Rio - The Marvellous City

Affectionately known as Cidade Maravilhosa, the marvellous city in Portugese, Rio de Janeiro certainly lives up to its nickname.

Nestled on the southern coastline of South America’s biggest country, Rio’s dramatic landscape makes it one of the most picturesque cities in the world. The towering mountains of the Tijuca Rainforest stand tall over the iconic Copacabana Beach as locals, or Cariocas, and tourists frolic in the surf, sun themselves on the sand and sip on refreshments while beach volleyball courts are full of activity. Along the beachfront street food sizzles at every stop, street artists create their next masterpiece while local restaurateurs gather on the outskirts of Fort Copacabana to claim the day’s catch.

At the peak of Corcovado Mountain Christ the Redeemer stands watch. The 38 metre tall Art Deco masterpiece with a wingspan of nearly 20 metres, welcomes over two million visitors a year. The statue was proposed by the Catholic Church in 1922, began being built in 1926 and was then finished in 1931. And since then has owned the perfect view over Brazil’s second largest city.

A glimpse out to his left is the continent’s most revered football stadium – the Maracana – the home of two World Cup Finals.

The home of Rio’s world famous Carnival the Sambrodrome is just a short salsa away while further east sail boats line Guanabara Bay as the aptly named Sugarloaf Mountain climbs above the horizon.

From every vantage point Rio stuns the senses.

Rio de Janeiro celebrated its 450th anniversary in 2015 having been founded by Portuguese explorer Estacio de Sa in 1565.

The Maracana was originally built to host to the 1950 football World Cup final, where agonisingly fans watched as Brazil went down in the final 2-1 to Uruguay. Having hosted thousands of football matches since, the Maracana received a facelift for the 2014 football World Cup. The famous stadium will host the Rio 2016 opening and closing ceremonies and the football finals where the host nation will be chasing a fairy-tale finish.  

Every year the city of Rio welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors for one of the world's most vibrant celebrations - Carnival. Held in the week preceding lent, the Carnival parades feature extravagant costumes, cranking music and some serious samba moves. These all-night-affairs take place at the Sambodromo which will host the Rio 2016 archery competition and form the start and finish of the marathon events.

The city is known for its vibrancy and authorities took extra steps by legalising street art or graffiti in 2014. The combination of urban sprawl and natural beauty make the countdown to the Games in this sports loving city, even more tantalising. 

Sign up for fan newsletter

Related Rio Snippets

Games Overview

Check all all there is to know in this Rio 2016 snapshot