Getting around in Rio de Janeiro: info, costs and advice

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Martí Micolau

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Big metropolis of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro each year attracts millions of visitors who come here to enjoy the beautiful beaches, nightlife and the famous Carnival. Not only that, because the city also has several attractions, museums and characteristic neighborhoods. There are those who decide to spend their entire holiday here or those who stop for just a few days before heading to other parts of the country.

But here's what you need to know about traveling to avoid wasting time and money. Let's find out together the guide on how to get around Rio de Janeiro: info, costs and advice!


  1. Useful Tips
  2. How to get from the airport to the center of Rio de Janeiro
  3. How to get around on foot
  4. How to get around by bicycle
  5. Con i mezzi pubblici
  6. By car
  7. User questions and comments

Useful Tips

Despite being a large metropolis, Rio's most popular districts for tourists are easy to get around by public transport, although you must always pay close attention! The transport network made up of trams, buses, metro, ferries and trains is economical and efficient. We recommend purchasing the RioCard Bilhete Único Carioca, a magnetic card, rechargeable and prepaid at the refundable cost of R $ 3,00 (€ 0,66) which includes various discounts on public transport!

For the more touristic means of transport we advise you to buy tickets already online, to avoid the long queues at the ticket offices! This is the case of the ticket for the Sugar Loaf cable car or the ticket for the cogwheel train of the Corcovado Rack Railway, to get to Christ the Redeemer!

Usually then you can walk to districts such as Copacabana, Flamengo, Botafogo and Ipanema or to the city center. Beware, if you are planning to visit the favelas rely on expert local guides with tours in the favela of Rocinha or tours in the favela of Santa Marta!

  • Recommended solutions and means: on foot in the individual districts, metro, tram, ferry
  • Solutions and means not recommended: bus
  • City cards and season tickets recommended: RioCard Bilhete Único Carioca (from R $ 3,00 / € 0,66)

How to get from the airport to the center of Rio de Janeiro

The main airport is the Galeão - Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport. It is about 20 km from the city center and can be reached by taxi and bus in less than half an hour. The private transfer is certainly more convenient and can be easily booked online before departure.

- bus they connect the airport to the main bus terminal and cross the downtown district stopping near the metro stations. The ride ends at Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon beaches (2018 line, 5: 30-22: 00, 1 h, departures every 30 min). Alternatively, i taxi they are faster and always available; There are two types: a fixed prepaid rate, called Radio-Taxi, which must be booked at the counter inside the terminal; and the official yellow taxis that operate on a metered basis.

Galeão - Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport

  • Distance from the center: 20 km / travel time: 20 min
  • By taxi: average cost R $ 70,00-100,00 (€ 11,50-16,50) / travel time: 25-30 minutes
  • By bus: average cost R $ 16,00 (€ 2,60) / line 2018
  • Private transfer: private transfer from / to Galeão airport

How to get around on foot

The best way to get around is on foot in the various areas and neighborhoods, to be able to fully enjoy them. The beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema and the center of Rio, as well as the neighborhoods of Santa Teresa and Lapa together with the Escalarada Selaron, are ideal for walking during the day because they are safe and crowded with people. Furthermore, every Sunday, the streets near the sea are closed to traffic.

Beware of favelas, like that of Rocinha, to visit with expert guides who know the area, unfortunately known for its high crime rate. We therefore recommend that you rely on specialized guides, with guided tours in the favela of Rocinha and in the favela of Santa Marta.

As for some very famous attractions, such as Cristo Redentor or Sugar Loaf, you have to necessarily take public transport, because they are far from the center. To visit the main points in a single day, the best alternative is a tour to Christ the Redeemer, Selarón and Sugar Loaf with transportation and hotel pickup included!

For others itineraries on foot and by public transport, download our Smart Guide for visiting Rio de Janeiro for free.

How to get around by bicycle

The Bike Sharing service, to travel the extensive cycling network about 240 km in Rio, it is called Bike Rio and has more than 260 stations and 2.600 bikes. To use the service, just register on the official website or on the dedicated App and buy the subscription.

With regard to rates, the daily cost is R $ 8,00 (€ 1,33), for 3 days R $ 15,00 (€ 2,49), monthly R $ 20,00 (€ 3,30) which entitles you to travel free for 60 minutes and after the sixtieth one you pay R $ 5,00 (€ 0,80) for each additional hour.

As the city is very large, to get used to it and move safely, we recommend that you first take part in a guided bike tour, to familiarize yourself with the cycle paths and roads of Rio with a local guide.

Con i mezzi pubblici

Rio, being a huge metropolis, has many possibilities for public and private transport. To get around the most touristic areas of the city it is advisable to opt for the subway, the fastest, safest and cheapest way. For some areas it is necessary to rely on the cable car and tram.

Less advisable to use buses, more difficult as regards the journeys and less safe due to the high crowding. They are also affected by heavy traffic. In addition to these you can opt for the taxis, ferries and hydrofoils. Although little used by tourists, there are also in Rio trains with different lines, some useful for reaching the suburbs, while others are very popular and serve the center and some interesting places. If you are planning a visit to Christ the Redeemer, we recommend that you purchase your cogwheel train ticket in advance!

If you are planning excursions around Rio de Janeiro, we recommend that you book a private transfer with hotel pickup, to travel in a completely safe way! The most popular excursions are by shuttle to Ilha Grande or by jeep to the Tijuca forest.


Fast, comfortable and safe, connects the major tourist attractions of Rio de Janeiro such as Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Jardim Oceanico and the center. There are two lines: orange line 1 that connects Ipanema, the Saara district also known as the shopping district, the center and Tijuca;
green line 2 which reconnects to line 1 with stops at the Maracana, Flamengo and Borofago stadiums.

When you take the subway you will notice that the last car of each train has a pink sticker: it indicates that that wagon is reserved for women traveling alone. There are also minibuses, the Metronibus, which connect the stations to the nearest neighborhoods where the metro does not arrive, such as the neighborhoods of Lebon, Laranjeiras and Gajaù (all hilly areas and difficult to reach by metro).

  • Downloadable map: metro-rio
  • from 5:00 to 24:00; on the occasion of some events h24
  • Ticket / single ride cost: R $ 4,60 (€ 1,02)
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: RioCard Bilhete Único Carioca (prepaid and rechargeable card with discounts on individual tickets, from R $ 3,00 / € 0,66)


Practical and convenient, especially in the southern areas of the city, it is a means not always safe due to the presence of possible pickpockets. Rio buses have more than a thousand lines that run throughout the city, even with night service on the main ones. Lines starting with 1 run south / center, lines starting with 2 run north / center, lines starting with 3 run west / center, and so on. Those most popular with tourists are line 583 Copacabana / Corcovado Station, line 584 Ipanema / Corcovado Station, and lines 435 and 464 Copacabana / Maracana.

But you have to know that buses in Brazil they are not obliged to make stops, so in case you need to nod to the driver to get off. There are no standard times, the frequency is about 15 min.

  • Downloadable map: bus-rio
  • generally from 5:30 to 22:45
  • Ticket / single ride cost: R $ 2,20 (€ 0,49, urban without air conditioning); from R $ 2,25 (€ 0,50, urban with air conditioning)


Trams are another useful way to get around the city and, although they have a limited network, they are useful for visiting some areas, like Santa Teresa, the artistic district that rises on a hill south of the center, where the historic bondinho operates, a picturesque yellow tram that has been connecting Santa Teresa to the center for about 100 years.

The trams they travel two different lines with common departure from the station located in Cinelandia and the municipal theater, continuing to Largo Cuvelo and Largo Guimaraes and then passing over the Arcos Lapa aqueduct from which to admire a enchanting panorama of the city. One line goes up to Largo dos Neves and the other up to Dois Irmãos mountain.

Since 2016, the VLT network has also been created, modern rail transport, with three lines running through the downtown district, connecting Porto Maravilha, Praça Mauá, the aquarium, Guanabara bay and the Museu de Arte do Rio.

  • Downloadable map: tram-rio
  • line VLT 1-2 from 00:00 to 23:40; VLT line 3 from 06:06 to 23:50
  • Ticket / single ride cost: R $ 3,80 (€ 0,82)
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: RioCard Bilhete Único Carioca (prepaid and rechargeable card with discounts on individual tickets, from R $ 3,00 / € 0,66)

Ferries and hydrofoils

A rio is also possible take a ferry or a hydrofoil, from Praca XV November. These boats are useful for reaching the island of Paqueta and the island of the Governor, with a journey of 70 min to the first destination (from 7:10 to 23:00 every day), with a journey of 30 minutes with hydrofoil (from 14pm to 00pm every day).

For reach Niteori, a city located on the opposite side of Guanabara Bay, there are ferries that depart every 20 minutes with a 20-minute journey and catamarans from 7:00 to 16:00 every 15 minutes with a 10-minute journey.

  • Downloadable map: ferry-rio
  • ferries 7:10 to 23:00; hydrofoils and catamarans 7: 00-16: 00
  • Ticket / single ride cost: ferries from R $ 7,00 (€ 1,55) to R $ 12,00 (€ 2,65) depending on the route; catamarans and hydrofoils from R $ 11,00 (€ 2,43) to R $ 16,00 (€ 3,54)


Among the oldest cable cars in the world, built in 1912 from a project by Augusto Ferreira, the Rio cable car is useful for reaching the Pan di Zucchero. It connects the stations of Praia Vermelha, Morro da Urca Po and Morro de Aucar, also reached by three other cable cars. You can buy the ticket for the Sugar Loaf cable car also online, to avoid queuing at the ticket offices

  • by 8: 10 21 to: 00
  • Ticket / single ride cost: from R $ 104,00 (€ 22,50) - buy online


La supervia has 8 lines, useful for reaching many attractions, including the aquarium and various museums. The terminus are: Deodoro, Santa Cruz, Japeri, Paracambi, Belford Purple, Saracuruna, Village of Inhomirim and Guapimirim.

La Corcovado Rack Railway it is used to reach the top of Corcovado, where the statue of Christ the Redeemer is located. The ticket costs from R $ 67 to $ 82 depending on the season (€ 10,00-13,00). For information and timetables, connect to the official website. It is also possible to buy the ticket for the cogwheel train to reach Christ the Redeemer conveniently online, to avoid the long queue at the ticket offices!

  • Downloadable map: train-rio.
  • Monday to Friday from 4:30 to 23:00; Saturday from 4:45 am to 21:10 pm; Sunday from 5:45 am to 20:35 pm
  • Ticket / single ride cost: R $ 4,60 (€ 1,00), the ticket that includes train + metro or intercity bus costs R $ 8,55 (€ 1,86) - buy online

By car

Although traveling around Rio with a car is not really a good idea, many people decide to rent one at the airport and then discover the surroundings and get to know the beautiful landscapes of forest and sea typical of this stretch of the Brazilian coast.

If you are considering hiring a car, the suggestion is to leave it in the hotel car park or in a secure garage, because the city suffers from the traffic problems of large metropolises and at peak times there are long queues in the barrios of Botafogo, Copacabana, Laranjeiras and Tijuca. At night, on the other hand, it is recommended to avoid roads with little traffic because a matter of personal safety.

Also as regards the parking lots, avoid using the isolated ones but rely on private guarded ones, whose prices start at R $ 20,00 (€ 3,30). If, on the other hand, you want to park on the street, it is the custom of the place entrust the surveillance of the car to a valet, called flanelinha, for R $ 2,00 (€ 0,32). It is not an official practice but it is very widespread.

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