7 Day Itinerary for Rio de Janerio

January 10, 2013

Going for a 7 day trip in April to Rio de Janeiro. I need help with food - I don't eat seafood.
I need suggestions for what all I should see, give me only offbeat & local stuff.
I need help with hotels, budget for accommodation is moderate, I'm ok with sublets and vacation rentals.
I am traveling alone - 35 y.o female from Australia.

January 10, 2013

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro (Source: Hector Garcia)



A seven day trip to Rio de Janeiro  would give you plenty of time to see and explore the beautiful city of Rio as it is popularly called. This vibrant and colorful  city is the most popular destination in Southern Hemisphere. It is known for its beaches and carnival celebrations. The natural settings of the city between mountains and the sea has earned it the distinction of being  a World Heritage Site. Here I am suggesting an itinerary that will help you see much of the city and its surroundings.

1. Rio de Janeiro 1st day

Visiting Rio is completely revitalizing experience as this colorful city serves as an eye candy in itself as true depiction of nature, history and art. You can begin your tour by visiting the iconic destinion in Rio.

Train rides to Corcovado

Corcovado mountain offers the most beautiful view of the entire Rio from the top being at foot of Christ, the Redeemer.  Corcovado which means 'hunch back' in Portuguese is a mountain in Rio de Janeiro which is famous for the huge statue of 'Christ the Redeemer'. The 100 foot, 1,000 ton statue, looks absolutely dazzling at night. Like Sugarloaf Mountain, Corcovado is also famous for rock climbing, trekking and hiking activities and it attracts thousands of tourists all over the world every year.

Once you are on top of the mountain you can view Downtown Rio, Sugarloaf Mountain, the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (lake), Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Estádio do Maracanã (Maracanã Stadium), and several of Rio's favelas etc from there.

It is one attraction you can never think of missing while you are in Rio.

Cristo de Corcovado (Source: Poldavo (Alex))

You can reach the top of the peak though electric trains that runs from Cosme Velho station, at a half hour frequency. Tickets cost R$45 for adults and R$ 22.5 for children. It is pleasurable 20 minute ride with a nice view (try and sit on the right hand side for a better view). Visiting the mountain top and statue is on the agenda for everyone coming to Rio, so it is better if you reach early, you can avoid the wait and the rush. 

Do not forget your camera, as the view form the peak is breathtakingly beautiful. 


Trem do Corcovado (Source: Rodrigo_Soldon)

“This was a great tour and a MUST DO when in Rio de Janeiro. Lunch was delicious. However, drinks are not provided with your meal.. I thought this should of been included (soda, tea, water) since you spend a lot of money for this tour. Otherwise, this was a great tour..

 (Source:  viator.com)


Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, Rio de Janeiro 2 (Source: MAClarke21)


 Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas-A very popular entertainment spot for the locals, this beautiful lake is located top of Corcovado, this lake turns even prettier in the night with many kiosks around that offer good food and live music or just a water-side walk and 5 mile bike path will rejuvenate you after a busy day in the city.


Teatro Municipal

It is a must to visit this marvelous and magnificent theatre. The theatre is done beautifully, especially after its recent renovation, with murals, lavish chandeliers, gilded mirrors, statues. The architecture is comparable to that of Opera National de Paris.

You can either take a tour of the theatre or watch a show if you hold interest. 

Teatro Municipal 117 (Source: Luiz Fernando / Sonia Maria)

 this building is absolutly stunning. recently renovated, it looks very neat and with its golden leaves, it is the most beautiful one in town, as far as I am concerned. And just arouns it, you'll finf several others of historical interest, like the National Library and so on...

 (Source:  TripAdvisor)

Praca Marechal Floriano, Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 20031, Brazil

Call:55 21 22974411

You can then dine at
Santo Scenarium

Rua do Lavrádio, 36 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20230-070, Brazil

Phone: +55 21 3147-9000 / +55 21 3147-9005 

Rio Scenarium (Source: mthomps00)

If the queue on the picture is an indication, you will understand the popularity of this amazing joint located in an alleyway in Rio. Make sure you have advance bookings at Santo Scenarium if you want to spare yourself the long wait! But nonetheless, the wait will definitely be worthwhile, considering the amazing food, the eccentric but lovely ambiance, and the friendly and efficient staff.


2. Sugar Loaf Mountain 2nd day

Sugar Loaf Mountain is definitely worth your time and money. You can catch a glimpse of the famous equatorial Rio de Janeiro sunset, a cable car ride across the mountain and get a spectacular view of the Corcovado Mountain, the Niteroi Bridge and Guanabara Bay from here.

(Source: AJ) 

Riding or walking, Sugar Loaf Mountain is a timeless attraction which should be taken advantage of by all who visit Rio. The views are gorgeous, the photo ops endless, and most of all the experience....priceless!

 (Source: Sugar Loaf Mountain | Rio de Janeiro Brazil


Two cable cars will take you to the top from where the views of Copacabana are breathtaking! Hiking or trekking trails to take you to the top if you are up to it.

Here is the site that provides more information on this!

Tickets cost $44

Have lunch at

Confeitaria Colombo

Rua Gonçalves Dias, 32 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20050-030, Brazil

Phone: +55 21 2505-1500 ‎

Confeitaria Colombo (Source: Kevin Coles)

More than a decade old, the Confeitaria Colombo, also known as the Columbus Bakery, is a famous institution that is almost revered in Rio de Janeiro. Walk into this amazingly beautiful Victorian tea-room and enjoy the snacks, sweets, and confections - or seat yourself at their elegant tables and enjoy their delicious lunch fare!

You can then visit the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil is a perfect place to visit to leisurely spend your evening time. It is the cultural organization of the Banco do Brasil (Bank of Brazil), with centers in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, and Sao Paulo. This building was built in 1880 and has an art-deco architecture, designed by Francisco Joaquim Bethencourt da Silva. This culture center houses three theaters, four exhibition rooms, a library, cinema, and a video room. It offers a wide selection of contemporary and retro exhibitions, with one permanent exhibit titled “Brazil Through the Currency”, that provides insight into the history of the museum itself.

Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (Source: Rodrigo Soldon) 

Here are a couple of reviews.

 A place of intellectual ferment and a lot of culture, where you can, always, invariably, find numerous options of art, from good theater to musicals from temporary international exhibitions to local artists shows.

(Source: TripAdvisor) 

Address: Rua Álvares Penteado 112 Triângulo
Website: www.cultura-e.com.br

Time: 1200 to 1830 Tue-Sun
Price: Free

Phone: +55 11 3113 3651




3. Beaches of Rio 3rd Day

 Today you can enjoy the many beautiful and renowned beaches of the city.

The beaches of Rio are the most popular tourist spots. Many beaches offer a lot of adventure activities like surfing, para gliding etc. Many beaches are connected to each other. The beaches have bicycle paths which can be used for getting around here.

Mike Vondran, Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil January 3 2009. (Source: over_kind_man)


Ipanema is the most popular beach of Rio. It attracts many tourists from all over the world. Ipanema Beach, one of the most famous beaches in Brazil, is located in the southern region of the city. The beach is divided into segments known as "Postos". Two mountains called the "Dois Irmaos" (Two Brothers) rise at the western end of the beach. This is a very social place with beer and cachaça sold everywhere! You'll find people playing volleyball, football and footvolley (a combination of football and volleyball). The sea and sand is cleaner here than in Copacabana.

The word "Ipanema" is an indigenous word for "bad, dangerous waters". The beach lives up to its name with strong undertow and huge waves. So be careful and swim only where the locals do.

Copacabana Beach - Rio de Janeiro (Source: Christian Haugen)


Next to the Ipanema is the Copacabana Beach. Both of these are the most renowned tropical beaches in the world. Not only in Brazil, this beach is regarded by many as the most beautiful beach in the world. It is a perfect place to eat, drink, relax and watch people, where you can take a stroll or just bask in the warm glow of the sun or sit at one of the array of restaurants along the beach. Located in the perfect backdrop of dense forest and sharp mountains rising high, this beach will surely take your heart away.

Besides sun bathing and people watching, these beaches have much more to offer. They host a variety of activities for tourists ranging from surfing, beach tennis, capoeiraSkimboarding, etc

Do have a look at these travel tips for beaches in Rio.

You can lunch at one of the  best restaurant - Arab.Quality of the food they serve and usage of fresh ingredients and spices make the dishes taste awesome and has resulted in a huge fan following. Not to mention, it delivers fantastic food coupled with a lovely ambience and services.


 (Source: Aaron Gustafson)

Address:Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro

Tel:(21) 2235-6698
Price:14$ to 23$ for main course

Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Opening Hours: Mon 5pm-1am; Tues-Sun 8am-1am

In the evening you can get a taste of the carnival - true Brazilian celebration -through the Plataforma Samba Show. The show combines the traditional steps of the samba with the rhythmic beats of Brazilian music to give you a stellar performance. The show is inclusive of hotel pick-up and drop and dinner (extra charges). This show is recommended by Lonely Planet.

Samba! (Source: Roberto Arias) 
Here are some traveler Reviews

The bus was on time. Restaurant was excellent , unimaginable salad bar, waiters keep bringing meat on spades, there is no way you are able to try everything. We got very good seats at samba show. Great and beautiful dancers, wonderful costumes. Unforgettable experience worth the money! Very well organize

 (Source:  Viator.com) 

Entertaining from being picked up at our hotel,the meal and service was excellent and the platforma show is certainly one not to miss.

 (Source: Viator.com) 

Price: From USD$104.99              Book Here!
Duration: 3 to 5 hours approx.

Departure time: Show with dinner - pickup at around 7pm

                              Show only - pickup at around 9pm (show begins at 10pm)




4. Tours to the Amazon Forest 4&5 Day

The Amazon Rainforest is considered one of the world’s most spectacular wonder. It boasts of an abundance of wildlife and a number of isolated human tribes as well. There are many operators conducting tours to these forests.

One of the trusted operators is Amazon Backpacker Tours which operates various exotic tours to the many untouched nature areas of the Rainforests. They are well equipped with experienced and multilingual guides and they offer tours of different durations. You can take an overnight tour to explore the amazing Amazon. It will be an amazing experience.

 (Source: Carl Malamud) 

Here is a  review:

After an exquisite lunch on board with fresh fish and fruits we visited an Indian community and they presented a ritual dance. Later we went to swim with pink river dolphins. Amazing how high they can pull to catch a fish.
The tour was well organized, we were a small group and the guide spoke fluent English.

 (Source: Reviews of Amazon Backpackers Private Day Tours - TripAdvisor) 

Address: Rua 10 de Julho, Number 679, Center, Manaus - Amazon – Brazil

Tel: +55 92 3213-8891

For rates and other details mail them at E-mail: info@amazonbackpackers.com.br

5. Petropolis,Rio de Janeiro 6th Day

Take a day trip to the outskirts of Rio. Located 65 kms from the city of Rio, Petropolis or The Imperial City is located in the beautiful hills of the Serra dos Órgãos, in the valley of the Quitandinha and Piabanha rivers and is a popular summer holiday spot.The other must see cities here are Itaipava and Teresopolis.


 (Source: Palacio Quitandinha, Petrópolis - RJ) 


Petropolis, in the mountain range known as Serra Fluminense, in Rio de Janeiro State, is a favourite getaway for Rio de Janeiro residents.
With cooler weather, historic buildings, plenty of ecotourism and adventure opportunities, and charming hotels, Petropolis is the closest mountain resort around Rio and often thought of as part of a trio of towns that also includes Teresopolis and Nova Friburgo.

 (Source: Petropolis, Brazil - Top Attractions)

The Imperial Museum is situated in the former royal residence and is a must ,the grand architecture of this place is awe inspiring

The Imperial Museum in Petropolis is one of the most attractive cultural points of interest near Rio de Janeiro.The museum's appeal can be attributed to the palace itself, the furniture and art objects which belonged to the emperor's family, including the Imperial Crown and jewels, and the archives consisting of 250,000 original documents ranging from the 13th to the early 20th century.

 (Source: Imperial Museum - Guide to Imperial Museum in Petropolis, Brazil) 

Catedral de Petrópolis (Source: Rodrigo_Soldon)



The Petropolis Cathedral  is listed as a national historic heritage by IPHAN and one of the most important sites of the city.

Very old, Victorian-looking cathedral. Beautiful architecture depicting the events of the crucification on the walls, burial tombs of 2 past priests, and beautiful stain-glass windows. I would recommend seeing this building for Architecture-lovers or people interested in Catholicism.

(Source :TripAdvisor) 

Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos is a paradise for hikers and trekkers and offers the most awesome views possible.Hiring a guide is easy and inexpensive here. You can inquire at the national park entrance.


(Source: Wilson Neves de Miranda) 


The lush greenery of the mountains makes a lovely setting for a scenic drive, but if you like to see the greenery from the inside, head to Parque Nacional Da Serra Dos. The national park has extensive trails through Mata Atlïntica rain forest and has a variety of rich plant and animal life.

 (Source:  Lonely Planet) 

        You can also visit the Museu Casa de Santos Dumont and the Crystal Palace.

Palácio de Cristal (Petrópolis) (Source: Rodrigo_Soldon)


6. Niteroi 7th Day

Niterói (Source: rbrands)


On the last day You can visit Niteroi. Niteroi is fast becoming a tourist hub, but very few people still know about it. Before it becomes overcrowded visit the pristine beaches and enjoy a less crowded day!

A ferry ride from downtown Rio across Guanabara Bay will take you to this lovely city. If you have a car you can drive through the longest road in Brazil.

Enjoy amazing views of Rio when in Niteroi. Niteroi also is home to the Musuem of Contemporary Art.

Mirante da Boa Viagem. Tel. (21) 2620-2400. Tue-Sun, 10am - 6pm (or 7pm during Daylight Saving Time (mid Oct to late Feb). Get bus 47B from the bus terminal on your left when you exit the ferry station. Admission R$ 4. This intriguing contemporary art museum looks like a flying saucer jutting out over the sea and is worth the visit to Niteroi alone.

l (Source: Niteroi travel guide - Wikitravel)

Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói (Source: Rodrigo Soldon)

You can visit the beautiful beaches  Piratininga with big waves it has a calmer section on the right which is good for bathing.
Camboinhas Also with open sea but the sea is calmer, higher standard neighbourhood.
Itacoatiara Last but not least is this gem wedged in between two big mountains, good for surfing. 

Vila_Isabel, samba & platform sandals (Source: sfmission.com)


In the evening you can make your way to  Samba City for  the taste of Carnival The days here end with carnival parades and fireworks. You can be part of the carnival if you want or just be an onlooker.

Adress of Cidade do Samba / Samba City:
Rua Rivadavia Correa 60
Suburb Gamboa
Portuaria do Rio Zone.

To reserve or to get more information, use the following phone number:

Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM

Closing Notes

I have suggested a 7 day itinerary to explore much of the City of Rio. If you want, we could suggest accommodation options in the city too.



1. Map

Answered by I am a content writer working from home. I love to travel and see new places and an absolute foodie. Bindu Raghavan

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