What is Rio de Janeiro Known for and Famous for?

Many people all over the world dream of visiting Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro at least once in their lifetime. Tourists travel to Rio for a vacation to unwind and relax and also to pay respects to some of the world’s most famous historical sites. What is it that makes Rio de Janeiro so famous? What draws people to this South American city?


Rio de Janeiro is known for the beauty the city provides, the beaches, architecture, and the nature that draws millions of people to the beloved city each year. The city is known for providing anything that anyone could want to do on a warm-weather vacation. Rio de Janeiro also provides a natural backdrop full of historical landmarks, including the famous Christ the Redeemer Statue.


Rio de Janeiro, which is situated in and around the mountainous countryside, is the main tourist attraction to all of those who travel to Brazil for vacation. Whether the scenery, party atmosphere, or simple enjoyment of history is your reason for going, Rio de Janeiro has it all. Read on to learn more about what makes Rio de Janeiro famous.




The city of Rio de Janeiro is known for all kinds of things, but you cannot forget its buildings and architecture. Many of these buildings were constructed in the 1800s and still stand to this day.


These historical sites draw visitors from all over the world to take pictures and admire their beautiful construction. Brazilian architectural styling can be described in a few different ways. 

  • Neoclassical
  • Baroque
  • A unique Brazilian blend of both styles


Neoclassical and Baroque architecture were introduced to Brazil in the 18th and 19th centuries, and these prominent styles still exist in the city. The Brazilians added their own flair to these styles to create a blended style of their own.

Theatro Municipal Rio de Janeiro

One of the most popular and well-known areas that showcase the architectural talent in Rio is the Theatro Municipal Rio de Janeiro.


The Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro is also known as the Municipal Theatre. This large building was constructed in the early 20th century and is full of the following luxurious adornments:

  • Gilded mirrors
  • Marble columns
  • Green onyx staircases


The Municipal Theatre, inspired by the Paris Opera of Charles Garnier, was built as an Opera House and the theatre still holds several shows throughout the year for all to enjoy.


If art and theatre are what you love, do yourself a favor and attend one of the many different productions put on at the theatre daily. If you cannot make a show or do not enjoy what they have to offer, at least take a guided tour of this fantastic historical building.



Carioca Aqueduct 

This magnificent work of architecture, the Carioca Aqueduct was originally built to provide drinking water to the residents of the city when it was first created in the 18th century. 


Over time, the city stopped using the enormous structure, made to look like a bridge with two giant arches, and began to use it to transport people from Rio to a nearby city.


The Carioca Aqueduct still acts as a transport for people from Rio de Janeiro to the neighboring city. Additionally, the structure sits in a well-known area of the city, which is known as a party spot for the locals and the tourists. 


The area is said to light up at night and is full of bars, street vendors, and anything else that may strike your fancy for a nighttime festivity. If partying the night away is for you, look no further than the Carioca Aqueduct. 


Parque Lage

Another attraction that the city of Rio de Janeiro is famous for is a large swath of land that holds a beautiful mansion. This land has been made into a public park known as the Parque Lage. The park is in the middle of the forest, and there are plenty of walking paths that provide beautiful scenery. 


The land where the public park sits used to be owned by famous opera singer Gabrielle Besanzoni. After purchasing the land, the couple built a large mansion on the property in the early 1900s. 


The land eventually became a public park, and the mansion became the home to the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage, in English, the Visual Arts School of Parque Lage. The area boasts open-air cafes, as well as tours of the facility for those of you that want to take in the beautiful art that the city has to offer.


Lapa Neighborhood

This area is famous for its entertainment for tourists. It features several exciting activities:

  • Samba
  • Choro
  • Dancing in the streets


Additionally, the area is also famous for the many buildings in the area, which were designed in the 1800s. Take time to walk through history and enjoy the historic buildings that make up the Rio. It truly is amazing that these buildings have been able to survive after all of these years.


Maracana Stadium

Another famous work of architecture in Rio de Janeiro is the Maracana Stadium, which first opened in 1950. The stadium was built to house soccer games, the most famous sport in all of Brazil. 


The stadium was initially built to hold 200,000 sports spectators. Of course, throughout the years, housing that many people at once in an older building started to be considered a hazard.


The stadium still stands; however, it has undergone several renovations throughout the years and currently only holds 80,000 people. The stadium still hosts sports and other events in the city.



Christ the Redeemer

Perhaps Rio’s most famous structure is the Christ the Redeemer, known locally as Cristo Redentor, a statue located at the summit of Corcovado Peak. Beyond Rio, this statue is Brazil’s most well-known feature. It bears the likeness of Jesus Christ with arms outstretched. The statue was constructed in what is known as the Art-Deco style.

  • Construction began on the statue in the 1920s and was completed in 1931.
  • The statue stands almost 100 feet tall.
  • The Christ the Redeemer statue is one of the seven new wonders of the world.


People from all over the world travel to Rio de Janeiro to visit Christ the Redeemer and revel in its design and the significance it holds on Christianity in the area. Beyond the religious aspect, others travel to the statue to admire this work of art that was created almost 100 hundred years ago.


Take time to appreciate what talent it took to create a statue like this in the early 1900s when there were not the same tools available as now. You can admire the statue from afar or tour the site, where there is plenty of information about the history and building of the statue.



Rio de Janeiro is home to several famous beaches which not only offer scenic views of the mountainside but excellent waves for surfing and other water sports.


Each year tourists flock to the city to enjoy the beaches and all they have to offer. Some of the most famous beaches in the city are:


Barra da Tijuca Beach

This Barra da Tijuca Beach is the longest beach in all of Rio de Janeiro. Stretching over 11 miles, the beach attracts everyone, from those who are simply enjoying the scenery to families splashing in the water.


Additionally, the area is known for water sports ranging from surfing to kitesurfing. The crystal-clear water and inviting waves call to every surfer in the area.


Suppose you have always wanted to do a water sport and have not taken the time to learn how. There are plenty of vendors and schools in the area that would love to teach you how to enjoy the sport. Relax and learn a new hobby while enjoying the beach and the beautiful scenery.



Copacabana Beach

Who has not heard the Barry Manilow song, Copacabana? Although the song was not written solely for the beach, it certainly had a hand in inspiring Manilow. This beach is where to go if you want to be around a lot of people, all intent on enjoying their day.


The area boasts soccer and volleyball games as well as many vendors who are willing and waiting to sell you food or adult beverages. 


Feel free to take part in any of the sports games on the sand or sit down on a beach towel and enjoy the scenery. The view from the beach is spectacular, as there are beautiful mountains that are visible from the shore.


Ipanema Beach

Ipanema Beach is yet another well known beach that has a song in which it is mentioned, The Girl from Ipanema. This famous beach sits in an area that is more affluent than that of Copacabana and offers beautiful views of Morro Dois Irmaos, in English, Two Brothers Mountain. 


The area, like the other beaches, is known for its beautiful water and wave action. There are plenty of vendors hanging around to sell you whatever you may need to enjoy your day, like an umbrella or a beach ball. 


Joatinga Beach

This beach is not as crowded, typically, and is more known for the water sports that people flock to the area to try. The water is known as the cleanest in the area and provides excellent wave action for those that enjoy surfing or other water sports. 


Those who spend time on this beach do so either for the sports aspect or the sheer scenic views that are afforded. This may be the quietest and most relaxing beach in Rio.



Leblon Beach

If your sole purpose for your beach day in Rio de Janeiro is to participate in activities on the sand, then this is the area for you. This family-friendly beach provides plenty of options to:

  • Play Soccer
  • Play Volleyball
  • Surf
  • Kitesurf


This area caters to sports enthusiasts more so than the other beaches. It also helps that the area is beautiful, as there are hills around the beach and excellent views of the mountains.


Prainha Beach

This beach is more suitable for those that want to sit back and enjoy all that nature has to offer. This beach is located about an hour away from the center of the city and provides breathtaking views of mountains which are covered in trees. 


If you want to surf in this area or take part in any water sport, feel free as the waves are also incredible. However, be warned as there are typically strong undertows and few lifeguards on duty to help you, should you get pulled out to sea.




Rio is well known for its beautiful nature. The city has several public parks which allow people to be able to walk through the forests and take in the scenery. There is nothing quite like immersing yourself fully in Rio’s natural scenery by exploring the gardens and forests on foot.


Below are some Rio de Janeiro’s most popular and most well known natural attractions.


Rio de Janeiro Jardim Botânico Garden

Nature abounds throughout all of Rio de Janeiro. Perhaps one of the most well known gardens in Rio de Janeiro is Jardim Botânico Garden. This area holds over 8,000 species of plants and is open for the public to enjoy.


The area was first built in the 1800s and provides towering palm trees and other forms of plant life. The rainforest was almost completely lost due to deforestation but thankfully was saved during that period. 


Along with the beautiful trees, waterfalls, and animal life, there are also beautiful buildings that are present in the rainforest. Additionally, there are several fountains, monuments, and ponds to enjoy.


Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain is surrounded by water and rises 1,300 feet high in the mouth of Guanabara Bay. Sugarloaf Mountain features the following natural materials, making it quite unique: 

  • Quartz
  • Granite


Tourists that come to the area often want to travel up to the peak of the mountain where they will be given a glorious view of the countryside. People can ride up to the top using a glass-walled cable car, which allows them to see the beautiful area while going to the top of the mountain.



Tijuca National Park

Rio de Janeiro is famous for housing one of the world’s largest urban forests, Tijuca National Park. This large park is encompassed by a beautiful mountainous landscape that is perfect for every nature lover.


For those who want to enjoy the scenery as nature intended, feel free to hike the paths in the park. Additionally, you can also hike to Rio de Janeiro’s highest peak, Pico da Tijuca. If you can get to the top of the peak, you will be able to enjoy a spectacular view, as it overlooks Guanabara Bay and Rio de Janeiro. 


If hiking is not for you, perhaps you can take part in some of the historical attractions that are located throughout the park. A few of the most popular ones are listed below.


Alto de Boa Vista

The park is home to a residential area known as the Alto de Boa Vista. This area is famous because the residents played a large part in restoring the rainforest in the 19th century when it was used for coffee farming.


The residents took to replanting over 100,000 trees that were destroyed during the farming process after a decree from Emperor Peter II that the area would be restored to its natural beauty. The buildings are historical, as most were built during the 1800s. 

Vista Chinesa

Another famous feature of this park in Rio de Janeiro is the Vista Chinesa. This large building was designed as an oriental-style gazebo that is situated to provide a view of the Lagoa, forest, and beaches of the city. When visiting this national park, take time to tour the Vista Chinesa and revel at the architecture and the view it provides. 


Mayrink Chapel

The Tijuca National Park is also home to a chapel which was built in 1860, named the Mayrink Chapel. This little pink chapel is situated high up in the Tijuca rainforest, which has led some to believe that it somehow came from a fairy tale.


This chapel is beautifully decorated inside, as there are several areas in which Carrara marble was used. Additionally, there are numerous works of art, murals, and paintings, which add to the beauty and elegance of the chapel. Some of these works of art were done by a famous Brazilian artist, Candido Portinari.




There are many reasons why the city of Rio de Janeiro is known worldwide, and all of them draw millions of people each year to the city to enjoy all that it has to offer. From beautiful and serene nature views to the vibrant nightlife and dancing in the streets, the city truly offers tourists plenty of amazing options.

Rio de Janeiro has so many things to offer locals and tourists alike. The city has lots of history as well as modern amenities that draw people from all over the world. From natural wonders to historical architecture to religious iconography, Rio de Janeiro has something for everyone.

If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful city we recommend checking out Hotels.com here for booking accommodation!





https://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/brazil/rio-de-janeiro/articles/rios-best-beaches, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Girl_from_Ipanema