What to see in Rio de Janeiro in one day

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Rio de Janeiro covers an area of ​​1.182 square meters and is characterized by a very heterogeneous urban landscape. Beaches, mountains, skyscrapers and favelas intertwine making the city a colorful and lively kaleidoscope.

The northern area is occupied by industries and popular neighborhoods, while in the southern area the famous beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema are concentrated. The Center, on the other hand, is the part that houses most of the museums and the most significant colonial buildings.

Being able to visit all of Rio in 24 hours is almost impossible, therefore we suggest an itinerary to follow to see as many things as possible. Here you go what to see in Rio de Janeiro in one day!


  1. One day itinerary in Rio de Janeiro: Morning
  2. One day itinerary in Rio de Janeiro: Afternoon
  3. One day itinerary in Rio de Janeiro: Evening
  4. User questions and comments

One day itinerary in Rio de Janeiro: Morning

1 - Teatro Municipal, Praca Floriano, Rio de Janeiro Cathedral, Escadaria Selaron

Start the morning with a slice of cake and a coffee Confeitaria Colombo in the center of Rio before setting out to discover this part of the city.

The area is full of interesting ideas, and modern skyscrapers alternate with alleys and colonial buildings.
Start by taking a look at the Municipal Theater dating back to 1905 and built on the model of the Paris Opera. Guided tours are held from Thursday to Saturday from 10:00 to 11:30 and from 14:00 to 15:30, the cost is R $ 10 (approximately € 2,14).

A few steps away is Praca Floriano, the large modern square where the "Centro Cultural Justica Federal" overlooks, and taking Av.Republica do Chile you will arrive at Rio de Janeiro Cathedral. This impressive structure inside it has 4 immense multicolored windows that deserve to be seen. It is open from 7:00 to 17:30 and admission is free.

From here in 10 minutes on foot you arrive in la Escadaria Selaron, the mosaic staircase that leads to the picturesque district of Santa Teresa with th century manor houses. Unfortunately there is not enough time available to visit the area, so be content to admire this beautiful work of art!

2 - District of Urca

To optimize time, take a taxi which will take you to the city in about 25 minutes neighborhood of Urca, a place full of historic buildings, universities and military schools, But especially gateway to the Pan de Azucar. Let the taxi driver drop you off at Praia Vermelha, a beach nestled in the mountains where you can stop for lunch.

To reach the area take a taxi of the taxi company 99, which we remember to be one of the cheapest and the rides can be booked through the app, also guaranteeing safety. The cost for this ride will be between $ R17,00 and $ R22,00 (approximately € 3,50 and € 4,50).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 8,2 km / 1 h 44 min
  • Places visited: Teatro Municipal (R $ 10, approx € 2,14), Praca Floriano (free), Rio de Janeiro Cathedral (free), Escadaria Selaron (free), Urca district (free / taxi transfer $ R22,00, approx € 4,50 , )
  • Rio de Janeiro: urban art walking tour
  • Where to have breakfast: Confeitaria Colombo, Rua Goncalves Dias, Centro - Get directions / Tel +55 2125051500

One day itinerary in Rio de Janeiro: Afternoon

1 - Sugar Loaf

Sit down at Terra Brasilis, a restaurant overlooking the sea and the Sugar Loaf, simple but nice where you can taste typical Brazilian dishes. On average, you'll spend $ R 50, oo per person (around € 10,00).

Don't waste too much time and then go and take the cable car which in two stages will take you 396 meters to the top of the Pan de Azucar, one of the symbolic places of Rio together with Cristo Redentor. The cable car runs from 8:00 to 19:50 and the return ticket costs R $ 110 per person (approximately € 23,50)
Enjoy the wonderful panorama and take lots of pictures!

2 - Ipanema and sunset at Arpoador

Once you get off, take a taxi of the taxi company 99 which takes 20 minutes will take you to la Feira Hippie de Ipanema. The ride will cost you between $ R12,00 and $ R15,00 (approximately € 2,00 to € 3,00). La Feira Hippie is a flea market with over 500 stalls located on the beach of Ipanema, one of the most famous in Rio. Here you can do some shopping, sip a good cocktail or take a walk along the sea.

Around sunset time then approach the Pedra do Arpoador, wonderful rocks from where you can enjoy the spectacle of the sun that slowly disappears.
Take a taxi back to the center before it gets too dark. The cost for this ride will be between $ R17,00 and $ R22,00 (approximately € 3,50 and € 4,50).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 11,9 km / 2 h 36 min
  • Places visited: Sugar Loaf (R $ 110, approx € 23,50), Ipanema (free)
  • Sugar Loaf Mountain: Ticket and Guided Tour Rio de Janeiro: Sightseeing Helicopter Flight from Sugar Loaf
  • Where to have lunch: Terra Brasilis, Praça Gen. Tibúrcio, Urca - Get directions / Tel +55 2122754651

One day itinerary in Rio de Janeiro: Evening

1 - Dinner and Lapa District

For the evening head to the Lapa neighborhood, the bohemian area of ​​Rio where you party both on the street and in clubs. The neighborhood is located a few blocks from the center, about 10 minutes on foot.

Go to the restaurant for dinner Boteko do Juca, a welcoming place to eat excellent Brazilian food all accompanied by live music. Here, you'll spend an average of $ R100,00 per person (around € 21,50).

2 - Lapa district and clubs

After dinner, the proposals that are presented to you for the evening are many and different: for example, you can turn between numerous makeshift stalls serving caipirinhas in the street while the DJs play music in the clubs. Alternatively, if you are feeling energized and still full of energy, you can join the Samba Jamming sessions and have a drink in famous clubs such as Carioca da Gema or Bero do Rato.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 500 m / 6 min
  • Places visited: Lapa district
  • Rio de Janeiro: Traditional Samba Experience on Mondays Rio de Janeiro: Salgueiro Samba School Trial Tour Rio de Janeiro: Pub Crawl in Lapa
  • Where to dine: Boteko do Juca, Avenida Mem de Sà, Lapa - Get directions / Tel +55 2122425372

Before leaving: useful tips

  • When to go: the best time to stay in Rio is from December to April when the rains are sporadic and temperatures around 25 °
  • we recommend the "Zona Sul" (South Zone), where the most touristic and safe districts are concentrated, namely Ipanema, Copacabana, Leblon, Botafogo.
  • Safety: as in all big cities, it is important to always keep your eyes open and remain vigilant, it is advisable not to travel alone and use taxis and public transport; after sunset it is not recommended to go to the beach and to remote areas, better to stay in the more touristic areas
  • Getting around: remaining only 24 hours, we advise you to use taxis for travel as they reduce travel times; taxi company 99 is cheap and you just need to download an app to book them.
    If you want to take public transport, get the Multipass Cartão Pré-Pago, the rechargeable prepaid card (from R $ 3,00 to 200,00, or about € 0,60 to € 42,00)
  • Advice: having only 1 day available, try to wake up early in the morning and start your tour around 8.00. In this way you will be able to see many things!

What not to see: the attractions that are better to give up

Since Rio is quite large and the things to see are spread over the various areas, it is impossible to see everything. Therefore, hold the following attractions for next time! It will be a valid reason to return to this magnificent city:

  1. Christ the Redeemer in the Tijuca Park
  2. The favelas of Rocinha, the largest in Rio
  3. Copacabana Beach, along with Ipanema one of the most famous
  4. Botanical Garden, along the road leading to Tijuca Park
  5. Tijuca National Park, one of the largest urban forests in the world
  6. The Museum of Fine Arts in the Center, the Museum of Modern Art in the Flamengo Park and the Museum of Images and Sounds are all interesting, but they take a lot of time to visit.

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