Rio de Janeiro is a large metropolis in the country of Brazil with a number of interesting things to do.

Contrary to popular belief, Rio is also an affordable city to visit if you are on a budget.

If you are working on putting together your list of things to do in Rio de Janiero for one week, here is a list of some places that you do not want to miss while you are in the city.

Visit Morro Dois Irmaos

Dois Irmaos

[pronounced doy-sh ear-mah-oos] is by far my favorite place in Rio de Janeiro to get a clear view of the layout of the city.

From the top of Dois Irmaos and during the hike up, you can see numerous places including São Conrado, the favelas Vidigal and Rocinha, the beaches Leblon, Ipanema, and Copacabana, Christ the Redeemer, and Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas.

Read more about Dois Irmaos Here

See Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)

Visiting the Christ the Redeemer statue is a MUST while visiting Rio de Janeiro; after all, it is probably the most famous site in the entire city and it is one that over 2 million people travel to each year.

Practical Information

Address | Rua Cosme Velho  513

Getting There | (Bus) 570 & then tram or hike

Sit on Escadaria Selarón

Visiting Escadaria Selarón stairs is also another must do while visiting Rio de Janeiro.

Created by Chilean artist Jorge Selarón, Escadaria Selarón started as a “tribute to the Brazilian people.”

It became famous as when it started to be featured in publications such as National Geographic and Time Magazines, and it gained further popularity in 2003 when American rapper Snoop Dogg used it as a backdrop in the song ‘Beautiful’. 

Practical Information

Address | Rua Manuel Carneiro – Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, Brazil

Getting There | Bus: 123, 161 or 433  | Metro: Gloria or Cinelandia stations

Soak up some Sun at the Beaches

You cannot visit Rio without hitting the beaches.

There are a number of beaches to visit in Rio, with the most popular being Copacabana and Ipanema. If you are interested in visiting some of the less crowded local (and extremely beautiful beaches), head east to São Conrado Beach and Barra da Tijuca.

Some of the best sunsets in Rio can be seen from Arpoador (the rocks that jut out into the ocean between Copacabana and Ipanema beaches).

On Sundays, the lane closest to the beach shuts down from Leblon to Copacabana and opens up to pedestrians for skating, walking, running, etc.

Eat at the Street Markets 

Some of the freshest fruits, vegetables, and foods can be found at the street and farmers markets in Rio de Janeiro.

During my trip, I visited Feira da Gloria, but there are a number of open-air street markets that they take place throughout the city during the weekdays.

If you are interested in buying souvenirs and interesting knick-knacks, check out the Feira De Sao Cristovao (Fridays-Sundays) and the Ipanema Hippie Fair Market (Sundays 7:00-19:00). 

Dance on Pedra do Sal

Pedra do Sal is located in the Saúde neighborhood and is known as the birthplace of Samba (a Brazilian dance with African origins).

The Saúde neighborhood  where the first African immigrants from Bahia settled in the 17th century. The rock, which was formerly called Pedra da Prainha, was the location of large slave market was housed. 

These days, Pedra do Sal comes alive on Monday and Friday evenings as locals and tourists gather to dance the night away to Samba music. 

Practical Information

Address | 87 – Rua Argemiro Bulção, 1 – Saúde

Getting There | Take Bus #124 to Praça Mauá and ask the locals for Pedra do Sal (pronounced ‘Pay-dra doe sa-oo).

Stroll through Parque Lage

Parque Lage is a public park that sits below the Floresta da Tijuca and is very near to Jardim Botânico.

One of the most recognizable features of the park is the mansion that is home to the  the Escola de Artes Visuais. This site also became famous in the music video ‘Beautiful’ by Snoop Dogg, and they also have a wonderful cafe with delicious and affordable meals. 

Practical Information

Address | Rua Jardim Botânico, 414 – Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22461-000, Brazil

Getting There | Take any of the following buses: 409, 410, 438, 170, 172, 178, 179, 174, 571, 573,  583

Climb Pão de Açúcar 

Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) is very high on most people’s list of things to do when visiting Rio.

I personally was not very highly impressed with the mountain and I thought that the cable car price to reach the top of the mountain was quite high. 

If you do not get to visit Dois Irmaos, this would be the next best option for viewing the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Practical Information

Address | Avenida Pasteur, 520 – Urca

Getting There | (Bus) 107, 511, 512

Have you been to Rio? What were some places that you enjoyed visiting?