Welcome to the Cidade Maravilhosa (marvelous city), a city filled with samba-fueled nightlife, verdant mountains, and golden beaches.
You can see why Rio is known as the Cidade Maravilhosa from the peak of Corcovado, which rises to a height of 2329 feet (710 metres). The city is surrounded by lushly forested mountains, glistening beaches, and a string of little islands dotting the water’s edge. This seaside gem offers exceptional outdoor adventures, including hiking in the Tijuca jungle, cycling alongside the lake and beaches, sailing across Bahia de Guanabara, and surfing, rock climbing, and hang gliding in one of the most beautiful urban environments in the world.
Visitors have long been drawn to Rio’s beaches. During the 1940s, when foreign starlets would fly into Rio for the weekend, Copacabana Beach came to represent the city. Ipanema Beach is the centre of attention right now, its popularity and attraction having persisted since bossa nova luminaries Tom Jobim and Vincius de Moraes introduced the world to it in the 1960s. The beach is Rio’s backyard for cariocas (citizens of Rio), a playground that is free and available to everyone. Here, you may play football, volleyball, surf, eat, drink, or just rest while people-watching.
Rio’s soundtrack includes hip-hop, funk, old-school bossa nova, rock, and several regional Brazilian music genres. Music is the city’s lifeblood. The music that is most associated with Rio is samba, a fast-paced genre with African influences and a contagious tempo. Although you can hear it all around town, Lapa, the red-light district with dozens of live music halls and a sizable weekend street celebration that attracts revellers from all walks of life, is where the samba truly lives. Samba is a crucial component of Carnaval and provides danceable background music for outdoor gatherings and late-night parades.
Rio knows how to celebrate, speaking of Carnaval. Cariocas have a tonne of joie de vivre, Lebensfreude, or desire for life, to use a few different names. The most overt example of this festive atmosphere is the lead-up to and celebration of Carnaval. Rio, however, offers a variety of other reasons to party, including the celebrations following a crucial Flamengo (or Vasco, Fluminense, or Botafogo) soccer match, weekend samba gatherings throughout the city, baile funk gatherings in favelas (slums, unincorporated communities), boat parties on the bay, and major festivals like Réveillon and the Festas Juninas.