Rio de Janeiro – the city of Samba, Caipirinhas, people wearing tiny bathing suits and surprisingly: mountains! I knew of the sugar loaf and cristo, of course. However, I was still amazed by how the city and nature interfere with each other. The view from any mountain top is breath-taking. I never though of Rio as a hiking city but it actually is.
There are many hikes with exceptional vistas. Morro dois Irmãos (2.5h), Pedra da Gàvea (3h), Pico do Caeté (30min) and Perigoso Beach (30min) are just a few epic tails.
Although, if you’re only there for a few days, make sure to also spend some time doing the most touristy things because they are certainly worth it. What we did is signing up for a guided tour with the hostel we stayed at. It was well worth the money as we got around in a nice air-conditioned mini van and our guide fueled our hungry minds with lots of information about the city.
Christ The Redeemer
I am not religious but to see the statue of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) was very impressive and the view from up there incredibly beautiful. Of course there were any tourists taking pictures – they even put mats on the floor so your friend could take pictures of you mimicking Cristo – but all in all it wasn’t too bad. We could move around easily and were able to enjoy the stunning view over the city. Tip: bring sunscreen and water as it gets hot up there and finding a spot in the shadow is almost impossible.
Sugar Loaf Mountain
For sunset we took the cable car up to Sugarloaf Mountain where a panoramic view awaited us. The mountain got its name from the sugar cane – looks pretty similar, no? The coolest thing is, that you get a 360-degree view of the city and stunning sunsets. I honestly have never seen a more beautiful one and totally understood why people applauded when the sun finally had set – I found this a very touching moment as we do not appreciate the wonders of our planet as much as we should.
The famous stairway was renovated by Jorge Selaròn, a Chilean-born artist. Selaròn chose blue, green and yellow tiles – those flag enthusiasts would already know that that’s the colors of the Brazilian flag – and added tiles from over 60 countries from all over the world. If you’re lucky, you’ll find the tile from your country somewhere along those 215 steps. Tip: head up the stairs to find a nicer and less busy spot to take your photos.