Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro

As the Brazilians say, ‘God made the world in six days, the seventh he devoted to Rio.’

Rio is undoubtedly one of the most iconic cities on the planet. Nestled between jagged mountains, rainforests and azure ocean, Rio de Janeiro is unsurpassed for its natural beauty. Its magnificent shoreline boasts Sugar Loaf Mountain and the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, while the mountains above Rio play host to the world-famous statue of Christ the Redeemer – one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and the largest urban rainforest in the world, Tijuca National Forest.

Rio de Janeiro Carnival Celebrations, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro , Brazil

A little more about Rio

The city’s eight million inhabitants, known as “Cariocas”, are friendly and carefree with a strong focus on finding the time for the pleasures of good living. This attitude means that the city never sleeps, but remains alive with the buzz of activity. This is reflected in the exuberant New Year celebrations and also in Rio’s famous Carnival, when, for one week, the city’s residents stop everything to dance and sing to rhythmic Samba music… and to party!

For those looking for a short break, Rio is the perfect destination with direct flights from London Heathrow with British Airways. Combine with the coastal resort of Buzios, a drive north of the city or the lush tropical Green Coast, a drive to the south, where travellers will find the colonial gem, Paraty.


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View, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Christ the Redeemer

Take in the magnificent views from Corcovado’s iconic Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain.

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Rio Carnival, Brazil

Attend Rio Carnival

Party the night away during Rio Carnival, the largest carnival on earth that boast colourful displays of dancing, impressive beaded outfits and loud music.

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Sunset views of Rio, Brazil

Experience Rio

Spend a couple of days in Rio de Janeiro soaking up the atmosphere, bustling streets, popular beaches and delicious foodie hotspots.

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Palacio Imperial, Petropolis, Brazil

Visit Petrópolis

Visit the Imperial House and Museum belonging to the royal family, the former palace of 19th century emperor Dom Pedro.

Bike tour, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Hire a Bicycle

Hire a two-wheeler and cycle along the famous beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon, plus the inland Lake Rodrigo.

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Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Porto Bay Rio Janeiro £££££

  • Brazil
  • City

Porto Bay Rio Janeiro is a contemporary-style hotel directly opposite Copacabana Beach. The hotel’s 117 rooms are beautifully appointed with large picture windows or private balconies from which to enjoy sweeping views along Copacabana Beach.

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Ibiti Project £££££

  • Brazil
  • Farmstead and Ranches

Three hours’ drive from Rio lies Ibiti Project, a 4,000-hectare private reserve that aims to preserve and reforest native plant species, and create wildlife corridors. At the centre of the reserve is Fazenda do Engenho, a traditional farmhouse dating back to 1715. In 2006 it was lovingly restored, keeping the original colonial characteristics to create a wonderful eight-room hotel.

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Vila Santa Teresa £££££

  • Brazil
  • Boutique

Vila Santa Teresa is a private boutique home set in the estate of the Monteiro de Carvalho family, located in the bohemian neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. The property is a countryside retreat in the heart of Rio with stunning views over Sugarloaf Mountain and Guanabara Bay below. Vila Santa Teresa has seven rooms and suites individually furnished, some with private balconies and views overlooking the pool and city and others over the extensive gardens. There are plenty of social areas including a large open plan living room and dining room that lead out to the pool. A wooden deck with loungers surround the pool and offer stunning views.

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Fasano Rio de Janeiro £££££

  • Brazil
  • Boutique

Fasano Rio de Janeiro is a wonderful, stylish hotel designed by Philippe Starck. It is situated in the heart of Ipanema, right across from the beach and close to many great shops and restaurants. The Fasano Rio de Janeiro has a modern contemporary style with white marble floors and beautifully designed rustic wooden furniture. The rooftop is an area with spectacular views over Ipanema Beach featuring a large pool, as well as a fitness centre, sauna, Jacuzzi and a coffee shop for drinks and light meals. In the lobby lounge there is often live music and most prominently the Fasano al Mare, Rogerio Fasano’s gastronomic restaurant, dedicated to traditional Italian seafood.

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Hotel Santa Teresa £££££

  • Brazil
  • Boutique

Hotel Santa Teresa is a renovated 19th-century mansion perched on a hilltop close to Guanabara Bay, the Teresopolis Mountains and the outstretched arms of Christ the Redeemer. The hotel is located close the central plaza of Santa Teresa from where you can catch the last historic trolley of Rio to downtown Lapa, just five minutes away, or travel a further 20 minutes to Copacabana and Ipanema. This stylish hotel has beautiful interiors incorporating burnt cement, coconut fibres and original Brazilian art. More than half the rooms have balconies with great views. The property also features a generous-sized pool and stunning gardens of mango and palm trees, avocados and jasmines frequented by toucans, parrots and monkeys.

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Belmond Copacabana Palace £££££

  • Brazil
  • City

The Belmond Copacabana Palace Hotel is one of Rio’s most iconic and luxurious hotels. The imposing art deco facade overlooks Copacabana beach and all of the 200 plus guestrooms have either city or beach views.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Roxy Dukes

Roxy loves to delve into South American culture, so Brazil is always at the top of her hit list. From eating tapioca served from local food carts to the art of capoeira dancing, she loves to find new experiences to share with her wayfaring clients.

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