10 things to know before you hit Rio de Janeiro

Of course you're already doing Copacabana and Ipanema. But what about the rest?

August 18, 2016

The 2016 Olympics are almost at an end, which means sunset shots of Brazil's stunning topography that have flooded our screens for the last three weeks will soon be no more.

But if like us you've picked up the Rio bug and now want to visit the River of January more than ever, (yes that is the city's Portuguese meaning) we've knocked up a short travel guide.

We've assumed you already have Copacabana, Ipanema and Christ the Redeemer down for your first day. So here are ten other things to know before you go. 

Where to stay

1. Fasano
One of South America’s most stylish hotel groups, the Fasano in the heart of the beach-side Ipanema district is right on the money. Designed by the always impressive Philippe Starck, the hotel has suites from which you can see the Atlantic from bed. fasano.com.br 

2. Hotel Santa Teresa
The fashionable, tree-lined district of Santa Teresa is a peaceful retreat from Rio’s beachside bustle. The hotel has a hankering for excellent design – with the furniture made by Sergio Rodrigues, one of Rio’s most daring designers – making this place a bit special. santa-teresa-hotel.com

3. Miramar Hotel
Despite being located just steps away from the world famous Copacabana Beach, the Miramar Hotel is unexpectedly tranquil. Although, the rooftop infinity pool is one of the most in-demand spots in the city. windsorhoteis.com.br

Where to go

4. Rio Scenarium
We’ve never met a Brazilian who doesn’t like to dance, which is why it is worth trekking away from the usual tourist traps to check out this fantastic three-storey club, packed with regulars dancing choro, forró, samba and everything in between. rioscenarium.com.br

5. Bar d'Hotel
Despite fighting for position with countless other bars, this first floor hangout is a regular haunt for Rio’s cool crowd – normally in various stages of undress. It’s so cool that it hardly makes use of its view across the world’s most famous beach. To understand why, you’ll have to go there yourself. marinaallsuites.com.br

Where to eat

6. Le Pre Catlean
Although it may seem hard to believe, but Brazilians' can do fine dining. And if Le Pre Catelan is anything to go by, then they do it well. Plus, you’ll struggle to find a more alluring spot for dinner in this city’s spiritual heartland. leprecatlean.com.br

7. La Fiducia
La Fiducia has been praised by cariocas for rebooting the classily romantic vibe along Copacabana’s Rua Duvivier, and the contemporary Italian menu – with Brazilian classics such as feijoada available at weekends – is one of the best in town. lafiducia.com.br

8. Plataforma
Gutted that you missed carnival season? Well, worry not! The live entertainment at this restaurant demonstrates Brazil’s love for three things: dancing, grilling meats and substituting feather boas for clothing.

What to do

9. Catedral Metropolitana
The towering, conical structure is arguably the most striking building in the city, and certainly one of its most unique. Made in 1964, the concrete and stained glass structure is more reminiscent of a Mayan temple than a modern day church. catedral.com.br

10. Pao de Acucar
If there is one thing that is genuinely unmissable, it is taking a cable car up the 396m tall Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) which dominates the Rio landscape. As far as views go, you’ll struggle to beat it anywhere in the world, and for romantics, try timing it for sunset. bondinho.com.br