When I think of Rio, the first thing that comes to my mind is a 'Handsome' City. A city which gives you the adrenaline rush as soon as you step in.
The gateway to both Brazil's beach country and the grand Christ the Redeemer, the city embodies a laid-back vibe that conceals a heart of thrills and adventure.
With its history, charming beaches, raucous Carnaval festival and sprawling favelas there is not a moment to get bored- You won't know where to start — or when to stop.
While a week is not enough to see the City, I am jotting down my favourite things to do and the list of places not to be missed in Rio.
1.Christ The Redeemer- Christ the Redeemer is an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ at the summit of Mount Corcovado ,created by French sculptor Paul Landowski.
One of the Wonders of the new world, this statue stands at a height of 98 Feet (30 Meters tall).
There are three ways to reach the top (Depending on the weather you can choose any)-
i) The Cog Train- The trains depart every half hour from the station at Cosme Velho, and the journey to the top takes 20 minutes. R$68,00 – includes round trip and entrance to Christ the Redeemer.
ii) Van- R$ 60.00 – includes round trip from Copacabana and entrance to Christ the Redeemer.
iii) Hike- This would be my favorite way to go up as you go through the Tijuca rainforest.
But I could not do this because of two reasons- One being the weather, it was 40 degrees and the other being the time, since the hike takes a minimum of 2-3 hours.
2. SugarLoaf Mountain- Sugarloaf Mountain is a peak that rises 396 meters high and presents a bird’s eye view of Rio de Janeiro from the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean.
A Cable car ride offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding beaches, mountains and forests.
Fun Fact- It gets its name because of its resemblance to the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar.
3. Parque Lage- Parque Lage is a large green area of Rio de Janeiro, with a beautiful small palace in the center. You probably remember this iconic building from Snoop Dogg's and Pharrell William's music video-Beautiful.
The front gardens are lawns and the sides composed of immense forest interspersed by plants and flowers, where one walks along picturesque paths, passing a small bridge, a palm tree branch and even an aquarium in the form of a small cave.
This is a public park, located in the Jardim Botânico neighborhood at the foot of the Corcovado.
4. Copacabana Beach- This Crescent Shaped beach is one of the most famous and most beautiful beaches in the world. It is home to Rio’s liveliest and vibrant neighborhoods.
Amid the high-rises overlooking the beach is the art deco Copacabana Palace hotel, laid-back sidewalk cafes and casual bars which line tranquil streets.
My favourite thing to do here would be to enjoy a gold cup of chopp (draft beer) or just have a Açaí along its mosaic-tiled promenade.
5. Escadaria Selaron- The Selarón Staircase is a set of world-famous steps which fill the paths between the neighborhoods of Lapa and Santa Teresa.
The gigantic mosaic is the work of the Chilean artist Jorge Selarón, who claimed it "a to the Brazilian people".
This 250 steps Staircase contains tiles from more than 60 countries, many of them presented to the artist by tourists and fans of the work.
6. Ipanema- Even more irresistible than the muse that inspired the song Girl from Ipanema, by Vinícius de Moraes and Tom Jobim, Ipanema is a famous meeting point which draws a diverse crowd for sunbathing and Socializing.
The neighborhood is the perfect combination of beaches, bars and stores, as well as a buoyant nightlife.
7. Sunset at Arpoador- Arpoador, which is known for a big stone separating the Copacabana Beach from the Ipanema Beach. The magical Arpoador sunset is quite the spectacle causing hundreds of people to flock to the rocky Arpoador Peninsula with picnic blankets and cameras to capture the breathtaking event.
8. Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio De Janeiro- This massive Brazilian church is dedicated to Saint Sebastian and is built like an angular, technicolor pyramid left by Mayans from the future. The cathedral’s beauty lies in its interior, where four vivid color depending on time of the day, which gives the church a beautiful natural lighting and a mystical atmosphere.
9. Lapa- City's main bohemian quarter- has attractions for all tastes and moods. This is my favourite neighborhood in the City that not only breathes history but has houses of samba root, nightclubs and quieter bars.
Vibrant, bohemian Lapa is renowned for its lively cultural life, Street Arts and the traditional open-air samba jams held beneath the Roman-style Arcos da Lapa aqueduct.
While the skyscrapers and bright lights might fool you into thinking Rio is all about modernity, you can’t make a visit without honoring the region’s past. Rio brings an energy all its own. Mountains and beaches, city streets, this city has a ton to offer.
And with a mix of traditional and new, it’s not hard to see why this gem draws thousands of visitors each year.