How to spend 48 hours in Rio ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท

How to spend 48 hours in Rio: What can I say about Rio, except what a beautiful city.ย  It has everything: lovely architecture, beautiful beaches and great food! Due to a flight change I spent 48 hours in Rio instead of 72, but this was plenty of time to fit in everything I wanted to do and even some pool time!

What to see:

1.  Christ the Redeemer

The number one thing to see in Rio has to be Christ the Redeemer on top of Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park.

You start off at the visitors centre and then take a bus up to the bottom of the steps up to Christ the Redeemer.  Here you can either walk up the 220 steps or take the escalator.  Take the escalator and save your legs! 

Once at the top, the view is amazing and you can get some excellent pictures with the statue.  It is sometimes possible to go right up inside his head (if you can manage heights!) but this is currently closed for maintenance.

Top Tip: Arrive early as it can become very busy

Christ the Redeemer, Rio

On the way down Corcovado mountain, make sure you stop at the view point where you have a wonderful view overlooking Rio harbour.  This is one of the world’s natural wonders and definitely worth a stop.

Rio Harbour
Harbour of Rio de Janeiro

2.  Sugarloaf Mountain

The second stop is another mountain, but this time Sugarloaf mountain.  The mountain is easy to spot from its funny shape and its name came from the Portuguese heyday of the sugarcane trade in Brazil.  Blocks of sugar were stacked in conical clay moulds and formed the shape of a ‘sugarloaf’ and the name sugarloaf mountain was born. 

Top Tip: Go early and make sure it isn’t too windy!

Sugar Loaf mountain, Rio
Sugarloaf mountain is the one sticking up on the far right

The peak overlooks Rio de Janeiro and the entrance of Gunabara Bay and what an amazing view that is.  To reach the summit there are cable cars.  Don’t worry, you aren’t expected to walk!

Once you reach the top, sit and relax and soak up the beautiful panoramic views with a coffee (or even something stronger!)  There are several cafes and for flip flop lovers theres even a Havaianas shop, as Brazil is home of the Havaiana.

Sugarloaf Mountain, Rio

3.  Escadaria Selaron

This is possibly the world’s most beautiful staircase.

The steps are covered in over 2000 tiles and mirrors from 60 countries and are in blue, yellow and green, the colours of the Brazilian flag.  There are 215 steps and they can be found going across the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighbourhoods of Rio.  

The Lapa neighbourhood itself, it the most bohemian area of Rio and is filled with delicious eateries near the steps and so I’m told, some of Rio’s best bars.  The Rio Scenarium or the Manifesta Lapa are the places to go for a drink and a dance, but its best to book a table as otherwise, you could spend half your night in a queue.  Every weekend there is a also a street party by the Arcos de Lapa.

Steps in Rio

4.  Downtown Rio de Janiero

Now its time to head downtown for some culture. As well as some lovely churches and bustling markets, The Royal Portuguese Reading Room was what caught my eye.  This has been recognised as one of the world’s most beautiful libraries and it is one of the hidden treasures of the city; for me a must visit!

Upon entering the library, you feel a sense of awe as well as feeling that you have just entered the world of Harry Potter.  

The reading room was created in 1837 by a group of 43 Portuguese immigrants who wanted to spread culture and literature among the Portuguese communities living in Brazil.

It is open Monday-Friday from 9am until 6pm and always ask a librarian before opening any of the books.

5.  Time to hit the Beach!

Last, but definitely not least are Rio’s beautiful beaches.  I only visited Copacabana which is the number one beach in Rio, but the other best ones are Ipanema, Barra da Tijuca, Prainha beach and Praia Vermelha.  These all have lovely white sand, clear blue seas and are surrounded by lively cafes so you don’t have to go far to quench your thirst or sort out your hunger pangs!

Top Tip: Don’t leave your belongings unattended

Ccpacabana Beach

Where to stay:

I stayed at the Orla Copacabana Hotel and can’t recommend it enough.  The location was perfect, lovely rooms, brilliant staff members and a delicious breakfast that set you perfectly for the day.  The hotel has a little swimming pool and a roof top sunbathing area all a stone’s throw away from the world famous Copacabana Beach.  The hotel arranged for me to have a car and driver, which was perfect for my 48 hours. This option is a little more expensive than public transport and taxis but it is much safer.

Rio Safety Tips:

As this can be a very dangerous place, be sure to have a look at my safety tips page to be on the safe side

So what’s not to like about Rio?  Home of 1 of the world’s 7 wonders, a natural world wonder, the world’s most beautiful staircase and library and not forgetting all those gorgeous beaches!


Brit girl on a bummel. A solo female traveller accompanied by her camera, aiming to see as much of the world as possible and sharing what she's learnt along the way!

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *