If your heading to Rio this summer, you'll want to be sure to soak up as much culture as possible during your trip. To make sure you don't miss a thing, read our fantastic guide below for some of the top experiences and sites, complete with practical travel info.
The Statue of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor)
Stood proudly atop Corcovado mountain and gazing down upon the city of Rio de Janeiro, the statue of Christ the Redeemer is one of the most famous and spectacular landmarks in the world. Stood 2,300 metres above the city, it affords you the opportunity for a truly spectacular bird's-eye view. At night, the statue is brightly illuminated and appears to be hovering of its own accord.
How to get there: The best - and by far most enjoyable - way to get to the statue is to ride the cog tram, the Trem do Corcovado. It affords breath-taking views as it chugs you up the mountainside and often features a samba band. Tickets must be purchased in advance, either from the ticket office or from the website tremdocorcovado.rio.
To get to the tram station, take any one of buses 422, 497, 498, 180, 570, 583, 584.
Open from 8am-7pm.
Hiking in Tijuca National Park, view from Tijuca Mirim peak, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Tijuca National Park and Forest
Close to the statue is the beautiful Tijuca National Park, one of the world's largest urban tropical rainforests. Covering an impressive 32 km², it's home to the eye-catching Cascatinha Waterfall, the Vista Chinesa pagoda (with a stunning view - worth the trek alone) and the Mayrink Chapel, a charming pink chapel filled with glorious 20thcentury murals painted by Brazilian artist Cândido Portinari. The park is great to hike around and can be covered in half a day provided you set off early, dress wisely and stock up on water and food to keep you going. Guided hikesare available too, but if you don't fancy walking it, the park can be explored on four wheels courtesy of a jeep tour.
How to get there: Due to its large size, the park is divided into three sectors: Forest, Carioca Hill and Pedra Bonita/Pedra Gávea. It's relatively easy to get a cab there - just ask the driver to take you to Alta Boa Vista, which is where the trails start. Or you can get the 233 bus there from the North Zone of the city, just across from the Saens Pena metro station.
The park is open from 8am until 6pm during the summer season.
Brazilian flag and surfboard at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil
If you're going to Rio and you haven't packed your swimsuit or shorts, you may want to check you're in the right place. Rio is home to some of the world's most noted and name-checked beaches - and none comes more well-known than Copacabana. The golden sands roll down into the Atlantic and upon the beach you'll find plenty of areas to relax and sunbathe. And there's also plenty of activity to be taken in by, including volleyball contests, young footballers with skills many professionals can only dream of, and a dizzying array of food kiosks. Copacabana's promenade runs for just over two miles and is just as popular with roller skaters as it is walkers. It's also home to a wide variety of eateries where you can enjoy delicious freshly-caught fish and local delights such as aipim com carne seca, a dried beef dish served with manioc, a fried root.
How to get there: You'll need to take Line 1 on the metro, or any one of buses 119, 121, 127, 136, 463, 442, 444 or 445.
Maua Square and the new Museum of Tomorrow seen from the terrace of MAR (Rio's Art Museum) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Museum of Tomorrow (Museu do Amanhã)
A relative newcomer to the list of attractions in Rio (having opened in December 2015), the Museum of Tomorrow is one of the most awe-inspiring. Looking every bit like a giant dinosaur skull half-buried in the ground, the museum is a wonderful piece of architecture. Inside, it's a heady and predominantly digital mix of science and art and is entirely family-friendly. The displays within the museum invite you to explore the past alongside today's global environmental trends and issues, before propelling you 50 years into the future and envisioning where we're all potentially headed. The museum is geared towards sustainability, the 'Tomorrow' of its name harks towards a vision of a better tomorrow and the building uses 40% less energy than modern buildings of a similar size, with almost 10% of the museum's energy generated from solar spines on the roof. It's well worth a visit, and hugely inspirational.
How to get there: The best way to reach the museum is via the metro. Alight at Uruguaiana station, which is on both Line 1 and Line 2.
Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm.
If you're flying from Gatwick to Rio this summer and are looking for Gatwick hotels near the north terminal, then be sure to check out Copthorne Hotel London Gatwick.