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Rio De Janeiro

Brazil’s ‘Marvelous City’ didn’t earn its nickname for being commonplace, and as soon as tourists disembark at Rio de Janeiro International Airport, they start to get a sense of the wonder. This is the kind of destination where locals embrace celebration as a way of life, where Carnival festivities, beach culture and the samba combine to scintillating effect. Rio de Janeiro is intoxicating, and it has a habit of making expatriates out of tourists.

For visitors, the action begins on Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, where hotels in Rio de Janeiro back a beautiful crescent of white sand. Beaches in the city center are perennially clean, and they seem to attract some of the world’s most beautiful people.

The parade of beautiful swimsuit-clad locals would dominate the scene if it weren’t for the backdrop of mountains draped in rainforests. Few cities can boast such a breathtaking setting, and it gives Rio a surreal edge that is better experienced than described.

In fact, so much of a holiday in Rio de Janeiro is about the experience, yet there are a range of great sightseeing attractions for those who can pull themselves away from the leisure and entertainment scene. Walking tours of the Centro historic district come highly recommended, giving visitors a great chance to put the city in context. Historic buildings, monuments and museums trace the colonial efforts of 16th-century Portugal through to 19th-century independence. Christ the Redeemer – Rio's most famous landmark – is also a must on the itinerary.

Today’s Rio de Janeiro is gaining more attention than ever. After a successful bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics, plans are underway to refurbish, restore and expand every corner of this already world-class city. Visitors will see more newly-renovated accommodation in Rio de Janeiro in the next few years, as the excitement percolating on dance floors and beaches becomes more palpable.

For more information on hotels and landmarks in the different areas of Rio De Janeiro, click on the interactive Rio De Janeiro map on the left-hand side of the page.