Things to do in
Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer, Ipanema Beach, samba, carnival, and football galore; the reasons to visit are endless.

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Our most recommended things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Rio: Christ the Redeemer Official Ticket by Cog Train

1. Rio: Christ the Redeemer Official Ticket by Cog Train

Go all the way up to the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer by the Corcovado Train. The train rides through a railway inside Tijuca National Park, the largest urban forest in the world, making a unique view over Rio de Janeiro city. Enjoy an amazing ride on a train that takes you right up to the foot of the statue of The Christ, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and one of the most famous sights in Brazil. Besides admiring one of the most beautiful landscapes of the city, you will take a walk through Brazil's history. The Corcovado Railroad was the first electrified railroad in Brazil. Inaugurated in 1884 by D. Pedro II, it is older than Christ the Redeemer itself. In fact, it was the train that, during four consecutive years, transported pieces for monument’s construction. Your visit starts on the century-old electric locomotive, riding across the preserved Atlantic Forest, part of the Tijuca National Park. At the foot of the statue of Christ, you'll be able to take in the most beautiful view over the city, and see from above what makes Rio de Janeiro so special.

Rio de Janeiro: Sugarloaf Cable Car Official Ticket

2. Rio de Janeiro: Sugarloaf Cable Car Official Ticket

Discover the world-famous Sugarloaf Mountain with prebooked official tickets for the cable car, and explore one of Brazil's most popular attractions. Admire stunning views of Rio de Janeiro as you ride the cable car to the summit. Take incredible photos from the lookout point as you enjoy the panorama of the city and the ocean below. Make your own way to the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain, and head directly to the ticket office to exchange your printed voucher. Board the next cable car up the mountain, riding in the fully-enclosed cabin as you take in panoramic views of the city, Copacabana Beach, and Guanabara Bay.  Disembark at the top, where you can spend as much time as you wish. There is a food court and restaurant at the summit where you can purchase snacks and drinks. Once you have finished exploring the summit, your ticket is valid for any returning cable car.

Rio de Janeiro: Shared Transfer to Ilha Grande, Vila Abraão

3. Rio de Janeiro: Shared Transfer to Ilha Grande, Vila Abraão

Arrive at Ilha Grande (Vila do Abraão) with a fast and safe transfer service from Rio de Janeiro via car and FlexBoat. Take advantage of a fast and smooth ride thanks to the technology of the FlexBoat. Choose from daily departures and shared or private options. Start by getting picked up directly from your hotel, accommodation, or airport in Rio de Janeiro. After all the passengers have been picked up and the shuttle exits the city, take the 2.5-hour drive to Angra dos Reis. Upon arrival, hop on a FlexBoat to cross the main pier of Vila do Abrãaao to Ilha Grande. The boat crossing takes around 30 minutes on average. Located a 3-hour from Rio de Janeiro, Ilha Grande is only accessible by boat. FlexBoats have inflatable tubes along the sides of the boat and a solid fiberglass hull. The hydrodynamics of this combination allows for a fast yet smooth crossing to Ilha Grande.

Rio de Janeiro: Carnival 2023 Samba School Parade Ticket

4. Rio de Janeiro: Carnival 2023 Samba School Parade Ticket

Rio's Carnival is the most popular and the best Carnival in the world! No wonder it was named “Largest Carnival in the World” in 2004 by the Guinness Book of World Records. Carioca Carnival is a cultural event, where freedom of expression dominates in a creative and fun way, represented through samba school parades, carnival balls, and a street carnival. The official Samba School parades take place in Rio de Janeiro Sambadrome, created by the most renowned Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer and inaugurated in 1983 with capacity for 80,000 spectators. Every year, the Samba Schools compete for the Carnival Champion Title, one school will be chosen as the best of the best. More than 30,000 people perform throughout Carnival. Each school has between 4,000 and 5,000 participants. There are 5 days of parades, divided into three categories: Access Group, Special Group, and Parade of Champions. Access Group In the Access Group, the best Samba Schools will be able to participate in the Special Group in the following year. You will see 12 schools parade with enthusiasm and beauty. This is perfect for those, who want to see the magic of carnival on a budget. Special Group  These are considered the main days of the Carnival Parade. The best 14 Samba schools in Rio de Janeiro show all their creativity and innovations. These are the true magical nights of the Sambadrome. Tickets are more expensive for these days as it is the most popular parade with major league schools. Champions Parade On that night, the top six Special Group schools, plus the Access Group Champion repeat their performances. This is an extraordinary night to see the Carnaval champions of the year.

Rio: Tijuca Forest & Horto Waterfalls Circuit Tour

5. Rio: Tijuca Forest & Horto Waterfalls Circuit Tour

Experience the Horto Waterfall Trail and the Secret Waterfall Circuit! The tour consists of hiking trails with a moderate level of difficulty and some natural obstacles that you have to overcome. The place is beautiful and extremely pleasant, offering beautiful flora and wild animals for you to observe. Start the Horto Waterfall Trail and the Secret Waterfall Circuit towards the Jequitibá Waterfall, following trails and waterfalls until arriving at the famous Waterfall of the Shower, also known as Box Waterfall by the design and format that the rock presents. The Horto Waterfall Trail and the Secret Waterfall Circuit are an excellent alternative to get away from the overcrowded beaches of the city.

From Rio de Janeiro: Angra dos Reis Boat Trip with Lunch

6. From Rio de Janeiro: Angra dos Reis Boat Trip with Lunch

Relax on the 3-hour drive to the city of Angra dos Reis. A quick pit-stop on the road will be made to use bathroom facilities and buy a snack. Upon arrival in the docks, enjoy a schooner ride through the hundreds of islands of Angra dos Reis.  Marvel at the beauty of the most famous island of it all: Ilha Grande. Revel at the crystal clear water and rent a snorkel on the spot to see the different species of fish. After, devour the buffet lunch in a fishermen’s village. Explore different stops during the day in places such as the Blue Lagoon, Cataguases beach, and Japariz or Araçá beaches. The captain will choose the best spots depending on crowds and weather conditions.

Rio de Janeiro and Ilha Grande: One-Way Shuttle Transfer

7. Rio de Janeiro and Ilha Grande: One-Way Shuttle Transfer

Take the hassle out of transfers with a safe, comfortable, and convenient shared transfer between Rio de Janeiro and Ilha Grande. Enjoy both a boat transfer between the island and the mainland, and a vehicle transfer on the mainland.  Book in either direction, with the boat traveling between Conceição de Jacareí Pier and Abraão Village on Ilha Grande. Pick from Rio's two international airports or South Zone / Barra neighborhood hotels as your beginning or end points of the transfer. When heading to Ilha Grande, be picked up by your driver on the mainland, either from your hotel or an airport, and be dropped at right at the pier, where staff will be waiting with your boat tickets.  When heading to Rio, meet staff at the pier to collect your tickets, and then relax on the boat and vehicle transfer to your final destination. 

Rio: Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, & Selaron Day Tour

8. Rio: Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, & Selaron Day Tour

Discover the landmarks of Rio on a full-day guided tour, including pickup and drop off at hotels in Rio. Start with a visit to Corcovado Mountain. Ride by van to the top or board the train, both through the Tijuca Forest. Then, marvel at the main monument of Brazil, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, as you take in panoramic views of Rio. Next, head towards the mythical Maracanã football stadium and observe its imposing façade. Continue to the legendary Sambódromo where the annual Carnival parade takes place. Visit the modern Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, influenced by Mayan pyramids. Check out the brightly colored tiles of the world-famous Selarón Steps at Lapa, before enjoying a typical Brazilian steakhouse lunch. After lunch, visit Sugar Loaf. Take the cable car to the top in two stages and see one of the most iconic natural landmarks in Rio.

Rio: Maracanã Stadium Official Entrance Ticket

9. Rio: Maracanã Stadium Official Entrance Ticket

Relive Maracanã Stadium’s greatest moments on a fascinating 40-minute visit to one of Rio's most memorable landmarks. Explore the stadium and museum of one of Rio's most popular tourist attractions. Admire an exhibition bringing together important pieces of Brazilian football history. Get ready to take your place in the changing room, prepare yourself in the warm-up room, walk down the tunnel and imagine the roar of nearly 80,000 fans. Visit the press conference room and fell like a Brazilian Football star after a big match. Explore this historical stadium built in 1950 and re-vamped several times over history to host 1950 World Cup and some matches of the World championship 2014. Also, hosted the Confederations cup of 2013, opening and closing ceremonies of the pan American games of 2007 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, in 2016. Besides the sport competitions, Maracanã has already been a stage for important events, like Madonna, Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner shows and camp mass, of the Pope João Paulo II, in 1980 and 1997.

Rio de Janeiro: Sunset Sailing Tour

10. Rio de Janeiro: Sunset Sailing Tour

Marvel at the scenery of Rio de Janeiro, the Marvellous City, on a sunset sailing tour in Guanabara Bay. Admire the beautiful sunset, and savor all-inclusive drinks and snacks aboard your boat. Enjoy a small group tour for no more than 10 people, or opt to splash out on a private tour to make your experience extra special. Set sail from Marina da Glória and pass by 3 fortresses — São José, Lage, and Santa Cruz — on your way to Boa Viagem Island in Niterói. Cruise past Oscar Niemeyer's striking Niterói Museum of Contemporary Art and enjoy the views in Guanabara Bay. Then, sit back and appreciate the sunset over the city of Rio de Janeiro. Delight in scenic views of the city's most famous landmarks, such as Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer, as the sun sets on the horizon. Throughout the tour, relax with drinks on board, such as the famous Brazilian cocktail Caipirinha, beer, and sparkling white wine. The tour concludes back at the marina in Glória. Hotel pickup and drop-off options are available.

Frequently asked questions about Rio de Janeiro

What top attractions are a must-see in Rio de Janeiro?

Planning Your Visit

  • How long should I stay in Rio de Janeiro?

    Seven action-packed days is a good start!

  • How walkable is Rio de Janeiro?

    Rio offers many public transit options, including bus and metro. Note that air-conditioned buses cost a little more than non-air-conditioned buses, so if you are traveling a long distance around the city and you're not used to hot weather, it may be worth considering shelling out a bit more. It's quite a hilly city, so walking can sometimes be akin to hiking - make sure you are wearing good shoes.

  • When should I visit Rio de Janeiro?

    All year round - the temperature does not vary too much.

  • Anything else I should know?

    It is recommended to take a taxi in Rio de Janeiro at night, rather than walking or using the public transport. Do not flash your cash or valuables around, always be on your guard when withdrawing cash at an ATM. If venturing into areas outside the more touristic ones, better not do it unaccompanied.

Good to know

  • Language
    Portuguese
  • Currency
    Brazilian real (BRL)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-3:00)
  • Country Code
    +55
  • Best time to visit
    All year round

Other Sightseeing Options in Rio de Janeiro

Want to discover all there is to do in Rio de Janeiro? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Rio de Janeiro

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 7,337 reviews

Ederson is a wonderful guide. I highly recommend him! He sure knows his stuff - very informative about Cristo and Sugar Loaf Mountain and other sights along the way. He knew the best vantage points for photos and videos; took me around on a personal tour. Friendly, helpful and good conversation on the way there and back. I absolutely loved this tour and will be coming back again soon to view at sunrise.

It was a great overview of the city and hitting the highlights. You don't have much time in each location so you really need to be on your toes and soak it in quickly

Such an amazing experience, drinks were strong and our guide was very friendly. Met some great people will definitely be doing this again when I come back!

Highly recommended! The team organized very well. Tour attractions, food, and tour guide were very good for a 1 day trip

The tour was awesome. Our guide was very good with information and very friendly (in 3 languages).