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.

Learn how to shoot a monster at Festival of Surfing

WIPE OUT: Shooting Monsters is a lunch forum discussing filming some of the biggest breaks in the world.

No, it's not about killing demons - but it is just as terrifying.

Workshop to help prepare for bushfires

BE PREPARED: Are you prepared?

Is your house ready for a bushfire?

Cooroy-Noosa Rd drivers forced to slow down

SLOW DOWN: Cooroy-Noosa Rd will have its speed limit reduced from 100kmh to 90kmh.

Cooroy-Noosa Rd will have its speed limit reduced, but is it enough?

Local Partners

SES stalwart hangs up his boots after 35 years

AFTER 35 years putting his life on the line to serve the community, Cooroy SES controller Stan Ryan has decided to stand down.

Funky Hot 8 Brass brings New Orleans to Coast

Hot 8 Brass.

Hot 8 Brass showcases the energy of New Orleans second line parades

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Author Candice Fox draws out book lovers

Author Candice Fox and Sandra Green.

Candice Fox proved a popular choice for council's author talks

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

Bride and Prejudice: Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

What's on the big screen this week

Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

This week's new releases offer plenty of variety for movie buffs.

Funky Hot 8 Brass brings New Orleans to Coast

Hot 8 Brass.

Hot 8 Brass showcases the energy of New Orleans second line parades

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Hodges proud to be part of first channel dedicated to NRL

Justin Hodges is gearing up for his new gig on Fox League.

Footy star hopes to provide a voice for players on new NRL channel

Selling Houses renovate for Salvos in 100th episode

Charlie Albone, Andrew Winter and Shaynna Blaze return for season 10 of Selling Houses Australia. Supplied by Foxtel.

Selling Houses launch 10th season in volatile property market

Lightning captain ready for her own 'rivalry round'

STAR: Geva Mentor is pumped for the Lightning's next game against the Melbourne Vixens.

Star defender and skipper ready to take lead against Vixens

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Giving takes many forms

SENSE OF BELONGING: Early morning along Noosa River.

Sense of community pays us back in many ways

Luxury on a higher level

Chic Noosa sub-penthouse apartment steps away from the expected

Premier riverside location and luxurious lifestyle

Two-level, north-facing Noosa riverfront villa in boutique complex

Green centre defines new development

A GREEN OUTLOOK: A central park the length of 10 football fields will be at the heart of the new Harmony community.

Linear thinking delivers a Queensland first in parkland

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!