The “Marvellous City” of Rio de Janeiro

Riveting Rio de Janeiro is fondly referred to as Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvellous City) because of its vibrant city life, colourful atmosphere, shimmering beaches and verdant urban rainforests. Rio is more than just a destination famed for the carnival, it’s a city that offers a mix of beachside, jungle-style, inner city living. This chic yet sometimes gritty city is one of the most sought after destinations to visit. Rio is a fantastic year-round holiday destination, offering moderate to hot temperatures. Picture the beats of Bossa Nova, dancing the night away Samba style, hiking the mosaic of paths in the rainforest and sunny days sipping caipirinhas on sugar-white beaches. 

This marvellous city has plenty to offer its visitors in terms of activities. It is also home to iconic landmarks and historical places of interest.

Possibly one of the most fascinating areas in Rio de Janeiro is the Tijuca Forest National Park, a rainforest home to a wealth of trails and paths ideal for hiking and biking. This was the world’s first reforestation project that started way back in 1861, and 100 years later it was declared a national park. The park is actually home to the looming and all encompassing Christ the Redeemer statue that hovers over the city below. Do head to the park for rainforest adventures and sightseeing of world-renown landmarks. 

Rio de Janeiro

Tijuca National Park - 5 things to do in Rio de Janeiro

The two main beaches in Rio that outline the city are the world-renown Copacabana and Ipanema beaches; framed by the spectacular Sugarloaf Mountain.

Copacabana is one of Rio’s liveliest neighbourhoods, and the 4 km beach curves around the bay. There’s a hive of activity on the beach and the promenade comes alive with festive behaviour right into the night. Soccer, dancing and drinks kiosks dotted across the lively beach area make Copacabana a sought-after area in Rio. 

Guarding over the Copacabana beach is the grand old lady of Copacabana, the Copacabana hotel – a place frequented by celebrities from years gone by. It’s classic and proud, and the perfect place for an evening sundowner. 

Belmond Copacabana Palace


Ipanema is a curvaceous beach with all different types of beach-goers – in front of the country club is where the rich play, Posto 9 is chilled and Ipanema Farme is the main gay beach of the area. The Ipanema neighbourhood is one of the wealthiest areas in the area and pulsates with activity. Every Sunday Ipanema plays host to the hippie fair, which is a market selling an array of eclectic goods. Do visit Garota de Ipanema for a drink, which is where the song “Girl from Ipanema” was written. 

A sun seeker’s paradise and adventure lover’s dream is the island of Ilha Grande, covered by Atlantic forest and signature tropical island palm-lined stretches of beaches. This is the place for snorkelling and discovering an exceptional underwater world with clear visibility. It’s considered to be one of the most picturesque islands in Brazil, but not that many tourists know about this little haven of beauty.

There are walks and hikes on the island, and it’s quite possible to actually walk all the way around the island. Lopes Mendes is a popular beach for surfing and swimming, and the perfect place to kick back and relax. Boat trips, kayaking and diving the emerald waters are all possible on Ilha Grande – paradise found. 

We encourage you to explore the bohemian area of Santa Teresa, a charming hilltop village characterised by winding narrow, cobbled streets and Alpine style houses. The region boasts some of the best views of emerald landscapes and Guanabara Bay.

Rio de Janeiro is fondly referred to as “Cidade Maravilhosa” (Marvelous City), and for good reason.

Ilha Grande Turquoise

Author: Carolynne Higgins

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