Rio de janeiro is not just the most famous city of the country, but one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The incredible combination of sea and mountains created celebrated suburbs as Copacabana and Ipanema. Walking around without a particular place to go to, is already worth the trip. However, there is a lot to see and do in this marvellous city.
What about enjoying a day relaxing at the beach, visit the famous, with a height of 400 meters, Pao de Açucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) and Corcovado Mountain with the famous statue of Jesus Christ protecting the city. The views from both of these hills are breath-taking. With the modern metro you will be transported very quick to the historic city center with the impressive Teatro Municipal, the opera building. The old and renovated Convento de Santo Antônio offers beautiful Portuguese handycraft. Also in the city center you can find Museu de Belas Artes (beautiful art) with the best collection of Brazilian painters and the National Museum, the National Historic Museum and several other first-class museums. A nice trip is a ride with the old tram through the colonial district of Santa Teresa, a beautiful neighbourhood with cobbled streets, hills and old homes. You can even make a tour to the biggest stadium in the world, the famous Maracana stadium.
If you want to escape the busy city life you can visit the mountain retreat Petropolis or the botanical garden (Jardim Botânico), with more than 6000 different plant species. Besides that you can go hiking in the biggest urban forest of the world, in the National Park of Tijuca. Tijuca is all that is left of the tropical jungle that once surrounded the city. In 15 minutes you can go from the concrete jungle of Copacabana to the 33 square km tropical forest of this National ParkThe forest is exuberant green with beautiful trees, creeks and waterfalls, mountainous terrain and high peaks. It is ome to different specias of birds and animals including iguanas and monkeys.
If you have enough time around Rio and do not want to spend money on domestic flights to visit the natural wonders of Brazil, we can recommend overland visits to the tropical island Ilha Grande, the historical city of Parati or the up-scale beach resort of Búzios.
Rio de Janeiro has a long and rich history. After a short French period the Portuguese started a trading post here in 1567. In the beginning Rio grew very slowly untill gold was found in the interior of Brazil. From 1763 till 1960 Rio was the capital of Brazil, but in 1960 Brasilia became the new capital of Brazil. At the end of 19th century the number of inhabitants of Rio grew rapidly caused by the enormous immigration from Europe and the flow of people from the countryside of Brazil, mostly migration of ex-slaves. During this time many famous city districts emerged, such as the Copacabana en Ipanema, but also the favelas, the notorious slums. Most of the beauty of Rio can be dedicated to the position of the city; an endless strip along the coast with magnificent beaches and the rocky hills.
Rio is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with 7 million inhabitants. The inhabitants of Rio are called Cariocas and are people with different backgrounds. Cariocas are friendly, self confident, love music, the nigh live and, as most Brazilians, they love football. Cariocas do not go the beaches to swim, but to look and to be seen.