At once both a cinematic cityscape and a grimy urban front line, Rio de Janeiro, known as the cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city), is nothing if not exhilarating. Flanked by gorgeous mountains, white-sand beaches and verdant rainforests fronting deep blue sea, Rio occupies one of the most spectacular settings of any metropolis in the world. Tack on one of the sexiest populations on the planet and you have an intoxicating tropical cocktail that leaves visitors punch-drunk on paradise.
With the seductive sounds of samba as their rallying cry, Rio’s residents, known as cariocas, have perfected the art of living well. From the world-famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema to the tops of scenic outlooks of Corcovado and Pão de Açúcar to the dance halls, bars and open-air cafes that proliferate the city, cariocas live for the moment without a care in the world. This idea of paradise has enchanted visitors for centuries, and there are dozens of ways to be seduced. You can surf great breaks off Prainha, hike through Tijuca’s rainforests, sail across Guanabára, dance the night away in Lapa or just people-watch on Ipanema Beach.
While Rio has its share of serious problems, there are plenty of residents – expats included – who wouldn’t dream of relocating. It’s no coincidence Christo himself sits arms outstretched across the city, either.
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Best places to stay in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro city guide
Golden beaches and lush mountains, colonial neighborhoods and modernist style, samba-fueled nightlife and spectacular football matches: welcome to Rio de Janeiro, where life is anything but subdued.
How to catch Brazilian football fever
Life and how to live it, according to Brazilians: Football. It is impossible to overstate the cultural importance of football in Brazil...
Rio de Janeiro's best beaches
Rio de Janeiro's best live music
Rio De Janeiro - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to Rio de Janeiro starts here. You'll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go, how much to budget, plus in-depth info on Rio’s Carnaval.
Four ways for World Cup visitors to experience the best of Brazil
Brazil lives, breathes and dies football – that's why you're coming for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, after all! – but the South American giant is no one-hit wonder; from the tablelands and canyons of the country's impressive national parks to a rich culinary pedigree to the living museums of its colonial past, Brazil offers a lot...
Gay and lesbian Rio de Janeiro
Brazil - Rio De Janeiro City (Chapter)
Planted between lush, forest-covered mountains and breathtaking beaches, Rio has many charms. Its inhabitants celebrate their days with life-lusting zeal, and festivities such as the Carnaval are famous. The spectacular landscape offers a range of...
Corcovado Mountain, Christ Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain Day Tour
Combine two of Rio's most popular tours on a full-day excursion packed with breathtaking views. In the morning, you'll enjoy a panoramic city tour and have the opportunity to ride a cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. After lunch, you'll travel through the Tijuca Rain Forest by cog train to the statue of Christ the Redeemer on top of Corcovado Mountain.
Rio de Janeiro Soccer Match
If you love football, you won't want to miss the chance to see a soccer match in Rio de Janeiro! Come watch one of Brazil's passions and watch the best teams in Rio fight for the win. Accompanied by your guide, you'll feel the electric atmosphere of a Brazilian football match.
Meet the host cities of the 2014 World Cup: south Brazil and the southeast
Get ready for global football fever. In June and July 2014, a dozen Brazilian cities will host the 20th FIFA World Cup. In this series of articles, we give you the lowdown on their don't-miss sights, the best places to eat, drink and sleep – and, of course, where to catch the matches...
Rio De Janeiro - Ipanema & Leblon (Chapter)
Ipanema and Leblon share the same stretch of south-facing shoreline. Rio’s beautiful people flock to these beaches, while the tree-lined streets just inland hide some of the best eating, drinking and shopping in the city.