10 things to do in Rio de Janeiro, by a foreigner

February 14, 2015

by Marie-Ève Abran, Canadian

1) Be a real tourist! Visit the famous places of the city!

The main tourist attractions of Rio de Janeiro are known worldwide for good reasons! You should definitely visit the Sugar Loaf and the Corcovado and bring your parents, your siblings, your friends, visit again and again! In short, these are attractions not to be missed!


2) Discover the most beautiful beaches

Do Leme ao Pontal, não há nada igual” sings Tim Maia. Discover the most beautiful beaches of Rio de Janeiro because there is one for everyone: Praia Vermelha and Leme are generally quieter while Copacabana and Ipanema are more dynamic. The beaches of São Conrado and Barra da Tijuca are also interesting despite the fact that they are less accesible.


3) Parade down the Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí at Carnival

Do not just watch the parade of samba schools: participate! Several travel agencies can book your place in the parade or you can simply talk about it to your Brazilian friends who, by word of mouth, will help you live this experience! You must purchase your costume and learn well the lyrics of the music so that your school does not lose points in the judges’ evaluation!


4) Visit the historic sites

Rio de Janeiro has been the capital of Brazil and is a city full of history. Visit the historic sites of the city center, starting with the Quinze de Novembro Square where the Imperial Palace is located. Then follow the Travessia do Comércio towards Candelária Church. Visit the São Bento Monastery and the Municipal Theatre. If you enjoy museums, explore the National History Museum and the Palace of Catete, where a President of the Republic has killed himself.


5) Shop in local markets

Feiras (markets) take place at different times and places. For example, the Feira Hippie of Ipanema, which is one of the most popular market, is held every Sunday at General Osório Square. There is also a feira at Lido Square in Copacabana every weekend and the Uruguaiana Market, which is located downtown, is permanent.


6) Eat Brazilian!

Brazilian food is not well known outside the country but you will definitely enjoy the local food! Although Rio de Janeiro has no typical dish, emigration of Brazilians from the state of Minas Gerais and of the northeast of the country to the former capital allows us to discover many typical dishes of these regions without leaving town. For example, mineira food (from Minas Gerais) is greatly appreciated in Rio and you will have the opportunity to discover it in several restaurants in various neighborhoods. Do not forget to keep some space in your stomach to eat at churrascarias (Brazilian style restaurants)!




7) Shake it to the sound of music!

Whether you’re a fan of samba, pagode or any other type of Brazilian music, shake it to the sound of a live show! In Lapa, you will hear the best musicians in the country and the best samba in the rehearsals of samba schools as Salgueiro and Mangueira in the months leading up to Carnival!


8) Enjoy nature

Rio de Janeiro is called Cidade Maravilhosa for its extraordinary nature. Its hills and mountains are breathtaking and its Atlantic forest (Mata Atlântica in Portuguese) is a point of biodiversity of global significance. Because of the deforestation caused by the growth of the metropolitan area of ​​Rio, it is now one of the world’s most threatened tropical forests. We must therefore preserve and know how to appreciate it. You can discover this forest in several parks, such as in the Tijuca National Park, located in the very heart of the city.


9) Watch a football match at the famous Maracanã stadium

This idea may sound cliché, but the spirit of the country is truly felt in a football match! Freshly renovated to receive the FIFA World Cup in 2014, the Maracanã stadium is the world’s mecca of football. Whether you’re a fan or not, a blue-yellow-green moment is a must during your stay in Rio! Do not forget your Brazilian national team t-shirt!


10) Get out of town! Explore the state of Rio de Janeiro!

The state of Rio de Janeiro has a lot to offer and must be discovered! To the north of the city, visit the Serra dos Órgãos National Park to breathe fresh mountain air. To the east, you must visit the small town of Búzios. To the west, spend a few days on the heavenly beaches of Ilha Grande and Paraty. Rio de Janeiro is much more than a urban center!

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