Casa do Pontal Museum
The country’s largest folk art museum provides insight into Brazilian culture through clay sculptures, wood carvings and one of the museum’s highlights, mechanical dioramas.

Barra da Tijuca
Unlike some of Rio de Janeiro’s other beaches, this one has no pollution and offers surfers and jet skiers strong waves, which also makes swimming a bit precarious.

Praia do Flamengo Flamengo district
Large Dutch settlement in this area of Rio

Carmen Miranda Museum
The 1940s Hollywood actress and singer is remembered in this museum that displays her knockout costumes, jewelry and five-inch high, sequin-covered shoes, as well as records, movie posters and other memorabilia.

Chacara do Ceu Museum
Situated in a bohemian neighborhood, and providing great views of the bay from its hilltop location, this museum contains 20th century masterpieces by the likes of Degas, Matisse and Picasso as well as works by prominent Brazilian modernists.

Museu Internacional de Arte Naif
The world’s largest collection of primitive paintings from the 15th century to the present day is housed in this colonial mansion, once the art studio of Brazilian painter Eliseu Visconti.

Sitio Roberto Burle Marx
The 100-acre home of Brazil’s celebrated landscape designer reveals over 3,500 plant species, his collection of folk and other art, and whimsical touches throughout.

Quinta da Boa Vista
This complex, situated on the beautiful grounds of the former imperial palace, contains the Museu Nacional, the Jardim Zoologico, pools and statues.

A surfers’ favorite, this beach is mobbed on weekends but nearly empty on weekdays.

Palacio do Catete
Transformed from palace to presidential residence in 1889 with the overthrow of the monarchy, this granite and marble building has striking floors and ceilings and houses a museum with presidential memorabilia, furniture and art.

Sao Bento Monastery
Gregorian chants are performed on Sundays at this Benedictine complex, which was completed in 1641 and contains a spectacular church altar.

Marina da Gloria
The departure point for cruises around the bay and off the coast of Rio, the Marina da Glória inside the beautiful Parque do Flamengo offers all the infrastructure for keeping boats with moorage areas, nautical services, restaurants and bars. It also contains a number of shops that sell anything from accessories and supplies for cruisers and sailboats, to boats of all types.

O Cristo Redentor - Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro Igreja de Sao Francisco de Paula
This church in the Largo de São Francisco was the site of many imperial events, including the 1822 mass dedicated to the country's conversion from colony to kingdom and the mass celebrating Brazil's adoption of its first constitution in 1831.

Along with its colonial exterior and ornate interior, visitors should note sculptures done by Mestre Valentim and paintings by the slave Manoel da Cunha.

Morro da Urca
This is the first hill up on the way to Rio de Janeiro's famous Sugar Loaf. It offers its own marvelous view from the top (215 meters) but its base is also a good place for hiking.

Museum of Modern Art
An impressive collection of the likes of Picasso, Max Ernst, Rodin, Brancusi and other artists from Brazil and elsewhere is housed in this concrete and glass building in Flamengo Park.

National Museum
Appropriately set in an old colonial building, this museum contains stunning artifacts, including coins, cannons, documents and religious art, which provide a glimpse into Brazilian history.


Read more about Rio de Janeiro


Must See Places in Brazil
Salvador da Bahia Ouro Preto Brasilia
Salvador da Bahia Ouro Preto Brasilia

Food from Brazil
Music From Brazil


© All photographs by Mark Van Overmeire