8 romantic things to do in Rio de Janeiro

8 romantic things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Find out why Rio is known as the Marvellous City with Emily Tredinnick's top romantic things to do in Rio de Janeiro

1. Head for the hills:


For cobbled streets, bohemian hangouts and spectacular views of Rio, take the bright-yellow tram to the quaint bairro of Santa Teresa. For romantic vistas of the city and Sugar Loaf mountain, go to the Parque das Ruinas, a green haven of beautiful trees and plants with plenty of seating where you can relax. If it's a cold beer you're after, then you're in the right place. On the corner of Rua Aurea, Bar do Gomaz is a traditional Brazilian botecos (neighbourhood bar) full of character and charm.

End the day by visiting the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado mountain.

Photo courtesy of Christian Haugen

2. Dance to the Brazilian beat:

Flickr _esper .art .br _Rodrigo Esper

When it comes to dancing in Rio, anything goes. But if you want to perfect the Latino samba or make heads turn with the forró (Northeastern Brazillian swing) opt for one of the many dance classes on offer in the city. Private classes are available at the Favela Receptiva with Eneida, or the Centro Cultural Carioca (website in Portuguese), who cover a range of dance classes including salsa and samba.

If you're not in the city during Carnival, take a cab to Lapa the dancing capital of Rio. Head to the Asa Brancan, where you can samba together until the early hours of the morning.

Photo courtesy of Rodrigo Esper

3. Treat yourselves to delicious delicacies:

Flickr _Maria Ruch _Confeitaria Colombo

Wander into the Confeitaria Colombo, the former hangout for Rio's high-society with its opulent décor, featuring full-length mirrors and a magnificent stained-glass window on the ceiling above. Sit downstairs and indulge in traditional Portuguese pastries while you sip tea from the white china cups, or head upstairs for savoury dishes and a menu that features Brazilian à la carte.

There's also the more relaxed environment of Confeitaria's sister café in Copacabana, which boasts outdoor seating facing the beautiful beach. Tuck into a delicious Torre de Belém (Portuguese custard tart) or share a Sundae Cup Colombo. They also do breakfast, lunch and an à la carte menu too.

Photo courtesy of Maria Ruch

4. Watch the sunset on a Mountain:


Head to Urca, the starting point for all ascents to Pão de Açúcar, also known as Sugarloaf Mountain. When it comes to getting to the top, there are two choices: cable car or on foot. If you're feeling adventurous, walk through the forest up to Morra da Urca then hop on a cable car to the summit; only experienced climbers are advised to hike up the second half of the mountain. Alternatively, take the cable car all the way up for incredible views of Copacabana, Flamengo and the city.

If you want to escape the tourists, visit the mountain at dusk. You'll have no trouble finding a quiet spot to watch the sun go down together, the perfect time to say, 'Eu te amo' as you watch the city glow.

5. Visit an island:

Flickr _Glauco Umbelino _Vila Do Abraao

Escape the bustle of the city for a couple of days and catch the early ferry from Mangaratiba (buses from Rio) to the island of Ilha Grande.

You'll have no trouble discovering secluded beaches that can be found by foot or boat. If you do choose to sail to your own reclusive coves, then boats are available to rent from Vila do Abraão. Snorkel in the clear waters, swim with sea turtles or explore the jungle, there's plenty to do.

Photo courtesy of Glauco Umbelino 


6. Stay in a Palace:

Copacabana Palace

You can stay, dine, unwind and relax at the Copacabana Palace while you soak up the atmosphere of a hotel oozing with 1920's glamour. Sip cocktails by the Art Deco poolside or head to the beach and take advantage of the hotel's exclusive seaside service - beach assistants will look after your things while you take a dip.

For the ultimate experience, make reservations at the Chef's table in the Cipriani Restaurant. You'll be treated to unique dishes that are especially prepared based on the ingredients available on the day with a selection of wines to accompany your meal.

Photo courtesy of Orient Express

7. Take the stairs:

Flickr _Jack Zalium _Jack Zalium

Tucked away off a side street in Lapa lies the Escadaria Selarón, a wonderful mosaic staircase featuring an assortment of coloured tiles gathered from all over the world. Created by Chilean Jorge Selarón, the staircase reflects the vibrant character of the city and is a must see when visiting Rio.

Start from the bottom at Rua Joaquim Silva and gradually make your way up towards Santa Teresa. Admire the intricate detail of Jorge's masterpiece, often referred to his labour of love, which he has been working on for 20 years and still continues to do so. You will most likely spot him adding to the ever-changing mosaic or sitting outside his house, where his works of art and individually designed tiles can be bought.

Photo courtesy of Jack Zalium

8. Explore the countryside on horse-back: 

Flickr _Monotonous Sarah _Hitchin 'ARide20km away from Rio lies the peaceful town of Vargem Grande, also know as Rio's horseriding hot spot. There are plenty of stables to choose from; the Haras Pégasus offers some of the best scenic trails for your romantic ride in rural Rio. Ride through the mountains, hack in the jungle or canter along the coast, and if you're a beginner, they also offer lessons beforehand.

Photo courtesy of Monotonous Sarah

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