Travel

Succumb to the samba

Brazil’s famous Copacabana Beach is a magnet.
Brazil’s famous Copacabana Beach is a magnet. Contributed

DOES the thought of Brazil itself beat the act of kicking a ball into a net hands down? If so, don't be alarmed.

You've got good reason to be on this side of the stadium.

With awe-inspiring samba dance troops, bohemian Lapa district street parties, and some of the world's best churrasco-style steak houses, travel.com.au executive general manager Helen Demetriou assures travellers that Rio de Janeiro offers endless possibilities for both football fans and the unenthused alike.

"Enquiries are flooding in from Aussies interested in using the 2014 World Cup as a timely reason to visit this vibrant South American destination," she said.

"Most people are planning to explore beyond the football field, expanding their itinerary to include a rich mix of all Brazil has to offer.

"Rio de Janeiro will be bursting with life so there will be plenty to keep all types of travellers entertained during the Cup."

If you're a traveller with a passion for the unusual, vibrant and the exotic, here are travel.com.au's top 10 reasons visiting Rio in 2014, other than for the love of football.

>>More Travel stories

1. Copacabana beach: Endless white sand stands out against the backdrop of Rio's stunning Sugarloaf Mountain.

Traditional Brazilian bikinis parade up and down the beach and diehard beach volleyball players bring the beach to life.

If you work up a thirst, visit the incidental beachside mojito stall. The famous Copacabana beach is the embodiment of the vibrant Brazilian lifestyle.

 

2. Corcovado and Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer): This awe-inspiring statue of Jesus Christ atop Corcovado Mountain boasts the most spectacular view of the city.

Once you've reached the top of this 710m tall granite peak by the Corcovado Rack Railway, it's then another 223 steps to the statue base - but it's well worth it! It's a humbling experience to look up at the grand figure spanning almost 30m from fingertip to fingertip.

An awe-inspiring statue of Jesus Christ is perched atop of Corcovado Mountain in Rio.
An awe-inspiring statue of Jesus Christ is perched atop of Corcovado Mountain in Rio.

3. Parque Nacional da Tijuca: If you find yourself wanting to escape the urban chaos that is Rio, slip away to the Parque Nacional; approximately 3200 hectares of protected urban reserve - the world's largest rainforest located inside a metropolis.

Hiking fanatics are encouraged to leave time to climb Rio's highest mountain, Pico da Tijuca. The views of Taunay Waterfall and Guanabara Bay are breathtaking.

 

4. A Lapa street party: Festivities erupt every Friday night in Lapa, a colourful neighbourhood in the old part of Rio de Janeiro.

With the dancing, music and street stalls going crazy for no other reason than it's Friday, one can only imagine what this neighbourhood will be like during the World Cup. Keep your wits about you and party like only the Brazilians can!

 

5. The Ipanema Hippie Fair (Feira Hipe): The Ipanema Hippie Fair has been held every Sunday from 9am - 5pm, no matter what the weather, since the 1960s.

From its humble beginnings, it has now emerged into a major arts and crafts market. It still remains the best place in Rio to pick up high quality souvenirs at reasonable prices. Get there early to avoid the crowds.

 

6. Experience churrascaria: The mere thought of Brazilian steak often gets the mouth watering and if you haven't yet enjoyed the exquisite delights of a Brazilian Churrascaria, you haven't quite lived.

These Brazilian steakhouses are home to waiters who circle the room with large skewers of superbly cooked meat. Mouth watering yet? We recommend Porcão or Plataforma.

 

7. Cable car at Santa Teresa: Deemed one of the most iconic Rio experiences, this historic tram journey begins in the Lapa district and will take you up to the artsy hilltop haven that is Santa Teresa; a lure for intellectuals and artists at large.

This bondinho or "little train" is affordable, accessible, and a great way to see one of Rio's most famous districts.

 

8. Learn to samba: The African-Brazilian dance of samba has become synonymous with the Brazilians, so a trip to Rio would not be complete without shaking your bootie to the beats and rhythms that pulse through the city.

Head along to one of many samba schools dotted around and then follow the music as you make your way to one of the local clubs. It doesn't matter if you know the steps or not, just let the music take over and you'll have a ball.

There are many great reasons to visit Brazil.
There are many great reasons to visit Brazil.

9. Sao Bento Monastery: Completed in 1641, this monastery stands as one of the most beautiful in all of Rio.

An oasis within the city, the baroque architecture and intricate gold interior is sure to leave you inspired.

Visit on a Sunday morning to hear the priests sing their famous Gregorian chant.

 

10. Centro Cultural Banco de Brasil: This free, beautifully presented gallery showcases ancient, modern and local masterpieces all within an impressive art deco-style building.

Check out the upcoming exhibition calendar as there are always fascinating new displays to be enjoyed.

For those into Brazilian music and jazz, make sure you get all the way up to level six to indulge in a wide array of recordings from the '80s through to the present day.

Topics:  brazil, rio, travel


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Noosa woman breaking the cycle of poverty in Nepal

GOOD DEED: Laguna Jacks manager John Whimpress (right) is organising a fundraiser for Alissa Hill, with proceeds going to Alissa's orphanage in Nepal called Sunshine Children's Home.

Alissa Hill has helped many children in Nepal thrive

Noosa's welcome is warm embrace

PNG highlander Julie ha never before seen the ocean before her visit to Noosa.

PNG mum says thanks Noosa

Deadly ticks a Noosa threat

Paralysis tick

Noosa tick warning

Local Partners

Step into the World of Lace in Pomona

FOR 35 years, the World of Lace has been making some of the finest laces from a family-owned and operated factory.

Love comes back on course for Katy and Bertie

Katy Dixon and her long lost Berty the once lovesick swan with his family at home on the Noosa Springs lake.

Noosa swan find true love on course

Noosa woman breaking the cycle of poverty in Nepal

GOOD DEED: Laguna Jacks manager John Whimpress (right) is organising a fundraiser for Alissa Hill, with proceeds going to Alissa's orphanage in Nepal called Sunshine Children's Home.

Alissa Hill has helped many children in Nepal thrive

Noosa's welcome is warm embrace

PNG highlander Julie ha never before seen the ocean before her visit to Noosa.

PNG mum says thanks Noosa

Deadly ticks a Noosa threat

Paralysis tick

Noosa tick warning

Turning tables in food supply

The special Country Noosa dinner was a real hit.

Noosa Country serves up food for thought

Melanie is eager for life and wants you to be too

FIT IT IN: Nutritionist Melanie Eager wants others to be inspired to exercise .

Pomona woman runs from the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast

Noosa kids take action to help environment

Good Shepherd Lutheran College students are right into the bio learning conference.

Noosa kids take enviro action

Caloundra Music Festival: A decade of highs, lows and great music

Caloundra Music Festival director Richie Eyles before the 2014 event.

Near drownings and cyclonic conditions among festival's history

Emily Blunt's (almost) singing career

Emily Blunt nearly became the British Britney Spears.

Angelina is blocking calls from Brad Pritt

Angelina Jolie has reportedly blocked Brad Pitt's number.

Festival's green initiatives capture worldwide attention

The Caloundra Music Festival's BYO Bottle initiative has captured international attention.

BYO Bottle campaign a sustainable success story

Apocalyptica 'seek and destroy' sceptics with 'master' set

Apocalyptica play Max Watts in Brisbane on their Shadowmaker Tour.

Review of final show of Apocalyptica's tour

Rebecca Hall doesn't own a TV

Newspapers, yes. Television, not so much

Caloundra Music Festival: A decade of highs, lows and great music

Caloundra Music Festival director Richie Eyles before the 2014 event.

Near drownings and cyclonic conditions among festival's history

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Rocky proves prime real estate in latest REIQ report

Kas Woch sold this Wood St home in Depot Hill for $107,000 in August.

A new investor's market as Rocky house prices hit lowest in state

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record