If you have the chance to fly to Brazil, take the time to visit Rio de Janeiro, the country’s second largest city. World famous for its unmissable monuments and beaches, here is a short guide to visit this city easily.
Things to know before going to Rio
When to go to Rio?
The better The period to get there is between April and November to avoid the hot season and driving rains, but Rio enjoys a pleasant climate all year round.
How long to leave?
To visit the main places at least 5 days will be necessary.
Departing from Paris, return prices vary between €500 and €800, for around 11 hours of flight. To get from Rio Airport to the city center, you have the choice between several options: car rental, taxi or bus. The most advantageous is the “Real” bus for an amount of 5.5 real (1€ = 4.1 R$).
What budget to go to Rio de Janeiro?
In addition to the budget of the flight, it is necessary to count a budget to lodge on the spot, the price of a night of hotel with swimming pool varies, but the average is 75€. So how to go to Rio cheaply? Other solutions exist to accommodate you at low cost, see free, in particular, the exchange of house.
Or sleep? Home exchange to leave at a low price
house swapping, how it works ? Several home exchange sites exist, among them, HomeExchange is a completely free site. To trade, register and contact members who live in Rio to offer them a trade. Nearly 1000 “cariocas” (residents of Rio) offer you to exchange their houses.
What to do in Rio?
On site, must-see places and activities are to be discovered. Here are 10 things to do in Rio de Janeiro and as a bonus, find all the little anecdotes from Mélodie, our happiness officer who had the opportunity to travel to Rio!
“Great beach! To do also: the sunset on the tip of Ipanema beach just next door. – Mélodie, HomeExchange member since 2017
One of the most famous beaches in the world, Copacabana and its black and white wave patterns on the seafront promenade have become the symbol of Rio de Janeiro. Sit down at one of its many terraces along the beach to enjoy a batida or a caipirinha. In summer, consider going early as it can be difficult to find a spot on the sand. It is a perfect place to eat, drink and relax.
How to get to Copacabana : Metro line 1 – Stop Siquera Campos
2. Discover the mythical Corcovado – Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer, the large statue that towers over the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, is one of the most touristic places in the city. Mélodie, who really enjoyed her trip to Rio, explains that “the climb on foot is very sporty but it is worth the detour! We have the feeling of having really deserved the photo break next to Christ at the end”. A true religious monument, Christ the Redeemer has become over the years one of the most important symbols of Rio.
Anecdote: In 2008, the statue was struck by lightning, which damaged its fingers, head and eyebrows!
How to go to Christ the Redeemer : By car, funicular or on foot.
3. Botanical Garden
Have you always wanted to see the famous Pau-Brasil, as well as see Brazilian toucans flying from one tree to another? The Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro is one of the 10 most important of its category in the world. UNESCO also recognizes it as one of the biosphere reserves. A very pleasant place to stroll, where you can also have lunch on the terrace to take advantage of the distance from the urban bustle.
How to get to the Rio Botanical Garden : Bus 584/162/317 to Rua Jardim Botânico (stop 943)
Price : R$6
4. Tijuca National Park
Located about 20 kilometers from the center of Rio de Janeiro, this park is a huge nature reserve where you can find rocky peaks, waterfalls, wild animals and tropical species. This park is also the largest urban forest in the world (32 km2). It is divided into 3 parts: the forest of Tijuca, the hill of Carioca and the Stone of Gavea. A walk to see Rio de Janeiro from a more “green” angle!
How to get to Tijuica National Park : Bus 448/302 to Praça Afonso Vizeu (stop 4575)
5. Rio Carnival
One of the most anticipated events in the world: the Rio Carnival. Every year it attracts thousands of Brazilian and foreign tourists, fascinated by the magic and the unique atmosphere of Rio Carnival. But what is special about this world event? The gigantic organization is managed by a multitude of Samba schools that prepare throughout the year to participate in the parade on Marquês de Sapucai Avenue. This avenue, known as the bridge of dreams, is designed to receive spectators, including tourists, personalities and Brazilian artists. Why wait any longer? Save some money to participate in the event of the year and be amazed by the beauty of the costumes and the typical colors of the Brazilian Carnival.
Price to access the Rio Carnival : about 100 euros
Rio Carnival Dates :
- from February 21 to 29 2020
- from February 12 to 16 2021
- from March 25 to 1 2022
- from February 17 to 21 2023
6. Taste the feijoada
“A specialty of Rio, it’s very good! With Caïpi or coconut water… Happiness!! »
This typical Rio de Janeiro dish is traditionally eaten on Saturdays. Originally, the less noble parts of the pork were left to the slaves who cooked them with black beans (feijão). Today, feijoada consists of pork chops, fresh or smoked sausages, offal, pig’s feet or ears, cooked in oil and seasoned with garlic, onion and Laurel. The essential accompaniment is white rice, green cabbage served with fried bacon bits and farofa (cassava flour cooked in butter until golden) and a pinch of chilli sauce.
Where to eat Brazilian specialties : Casa da Feijoada
Average price : R$78
Have you always dreamed of visiting the Brazilian stadium par excellence? Whether you are a football fan or not, this stadium is the right place for anyone who likes to be impressed by the great outdoors. Built in 1950 on the occasion of the World Cup, the Rio stadium still attracts many people, thanks to its original circular architecture and its gigantic space.
How to get to Maracana Stadium : Bus: 222, 239, 455, 456, 458, 464, 609, 622, 638, 665, 711, Metro: line 2 Maracanã station
8. Sao Bento Monastery
São Bento Monastery was founded in 1590 by two monks from Bahia. It is considered today as one of the most important heritages of Brazilian architecture. This monument is also classified as World Heritage by Unesco. The architecture and works of art presented are a delight for visitors. Be careful, however, to respect the visiting hours: every day from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
To access the monastery : Taxi
9. National Historical Museum
Located near Praça João Paulo, the Museu Histórico Nacional brings together collections of inestimable value for anyone who wants to explore the history of Brazil. 27,500 objects are exhibited in this museum: paintings, imperial carriages, the throne of Pedro II and many other marvels. All are invaluable. You can also see the pen with which Princess Isabelle signed the Aurea law which abolished slavery in Brazil.
To go to the National Historical Museum of Rio : Metro Line 2 – São Cristovão
10. Sugar Loaf
The advice of Caroline, born in Rio “A must visit in the morning at sunrise to enjoy the magnificent landscape”
This block of granite almost 400 meters above sea level majestically dominates the entrance to Guanabara Bay. For climbing enthusiasts, its ascent is possible (there are more than 270 routes). For others, a cable car will take you to the top, offering you a splendid view of the entire bay!
How to get to Sugar Loaf : Bus 512 from Copacabana or Ipanema
Where to sleep in Rio de Janeiro: the best plan for home exchange
On the home exchange site HomeExchange more than 1,000 houses are available in Rio that will allow you to travel for free. Among the houses available you will discover that of Yves, a Frenchman living in Rio. “Our apartment is very pleasant all year round: it’s as if you were in a house with a garden in the heart of the city and very close to the beach. The apartment is very quiet, equipped with wifi internet, and located in a very safe area of Copacabana, from here you can reach all the key places in Rio de Janeiro” explains Yves, member of HomeExchange.
Bonus: 3 Melody tips to do in Rio de Janeiro
- The Selaron Steps, which you can find between the neighborhoods of Lapa and Santa Terasa: We stay there for hours watching the steps of all the colors in mosaics! I loved ! »
- “Have breakfast in one of the terraces bordering Copacabana”
- Where to party in Rio de Janeiro? See you in the Lapa district: “ The neighborhood to go out! You absolutely have to go to the Rio Scenarium, an awesome dance bar!»