Famous sights of… Rio de Janeiro

| September 14, 2016

Rio de Janeiro is a vibrant, exciting city with a number of sights to explore – from the famous Corcovado and Sugarloaf mountains to Maracana stadium, the opening and closing Olympic ceremony venue. Here we outline why these famous sights are worth a visit, plus practical advice on where to stay, eat and drink.

rio de janiero aerial

What to see

Corcovado Mountain
Corcovado Mountain, where the city’s landmark Christ the Redeemer statue is located, offers the best views of Rio’s stunning natural setting. Take a 20 minute tram ride up the 710-metre-high mountain for breathtaking views. Rio de Janeiro offers a stunning vista of ocean, bays, mountains, jungle and beaches in all directions. You can also see the haphazard shapes and colours of the numerous hillside favelas from here.

corcovado mountain

The Maracana Stadium
This enormous circular structure used to hold 200,000 spectators in the days when viewers stood at matches, and still has a capacity of 110,000. Visitors get to see the terraces, the changing rooms, and the pitch. The World Cup Final was played here, and it is where the Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremonies are held. It couldn’t be a better spot.

maracana stadium

Sugar Loaf Mountain
A visit to Sugar Loaf Mountain involves a short cable car ride, which will be familiar to Bond fans as the scene of a memorable fight between Roger Moore and Jaws in Moonraker. The views from Sugar Loaf are almost as impressive as from Corcovado, with the added bonus of having Christ the Redeemer statue within the vista.

sugarloaf mountain

Copacabana Beach
A free afternoon would be well-spent walking along Copacabana Beach. You will see why the beach is so important to the people of Rio, as the ultimate leveller in this city of divided wealth - everyone is equal once they are down to their swimming costumes, it seems. See football and volleyball games and beach parties taking place on this beautiful stretch of sand.

copacabana beach

Where to stay

The Copacabana Palace is one of the world’s most exclusive hotels. The enormous white art deco structure was the first building on Copacobana Beach and was responsible to making the area hip in the 1930s. Plenty of famous people passing through Rio have stayed here. What really sets the property aside, though, is its first-class service.

belmond copacabana palace

Where to eat

The fashionable Casa de Feijoada, named after the national dish of beef, beans and pork, is an excellent place to try this hearty meal, which arrives in a steaming bowl looking as though it is still on fire.

casa de feijoada

A great place to enjoy a hearty Brazilian lunch is the Churrascaria Palace, an elegant restaurant located just off Copacabana Beach. Here, they serve churrasco - waiters come around with spits of barbecued beef, pork, lamb and chicken, which they carve directly onto your plate.  The incredibly tender meat just keeps on coming.

Where to drink

The superb Rio Scenarium is the best-known bar in the city. Housed in an old colonial building, the bar consists of three floors, all full of interesting bric-a-brac.

rio scenarium

There are three or four live acts (usually Samba) most nights, and a pleasingly fair mix of locals and tourists. After a couple of hours of flowing caiparinhas, the dance floor becomes very busy, with few able to sit down for long once the music starts.

Discover more about Rio de Janeiro >

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2 thoughts on "Famous sights of… Rio de Janeiro"

  1. Ian dawson says:

    When your text about Rio mentions Copacabana Beach, why is the picture of Leblon beach?

    • Compass Online says:

      Dear Mr Dawson,

      Great spot! You are correct, we did accidentally publish an image of Leblon beach, the next beach down from Copacabana. We have now fixed the issue, and appreciate you bringing this to our attention.

      Kind regards,