Best things to do in Rio de Janeiro and the 2016 Olympics!

1st December 2015

Emily Robertshaw


Rio is the biggest tourist destination in Brazil with approximately 5.6 million visitors per year. Carnaval, known as the world’s largest festival, brings in approximately 1 million tourists every year but with Rio’s 450th anniversary and of course the 2016 Olympics, tourism in the city is at an all time high. Because of that, we’ve put together a guide for all those planning on visiting the city to see what all the fuss is about!




There are plenty of attractions to visit in Rio. The most iconic of these is the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Sitting on top of the Corcovado Mountain, it is part of the new edition of the Seven Wonders of the World and is also the largest Art Deco statue in the world! The 120-foot statue can be seen for miles, even at night when it is lit up and looks as though it’s hovering miles above the ground.

Sugarloaf Mountain is also a must-see when visiting Rio. It’s 394 metres high and can be reached by cable car. Head up there late afternoon and watch the sun set across the city’s 23 beaches! If you’re a climber, Sugarloaf Mountain is one of the most popular rock climbing destinations in the world, and has 270 different routes to try!

Guanabara Bay is the largest oceanic bay, with 55 rivers running through it. The best way to see the whole bay is from either the top of Corcovado Mountain or from Sugarloaf Mountain.



If you need some time away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city, head to the magnificent Botanical Gardens. They span almost 340 acres and you enter via the avenue of Royal Palms, which has 134 palm trees – think Sunset Boulevard. There are 5,500 species of plants in the gardens, including cacti and huge bamboos. Although it has more of a green, rainforest feel to it, there are splashes of colour with flowers such as orchids and bromeliads.


You can’t go to Rio without visiting the world-famous beach – Copacabana. It stretches 2.2 miles and there are plenty of sports facilities, such as volleyball nets and football pitches and there’s also training equipment for those who want to pump iron! Other beaches definitely worth a visit are Ipanema, located in the South Zone; and Urca, which is surrounded by Guanabara Bay.



If you have a full day spare and love hiking then it’s definitely worth heading to the Ilha Grande. It’s an island located off Rio with around 95 miles of hiking trails. The classis Ilha Grande hike is the most popular. It starts at Abraāo and takes you 7 miles up to Pico de Papagaio (Parrot Peak), which gets its name because the mountain looks like a parrot’s head.



If you love dancing, you should definitely head to one of the many spectacular Samba shows that Rio has on offer. Samba music developed from the African rhythms Batuque and Lundu and the Samba dance that accompanies it was developed in Rio and is the most famous dance style in Brazil! Samba can be seen at Carnaval every year and was also a big part of Rio’s Olympic opening and closing ceremonies in 2016.


Speaking of the Olympics…

The games were held between the 5th and 21st August 2016. The opening ceremony took place at the Maracanā Stadium on the evening of Friday 5th and volunteers played their part in the ceremony by dancing carnaval-style as well as skateboarding, roller skating and performing acrobatics!

There were 32 competition venues across 4 regions of the city: Dedoro, Maracanā, Barra and Copacabana. Dedoro hosted all of the equestrian events, BMX cycling and hockey. Also, Rugby was back for the first time since 1924 and was held at the Dedoro Stadium. The much-loved athletics events took place at the Maracanā Stadium, in addition to football, volleyball and archery.

In Barra, attendees watched events such as wrestling, judo, boxing and swimming. Also, for the first time in more than a century, golf was back in the Olympics. A new 18-hole course was built at the Reserva de Marapendi for the occasion. Guanabara Bay in Copacabana was the location of all sailing events and the marathon swimming. The road cycling and the triathlon events was also held in Copacabana.


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