Aerial of Rio de Janeiro with Christ the Redeemer
Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is a tapestry of mountains, neighbourhoods, beaches and rainforest. Whether you want to hike up its urban peaks or laze about on Ipanema Beach, this Brazilian city is a dream destination for all travellers. Plan your trip to Rio with the help of our travel guide and prepare to fall in love with this colourful city.

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Places to stay

There are plenty of accommodation options suitable for all travellers in Rio. Feel like rolling from out of your bed straight onto a beach? Stay in the Belmond Copacabana Palace, just across the road from one of Rio’s most famous beaches, Copacabana. After a glamourous hotel stay? Plant yourself beside Ipanema and Leblon beach in the Hotel Fasano in Ipanema or Janeiro Hotel in Leblon.

To escape the hustle and bustle of the city, head to the long sandy shores of Barra Da Tijuca or Recreio dos Bandeirantes. Stay in the artistic enclave of Santa Teresa where you’ll find boutique hotels, like Mama Ruisa, amongst eclectic shops and traditional bars. For access to beaches and cultural hotspots, Botafogo and Flamengo are central neighbourhoods with plenty of affordable Airbnbs. From chilled-out hideaways to buzzing beachside stays, you’re sure to find accommodation that fits your budget.

Things to do

From sipping caipirinhas on the beach to samba in the streets, get into Rio’s rhythm by embracing the local way of life. Beat the heat, by setting off for an early morning hike on one of the city’s many trails. Make your way to the top of Morro Dois Irmãos for breathtaking views of the coastline, Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer. Prefer chilling on the beach to climbing peaks? Stake out a patch of sand between kiosks on the iconic Copacabana. If you’re not up for the crowds, venture to Prainha Beach—a secluded spot that sun-seekers, surfers and families can all enjoy. Stay hydrated by crushing one of the native fruit juices or açaí bowls at Bibi Sucos.

With as many architectural wonders as there are natural ones, schedule in time for building sightseeing (EAV Parque Lage is a must). Structural marvels can also be found in the precarious stacks of fish, fruit, and other Brazilian delicacies on display at the Feira da Glória, a colourful farmer’s market held every Sunday. Go for a stroll through the boho area of Santa Teresa and hunt down treasures in Tucum. When you’re done collecting trinkets, head to the Leblon neighbourhood for some of the city’s trendiest bars and restaurants. Order a round of chope, Rio’s favourite beer, at Jobi before dinner at Oro Restaurante—the city’s only two-Michelin-starred restaurant. After all that drinking and dining, there’s only one thing left to do—samba. Rio Scenarium is a must, so hot foot it here for a boogie.

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Where to go

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Trips from Rio

Set off from Rio to discover scenic small towns, thriving island ecosystems and a beach escape made famous by Brigitte Bardot. The town of Paraty, with its cobbled streets, quaint shops and converted colonial homes is perfect for a weekend away.

Ilha Grande is an island paradise with wild beaches, rainforests and car-free roads, that’s just a couple of hours from Rio. Slink away to the rocky coves and jungle-lined beaches of Brigitte Bardot’s former holiday spot, Búzios.

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Rio Carnival

The city’s famed Carnival is a colourful explosion of feathers, floats and festivities. In the lead up to Lent, over 70,000 people flock to the custom-built parade area, also known as the Sambódromo, to watch the costumed performers. Even more people take part in the street parties, or Blocos de Rua, that fill the city with live music, dancing and drinking into the early hours.

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Getting around

From the airport: flights to Rio usually arrive at Galeão International Airport. From there, you’ll need to order an Uber, an official taxi or private transfer.  

In and around the city: Rio’s public transport network includes bus, Metrô Rio and train networks. Traffic is almost at a standstill during peak hours, so Metrô Rio and trains are recommended where possible. You'll need an hour to get from one side of town to another. Organised tours are a great wat to see the city. Uber and taxis are readily available and the best way to travel at night. 

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Important information

Disclaimer: ^ You must be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program to earn and redeem Qantas Points. A joining fee may apply. Membership and Qantas Points are subject to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program terms and conditions.

Disclaimer: ** Prices are per room, per night and vary depending on date of check in, length of stay and room type. Conditions apply.

Disclaimer: ~ Qantas activities are provided by Viator. Conditions apply.