Things to do in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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

Our most recommended things to do in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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: 6-Stop Highlights of Rio with Lunch

3. Rio de Janeiro: 6-Stop Highlights of Rio with Lunch

Start your adventure with a pickup in the morning from hotels located in the South Zone and head towards your first stop at Christ the Redeemer.  Enjoy great jungle views in the minivan ride through the Tijuca Forest that surrounds the Corcovado Mountain. Reach the peak of the mountain and meet the statue of the Christ the Redeemer with its arms right open over the city. Admire the sweeping views and take breathtaking pictures. Head to a nice walk outside the Maracanã Stadium and find out more about the passion of the Brazilians for football. Learn about the samba tradition in Rio by visiting the Sambadrome, the place with the biggest Carnival parade on the planet. Marvel at the beautiful street art of the Selarón Steps, a gigantic mosaic work of the Chilean artist Jorge Selarón. He started dedicating himself to decorate the stairs in the early 90s. The 250 steps have become a monument and an icon of Rio. Stop at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro to revel at the biblical passages on the stained-glass inside it, following a stop for lunch in an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant. With the batteries recharged, there is still one place left.  Head to Urca neighborhood and marvel at the beauty of the Sugarloaf Mountain and be amazed by the cable ride to the top. From 220 meters above sea level take in the breathtaking 360-degree view of Rio de Janeiro, Guanabara Bay, the city of Niteroi, and the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

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 de Janeiro: Sambadrome Rio Carnival Tickets 2023

5. Rio de Janeiro: Sambadrome Rio Carnival Tickets 2023

Watch the Rio de Janeiro samba school parades at Carnaval Rio 2023, the greatest show on earth. Buy your ticket for the Grandstand and choose between sectors 6, 7, 8 or 9. Seating is reserved in sector 9 only. The grandstands are the liveliest part of the Sambadrome, with a great view of the parade. The seats are concrete steps and the tickets are the most affordable of the event. Only Sector 9 is numbered, offering more convenience with assigned seat during the entire parade night. ACCESS GROUP PARADE - 2/17/2023 and 2/18/2023 The traditional samba schools parade on Friday and Saturday in search of top positions and a place in the Special Group in the following year's competition. SPECIAL GROUP PARADE - 2/19/2023 and 2/20/2023 Rio de Janeiro's best samba schools parade on Carnival Sunday and Monday in search of the title of champion of Rio Carnival 2023. These are the most popular days, when the biggest schools parade, six of them on Sunday and another six on Monday. CHAMPIONS PARADE - 2/25/2023 After the result, the six best samba schools of the Special Group make one last presentation at the Sambódromo. Without the pressure of the jury, the Parade of Champions has an even more special energy!

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

6. 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 de Janeiro: Shared Transfer to Vila Abrão (Ilha Grande)

7. Rio de Janeiro: Shared Transfer to Vila Abrão (Ilha Grande)

Arrive at Vila do Abraão (Ilha Grande) with a fast and safe transfer service from Rio de Janeiro via car and FlexBoat. Take advantage of a quick and smooth ride on the FlexBoat and enjoy flexibility with daily departures. 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 4-hour drive to Angra dos Reis. Upon arrival, hop on a FlexBoat to cross the main pier of Vila do Abraão to Ilha Grande. The boat crossing takes around 30 minutes on average. After arriving in Ilha Grande, meet a local guide.

Rio Carnival 2023: Samba Parade Tickets with Shuttle Service

8. Rio Carnival 2023: Samba Parade Tickets with Shuttle Service

Experience Rio's Carnival, the most popular and the best parade in the world. This incredible cultural event is characterized by its freedom of expression, and creative and fun atmosphere represented through samba school parades, carnival balls, and street carnival. The official parade takes place in the Rio de Janeiro Sambadrome, created by renowned Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer with capacity for 80,000 spectators.  Start the tour with a shared shuttle transfer to the Sambodrome, from main hotels in Copacabana, Leme, Ipanema, Leblon, Lapa, Barra da Tijuca, Centro, and Rio Cruise Port. Choose to spectate the incredible event from 5 days of the parade which are divided into 3 categories: Access Group, Special Group and Parade of Champions. – February 17th, 2023 (Friday): Access Group (2nd league) – February 18th, 2023 (Saturday): Access Group (2nd league) – February 19th, 2023 (Sunday): Special Group (1st league) – February 20th, 2023 (Monday): Special Group (1st league) – February 25th, 2023 (Saturday): Champions’ Parade (“All-Star Parade” with the 6 best schools) Access Group - Friday, February 17th and Saturday, February 18th On these dates, watch as some schools compete to get access to the main league for the following year. This event is perfect for those that want to experience the magic of carnival but have a limited budget. Special Group - Sunday, February 19th and Monday, February 20th With this option, experience the main days of the Carnival Parade. Marvel at the best Samba Schools in Rio de Janeiro showing all their creativity and innovations as you enjoy a magical night in the Sambadrome. Tickets are more expensive for these days as it is the most popular parade and features the major league schools. Champions Parade - Saturday February 25th On this night, the top 6 Special Group Schools plus the Access Group champions repeat their performances. This is an extraordinary night to see the carnival champions of the year. At the end of the tour, take the return shuttle transfer back to your hotel.

Rio de Janeiro: Maracanã Stadium Football Match Tickets

9. Rio de Janeiro: Maracanã Stadium Football Match Tickets

Watch a live football match at the world-famous Maracanã stadium accompanied by an expert, bilingual guide who will ensure you have an exciting and safe experience. Live this passion that unites all Brazilians cheering and singing alongside thousands of fans. Maracanã is where Brazilians from all regions meet, driven by the inexplicable passion for their clubs. Watching the football match can be fun, but getting there can be stressful. Our planning lets you to focus on the experience hassle-free, with assistance on everything to keep you on pace of the event. With the tickets in hand, we set off by metro from Ipanema neighborhood towards the stadium. Once in the stadium, walk through the doors and quickly immerse yourself in the surrounding atmosphere, the energy of the crowd cheering as one, the live action and the opportunity to do “the wave”, among other things, will make your day memorable. In this experience, we will take you to witness the games of two of the most important football clubs in Brazil, Flamengo and Fluminense, playing national and international matches at Maracanã, a stadium where these rival clubs share their management. We will meet with the local fans, sing the chants, raise the flags, support the players and hear stories about the past and future heroes of these fields.

Rio: Maracanã Stadium Official Entrance Ticket

10. 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.

Frequently asked questions about Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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

What are the best day trips and excursions from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil?

The best day trips and excursions from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are:

Petrópolis

Other Sightseeing Options in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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What people are saying about Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 8,263 reviews

Great tour. Met by Martin the guide then taken to the Favella on public bus which is an experience. You return on the subway. Felt very safe with Martin and he gave good information in English and answered questions. The tour does have a steep but short walk, about 100 meters. Apart from that it’s all downhill but a lot of uneven steep stairs are involved. The tour is definitely worth doing

Picked up from hotel and travelled between sights in a modern air conditioned 20 seater small coach, which was great. Guide was charming and knowledgeable. It was a great way to see lots of Rio top sights. Sugarloaf cable cars and views were the highlight for us. Lunch stop was in a great local canteen with a wide range of fresh food.

Hike was more difficult than we expected, but views from the top were excellent. Our guide, Sergio, was terrific. Very knowledgeable and helpful. Pedra de Gavea hike was about 2.3 miles each way with 2400 foot elevation gain. Very steep and slick. Be prepared for a lot of climbing rocks. I am very thankful that we paid for a guide.

Amazingly organizer trip. All the tickets were there already so we did not have to wait in line. Juan was an excellent guide and took care of all members of his group.

It was excellent. Thanks Alberto for showing us the other side of Rio