An Olympic-sized fever is sweeping across the globe once again. The year’s biggest sporting event is being hosted by one of the liveliest cities in the world: Rio de Janeiro. In between cheering on your nation’s athletes, here are some other must-do activities and must-visit places in this sprawling city.
1. Frolic in the Sand
Rio de Janeiro is home to some of the most beautiful and most diverse beaches in the world. In this coastal city, there is a beach for everyone. For a more relaxing time, head to Copacabana. On this beach, tourists, fishermen and elderly locals gather for the freshest catches of the day. For a one-of-a-kind experience, head out and watch the sunset from the middle of the ocean on a paddle-board. Ipanema is the ultimate see-and-be-seen beach. It is essentially a fashion and social parade by the sea. Joatinga has the cleanest water around, and is the beach preferred by surfers and the cool crowd, while Barra is the preferred beach for famous footballers. Indulge in people-watching or rent a kite-surf and take to the seas.
2. Party on
Rio is a city that knows how to party. As the sun sets and midnight nears, the revelry begins. Rio’s nightlife is world-famous for loud, raucous parties to the tunes of live music and non-stop dancing. The Lapa district in Rio is the go-to destination for the best nightlife in Rio. Grand white arches provide the backdrop for the city’s liveliest parties. Musical options in Lapa range from traditional Samba and its variations, to modern Brazilian pop and rock. Talented local musicians gather and perform into the early hours ensuring revelers always have tunes to dance to. For a more upscale nightlife experience, head on to the bars and nightclubs in South Zone.
3. Food, Glorious Food
With roots in African, Amerindian and European traditions, Brazilian food is sure to tantalise the taste buds. Churrascaria, or traditional barbecue restaurants, are not to be missed. Perfectly chargrilled all-you-can-eat meat is served alongside a selection of side dishes and salads. Local favourite Churrascaria Palace is a 63-year-old family restaurant in Copacabana. Sleek modern interior lined with black-and-white photographs pay tribute to the establishment’s historic past. More than 200 wine bottles complement the signature meaty Amazonian fish and beef top sirloin. Porcão in Flamengo and Fogo do Chāo in Botafogo are both also great providers of local barbecue fare.
Feijoada is another staple of Brazilian cuisine. It is a feast that consists of stewed beans in pork or beef gravy, complemented by crisp yellow potatoes, crunchy pork crackling, fresh shredded kale, and fluffy toasted cassava flour. Orange slices are provided to cut through all the starch. Head down to Casa de Feijoada in Ipanema for the best feijoada Rio has to offer. Meals here are completed with the smoothest of Brazil’s signature cocktail, caipirinha, and local sweets like guava jam and caramelised banana pâté.