You could spend a lifetime in Rio and still be surprised every time, but if you only have a day in the city here’s what you absolutely can’t miss.
Maracanã Football Stadium
A soccer game at Maracanã is an almost-psychedelic experience.
Matches here rate among the most exciting in the world, particularly during a championship game or when local rivals Flamengo, Vasco da Gama, Fluminense or Botafogo go head-to-head. Check out the games schedule to get your seats on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday or Sunday. Or just take a stadium tour to see behind the scenes- the press box, the grand stand, and the locker rooms, the tunnel and out onto the field. There’s also a room that pays tribute to legends like Pelé and Garrincha.
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas
Here’s one of the city’s most romantic spots, the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, surrounded by a 7 km walking and cycling track. You can hire a bike or a paddle boat from the stands along the lake, or go straight for a caipirinha- chances are, if it’s a warm night, some live music will begin to play somewhere.
Corcovado Mountain, Christ Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain Day Tour
You can totally combine these two and enjoy a day of breath-taking views. Start from the Sugar Loaf Mountain and then cross the Tijuca Rain Forest by train to then climb up the Christ Redeemer on top of Corcovado. And, on your way there, you can always drop by the city’s Sambodromo, where the renowned Samba schools of Rio perform.
If Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Pharrell and U2 came here, why shouldn’t you?
This is a very special place, since it manages to be iconic and touristy on one side, and remain authentic and genuine on the other side. The 215 steps are a work by Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón, who dedicated them to the Brazilian people. And to all those who want to capture Brazil’s colorful essence at a single glance.
Sao Conrado Beach
Nestled in between the wealthy neighborhoods of Barra da Tijuca and Leblon, São Conrado is famous for its Fashion Mall with over 150 stores, its sophisticated residential buildings, night clubs, elegant restaurants, and the city’s best-kept hidden beach, the praia de Sao Conrado. Absolutely worth a visit.
Carioca da Gema
Carioca da Gema was a true pioneer in Lapa when it opened in 2000.
Samba lovers of all ages flock to this small, warmly club. You can literally make the floor shake with your dancing or just enjoy the colonial balcony overlooking the crowded streets of Lapa. Even just admiring the locals' skill and sip on a caipirinha is absolutely worth the go. Monday nights recommended (that’s when other samba clubs are closed in Lapa.)
Probably the most famous beach in the Southern Hemisphere, Copacabana beach begins and ends with two historic forts, Fort Copacabana, built in 1914, is at the south end, and Fort Duque de Caxias, built in 1779, at the north end. The beach is so vast that locals find orientation by the watch tower number, so basically you can tell anyone to meet you from Posto Dois (two) to Posto Seis (6). The promenade is as interesting as the beach, with hotels, restaurants, bars, night clubs and residential buildings dotting it along Avenida Atlantica.
But the best time in the year to visit is actually on New Year's Eve, during the most spectacular celebrations in the world.
The beach of Ipanema is perhaps the most elegant and social in town. Behind it stand two mountains called the Two Brothers (Dois Irmãos) and the whole beach, much like Copacabana, is divided into segments by marks known as postos (lifeguard towers). Beer is sold everywhere, along with the traditional cachaça. There are always circles of people playing football, volleyball, and footvolley.
Oh, and in the winter the surf can reach nine feet, with very clean water thanks to constant swells.
By the way, the Travel Channel listed Ipanema Beach as the sexiest beach in the world.
The Plataforma Show
Here’s a hint on how to enjoy the tastiest Brazilian churrasco (barbecue) surrounded by colors, sounds, and the amazement of a traditional Brazilian show.
The “Plataforma” is a local institution, delighting swarms of tourists every hour and giving them a glimps of the powerful aesthetic and lifestyle of the country is they have but a few hours to spend in town.
Discover all the excursions on www.msccruises.com