Introduction to Rio de Janeiro

'Tall and tan and young and lovely' croon the lyrics of the Girl from Ipanema, an iconic 1960s tune that has become the second most popular recorded song in history. And while the lyrics speak of a young Brazilian girl, it could also apply to Rio de Janeiro itself. A tall and tanned and young and love city. For all its qualms and football tom-foolery, there's no denying Rio's physical beauty, from the bronzed bodies that line the spectacular beaches to the soaring panoramic view from Sugar Loaf Mountain, the open-air cafes along Copacabana Beach to the cocktail bars in Lapa. Whatever your vantage point, Rio de Janeiro will make you go ahhh.

Once out of the sun, Rio de Janeiro's young and lovely reputation kicks in with a vivacious culture, passion for football and high-energy nightlife. Fittingly, the world's biggest street party, Carnival, takes place within its borders in a flurry of samba dancing and colourful costumes. Equally colourful is the city's dining scene, from street side churros to a meaty stew called feijoada, best enjoyed on a shady terrace overlooking the bay. When the plates are clean, the locals, known as caricocas, get the party started with caipirinhas and loud music. From there the details can get a little hazy, tall and tan and young and lovely.

Must Do

Perched atop of Corcovado Mountain, the Christ the Redeemer statue will no doubt be the first thing you spot when you fly into Rio de Janeiro, welcoming you with open arms. Overlooking the city and measuring over 30 metres tall, the statue has long been an icon of Rio and a must-see for every traveller.The city's other soaring and unmissable landmark is Sugar Loaf Mountain. Located at the mouth of Guanabara Bay, the steep peak is said to resemble the shape of a refined loaf of sugar, hence the name.

Down on the ground, Rio's famed beaches like Ipanema and Copacabana, prove irresistible. It is here that the infamous Brazilian bikini is the style de jour, complete with bronzed skin and not much else. On the other hand at Estadio do Maracana stadium it's all about clothing, with revellers passionately donning their team's colours like a badge of honour. Whatever you decide to wear in Brazil, just make sure it will be able to go the distance, from beach to bar, mountain to football field. Because when it comes to a Rio de Janeiro holiday, there's no rest for the wicked.

For more must-dos in Rio de Janeiro, check out our things to do page and start planning your Lima holiday.

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