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Excursions in Rio de Janeiro

Top 10 attractions in Rio de Janeiro

Looking at the white sand beaches, high mountains and picturesque bay, it's easy to see why the locals call Rio de Janeiro "cidade maravilhosa". Brazil's second largest city, stretching along the shores of the South Atlantic Ocean, is surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world.

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1. Statue of Christ the Redeemer

On the high mountain Corcovado stands the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer with outstretched arms, which is considered the main symbol of Rio de Janeiro. Construction on the statue began in 1922, during the heyday of the Art Deco movement. Made of concrete and soapstone, the figure is the largest of its kind in the world. An electrified railway leads to the foot of the mountain, along which a miniature train runs. From here, to get to the top, you have to climb hundreds of steps. It is now possible to make the journey upstairs a little easier with elevators and escalators.


2. Copacabana

Copacabana tends to be livelier than the nearby and almost as famous Ipanema Beach. It seems that locals calling themselves "cariocas" never stop playing soccer or beach volleyball here, and street vendors are always grabbing drinks and snacks from the many shops lining the coastline. Fort Copacabana, a military base with a museum open to the public, stands at the very edge of the beach.


3. Ipanema

This beach, which became famous in the 1960s with the song "Girl from Ipanema", remains popular to this day. A long, curving strip of soft white sand that travels in "waves" regularly hits the first places in the ratings of the best beaches in the world. In the immediate vicinity of Ipanema Beach there are many shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as art galleries, theaters and clubs.

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4. Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain rises 400 meters above Guanabara Bay. The mountain is a quartz-granite monolith that can be clearly seen through the glass hull of the cable car called "bondinho". Cable car cabins leave every twenty minutes from the station on Babilonia Hill and climb to the top of Morro da Urca. Here you can change to another cable car and get to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain itself.

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5. Botanical garden

The Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden is located in the western part of the Lagoa area. More than eight thousand species of vegetation grow here. Many trees, including whole alleys of tall palms. Some visitors come to the park just to admire the collection of over six hundred orchid species. The Rio de Janeiro Botanical Gardens are full of sculptures, fountains and themed gardens. There is a Japanese garden, a lily pond and the Museu do Meio Ambiente, a newly built environmental museum.

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6. District of Santa Teresa

The Santa Teresa area is spread over the top and slopes of the hill overlooking the city's harbor. In this area, guests of Rio de Janeiro can admire the elegant manors of wealthy 19th century planters. In the XX century, the area was chosen by artists, musicians and writers. Many clubs and stylish boutiques have sprung up here. Santa Teresa is the route of the last tram left in Rio de Janeiro. Until recently, it was a ride for tourists and was considered one of the main attractions of Santa Teresa, until the tram line was closed due to an accident.


7. District Lapa

The Lapa area is located in the central part of the city, which is called “Center”. Lapa was once a red-light district and today is known as one of the liveliest "nightlife" areas with many nightclubs and restaurants. Lapa is samba, bars and dancing spilling onto the streets on weekend nights. The Lapa area is a great place to meet friends and experience local cuisine and the caipirinha, a Brazilian national drink with a strong sugarcane and lime liqueur. The famous Escadaria Selaron staircase connects the Lapa and Santa Teresa areas with its steps.


8. Tijuca National Park

Tijuca National Park is one of the largest urban woodlands in the world. The park includes a large area with a predominantly mountainous landscape. Visitors can climb here to the top of Rio de Janeiro's highest mountain, Tijuca Peak, which offers stunning views of Guanabara Bay and the city below. On the territory of the Tijuca National Park, there is the Meyrink Chapel, in which the canvases of the famous Brazilian artist Candido Portinari, who worked in the neo-realism style, deserve special attention.


9. Maracanã Stadium

Local residents consider the Maracanã Stadium the most important attraction of the city. At one time this stadium ranked first in the world in terms of capacity. Currently, the stadium's capacity is somewhat smaller - it has been reduced to ensure greater safety. Now there are no standing places in the stadium and only seated ones remained. In preparation for the 2014 World Cup, a partial renovation was carried out. At the moment, the stadium has a capacity of 80,000 people. Maracanã Stadium continues to be the largest stadium in South America.


10. Lagoa District

Lagoa is not only the best area in the prestigious "Zone of the Sun", but also the third most expensive area in all of South America. Here is the large lagoon Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. The nearly six and a half kilometers long pedestrian path that runs parallel to the coastline attracts joggers and cyclists. Summer terraces of cafes and restaurants are scattered along the coast, offering magnificent views of the lagoon and beaches.