The Rio de Janeiro coastline © Hank LeClair
A small slice of paradise sitting beneath
the welcoming arms of the iconic Christ the Redeemer, Rio de
Janeiro is a party capital famed for its festive street parades and
golden beaches. Nicknamed "the Marvellous City", Rio is the
country's vibrant culture hub, boasting an incredible skyline and
sweeping views thanks to its idyllic location between the mountains
and the sea.
The city regularly comes alive with the
infectious and rhythmic beat of Brazilian samba, its streets
seemingly always filled with street parties and celebrations. The
ever-popular annual Carnival is the most popular event on the
Brazilian calendar: it draws together all its citizens (Cariocas),
from the very rich to the very poor, who to take to the streets for
the world's largest samba parade.
Its beaches are its biggest asset though,
particularly the famous Ipanema and Copacabana, drawing a constant
stream of visitors making the most of the city's exquisite climate.
The city also contains Tijuca Forest, the biggest urban forest in
the world, which complements the wooded mountains that surround the
The 150 districts of Rio are all unique,
with the most intriguing, Santa Teresa, a winding maze of streets
populated by artists and musicians, which is reached by taking an
old tram across an ancient aqueduct called Arcos da Lapa.
In the heart of Rio, history buffs will
love the multitude of historic monuments and public buildings such
as the Municipal Theatre, the National Museum of Fine Art, the
Itamaraty Palace, the National History Museum and the National
Library. There are also beautiful examples of religious
architecture, such as the Sao Bento Monastery. No matter how long
you spend exploring the city, it always seems to keep serving up
To the north of the city is the Lakes
region, which has more than 62 miles (100km) of beaches and
salt-water lagoons, and is the site of the main tourist resorts of
Búzios, Cabo Frio, Arraial do Cabo, Rio das Ostras, Marica
and Saquarema. Many other stunning natural areas and man-made
attractions in Brazil are easily reached from Rio, which makes a
fabulous travel base.
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