Cristo Redentor

The open-armed savior has stood atop his lofty perch (710m-high Corcovado), gazing peacefully over Rio, since 1931. The statue of Christ the Redeemer is a remarkable work of artistry, but most people don't come up here to admire the art deco design. They come for the mesmerizing panorama, a combination of tropical rainforest, beaches, islands, ocean, bay and verdant peaks, that surrounds this unlikely metropolis. There are various ways to reach the top, including a memorable (and steep!) ascent on a cog train.