Rio de Janeiro Itinerary: 7 Days-Worth of Ideas

Planning a Rio de Janeiro itinerary can take the dedication and determination of an Olympian. After all, the city’s got myriad magnificent attractions to choose from, and information on them is scattered across the Web.

Time is precious, though. What you need is a little shortcut…

In this article, you’ll discover some of the city’s best experiences. The following 7-day itinerary was created with Inspirock’s free new Rio de Janeiro trip planner, which brings Usain Bolt-like speed to the planning process and improves your chances of having a gold-medal vacation.

Ready? Let’s go!

Day 1–History Lessons

Interior of Candelaria Church by: Adam Jones (CC)
Interior of Candelaria Church by: Adam Jones (CC)

History lessons, really? Believe it or not, there’s more to Rio than just beaches and Carnaval. Stretch your legs with a walking tour through the city’s historic neighborhoods and see places like Quinta da Boa Vista, the garden refuge of Brazil’s 19th-century emperors, and Candelaria Church, featuring a stunning white dome made in Lisbon and brought to Rio by ship.

Day 2–The Views

Pão de Açúcar by: Rodrigo Soldon (CC)
Pão de Açúcar by: Rodrigo Soldon (CC)

Ah, yes, the views. With stunning vistas behind every corner, Rio remains one of the world’s most scenic cities. Go up to Christ the Redeemer for the finest views of the entire city, or climb Sugarloaf Mountain to see the best of downtown Rio.

Day 3–Beach Time!

Ipanema Beach by: Eloise Acuna (CC)
Ipanema Beach by: Eloise Acuna (CC)

By day 3 in Rio, you’ll definitely be ready to party like a local. How’re you going to do that? Three words for you–Ipanema and Copacabana.

Both sandy stretches are so long that they host various scenes–hippies and leftists in one area, gay beachgoers in the next, and favela residents further on.

Figure out where to lay your own towel by visiting Rio.com’s pages on each beach: Ipanema and Copacabana.

Day 4–Shopping and Dining

Rio Restaurant Week by: PortoBay Events (CC)
Rio Restaurant Week by: PortoBay Events (CC)

Dedicate this day to the Brazilian steakhouse dinner–or lunch–and spend the rest of your time picking up souvenirs and gifts for everyone back home. At Shopping Leblon, you can pick up a new swimsuit and enjoy panoramic views of Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon from the top-floor restaurant.

Day 5–The Samba Experience

Samba by: Leonardo Shinagawa (CC)
Samba by: Leonardo Shinagawa (CC)

Time to take out your dancing shoes and spend the night polishing your samba moves. Your best bet on any night and throughout the year is the legendary Plataforma, where it’s always Carnaval.

Day 6–Maracana

Maracana by: Ben Sutherland (CC)
Maracana by: Ben Sutherland (CC)

If fútebol is one of Brazil’s unofficial religions (some would say the religion), then Maracana is one its most sacred sites. If you won’t be there for the opening or closing of the Olympics, take a guided tour to see behind those legendary stands.

Day 7–Day Trips

Catedral de Petroplis by: Rodrigo Soldon (CC)
Catedral de Petroplis by: Rodrigo Soldon (CC)

To wrap up your Rio visit, choose a half-day or full-day tour of nearby destinations, like Tijuca National Park, through which you can ride a cog train, or Petropolis, the former home of two emperors.

Cidade Maravilhosa

We’ve timed our suggested Rio de Janeiro itinerary to coincide with Rio’s big event, which may work outstandingly well for those with tickets to some of the Olympic competitions.

Not in the Olympic spirit but still want to go to Rio?

No problem!

Modify our Rio de Janeiro itinerary to suit your schedule, or build your own trip from ground up with our free Rio vacation planner.

Tamara

Tamara

Educated in Chicago and based in Serbia, Tamara travels with passion and believes that one written word can be worth at least a thousand pictures. When she's not conquering the world one blog post at a time, she likes to eat pizza and take long naps--preferably at the same time.
Tamara