There's More Than Basking on a Rio Beach


Rio de Janeiro

Think of Rio de Janeiro and images of sun, sea, sand, and ladies in skimpy bikinis are likely to appear. Delve a little further into your brain and you’re likely to think football. Football is to be the centrepiece for Rio this summer, but whether you like the sport or not, it’s all set to transform Rio into an even livelier party atmosphere, in what will be an unforgettable summer.

During the summer, it’s likely you won’t be able to move for fan parks, events, and replica shirt wearing revellers, but in the build-up and aftermath, it’s all set to be an exciting time for Brazil’s second largest city.

Of course a must is the heady climb up to Christ the Redeemer. Located at the peak of the Corcovado mountain, the 98ft statue has become an icon for Brazil, depicting Jesus looking down upon the city, probably now green with envy in what is such a happening place.

And nothing is quite happening as much as on the Copacabana. One of the world’s most famous beaches, as well as being a place to kick back, it’s hosted the Rolling Stones and Live Earth.

June and July are generally the coolest months for Rio, with temperatures averaging around 25°C, making the heat a little more bearable. A trip through the Tijuca Forest during this period is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city or the crowded beaches.

Claimed to be the world’s largest urban forest, it is home to hundreds of species of plants and wildlife, and can be discovered on the journey up to Christ the Redeemer. Along the route are some incredible attractions that seem too pretty to be in the heart of a city.

The Mayrink Chapel is a peaceful stop, with its gloriously coloured pink exterior built in 1855, whilst inside the murals painted by Candido Portinari add even more beauty.

However, it will be no doubt impossible to avoid football if you’re planning a trip to Rio over summer. The kids will be playing on the beach and the pundits will be talking on the television. It’s an important part of Brazilian culture, and there’s no better way to discover it than by visiting the infamous Maracana Stadium.

It’ll be the centrepiece of the World Cup and also the Olympic Stadium when thousands of athletes roll into the city in 2016. You can tread the corridors the likes of the great Pele, Ronaldo, and Dunga have walked, capping off an incredible trip that samples every aspect of the fabulous Brazilian culture.

Robert Schrader
Robert Schrader is a travel writer and photographer who's been roaming the world independently since 2005, writing for publications such as "CNNGo" and "Shanghaiist" along the way. His blog, Leave Your Daily Hell, provides a mix of travel advice, destination guides and personal essays covering the more esoteric aspects of life as a traveler.
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