Rio de Janeiro
Situated on the southeast coast of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in the country and offers a unique blend of urban style and natural wonders. The former capital’s streets, beaches and rainforest-covered mountains attract tourists from across the globe.
Most travellers to Rio take a trip to Corcovado, situated in Tijuca National Park. The mountain is home to Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) which is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Early risers are usually able to get some fantastic pictures in before the crowds begin to arrive. For a different perspective of the statue, head to nearby Sugarloaf Mountain and take a trip on the cable car, taking in the panoramic views of the rainforest, city and beaches below.
Those seeking culture won’t be disappointed, with Rio’s Portuguese, English and French influenced architecture featuring beautiful 16th century churches and graceful 19th century palaces. Rio also boasts the Biblioteca Nacional – the seventh largest library in the world.
Rio de Janeiro is also the ultimate party destination. Many carnival-goers believe that there is no better place to join in the annual Brazilian festivities than in Rio. The city comes alive with samba beats, extravagant costumes and vibrant parades. The carnival usually takes place in February and is a five day celebration that ends the day before Lent begins. If you can’t make it to Brazil for the carnival, why not spray champagne with the 2.5 million revellers that see in the New Year on Copacabana Beach?
Spend a day relaxing on the adjacent upmarket Ipanema Beach. Visitors can sit back with a chilled caipirinha or a fresh coconut and watch Brazil’s most beautiful parading up and down the white sands. More active travellers may decide to get involved with a game of footvolley – a Brazilian blend of football and volleyball that is played on the beaches of Rio every day.
Rio is warm all year round, with the hottest months between December and March. This is usually the time with the most rainfall too. The city has good transport links, with buses, taxis and the metro transporting travellers around the city.