Rio de Janeiro - the ‘City of Marvels' - is one of the world's most iconic travel destinations, full of energy and colour. This seductive Brazilian city is known for its favelas, beach lifestyle, flamboyant Carnaval held in the Sambódromo and a picturesque setting between rainforest-clad mountains and the ocean.
There's a saying among Cariocas - the laidback and friendly Rio locals - that God made the world in six days and spent the seventh lying on the beach at Ipanema. And to truly understand the city a visit to the beach is a must, whether it's Ipanema or nearby Copacabana. On these world-famous strips of powdery sand Cariocas sunbathe in tiny speedos or bikinis, surf, play beach football and volleyball, before heading to nearby street bars for a cold drink. Taking in the beach vibe during a sunset walk along the shore is a particular Rio pleasure, before watching a samba show or partying like the locals until the early hours.
Another familiar Rio de Janeiro landmark is the 38-metre-tall statue of Christ the Redeemer, its arms open wide and overlooking Rio from the top of Corcovado Mountain. Taking in the panoramic city views from beside the statue is a major Brazil travel highlight, while Sugarloaf Mountain provides another lofty viewpoint.