03 Oct 2016 13845

20 places not to miss in the new Rio de Janeiro

A postcard of Rio de Janeiro could feature Christ the Redeemer or Sugar Loaf mountain. But the marvellous city is much more than just the perfect backdrop for a photograph.  The Rio of passions, colours, beaches and "ginga" has hidden corners only found by those patient enough to explore beyond the clichés. These places can now be joined by a few more, discovered or rediscovered because of the Olympics.

And . ..Rio de Janeiro has never been the same since it was chosen to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The city has undergone many changes to its shape, accessibility and infrastructures. It has a refurbished airport, a fourth metro line, a rapid transit bus and much more. ..  Basically, a whole new Rio is now welcoming tourists.

If you are visiting Rio de Janeiro, we want you to experience everything that’s new and visit the well-known attractions. That’s why we have drawn up a list of the city’s must-see places which are now even more wonderful. 

1. Explore the Museum of Tomorrow and the Rio Art Museum (MAR).

Of all the projects designed for Rio de Janeiro to host the Olympic Games, the revitalization of the port area was the most ambitious. The demolition of the dockside flyover paved the way for a transformation that included the building of two important museums - the Rio Art Museum and the Museum of Tomorrow - and a boulevard. Called the Marvellous Port, this projects aims to restore the historical and cultural importance of this part of the city. The modernisation of the site includes public wi-fi and a Light Rail Transit System (VLT), which links the main areas in the centre to other means of transport.

photo: Alexandre Macieira / RioTur

2. Cycling around the city

Rio de Janeiro is a bike friendly city. In the southern and central parts of the city is an initiative called Bike Rio which offers bicycle rental stations where can people can hire bikes either in person or by using an app. Having been expanded for the Olympics, Rio’s cycle paths are considered some of the best in Latin America, extending more than 380km! 

photo: Pedro Kirilos / RioTur

3. Visit the Maracanã stadium (and the Maracanãzinho)

The north of Rio focuses the great Brazilian passion for sport, as both the Maracanã Stadium (plus the Maracanãzinho indoor arena) and the Engenhão Olympic Stadium are in this part of town. Completely renovated in recent years, they promise to delight not only football fans, but also those who enjoy watching shows, since the Maracanãzinho also hosts major concerts.

photo: Jules

4. Dance the samba

Ot at least try. The Madureira neighborhood is considered the birthplace of samba and this is where you will find the Império Serrano and Portela samba schools. Don’t leave these off your list of places to explore in Rio de Janeiro.  At Carnival, don’t forget to buy your ticket to watch the parade of samba schools in the Sambadrome. 

photo: Raphael David / RioTur

5. The Olympic Boulevard and its graffiti

After urban art was legalized in Rio de Janeiro in 2014, the city's façades were subjected to a transformation during the Olympics. For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, three of the host country’s artists were invited to paint the city during the competition. They were joined by other international artists along with their sculptures and other works of art.  The result is truly impressive, and worth a tour of the city with stops to take photographs. 

photo: Gael / RioTur

6. Hiking to Morro da Urca

A different way of visiting one of Rio's most iconic spots is to hike the trail beginning alongside Vermelha Beach in Urca, on the Cláudio Coutinho walking trail, which leads to Sugarloaf Mountain. The trail starts with some steep climbs, but is mostly flat and without too many obstacles, allowing beginners to venture down it. However, always try to go in groups, with a guide who knows the way, and stop to appreciate the one-of-a-kind views of Rio de Janeiro as you go. The hike is just one of the ways to get to the top of the hill. You can also take the Sugarloaf Mountain trail, which has an easy climbing section of around 15 metres, or go by more extreme ways such as the scaling the wall or rappelling.

7. Visit the Seláron Steps

A work by the Chilean artist Jorge Seláron, the steps are located between the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighbourhoods. Its 215 steps are decorated with coloured tiles, a creative backdrop for visiting tourists to take photos.

photo: Pedro Kirilos / RioTur

8. Municipal Theatre

This gorgeous building in Rio de Janeiro's central Cinelândia square hosts concerts and ballet performances. For those wanting to learn about the theatre and its history, guided tours costing R$20.00 are available Tuesdays through Saturdays, featuring details on the theatre's construction, architecture and curiosities in addition to its history.

photo: Alexandre Macieira / RioTur

9. Confeitaria Colombo

The delicacies of Brazilian and Portuguese confectionery can be found in this traditional house, which also has a tea room and restaurant. The most iconic example is located in the centre of Rio, but the one located at Copacabana Fort offers the same delicacies.

photo: RioTur

10. Delight yourself with a visit to Botafogo Praia Shopping Centre

Yes, we are recommending a shopping centre on the list of interesting things to do in Rio. Go to the 8th floor and to take your postcard photo with Botafogo Bay and Sugarloaf Mountain in the background.

11. Explore Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon

The lagoon is one of Rio de Janeiro's postcard settings. In addition to an extensive bicycle path also used by joggers, it has several areas for playing other sports and activities. There are parks (skating, Catacumba Park), restaurants with incredible views and a Christmas tree at the end of the year which literally stops local traffic.

photo: Pedro Kirilos / RioTur

12. Pedra da Gávea Mountain

Pedra da Gávea, a block of stone featuring one of Rio de Janeiro's best views, is only recommended for those in good physical condition. Its 2,500 metres can be climbed in an average of three strenuous hours, but the view is worth it, where you can watch paragliders and hang gliders taking off from Pedra Bonita.

13. Wander through Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is a neighbourhood to be explored without rushing. Its alleyways, restaurants, sloping streets and studios are all part of this bohemian and artsy neighbourhood. And speaking of art, craftsmen open their doors to the public in a regular event called "Open-door Art", when the neighbourhood turns into a party. The cable car and its tracks, re-inaugurated in 2016, are part of the neighbourhood's tradition and look.

14. Seeing the Chinese Overlook

While the competition is fierce for Rio's most beautiful view, the Chinese Overlook does not disappoint. Located in the Alto da Boa Vista neighbourhood, it has a panoramic view of the city featuring some of Rio de Janeiro's icons, such as Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer statue, Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon and others. The overlook can be reached by car or taxi, or by bicycle for more able athletes.

15. Discover Lage Park

This park offers a unique view of Christ the Redeemer statue in one of Rio de Janeiro's most beautiful locations. Make plans to have morning coffee or lunch in the area, in the gardens of the Lage Park mansion, surrounded by lush greenery.

16. Visit Ruins Park

A cultural centre and seldom explored public park in the Santa Teresa neighbourhood, it houses an art gallery built around the mansion's ruins, along with one of the neighbourhood's best views, highlighting Guanabara Bay and the centre of Rio.

17. Walk through the Botanical Garden

Although the main attraction of the Botanical Garden (located in a neighbourhood with the same name) are the Royal Palms, it also has monuments and an art collection.

18. Watch the sunset on the beach

(and clap your hands when it sets) may seem cliché, but certain areas on the beach can provide completely different experiences. On the rock of Arpoador or the sands of Ipanema, choose your "tribe” and enjoy a typical Rio de Janeiro evening.

19. Take a helicopter ride

The whims of nature in the "Marvellous City" are even better when seen from up high. Although a helicopter ride over Rio may seem extravagant, affordable options do exist, including 10-minute trips over Rio's most iconic locations. The indulgence is worth the beautiful photos and memories.

20. Try out new restaurants

If you are thinking of a culinary tour, there are no shortage of options! Rio de Janeiro’s range of cuisine has grown significantly with the Olympics, so finding restaurants offering new and different dining experiences is no problem. More news about the marvellous city’s culinary new wave coming shortly. .. in our article on the 11 new gastronomical hotspots in Rio de Janeiro worth a visit. Stay tuned .

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